DKNY: a social fashion brand from New York

Today’s brand to feature in the series of Funky Brand Interviews is DKNY. In one of my previous posts, Social Media with a Human Touch, I talked about Aliza Licht, SVP Global Communications for Donna Karan International, who is the real person behind the brand’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts.  

Called “the social media maven”, the woman “who runs New York and social media” and “a force to be reckoned with” by the press , today Aliza Licht talks about her love for social media, PR , the glamor of New York, and of course, the funky brand essence of DKNY.


Olga Slavkina: Donna Karan and DKNY are two brands with different brand positioning and different types of customers. How do you manage to combine work for both brands?

Aliza Licht: I'm the SVP of Global Communications for the company which means I oversee Donna Karan New York, DKNY and DKNY Jeans including all product categories. Because the brand DNA is so rich, everything stems from Donna's original inspiration which is New York. All the brands add up to the sum of the total which is the globally recognized "World of Donna Karan". I love working on all the brands because it gives me a complete A-Z experience. Because we are an American brand, everything starts in New York, and it is amazing to see collections from inception to the final result in a magazine or on the red carpet.


Olga Slavkina: Today, let’s talk about DKNY. As you know, I’ve already written about the video about the DKNY PR girl which revealed the real person -- you -- behind the smart, funny and very engaging tweets coming from the @dkny account on Twitter. How long had you tweeted on behalf of DKNY prior to revealing your real name?


Aliza Licht: I started tweeting in May 2009 and didn't reveal my identity until October 2011!


Olga Slavkina: Why and how was the decision taken to disclose the fact that it had been Aliza Licht tweeting on behalf of DKNY?


Aliza Licht: Originally, the idea was that DKNY PR GIRL was a "character", hence the sketch. But as soon as I started tweeting, I realized that Twitter was a conversation and the voice needed to be consistent. Naturally, people started to realize DKNY PR GIRL was in fact, one girl, but yet it never really mattered "who" the person was- it was the personality and content that mattered.

As such, it made sense to keep the sketch as the visual. As time passed and the account became more popular, the anonymity became "a thing".


Recently, I realized that people know me so well from the tweets alone that the anonymity isn't really essential anymore.


My #PR101 blog posts and tweets are a passion of mine and "coming out" allows me to be more a part of the social community in real life. I recently spoke at Teen Vogue Fashion University to their student community. Being able to participate in those kinds of opportunities is what truly inspires me.


Olga Slavkina: What was the reaction from across the web (and maybe also traditional press) to the release of the video and how do you think it helped boost the brand of DKNY?


Aliza Licht: The reaction was everything I could have hoped for. The public welcomed me with open arms and in fact I think it even helped further foster the relationship I have with the social community. The press coverage on the "reveal" was shocking. I can't think of a fashion press outlet that didn't cover it.


But that said, our followers are the best judges of how DKNY PR GIRL has affected the brand. They are the ones who consistently share the joy that they experience from the brands, whether tweeting an image of a new purchase or joining me in obsessing over our cape dress. They communicate, support and inspire the conversation. People constantly talk about the ROI on Social Media and how to define it. For me, it's brand evangelism. Whether we're talking about our favorite candy or #PR101, I'm focused on building a community of enthusiasts.


Olga Slavkina: What is the brand of DKNY all about? What are the values that you want to share with your customers?


Aliza Licht: DKNY is the energy and spirit of New York. It's classics with a modern twist. DKNY believes in individual style so it's about taking the items you love most and making them your own. DKNY has always been about trend that can live on from season to season. It's fun and feminine and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Olga Slavkina: How is the brand of Donna Karan different from the brand of DKNY? 


Aliza Licht: Donna Karan was conceptualized as a luxury system of dressing for the modern woman. It's sensual, empowering and entrance making. The fabrics and artisan hand that goes into designing collection is almost at a couture level. Most of our fabrics are milled exclusively for us and they really do set the collection apart in that way.


Olga Slavkina: How are the values of DKNY reflected in social media?


Aliza Licht: DKNY is friendly, eclectic and fun. It's understandable yet statement making. That's how I would like to think our social media is thought of.


Olga Slavkina: What would you recommend to other aspiring funky brands in terms of their presence in social media?


Aliza Licht: Keep the "social" in media.


All images in this article were provided courtesy of DKNY. © 2011 SCHMOOZY FOX. Funky Brand Interviews is a trademark of SCHMOOZY FOX. All material on this site may be freely cited provided the source is given. Please use the permalink of the article. If you would like to syndicate the full text of this article, please contact Olga Slavkina at olga (at) schmoozyfox (dot) com