Catherine Miran has been a mainstay in French PR for over thirty years, representing covetable French fashion staples like Petit Bateau, Repetto, Carven and Zadig & Voltaire. Now, her agency is poised for an American takeover for both their agency and their roster of clients.
We spoke to Founder Catherine Miran and head of their US office Sophie Roche Conti about the agency’s history, their new New York office and their plans for expansion in 2017.
You established the agency over 30 years ago. How did you get started and what was your path to where you are today?
Catherine: I was given the chance to start my career in communications when I was very young, and in an era when human relations were very important. The techniques of PR were simple and to be frank, they were also festive. It’s in this scenario and in the most unexpected places where I met all sorts of personalities, emerging talents, audacious creatives, designers, photographers, artists, friends, editors in chiefs to simple interns. Influential people that I believed in and who believed in me. My story is the result of an investment that my team and I have put into projects small and large, promising and established. Every project is an occasion to highlight the artist that deserves recognition for their singular talent. We participated in some tremendous success stories of young designers, such as Isabelle Marant with whom I worked with for 18 years. These brands have grown thanks to the support of editors such as Carlyne Cerf, Carine Roitfeld and Babeth Djian. We have also worked with the Parisian department store MERCI, highlighting their charitable spirit. We have contributed to the rebirth of brands such as Carven, Repetto, Petit Bateau as well as many other interesting and valuable brands. This is thanks to the confidence and support of benevolent journalists that wanted to believe in our dream!
What is your advice for those in the industry who seek to achieve the same longevity?
Catherine: Stay passionate, stay curious and persevere. You have to be patient for the right results and you must have a point of view. The next big thing can be right around the corner. You never know.
How has the PR business changed since you started out and how is the digital landscape impacting your day-to-day work?
Catherine: I am in front of a computer screen early in the morning and late at night. We are currently living in the Digital Revolution in all industries. Despite this change in landscape the root of our job stays the same. We continue to tell stories and to support talented artists. Today for a PR agency to be capable of delivering an original and tailored strategy, they must master both traditional PR methods as well as digital “2.0” methods.
Sophie: Our challenge is to adapt and innovate our storytelling within new media. We communicate through a vast number of channels: print, digital, social, through celebrity and influencers, through collaborations and partnerships and even through technology. Digital media has been mind blowing because of its immediacy and its global nature – information is not allocated to a specific territory the same way print media tends to be. Since digital means speed, it means we have to be at the forefront in discovering new media, new faces and influencers and keeping tabs on social media trends. Then we make recommendations to our clients on how to best utilize them, or not use them.
What was behind the move to open your US office last year?
Catherine: The U.S. has always been on my mind - the great “American dream.” I wanted to propose a new means of imagining their development in the U.S to our European clientele. It all came to fruition when I met Sophie as we have very similar personalities.
Sophie: Meeting Catherine was a game changer personally and professionally. As one of the pillars of Fashion PR in Paris, Catherine has accompanied brands from their infancy into multimillion dollar businesses. She knows the struggles brands and designers can face, and that in those struggles comes brilliance and creativity. Our office knows how to capitalize on those moments. We work hand in hand; our NY clients benefit immensely from the wealth of experience in our Paris office, while our Paris office clients benefit from our progressive anglo-saxon outlook and savviness in the digital space.
How is the French fashion PR scene different than the US?
Catherine: It’s different because of the culture, but similar in our ability to spot talent. We are both curious to see what new talents will bring to our industry. The United States is our example for tremendous success stories, the idea that “everything is possible". France and Europe are the place for beautiful stories, stories of savoir faire.
Sophie: In Paris we do long editor lunches. In New York we do breakfast meetings. In Paris, we do a lot of business and shoot requests over the phone, while in New York it’s almost always over email. In a general sense, I would say there is a deeper focus on craftsmanship in Paris, and in New York there is a natural tendency towards product marketing and creating “cool”. Ultimately, it’s the same job – as the PR agency we’re here to tell stories, good stories. Ultimately, we are transmitting our passion for the client; to do that effectively you have to understand your client but also your audience. Our job is to deliver interesting and pertinent information and to work hand in hand with our clients and editors.
How are you planning to grow in this market?
Sophie: We have found that many brands are looking for a new PR solution, one that brings us closer to the client to the point of a partnership; the U.S. market is daunting to many brands. It’s massive and it takes a guiding hand to navigate the opportunities within the U.S. with precision. Our clients are extremely rigorous and specific with the types of media and influencers they engage with in their home market. We are the extension of that strategy. We try to have a holistic view on all moving parts of a PR strategy: product placement, profiles & interviews, corporate & trade press, influencers and socials, collabs, events – we tie them all together and push in unison.
What are some exciting projects or client work you have currently on your roster?
Sophie: We are managing press & logistics for the Zadig & Voltaire fashion show during NYFW which is a very exciting moment for the brand. Our client Golden Goose is celebrating their 10 year anniversary during Pitti. We have a denim designer hosting a pop-up celebrating real women during NYFW – a lot of collabs, events, and incredible new projects to keep us busy in 2017!
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