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Instead of using the traditional forms of pitching to potential shoppers and PR outreach through advertisements, Caraa bags CEO Aaron Luo invested in more organic means of getting brand attention. Whether through social media, stories, and word-of-mouth, Luo's company is one of many other growing companies to adopt a DIY approach.

“PR is extremely important for a brand at any stage of the brand journey, and it is even more important at the earlier stages of the brand formation,” said Luo to Glossy. “As a digital-first brand, it is also important to build out a set of organic presence online before engaging major press channels, influencers or celebrities. Think of it this way: Even if you land a feature in Vogue, if you have a set of people coming to your site to learn about the brand and being in Vogue is the only major feature you have ever had, it isn’t going to help you with conversion.”

Brand new businesses like Blankbox are convinced, however, that one of the most efficient ways to get their product onto department store shelves is through a PR agency. That being said, the founder of this primarily DTC accessory/jewelry gift box Gabi Koshgarian has expressed frustration with her agency.

“I think a lack of control is the hardest part. Every other aspect of the brand I can control: I can change the manufacturing if I want, I can do something different with the packaging. With PR, I feel a lack of control. Maybe it’s because I have the wrong agency, but I can’t do it myself because it’s just too much work to pitch 100 people and get two responses,” Koshgarian said.

According to Dana Hollar Schwartz, co-founder of PR agency The Hours, “Not understanding modern PR and its purpose in today’s environment is the thing that trips up newer brands the most. I don’t think enough agencies properly educate clients on these points. Brands do need to articulate their goals, but it’s the job of a strong agency to guide brands into what the strategy should be and why. Context is key. Every brand wants coverage and awareness, so it’s crucial for an agency to help brands navigate and properly develop the right strategy, and communicate what they can expect from that long term.”

Information originally sourced from Glossy.