Making It: PR & Marketing

The two panelists, Amy Young and Jessica Lowe.

My attempt at explaining Affiliate Links!

I went to a little get-together the other day at The General Store on Deansgate in Manchester and got the chance to find out a little bit about the world of Fashion PR & Marketing.

Jessica Lowe from Harvey Nichols Manchester and Amy Young from Jacobson Group (Parent company of Gola et cetera) sat, nervously, in front of a sea of students, lecturers and people working within PR & Marketing to divulged a little bit about their careers, how they got to their level and what it is like being a PR in Fashion.

The event tackled questions like the current economic climate, whether Universities prepare student for the world of work, and began to sound a little bit like a BBC Radio 4 discussion being broadcast at 5:35am but needless to say the ladies were well prepared to answer any question and were generally a rather brilliant advert for the career choice!

The topic of conversation that I brought up was that of Affiliate Links as a marketing tool within the Online/Social Media sector. I addressed my question to Amy because her role demands national press relations where as Jessica’s concentrates on the customer catchment area for Harvey Nichols Manchester specific.

For those of you that don’t quite know what Affiliate Links are I’ll do my very best to tell you briefly, as I did to the audience that very night. Affiliate linking is a method of generating money for your website or blog based on HTML coding and Hyperlinks. If you own a website or blog and are signed up to an Affiliate scheme, you will be able to gain access to HTML codes from retailers that agree to engage in an Affiliate relationship with you and your website. These HTML Codes, when embedded within your web content as a Hyperlink, can let your chosen retailer know that a click to there website has come from yours. If this click then generates a sale (a process called Click Conversation) you can get a percentage of the transaction amount paid. If, however, you’re an experienced Affiliate linker you can engage in special deals with certain Affiliate providers that enable you to generate an income based solely on clicks, with no purchase necessary! Click here for more information (don’t worry I am not just saying that to get money :D)

After I explained all that Amy answered, “at the moment no, for Gola online at the moment we use a lot of PPC with Google … we’ve only been online for just over a year and it’s traditional PR & Marketing so you’re learning on the job with Online Media!” Which was such an interesting answer because it proves how new and progressive Online Media is. Even the PRs are having to catch up with the opportunities available to them!

Another topic discussed by both ladies was the idea of Networking as an important part of their job. Jessica said, “I get most things done just by knowing people”. When asked about starting out and getting those few first contacts Jessica answered “it is something that you build up slowly … get yourself on Twitter! I think it is amazing how many people you meet through Twitter … I only saw Jordan’s face for the first time last night but we’ve had many a conversation!”

And on that note I shall direct you to a recent Guest Blog post I wrote for The University of Manchester Fashion Blog which demands that Twitter become part of everyone’s life! End.

Score Gola.

After getting the chance to hear Harvey Jacobson of the Jacobson Group talk at an event I recently attended, I want to get my hands on some Manchester Heritage. Yes, that means I want some Gola!

Harvey Jacobson’s company owns, among other brands, Gola. Gola is one of the UK’s oldest fashion brands and considers itself one of the major British Heritage brands in the sports/fashion sector. I couldn’t agree more. The look of Gola is typically Northern British, and this aesthetic has been reinforced by clever branding, marketing and undeniably the Gallagher brothers. When asked, at the event, who the most famous person he has ever met was, Jacobson retold the story of when Noel Gallagher called Jacobson Group and asked ‘can you get some trainers for me and our kid?’.

Harvey Jacobson and MFN’s Dale Hicks

Many of the event’s audience were made up of Importers/Exporters because Jacobson Group does not only own and supply its own brands but also makes and dis
tributes footwear for a vast number of shoe Retailers, Designers and Wholesalers. People in the audience were also interested in Jacobson’s brands and Harvey’s personal successes with branding. Of creating a brand, Harvey said: “It’s very hard to build a brand from nothing. All of the successful brands we own, we bought” his cut throat but brilliant advice continued throughout the night including when the question was asked about his recent Gola Caranby St store.

A member of the audience asked when would Manchester, the home of Gola, see a stand-alone store? Jacobson answered, much to the dismay of many in the audience: ‘I’m from Manchester and I’m proud of it, but business is business and I go where the business is … My number two store would be New York.” Harvey then went on to say that ‘Flagships aren’t supposed to make money, they’re supposed to sell a brand’. I totally agree with him, which is why I think Gola would benefit from a flagship in the brand’s home city. A brand so dedicated to British heritage and it’s Northern routes should capitalise on having a stand-alone flagship in the brand’s hometown. Still, I’m not Harvey Jacobson.

Moving on, top items on my Christmas list this year will be – obviously – the Harrier Trainer. Debuted in the late 1960s the shoe became the staple in any trendy lad’s wardrobe. The shoe was then the cutting edge of shoe design technology and remains today and example of craftsmanship and true quality.
I also want one of those Chavy-Chic tracksuit zip jackets. I used to have a Gola one as a kid that my Dad (a true Mancunian if ever there was one – living in Devon now, naturally) got my Brother and I.

If you’re going to step into the sports fashion market, having generally and rather publicly being opposed to it in the past, I think Gola, a brand with true heritage and gutsy focus for the future is a safe bet.

See my report on the topics Harvey covered here

Photography by the lovely Vicki Day, product images from Gola website.