Marketing used to be about bed-making competitions and Mothers Day flower displays in the centre court! It’s now a sophisticated, exact and highly professional discipline, which has significant effect on the value of the asset.
In this article, Belinda Daly shows the professionalism involved in strategic relationships, partnerships and involvement with the fashion industry in its widest forms. It is compulsory reading for those aspiring to senior roles in shopping centre marketing.
At the beginning of May, we started to unveil the final stage of the $670-million redevelopment of Pacific Fair with the opening of a new David Jones, H&M, Uniqlo and another 30-plus specialty stores. For many at AMP Capital Shopping Centres, the Pacific Fair redevelopment has played a special part in our careers, having worked on it from its early planning stages through to the final delivery in the coming months. The centre will have unmistakably one of the best fashion mixes in the country, with fashion brands crossing all sectors to appeal to the resident and tourist customer. All the research points to a successful mix, and I am fortunate to work with a talented leasing team that has a sound understanding of what it takes to deliver a well-crafted, bespoke and strategic fashion mix. When the opening of Pacific Fair is complete in mid-2016, the centre will have an unparalleled retail mix with a combination of international high-street stores, iconic global, luxury brands and leading Australian fashion, leisure and lifestyle retailers. When we unveil the full luxury mix later this year, we will get the sense of the full excitement underpinned by great place-led design. All of this delivery of retail is brought together with our support of the Australian fashion industry on many levels.
In 2012, we began discussions with the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC) to be their major sponsor. The chamber was built on a united vision: “To strengthen, promote and develop Australian fashion design by nurturing talent, originality and success locally and internationally.” Edwina McCann, Editor in Chief at Vogue Australia, is the chairperson, and with the board and General Manager, Courtney Miller, the Chamber drives different initiatives throughout the year to ensure Australian fashion design is competitive internationally, supports emerging top fashion talent, provides thought leadership and fosters education and affiliation.
In mid-2015, the Chamber had a major win when Edwina McCann signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) alongside the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, at a joint announcement held at the University of Technology, Sydney. The MoU between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Fashion Chamber demonstrates the Government is committed to working closely with the industry, to ensure it continues to drive economic growth and to reinforce Australia as being a world-class innovative and creative nation, which will, in turn, open doors to further trade and investment.
Australia has world-class fashion expertise, creative talent and high-quality primary resources. The Australian fashion industry makes a significant contribution to Australia’s economy – around $12 billion annually – and employs approximately 220,000 people. Through this MoU, DFAT and the Australian Fashion Chamber will continue to work together to further strengthen, promote and develop Australian fashion and design. Together they will enhance global recognition of the Australian fashion industry, leverage business development, trade and investment opportunities, and achieve effective and sustainable development outcomes in the Indo-Pacific Region.
Another major initiative of the chamber is the Australian Designers Abroad Showroom in Paris, showcasing seven of Australia’s finest fashion designers to international media and buyers each year. The Australian Designers Abroad initiative serves to highlight talented Australian designers during international Fashion Weeks, and to support Australian designers to continue growth of their businesses globally.
In keeping with the education piece, AMPCSC presents with the AFC a ‘Talking Shop’ retailer engagement series. To date, over 600 retailers and fashion brands have attended these events, that feature industry success stories and experts presenting or appearing on a panel. Three have been held so far – Postcards from Successful Retailers (fashion and tourism focus); Digital – the modern customer journey; and Australian Fashion Innovators.
The events aim to engage with our retailers and provide them with useful topics and information they can use in their business. Before the branded ‘Talking Shop’ series, a special talk was organised by the Chamber with Jean Paul Gaultier, to share with the audience the secret to his success. This event was held in the iconic AMP Tower and was one of those special events where you held on to every word he had to say.
The annual celebration for the Australian Fashion Chamber occurs in the AMP Tower during the famous Sydney Vivid festival. This event is fashionably attended, and last year was named the ‘fashion event of the year’ by media outlets. It celebrated the first year of establishment of the Chamber, and acknowledged the tireless work of the Chamber and members, most of whom work on a voluntary basis through the love of supporting the industry.
The shift of our marketing efforts on our fashion centres has also taken a turning point, as many of our centres are now strengthened by their unique fashion positioning. And it’s here we take the same strategy of creating great partnerships to build our fashion credibility and, at a centre level, continue to support our retailers and drive retail sales.
Macquarie Centre launched its Autumn/Winter 2016 fashion campaign in the form of its first ever film, titled Love Yourself, featuring Australian actors Sophie Lowe and Ryan Corr. The film showcases key seasonal looks from designers stocked in-centre, such as Alice McCall, MJ Bale, and Scanlan Theodore. The film’s message is to encourage people to have confidence and learn to love themselves. The film was produced by a team of award-winning filmmakers including writer Lucas Jatoba, producer Rene Hernandez and cinematographer Simon Chapman. When asked about working with Macquarie Centre on the film, Sophie Lowe said: “They have so many amazing brands that we were able to choose from, so getting involved in the styling of the shoot was really fun.” Ryan Corr said, “The film has a great message. I love when you see someone with a really unique style that is just dressing for themselves rather than following the crowd, and that is what it’s all about.”
Together with media influencers, Talisa Sutton, Claire Fabb and The Stenmark Twins, the whole campaign was launched at the Museum of Contemporary Art (another partner of ours) to increase engagement and followers on social media channels, drive traffic to the Macquarie Centre website and promote retailers in centre to build brand awareness and, in turn, increase traffic and sales. The campaign is currently live and has received nearly $800,000 in PR value alone.
At Pacific Fair in April, we launched a collaboration with Yasmin Sewell, endorsing Pacific Fair and announcing the extensive range of Australian designers joining the centre. It is an example of a partnership to build excitement of what’s to come to the centre as we unveiled stages. Yasmin is a well-known trend forecaster, fashion designer and the newly appointed Director of style.com. The content was photographed in and around the Gold Coast with Yasmin dressed in fashion from the centre, photographed by Kane Skenner and styled by Mark Vassalo. The images showcased Yasmin in a relaxed Gold Coast style, and talked to her own personal stories, with the centre spending many childhood school holidays on the Gold Coast. Yasmin has over 102,000 Instagram followers, averaging around 800 likes per post.
Pacific Fair, Macquarie Centre and Karrinyup Shopping Centre are all Official Fashion Partners in their respective Polo in the City or Polo by the Sea local events. These events are well attended by high net-worth individuals, and are an opportunity for each shopping centre to create interesting content. Last year in Perth, Karrinyup partnered with Agatha Wichert; one of Perth’s pre-eminent fashion Instagrammers with nearly 76,000 followers, she was selected to be Karrinyup’s Fashion Ambassador for the event. As a part of the ambassadorship, Agatha was dressed in Sass & Bide from Myer, scouted for entrants to the Karrinyup Fashions on the Field, and also helped judge the competition. Agatha’s four posts on Instagram for Karrinyup achieved 4,280 ‘likes’ alone.
All these partnerships, small, medium or large, play their part in developing a company’s brand and credibility in the industry. It’s where they accumulate into a serious program of partnerships where we see most benefit. There is no doubt we have learnt a lot along the way, but so have our partners as we continue to create great collaborations to ensure our fashion retailers and brand partners find every success in the partnerships too. SCN