The world of PR is well and truly back after two years of pivots and challenges. We are seeing the return of events, red carpets, brands re-emerging back to their heights, as well as new brands born out of lockdown inspirations.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the wonderful, talented Daniella Sorace, Group Account Director at one of Melbourne’s top PR firms Kate & Co. PR– to talk all things PR, the lessons she has learned along the way, and how the team has overcome challenges of the last 2 years and what’s next.
Have you always wanted to work in PR? Would love to hear more about your PR journey?
When I left high school, I had my heart set on one career goal; to ascertain the grades to land me in a pilot training program with the long-term plan to be a Commercial Pilot (hence why I adored the latest Top Gun film!). After a year of studying and clocking up serious hours in the sky, I decided to part ways with this plan as I fast discovered that flying for me was a passion as opposed to my dream career. I went back to studying Event Management and Tourism and as part of the curriculum, it was a requirement to ascertain a certain amount of hours in work experience.
A friend suggested I dip my toe in the PR and Event world. At the time, I had no idea what PR looked like, all I knew was that I had a true appreciation for style and fashion and knew I wanted to work amongst stylists and creatives, similarly to what Lauren Conrad did on ‘The Hills’.
I manifested a list of companies I wanted to work with and decided to email and cold call. After a few months, I had landed interviews with Myer in Melbourne and a fashion agency in Sydney, where I would fly myself every second week to Sydney to ensure I was getting exposure across both Melbourne and Sydney. A role within the Myer PR team came up within a few months, and I decided to apply, landing the role of PR Coordinator within the Fashion team at Myer. It was my dream role, in an incredible team delivering support across the entire PR and Event portfolio including runway productions, model castings, Ambassador management, styling photoshoots, and sponsorship amplification, in particular with the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the opening of the new store located in Bourke Street Melbourne.
Fast forward fifteen years, I wouldn’t change any experience to date in my PR journey, as it has led me to where I am today; in my role as Group Account Director at Kate & Co. PR.
No doubt the last couple of years have been challenging, what do you think are the biggest lessons you took out of lockdown life in terms of business?
I feel empowered to set boundaries and build a routine that works for me and the growth of our team that ultimately leads to the overall success of the Kate & Co. PR business. For example, we are proud to be a hybrid office supporting a balance of WFH and in-office initiatives.
We value team collaboration, but also recognise we need to create space for our team to develop and focus to be the best versions of themselves. Our people are the authentic heart and soul of the business and are our point of difference within the competitive industry.
What are some of the biggest highlights about working for Kate & Co PR?
I feel very fortunate to enjoy all aspects of my role; in particular, my cup feels most full when I see our team achieving their career goals such as developing and executing the PR strategy for Melbourne Fashion Week or winning new business clients such as Lexus Australia or Désordre within our Luxury portfolio.
I also enjoy being the strategic lead across the Event and Luxury portfolio heading up Lexus Australia, Australian Turf Club, Désordre, Australian Distilling Co., and our Fashion Showroom while managing our team of 10 powerhouse publicists and our suite of national consultants.
A few personal highlights for me professionally include winning the Australian Turf Club and having this account retained for the past 3 years, in particular rolling out the publicity schedule for international guest Kelly Rowland for the Everest Carnival, and of course, managing the Lexus Melbourne Cup Launch in Sydney (all remotely) from the comfort of my home due to lockdown laws and seeing all the content and success come to life on the day in Sydney, from afar!
And Fashion PR dreams came true when we launched Fashion boutique Désordre in Armadale last December in true style with a launch cocktail event, which was hosted by Founder and powerhouse, Shannon Thomas and iconic Australian designer Alex Perry.
It would seem that Melbourne events are well and truly back, you have recently finished up Fashion week, what was that like? Are we back to ‘normality’?
Personally, I am so grateful Melbourne events are back! I will never take them for granted.
We were thrilled to be one of the first agencies out of lockdown launching an in-person event being; Melbourne Fashion Week off the back of lockdowns last year. It was so well received by both consumers and media and everyone was elated to be seeing fashion grace the runways and the return of in-person socialisation. It bought tears to the FROW and to mine; which acted as an important reminder of how precious both time and life really are! We were so proud to be a part of the event industry’s return.
Most recently, we had our Consumer & Retail team rolling out the Adaptative Collective Runway Show at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) in Sydney. The show highlighted adaptive, inclusive, and expressive clothing made for people with disabilities with models hitting the runway at Carriageworks, presented by the Adaptive Clothing Collective and produced by Seeker Agency.
Featuring brands Christina Stephens and JAM the Label, the runway shone a very important spotlight on functional and stylish apparel for those living with a disability, bringing it to the forefront of mainstream fashion. A very proud moment for our entire agency!
2022 has shaped up to be an incremental growth period for our agency, with plenty of events and PR campaigns in stall for the remainder of the year ahead, across our portfolios Events, Luxury, Consumer & Retail, and Beauty.
After a nearly two-year hiatus, brands are eager to activate and offer elevated experiences, in turn creating memorable moments for guests to cherish and experience. Authentic storytelling is reigning supreme alongside the power of connection being stronger than ever. I can confidently say we are back to (as close to) normal in the PR and event industry and I’m looking forward to rolling out some inspiring and creative campaigns over the coming months.
What do you think the future of PR and events hold? And can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect from Kate & Co PR?
My predictions for the future of PR and events in Melbourne are built on the foundations of having a strong purpose complimented with deep level thinking around the strategy development and the objectives being at the forefront.
International trends forecast more engagement in campaigns comprising of NFTs, rich and compelling content creation and money can’t buy experiences. And, in order to cut through a saturated market, everything a brand does must underpin the brand’s purpose.
As a brand, you need to be living and breathing your individual brand values and tying the synchronicities to the clear direction of campaigns.
For Kate & Co. PR our focus is to remain at the forefront of the changing PR and event landscape; ensuring our clients are cutting through in the most authentic and compelling way. From an event perspective we will be back trackside across Sydney’s Royal Randwick and Melbourne’s Flemington racecourses this Spring, managing the guestlist and publicity for Melbourne Fashion Week as well as heading to Los Angeles for something very special – stay tuned!
Go to quote to live by?
Win the morning; win the day (thanks to Ben Crowe at Mojo Mindset)
Please take responsibility for the energy you bring, always (thanks to Oprah Winfrey)