If DKNY PR Girl sounds familiar, it may be because it sounds very similar to OscarPRGirl. They have similar handles, both are managed by the respective brand’s public relations executive, they each have their own avatars and both have moved beyond twitter to open tumblr accounts, delve into YouTube and more! Most importantly, both have proven to be very successful strategies for the brands not only in acquiring a huge following, but also in providing a particular voice and identity associated with the brand and engaging in conversations with their followers.
DKNY PR Girl began her Twitter account in 2009 and within two years amassed 360,000 followers before ever revealing who was behind the account. The tweets consisted of an inside look into the inner workings behind the DKNY brand with a very distinct voice that proved to be both comedic and informative with a flair of Carrie Bradshaw-esque lifestyle that many girls and women would love to be and would love to know more about. As the NYTimes profile on DKNY PR Girl put it “DKNY PR girl seemed to exemplify the fun-loving, fast-paced life of a fashion public relations gal living in New York City. Hers was a sassy diary written from inside the fashion bubble.” While PRverdict.com dubs DKNY PR Girl’s tweets as “exclusively aimed to teen girls” the site certainly cannot dismiss the followers it has built with this type of content. It works! Although seemingly mundane and trivial, its simplicity and hilarity do attract people to not only follow but also to engage.
After two years of anonymity, DKNY PR Girl, revealed herself in true social media style via a video on YouTube!
The video reveals Aliza Licht, the vice president of global communications at Donna Karan, as the mind, voice and fingers behind DKNY PR Girl. As senior vice president of global communications Licht is in charge not only of social media accounts of DKNY PR Girl but also of managing key public relations initiatives including Fashion Week. The video focuses on the most content-heavy time of the brand and also the most exciting and chaos-filled time of the year that I’m sure many followers and budding-fashionistas would want to know about. PRverdict doesn’t agree much with the content of the video as it seems to focus on mundane tasks done by Licht with no mention of any team that helps her out to maneuver this global prestige brand. While PRverdict is right on point and it certainly is impossible for Licht to be doing all those tasks while still managing the communications arm of Donna Karan and sending out hundreds of tweets per day, what PRverdict seems to forget, DKNY PR Girl’s video is a reflection of the tweets she has become known for and the tweets that have enabled her to capture the over now 385,063 followers on twitter. While I am sure Licht does more than just answer phones, move around seat assignments and puts up signs on cabs, these simple tasks are the ones that come with comedic flare and are more relatable, easily communicated and truth be told what actually do consume many a PR reps’ time during Fashion Week.
I am thoroughly impressed by Licht’s dedication to this twitter account which also eventually rolled into a tumblr account. It takes much time and dedication to constantly provide content for these two platforms. Licht has a true understanding of the activity needed for each and as she noted on her video she is “addicted to Twitter,” and a personality that isn’t, may not succeed as much as she has. In a recent WWD post, it noted that DKNY PR Girl “tweeted 1,105 times in February  more than triple the second and third most active [fashion] tweeters, Kate Spade and Betsey Johnson, with 365 and 352 messages for the month.” This certainly proves Licht’s addiction to Twitter and why she has not only gotten a huge following but has also received much notice by the media. Licht has even recently won for Best Twitter and Best Blog by a Fashion Brand at the Fashion 2.0 Awards.
I know many brands who struggle with finding managers of their own social media accounts, the beauty of DKNY PR Girl is that the company gave her free rein, she is truly addicted to twitter and through it she has found her own voice that comes across as “girly and intimate (morning routine, weekend mani-pedis and “Gossip Girl” critiques) but knowledgeable. She’ll discuss inner workings under the hashtag #PR101, as in ‘Attention to detail is everything. The wrong colored binder clip can destroy your presentation'” (NYTimes.com). Her Twitter and Tumblr account not only reflects her role in the DKNY brand, but also her personal life and her inner musings. It is not just about the clothing brand, but provides followers an insider’s view into what it’s like to work for the premiere New York City brand that is DKNY.
In an interview with Fashionablymarketing.me, Licht’s advice to creating social engagement and inspiration among fans and followers is just that, engagement. “Social media is about engagement. It’s not just me, me, me. It’s about genuine interest in other people. I have grown to sincerely care about so many people I have met through this medium and many have become friends in real life. I think if you ask most people what they love about Twitter it’s the fact that they have met such amazing people- people they would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.”
Through these platforms, Licht has met key influencers like Mickey Boardman of Paper magazine, Ariel Foxman of InStyle and the socialite Marjorie Gubelmann. (NYTimes.com). They not only tweet at each other bust also have dinners together. According to Licht, every one of her followers are true relationships she has built and she is known to respond to every tweet at her. In an article on TeenVogue.com, “[Licht] is devoted to her hundreds of thousands of followers, whom she calls her real friends. She reads all tweets directed at her and responds to most of them, frequently offering ‘PR 101’ advice.”
Licht is so engaged and listens constantly to her fans and followers that her Tumblr account was created out of demand, not out of the brand’s need to get in on the action of a another social media platform. “The idea to start a blog genuinely came from my Twitter followers who expressed that they would love to see my images and tweets on a more permanent, visual platform. I knew there were many brands already doing a great job on Tumblr and I really wanted mine to have a reason for being. Hence the tag line ‘When 140 characters isn’t enough.’ When something comes from a real place people react well to it. Tumblr in essence is an extension of my Twitter. I actually like to think of them as brother and sister, helping each other along the way,” (fashionablymarketing.me).
What I take out of the success of DKNY PR Girl are three key things: 1) The need for the brand to trust in the manager and provide free rein and an understanding that sometimes tweeting solely about the brand just does not work. 2) The one who manages the brand has to incorporate social media into his/her everyday life. It just does not stop because you have checked out of work. It takes devotion and according to Licht, an addiction. 3) Engaging and listening to her followers were key. Licht understood that the key to social media platforms was not to push out messages but to engage with followers. As a result not only has she made true relationships that of course don’t hurt to have for the brand itself but out of demand created a Tumblr account to extend her own voice and personality from Twitter. I think many brands can truly learn from the success of DKNY PR Girl.