From humble beginnings, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel created an enduring luxury brand whose influence is as strong today as ever. Always outspoken, the mantras by which she lived her life – and ran her business – provide a fascinating window into the mind of a true fashion legend. Here, we take a look five of Chanel’s better-known quotes and explore how their message can be used by the modern PR professional to inform a stylish communications strategy that will stand the test of time.
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” – Coco Chanel
When crafting your communications, less is more. A clear, concise and compelling message is the best way to engage your audience; with today’s information blizzard, nobody has the time to read a lengthy manuscript. Similarly, as a PR professional, your time is precious. It can be exhausting, having to navigate multiple platforms, each with their own login details and workflows, simply in order to get your message out there. The solution is to consolidate. A single platform, able to feed your content to all of your audiences at the push of a button, will mean that you can spend your time crafting the perfect message, rather than grappling with endless admin.
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” – Coco Chanel
Many PR professionals will be familiar with this feeling: time after time, you pour your heart and soul into creating the perfect communication, yet the results remain underwhelming. Why? You were concentrating so much on the ‘what’, you forgot about the ‘where’. Simply sending your press release to the same old bunch of known contacts or to a handful of major trade publications is not giving your story a chance to shine. Carefully construct precisely the right audience for each communication. Build a true, cross-channel distribution list, pulling from your own contacts, third-party databases and social media, to ensure that every release you issue knocks at all the right doors.
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." – Coco Chanel
A truly successful luxury brand sets itself apart from the competition with the ability to break down the usual constraints; to think outside the box. Chanel herself made her name by breaking free from the stiff, corseted norms of the time with a daring, casual chic. But Chanel recognised that simply creating something beautiful was not enough. After establishing her first boutique in Deauville, she enlisted her aunt and sister to accompany her in parading through the chic seaside resort, modelling her latest designs: an early, and very effective form of PR. Things have moved on a little since then and, thankfully, you can achieve superior results without having to leave the comfort of your desk. With today’s comprehensive online platforms, which marry easy-to-use inbuilt editorial software and powerful distribution engines, you can ensure that your ideas can be communicated far and wide at the push of a button.
"In fashion, you know you have succeeded when there is an element of upset." – Coco Chanel
Chanel was a disruptive force, never afraid to challenge societal norms. Her success could be measured by the size of the shockwaves she created throughout the world of fashion. But how should you measure the success of your PR campaign? How can you be sure that you too are making waves and, most importantly, how can you ensure that future communications continue to create an impact. Analysing the results of past campaigns should be the kicking-off point for each creative process. Ensure you are making full use of the analytical tools at your disposal, creating clear reports on the respective successes – or failures - of your past communications. Over time, you will develop a keener understanding of the tone, story and audiences that generate the greatest levels of engagement and coverage.
“Fashion changes, but style endures” – Coco Chanel
Each new campaign should reflect the evolution of your brand, but what all successful luxury brands have in common is the ability to remain true to their legacy, and to demonstrate a set of core values and traits that remain evident through all that they do. Every communication you issue immediately becomes a part of your brand’s history. Having access to a readily-accessible archive of your historical content allows you to pull out relevant material at a moment’s notice, and to maintain a consistency that shines through, regardless of today’s trends.
Around the time Chanel was coming to prominence, another influential figure was making his name in the United States. Edward Bernays, considered by many to be the founder of modern public relations, literally wrote the book on PR theory. It’s been nearly a century since he published Crystalizing Public Opinion and, while the central tenets remain remarkably relevant, Bernays would barely recognize the industry today. As in many other industries, advancements in technology have accelerated that change exponentially in recent years.
The serious message underpinning all of the above advice is that there are tools available to the modern PR professional which simply didn’t exist a handful of years ago. From a single, online platform, it is possible to manage all aspects of your corporate communications: from the accurate identification of tailored recipient groups, via a simple and intuitive creation process – incorporating video and hi-res image assets to add colour to your story – right through to comprehensive distribution and success analytics.
Your creativity is the key to telling your brand’s story. The tools you use should not distract you from the creative process, but should work as an extension of your thought process. Perhaps Chanel said it best: “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside”.
In 2011, epresspack was founded in Paris, France by Antoun Sfeir to offer companies and brands innovative digital communication solutions for Public Relations and Communications professionals.
Today, working across a wide variety of industry sectors with companies such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Champagne Taittinger, Omega, the Savoy, Roco Forte Hotels, Brioni, Bulgari and Boucheron, to name a few, epresspack developed a customized newsroom content management solution which enhances the way communicators manage, publish, distribute, and analyse their rich brand stories (text, images, video content etc.) that they share with media, influencers, investors, employees, and other key stakeholders. In one platform: manage, publish, distribute (email and social media), and analyse the results of each campaign.