To understand the purchase decision of the consumer, we must study the public opinion.
The public opinion represents the interests of the consumers in relation to the esthetic and functional characteristics of a product in the fashion industry, which influences their buying decisions.
The Public Opinion Is Defined By The Consumer
The power of public opinion reminds us the importance of understanding how a brand can succeed or fail in the industry, therefore one of the primary goals of a public relationist is to make sure that the opinion of a brand, product or company is positive at all times.
For clients, the media and the community in general, the way in which a brand is perceived by the audience determines its success in the market.
A positive public opinion for a brand or company, promotes its credibility and many business relationships are strengthened, gaining more potencial customers.
The consumer demands functionality from the product of its interest besides meeting their basic needs, in other words, they want what’s promised in the advertising and marketing campaign of the product.
It’s important for the public relacionist in any area of the fashion industry to identify, monitor, and strengthen the public opinion about a brand or company, but what is public opinion?
The Public Opinion Influences a Product’s Image In Fashion
According to the journalist Walter Lippmann in his book “Public Opinion” (1922), public opinion responds to an image that’s created by the consumer about a product or service:
The pictures inside the heads of these human beings, the pictures of themselves, of others, of their needs, purposes, and relationships, are their public opinions. (Lippmann, 1922)
To make the direction of a brand’s public opinion positive, Lipppman suggested to analyze and rely on what he called the triangular relationship:
The analyst of the public opinion must begin then, by recognizing the triangular relationship between the scene of action, the human picture of that scene, and the human response to that picture working itself out upon the scene of action. (Lippman, 1922)
In the triangular relationship, according to Lippmann, we can see the composition and relationship between three key elements: the scene where the action takes place, the image of the person on that scene, and the human reaction to that situation with that particular action.
In the world of fashion, this triangular relationship is like a river, a drop of water can’t change the direction of the river, but a great mass can affect its rhythm.
In this case, the large mass of consumers define the shape and direction of trends and styles.
The styles that are in trend and the public opinion are connected by means of a reciprocal relationship, where the style serves as the base to the consumer’s thoughts through marketing. This way, the selling and production of various fashion garments increases.
Buying Criteria Of The Consumer In Fashion
There are five considerations that the majority of consumers apply to their decision making, related to the purchase of a product: quality, design, price, brand recognition and the reputation of the supplier or manufacturer of the product.
The priority among these considerations may vary among consumers. For some, the quality is more important and for others it’s the product’s design or the brand’s recognition.
Most of consumer’s trust for a company or brand, is based on the references and thoughts of their peers, creating what’s called “word of mouth”.
The work of a public relationist also consists in knowing the right vocabulary and the appropriate language to capture the consumer’s attention and convert them into potential customers, working to develop productive initiatives that will help to strengthen or protect the reputation of a brand or company.
There are several factors that influence the development of public opinion in relation to a brand, product, or service, some of them are: the media, public figures, and leaders of a community.
Positive public opinion is born when consumers perceive that a company targets their interests and needs, on the contrary the negative public opinion emerges when the company does not meet the criteria promised to consumers.
Public Relations Strengthen The Brand Image
Some of the common initiatives that are used to direct the public opinion towards the brand’s vision and mission are: media coverage, advertising, promotions, and community relations.
A positive exposure and image of a brand to the consumer, increases the possibility for that consumer or target audience to become customers of that particular brand or company.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that a public relations campaign can’t be delivered effectively without a business ethics guide, which contributes to the credibility of a company and its success in the fashion industry.
Sherman, G. J., & Perlman, S. S. (2010). Fashion public relations. New York: Fairchild Books.