For Donna Karan, connecting with consumers is the work of one person in particular. And when it comes to dusting off a somewhat older brand and making it relevant to a younger consumer, few have done a better job than Aliza Licht, known in the digital world as DKNY PR GIRL.
Licht, Donna Karan’s senior vice president of global communications, is the woman behind the DKNY PR Girl persona. And her social media savvy is her natural stream of consciousness. In a way, Twitter has become her diary: Her posts cover anything from a behind-the-scenes Fashion Week moment to a bad hair day, depending on the minute.
“PR touches every area of the company and from runway shows, celebrity dressing, editorial and events, there’s a lot to talk about,” Licht says. “I thought that sharing the behind the scenes of public relations would make everyone a fly on the Donna Karan wall.” She created the Twitter handle in May 2009 as @dkny, but the “name” was decidedly “DKNY PR girl,” a view of the world of Donna Karan through the lens of someone who works every day to promote it.
Nothing makes her happier than when she sees someone recommending a DKNY product to a complete stranger on Twitter. Engaged followers share the joy they experience from the brand, whether they’re tweeting an image of a new purchase or joining her in obsessing over DKNY’s cape dress. They communicate, support and inspire the conversation, Licht says.
Her most active followers are fashion conscious, urban-leaning and often PR-focused. Many of them write their own blogs and share DKNY’s products in their lives. Licht has gained a reputation for live-tweeting episodes of Gossip Girl, and she targets a student contingency through her #PR101 and #Job101 tweets. Licht now has more than 375,000 followers, a number that has grown organically since 2009. She’s like a fashionable friend in the know.
L2’s Mullen says that Donna Karan’s social voice succeeds because it’s both approachable and aspirational to young women. The company has integrated dkny pr girl into ecommerce, too, so consumers can tap into the brand’s affordable bridge line. To be sure, Licht has benefited from solid support from the executives above her. She has also been patient as she has developed her voice. “A lot of brands worry that they shouldn’t get digital until they have it all mapped out,” Mullen says. “But it’s better to jump in, feet first, and start working with these media. With a little bit of cloud cover, you can learn what you want and what your voice is going to be.”
DKNY PR girl is only part of Licht’s job, but she says it has become a passion. She tweets all day, every day. She posts to Tumblr when she’s inspired to expand on topics and to maintain a library of images. And she uses Pose as her “I’m going shopping” app because she can put an item’s price and store availability right on the image. She believes that helping her followers is bound to help DKNY’s brand.
“Our followers are the best judges of how our social media efforts have affected the brand,” Licht says. “We’re not trying to be everywhere, but to focus our efforts in the mediums we feel we can dedicate the most time. People constantly talk about the roi on social media and how to define it. For me, it’s brand evangelism. Whether we’re talking about our favorite candy or #PR101, I’m focused on building a community of enthusiasts.”