What Is The Real Difference Between Fashion Marketing and Fashion PR?


What Is The Real Difference Between Fashion Marketing and Fashion PR?

What Is The Real Difference Between Fashion Marketing and Fashion PR?


We’re kicking off this week by answering one of the most frequently asked fashion career questions: “What is the difference between Fashion Marketing and Fashion PR?” To get you the best answer possible we turned to a longtime friend of PYT and Marketing professional, Olivia Gold. 


How did you get your start in the fashion industry? 

I realised that my best chances of landing a job after University was to gain industry experience before graduating. So, whilst studying Marketing Communications (at the University of East London) I started looking for internships within PR and Marketing and I saw more PR roles. I researched what PR was and thought it would be a fun and interesting job, so I put all my energy into finding PR internships.


Firstly, I picked up the phone and called around to introduce myself, get a name and email to follow up with. Calling beforehand was my way of ensuring that my CV was met by someone who was expecting it, rather than the gamble of sending cold-emails. It worked and my first internship was at a beauty agency called Flipside PR. Since then I have worked in several PR roles including Account Assistant at Ketchum PR, Brand Executive at Interbrand and Press Officer at Needle & Thread and have now branched off into fashion Marketing.


What is PR?

The correct term for PR is Public Relations, which is all about reputation – the result of what you do, say and what others say about you. Simply put, PR is about managing a reputation.


A fundamental element of PR is brand representation in the media. For example, a brand will host a press day for a new collection with a few desired objectives in mind. Top-tier journalists will be invited with the hopes of them writing a review or story about the pieces. Stylists will be invited in the hopes of them featuring the items in upcoming shoots. Bloggers will be invited, to either select the items they’ll be gifted or to create content from the day and share it with their audience.


In doing so, they are maximising the reach of the brand by building relationships with the right people. Overall, all PR activities should maintain or raise the reputation of the brand to potential customers, which in turn translates into sales.



What is Marketing? 

According to Kotler and Armstrong (Principles of Marketing, 2013) Marketing is “the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.” As a marketer myself, I believe this speaks to what marketing truly is. Not only does a customer buy into the item but they buy into the brand; whether that be the style of the products or the lifestyle promoted around the clothes.


A marketer’s job is to come up with creative activations to promote the brand, item, collection or a special project/collaboration. The use of market research and strategy is a big factor in this because it is only when a business truly understands its customer can it then understand how best to create an impact in that customer’s life.


What is the difference?

The key difference between PR and Marketing is the audience:

PR = Industry relationships

Marketing = Customers


PR is to building favourable relationships with the media, press and influencers (these are the people that drive influence and communicate the brand perceptions to customers). Occasionally, this also extends to investors and suppliers. Whilst marketing is about promoting a brand or product through various creative approaches (advertising, digital marketing, social media etc.) to the customer.


The processes and strategies used to achieve these objectives are very different. Both areas run campaigns whether it’s by using influencers to promote a new fashion collection or traditionally using models and running a campaign shoot that we end up seeing in our favourite magazines. Marketing success is measured by campaign sales and ROI (return on investment). Whereas a successful PR campaign is measured by securing and maintaining successful relationships with key stakeholders in the industry that can then share great press coverage of your brand, product or collection.



What are some roles in a PR team?

Depending on the scale of the business (small or large) the team with have:

– PR Assistant

– PR Coordinator

– PR Manager

– Influencer Manager

– Head of PR

– PR Director (who reports into the Chief Marketing Officer or Executive Leadership Team/Senior Leadership Team)


In an agency environment, the roles are as follows (depending on the scale of the business small or large):

– Account Assistant

– Account Executive

– Senior Account Executive

– Account Manager

– Senior Account Manager

– Account Director


What are some roles within a Marketing team?

Depending on the scale of the business (small or large) the team with have:

– Marketing Assistant

– Marketing Executive

– Marketing Manager


Social is a big part of Marketing and PR and either social media manager or executive roles can sit in either of the teams depending on the size of the team or business. There is also a strategic side to marketing which consists of creating the campaign angles, the thinking and initiative behind a campaign and why. (These roles vary, are often only on senior levels and can be within these remits:

– Strategic Manager

– Brand Manager

– Campaign Manager


Are Fashion PR skills transferable to Marketing jobs (vice versa)?

Yes, yes, yes! It is so important to have transferable skills. Marketing and PR work hand in hand so having both contribute to the value you can bring to your potential employer.


Which current campaigns do you love or are personal favourites of yours?

My favourite campaigns are:

Jigsaw Immigration campaign – Jigsaw launched a campaign in 2017 about celebrating immigration as part of their promotion for its autumn/winter collection. Read more about it here.

Nike Middle East sportswear campaign – Nike launched a culturally rich, empowering campaign that pays homage to Middle Eastern athletes and explores the challenges young Arab women aspiring to a professional sporting career may face. Read more about it here.

Campaigns mean more when there is an authentic reflection of people, life and culture involved.  


Where do you see the future of Fashion Marketing and PR?

I think the future is in digital innovation and with fashion companies being more reactive to customers real needs and not want the company wants it to be. Brands will have have to stay close to their loyal consumers as well as potential new customers and study what their aspirations are, as well as lifestyle escapism habits.


Words by Olivia Gold

Senior Fashion Marketing Coordinator at Debenhams and Curator of Life Of A Marketing Girl Community


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