LONDON — Traditional fashion p.r. can’t do the job anymore, as new media channels and new breeds of content creators are continuously cropping up, according to principals at The Communications Store, one of London’s largest fashion, beauty and lifestyle agencies.
The changing environment has prompted TCS to shift gears and alter its strategy: It has opened a reimagined work space in London’s up-and-coming White City area that reflects its new attitude, and has named an external global advisory board.
Julietta Dexter, TCS’ founder and chief executive officer, said it was crucial to rethink the company’s strategy, embrace “the new media channels available to us now” and recognize the need for consumerism to be more “conscious-driven.” TCS also wants to focus on exploring new technologies and types of data, and to find solutions for its own operations and for those of its clients.
The new board will be advising TCS on all of the above.
The first members include Andrew Morlet, ceo of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who will advise TCS on “circular economy thinking” and developing new systems for its own business and that of its clients.
Another new board member is Fadzi Mkandla, a technology adviser and cofounder of the application mTag, which uses technology to improve the dynamics between audiences, content creators and advertisers, and also allows creatives to monetize the attention that their content captures.
For Morlet, joining the board is an opportunity to exchange ideas and explore how a communications agency like TCS can “evolve in order to have a purposeful impact on global issues,” while Mkandla believes his work at mTag can help the company leverage digital tech.
“As we move into a new decade that will belong to a generation whose priorities, preferences and behaviors differ greatly from what brands used to do, it’s never been more important for brands to know how to align with these changes,” Mkandla said.
Also on the board is Michel Brousset, who founded the venture capital firm Waldencast and has more than 25 years of FMCG operational expertise at companies like L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble. He will focus on advising TCS on the wellness and beauty arenas, and will also draw on his investing and brand-building knowledge to encourage both TCS and its clients to address “big questions like new media choices, sustainable and responsible consumption, the collapse of the increasingly ineffective influencer model, or future-proofing their businesses.”
Samira Sohail, product director at the media-ed-tech company Newsela, is also part of the early roster of board members, and will consult with the company on data collection and analysis.
“You get to a point after 25 years when you need an outside perspective, and for us the idea was to come at it in a subject-specific way,” said Dexter, adding that each board member was chosen for his or her in-depth knowledge in the data, tech and sustainability fields.
The company has made some internal changes, starting with its new office space in White City, which has been designed as an open-plan space to encourage collaboration. A central hub has been dedicated to services such as influencer development, global coordination, and VIP or celebrity relations. TCS has offices in the U.S., in addition to London. It opened its first office in New York in 2016 and it’s looking to expand its international presence further as well as optimize its service offer beyond editorial engagement to branding, graphic design, tracking influencer engagement and producing creative content.
TCS partner and chief creative officer Daniel Marks highlighted that TCS is not looking at “expansion for expansion’s sake” and is more interested at “defining its modus operandi” as it works with clients that range from big global names such as Versace to start-ups “with enormous scale in front of them,” like Glossier or the sustainable footwear label Allbirds.
Marks also pointed out that endorsement from traditional titles and traditional PR values will remain part of the equation: “TCS will harness the power of technology alongside appreciating the traditional values of magical brand story-telling to engage and entertain the demanding, discerning and intelligent consumer of tomorrow,” he added.