Perry Ellis International is relatively new to the social media phenomenon, but within the past year the company has more aggressively used tools such as Facebook and Twitter to grow its fan base and increase brand awareness.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company has 30 brands in its portfolio and four e-commerce sites but, more recently, the focus — at least within social media — has been on the Original Penguin brand and the flagship label, Perry Ellis. “This year, we started to leverage social media, and we’ve really jumped on it,” said Michelle Magallon, vice president of e-commerce.




With Original Penguin, the company tapped into Facebook as the driver behind the fall fashion ad campaign. The goal, said Magallon, was to find new models via its profile and to create an organic, viral buzz around the photo shoot and increase fan engagement. On the brand’s Facebook page, for example, ads were posted to reach out to males and females ages 18 to 30.

In the span of 36 days, segmented ads were placed with a daily spend of only $150 a day. Before the push online, Original Penguin had 3,916 fans and, after, that number increased to 7,073, said Magallon. “It was 80 percent fan growth for almost no cost,” she noted.

“Leveraging our internal resources, marketing team, publishing partners and sharing capabilities of the tools that we used contributed to a successful event for the brand,” added Briana Gutierrez, e-commerce marketing manager.

The company also used its fall 2010 Perry Ellis fashion show at New York’s Bryant Park on Feb. 17 as an opportunity to increase brand awareness. To drive traffic to the site on the day of the show, Perry Ellis posted banner ads beforehand and partnered with Vanity Fair. The magazine sent out a dedicated e-mail to its database of 60,000 subscribers. The results of this online push? About 3,000 unique visitors tuned in and the show reached 10,000 fans on Twitter. They also received press and tweets from more than 61 publishers, said Gutierrez, thanks in part to celebrities and publishing partners tweeting the event.

“Based upon what we learned from these two events, we are now leveraging it for other brands,” said Magallon. “Through it all, what I would recommend is to be creative and come up with an idea, set some objectives, have fun and measure your results.”

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