A Print-Worthy Press Kit

Projects + Events

The last time I blogged about press kits was back in February, 2010, “The Press Kit.” Reading back over it, not too much I would change. There is a good section toward the end with advice on working with a graphic designer. Worth a read.

In the years since that original post, we have created fewer traditional press kits but the ones we have done, I can say have definitely met the threshold of print-worthiness i.e., worth the cost of printing + postage. Our most recent press kit was for a UK based family lifestyle brand, Pink Lining. Their product line includes all things baby, kids and family. From a chic new weekender collection for adults to kids rucksacks and their iconic proud, new momma diaper bags that all stand out for their original print designs. This brand had some great visual product imagery as well as a super cute backstory of how they were formed. The designer and founder, Charlotte Pearl is a stylish, creative and photo friendly young mom with an authentic story of inspired design vision.

Since they already had sales books for each of their collections – we simply re-purposed those as their lookbooks and included the relevant season and collection book into each press kit, depending on the media source we were sending to i.e. travel, family, kids, women’s, pregnancy or design.

What are the essential elements to create? For Pink Lining we wanted to highlight and leverage the best assets: product images, original design textiles used on all their pieces, and the designer herself, Charlotte.

  1. Press Gift. Something that will not be tossed in the trash and represents the company in a meaningful way. In this case we included a small PL luggage tag that featured the navy bow from the upcoming spring 2013 collections. It was the strongest design, made a great gift and most importantly we could tie a little gross grain ribbon (matched to the color of the PL logo – natch) and we could package it nicely into the folder. Sometimes the smallest detail or logistic can ruin even the best plans…
  2. News Release. Put current news release on top. Let your audience know why they are getting this packet.
  3. Pitch Letter. Absent an official news release, create a tailored pitch letter that also communicates the same elements in a news release (Who, What, Why, When and Where)
  4. Designer Bio. We put this as the second most important piece because it was Charlotte that provided the “hook” of credibility for the entire design and founder story. Plus it was such a pretty piece; we had to show it off.
  5. Inspiration Board. For PL this was a design story. We created a Pinterest style board that pulled through the main design theme (In this case spring season 2013, PL’s strongest textile design from that season was based on a navy blue bow which we used to show the importance and evergreen nature of nautical for springtime)
  6.  Some Bling. Most people that you mail a press kit to will not even get to the last page. But for those that do, we wanted to give them some good eye candy. Not mission critical to the story but still something bright and shiny to look at. PL had sponsored the Golden Globes and actually had some decent images of a few celebrities holding product against a PL step and repeat logo wall. The images were not super strong or even high res but we cut and pasted them into a cohesive branded design and included it as the last piece of the press kit.

And of course since it is a KSPR creative mailer, we looked at every detail of the packaging and delivery to ensure a thoughtful and enjoyable experience for the recipients. We did not have the time to have a custom branded folder designed and printed so we put the press kit pieces in a simple, super chic clear envelope with a color laser printed Pink Lining label affixed to front.  Not bad.

Every company brings their own unique story to be told. When deciding if a press kit is the route to go, make sure you evaluate the project through the print-worthy test. In this day and age of digital communiqués, not every launch or news story makes the mark.

Press Kit Pages
Pink Lining Press Kit Pages

Building a Brand, Without the Big Marketing Budget

Projects + Events
Look Book Cover

Tints of Nature Lookbook

I have blogged about the importance of creating a lookbook for clients that have an assortment of products or collections (see “bambeco summer lookbook” June 2010). The books can even be re-purposed for customers as a selling tool. In my Williams Sonoma days, we actually re-purposed the customer catalog images and copy to create our more selective and stylistically edited press preview books that we showed editors prior to each seasonal collection being introduced to customers. These look books were the key tool to garner editorial coverage and to tell the seasonal product story.

But what about the company that doesn’t have a collection of noteworthy and photo-ready seasonal products and stylish designer packaging? In the case of our organic and natural beauty client, Tints of Nature, that is exactly the situation we faced. The company is a UK-based beauty brand. Although well established in the UK, the retail brand was still new to the US market. In fact, from a consumer and media recognition perspective, we were starting with very little. We brought them on as a client in late 2011, just as they were about to roll out new packaging and more importantly, an improved organic formula with an even more impressive natural ingredient profile. However, the packaging roll out and new formula was not accompanied with additional marketing resources beyond our PR scope. So how to launch a “new” consumer beauty brand with no accompanying marketing dollars? Our trusty lookbook of course.

While we did not have loads of gorgeous product images to fill our book with, we did have a distinctive and super authentic organic product story to tell. In fact, in the category for “natural” hair color and care brands at retail, Tints of Nature stood apart as a market innovator and, at the time, the only brand with certified organic ingredients (over 60%). Wow. A great product story, but little visual appeal from the products themselves. How many boxes of hair colorants can we show? And to be frank, the model images used by the London-based company did not translate to a US audience.

Our approach was to use the brand’s strongest asset – the product story.  From premium certified organic ingredients to the new formula that eliminated known toxic ingredients such as propylene glycol (the first natural brand at retail to do this in 2012), we were able to weave in the product story using images that communicated the natural elements of the brand, i.e., aloe vera leaf, comfrey root, orange and grapefruit, roman chamomile flower, and natural wheat protein.

We have used the Tints of Nature look book to introduce the brand and to tell the product story to beauty editors at the top women’s fashion, beauty and healthy living magazines, as well as the top family and parenting magazines. Additionally, we use it for all pro-active campaigns. To date, we have garnered placements with Allure and Prevention (November 2012) and pending placements with InStyle (April 2013), Parenting (March 2013) and more. Without this premium, branded piece, we would have been hard-pressed to tell their story and to garner such positive response. The package alone is simply not enough.