Aliza Licht, SVP, Global Communications at Donna Karan International, is the voice leading the brand’s Twitter success. For some who presume social media is handled by interns, this was a surprise.
But when Licht and the company started to take flight with the @dkny Twitter account, they were tapping into a channel that most luxury brands were still unsure about and proving how important it is as a focus across all levels at the brand.
Today, with more than 400,000 followers and 40,000 Tweets on the @dkny account, Aliza has helped prove to her luxury brand peers that social media is not just a fleeting trend. It can generate welcome attention and brand esteem that might take years and much more effort to attract through other channels.
In Part II of this two-part Q&A, Aliza discusses the elephant in the room: ROI. How do you justify it? And if you can’t, how do you get buy-in to do it? If you missed Part I, check that out here. And if you would like the full Q&A, all at once, download it here.
Q: From a managerial perspective, how do you do your job and keep up with the incoming Tweets and all the press that comes in?
A: I think when you love doing something, you figure it out. Social Media does not feel like an obligation to me. It’s a privilege.
Q: How do you decide what’s relevant to Tweet?
A: I am totally about stream of consciousness. It’s really a gut monitor. Not every Tweet is perfect, but that’s why they made the scroll button.
Q: Now that the Twitter persona is so developed, how do you keep the same brand message across all platforms including social media and any other channel through which you market?
A: DKNY PR GIRL is not meant to be everywhere. The DKNY PR GIRL properties are specifically Twitter, dknyprgirl.com, WhoSay and Pinterest. The others: Facebook, Instagram and the two other Tumblrs are purposefully branded. That said, we will integrate DKNY PR GIRL where it makes sense, using the “PR GIRL loves” notation. For example, on dkny.com, I will pick my favorite pieces and they will be marked as such. Or, using Dallas Shaw, my Twitter Avatar Artist, I’ll sketch a shoe and bag mailer that shows DKNY PR GIRL in different scenes with her favorite styles.
Q: The million-dollar question: how do you measure whether what you’re doing with Twitter is having any effect on the bottom line at DKNY?
A: ROI on social media is brand evangelism. It’s about awareness and word of mouth. DKNY has a broad appeal. People share their passion about the brands and the purchases they have made on a daily basis. Some people may not have ever bought DKNY but now stop and think about it because of social media. I get these testimonials without even asking. But at the end of the day, I want to share my passion for the brands with people who care to listen. I’m dedicated and I think it pays off.
Q: If it’s not measurable, how do you justify it? What advice would you offer to other luxury brands out there wanting to spend more time on the platform and looking to get executive buy-in?
A: Conversations like the below, justify my time in the space and they happen all the time. Click-throughs don’t always happen in real time. I bought some tanning wipes by Kate Somerville that were recommended to me a month prior via Twitter. Kate Somerville can’t track that, but I can promise you it was a Twitter conversation that moved me to purchase. When the brand impression comes from a real place, it sticks with you. As far as the executive buy-in, I would say that the conversation is happening with or without you. Be there to speak for yourself.
Q: What about smaller, B2B companies whose customers aren’t using Twitter? Is it worth the time to try engaging them?
A: If a company assumes that Twitter is not a channel their customers readily use, why not try expanding the reach? It’s a great way to join existing conversations on topics of relevance to a business. Hey, the worst thing that can happen is that you establish a brand name in a community that never knew it.