The eTail Blog: @DKNY Gives Tips & Tricks on Twitter for Major Luxury Brands

Discussion
Oct 19, 2012

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from The eTail Blog, a source of exclusive content generated by and for the e-commerce community.

For those who presume social media is handled by interns, it may come as a surprise to learn that Aliza Licht, SVP, global communications at Donna Karan International, is the voice leading the luxury brand’s Twitter success.

With more than 400,000 followers and 40,000 Tweets on the @dkny account, Ms. Licht has helped prove to her luxury brand peers that social media is not just a fleeting trend.

"In 2009, we knew that embarking on social was the next big thing and even though very few fashion luxury brands were in the space, we felt our brand DNA was strong enough to tell a unique, NY-centric story," Ms. Licht told The eTail Blog. "Which story though, was the question. As a PR person, credibility is always paramount and I knew we didn’t want people to think this was actually Donna Karan Tweeting. So I came up with the character ‘DKNY PR GIRL,’ but for convenience purposes, the handle would simply be @dkny."

Donna Karan’s PR had "a ton of content to draw from" including marketing events, runway shows, celebrity dressing and other editorial. She added, "Being a fly on our wall allows someone to witness not only success, but failure and frustration. Did I mention stress?"

The company decided that she would be the only one Tweeting so the voice would be consistent, but that the whole PR team would also contribute content for this "PR GIRL" character. However, she said it "very quickly became obvious that it was one person and that person was real. So we scrapped the made-up character idea and traded it for anonymity of the person behind the sketch. That lasted about two years until we decided enough was enough, and the veil was pulled back."

She revealed her true identity as ‘DKNY PR GIRL,’ in October 2011 in a YouTube video.

[Image: DKNY PR Girl]

"Through the DKNY PR GIRL persona, I infuse myself into Twitter, dknyprgirl.com and Pinterest," said Ms. Licht. "Our other platforms like Facebook (Donna Karan & DKNY pages), Tumblr (Notes On A City & Donna’s Journal) and Instagram (donnakarandkny) are amazing, but maintain the respective brand."

She added that Donna Karen’s management understood from day one that Twitter was another way to engage customers. She added, "They also showed a lot of foresight because they knew it would only work if I could be real, unedited and write what I know … and a lot of what I know is the world of Donna Karan."

How much of a hiring investment should most brands make in the role of managing their social media voice? What lessons does Donna Karan offer around managing Twitter personas?

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6 Comments on "The eTail Blog: @DKNY Gives Tips & Tricks on Twitter for Major Luxury Brands"


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Joan Treistman
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Donna Karan’s story is about authenticity and transparency. That’s the lesson they are offering others in this article. If social media is to be considered a significant component of a company’s communication strategy, the investment should be evaluated similarly. It’s probably why I prefer a seasoned surgeon over an intern for an operation to treat a life threatening disease. But that’s just me.

David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Social media is part of the branding process for consumer brands. If the job is given to interns, it’s critical — and by the way, very helpful for the intern’s training — that they know how to make every social media contribution with a consistent appearance, attitude, and culture, aligned with the brand’s culture and image.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Social media is the new frontier we are crossing. You don’t want to leave it to an amateur or fresh-out-of-school persona to lead you to the new mecca, wherever it might be. Imagine the wagon train master leading the pioneers and having no idea where the West was.

Jason Goldberg
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

When I think of interns doing social media, I always think of Erik Qualman’s video parody.

Social has become a very important touchpoint that absolutely influences consumers impression of your brand. Ask Kitchen-Aid how how their brand was effected when their official twitter account made an inappropriate joke about President Obama’s deceased grandmother, or ask Beef Products Inc who was forced to shut down 3 of its 4 plants, after a Jamie Oliver video about pink-slime went viral.

Tom Redd
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Social Media is very much a part of the brand experience, so both strategy and execution need to have senior management’s attention with responsibility and accountability. In the case of DKNY, the twitter account @DKNY has a New York edge to it, it’s very personal, engaging and authentic. That’s how DKNY chose to project the brand and it takes on the personality of DKNY PR GIRL.

Perfectly fine to have an intern working on social media branding, but not for that intern to run social media and in effect, your brand!

By the way, it’s interesting to note that DKNY has trademarked DKNY PR GIRL, so it will always belong to them no matter who is doing the tweeting.

Alison Chaltas
Guest
Alison Chaltas
9 years 7 months ago

Kudos to Donna Karan! Too often senior leaders think of social media as a task to delegate to younger, lower levels of the organization. From a tech savviness and time management standpoint that seems like a good choice. BUT the senior leaders are better suited to draft pognant, pithy comments on the fly. Maybe as importantly, leaders benefit by learning Twitter and connecting with our customers they way they want to communicate. All part of the social networking world where delegation is a thing of the past.

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