As part of my digital media module I am required to write an evaluation of a current event from a public relations or engagement strategy perspective.
Where is your park? – The question on everyone’s lips leading up to the new and highly anticipated ‘athleisure‘ clothing range co-founded by Beyoncé: Ivy Park.
Beyoncé has became a sort of household name, you can’t possibly go through life not knowing who she is or hearing her name, and these past weeks have been even more of a show of that due to the successful release of Ivy Park.
First off, the brand has utilised the digital media tools at their disposal and created separate social media accounts from those of it’s stockist Topshop and co-founder Beyoncé, on both Instagram and YouTube; and they have even created their own website – giving details on both stockists and the brand story. Social media is so important for brand engagement and the immediacy of access to these platforms is vital – the proof that Ivy Park knows this is in them pre-launching the new website and creating social media platforms before the clothes became available. As well as this, making these platforms separately available gives the audience the ability to read into the brand and get all the information they need straight away – then leading to a buying decision.
It then comes to no surprise that due to all the engagement on social media, the newly co-founded activewear label has been described as the most popular fashion brand (in terms of Instagram engagement), before it even hit stores for sale.
Online engagement tracking platform Dash Hudson reported that the @weareivypark Instagram account showed a 22.91% engagement figure; astronomical in comparison to others that usually show a 1% figure. To hit home the vastness of this figure, take into account that Rihanna’s launch for Puma only received around 10-15% engagement – considerately lower than that for Ivy Park. This hits home the importance of social media for engagement, and proves that the Ivy Park brand knows exactly how to grab it’s audience’s attention.
Although the clothing drop is arguably an event in itself, smart PR has led to multiple smaller events taking place leading up to the release, to trigger word-of-mouth and celebrate the new collection. One of these is the pre launch and private shopping event which took place, to which influential bloggers and models were invited. Brands should ensure they take advantage of pre events and utilising them to benefit audience engagement; especially for a clothing release as it is a cleaver tactic – along with the informative content wrote by other bloggers, Ivy Park’s wider audience have been given the ability to gage initial reviews of the clothing line and think on their own buying decision. Coupling that then with a launch video which has now racked up over one million views – Ivy Park was all that was on anyone’s mind and all were waiting for the release.
We all know now though, not to take anything a celebrity does lightly and if we thought that Beyoncé would just stop with Ivy Park, and a couple of promotional events, we’d be being very gullible.
In comes, Lemonade – the self-titled visual album released by the woman herself. Full of powerful songs and lyrics littered with infidelity, Beyoncé lets it known that she’s not finished with us yet. The controversy surrounding the album is immense, and not one person has gone through this past week without questioning what Jay-Z has done and thinking about Beyoncé – for those who may not, The Guardian have you sorted.
Although this may seem like a separate venture and issue from ‘Queen Bey’s’ new clothing line, we cant close our eyes to the relevance Lemonade has to Ivy Park and the idea that the whole release could be a smart, thought-out PR stunt.
First off, this visual album has been released straight after the clothing line release; which in turn has everyone who is currently talking about Beyoncé searching her – increasing the SEO for Bey as a subject, and for her new fashion venture. Those that may not have previously known about Ivy Park will be finding out about it, SEO isn’t dead and will ultimately create more purchase decisions from an audience who previously wouldn’t have.
Not only that, but there seems to be a massive link between the underlying story of Lemonade and the reason behind Beyoncé’s Ivy Park release. Lemonade has been claimed to highlight issues relating to black women and the trials they face, women who watch the visual and listen to the new album will understand the message of empowerment in the lyrics and think of themselves in relation to Beyoncé and this message.This will lead to them researching and understanding the importance of empowerment; and Ivy Park all but embodies that same message – that any and every woman can do sport and that beauty is more than physical appearance.
There no doubt in my mind that this is a clearly thought out PR event, the release of both the visual album and the clothing line in such close proximity to each other makes this obvious. Each event clearly supports the other and leads to Beyoncé’s ultimate takeover. Sportswear is such a current fashion trend and ‘athleisure’ is the category everyone is falling into – leading to ultimate engagement from the ‘Beyhive’ into Beyoncé’s newest fashion venture as it is right up their street. Not only this but due to the current digital sphere, it has become even easier for Beyoncé to communicate with her audience and allow for deeper and successful engagement – proven by the crashing of Topshop and the nearly sold out Ivy Park line.
Bravo Beyoncé, you got us all hooked.