Good marketing is half the success for a designer, say cultural PR experts

10. 6. 2021 | Martina Jelínková

As an emerging artist, how do I make it into the media? How do I get my name out there? How to build my own brand and, above all, how to get into people’s awareness? To what extent is it worth to constantly remind editors, and when will they consider me a stalker? Not only these questions were addressed during the Panel Discussion with the media during the Zlin Design Week festival.

In the first part of the discussion, Tereza Dolinová, editor of CZECHDESIGN, the most famous and widely read design magazine in the Czech Republic, spoke to young artists, cultural marketers, and current or future public relations staff, while Vojta Frajt from 2media, an agency representing a number of well-known artists and art projects, brought his experience and insight from the other side of the debate.

In the second part, Nikola Lörinczová, the founder of PIARISTI agency, shared valuable insights from her many years of working in the field of cultural PR. The advice on how to communicate with the public media was given by Eliška Černá from Radio Wave. It was also of great benefit to young designers to hear the perspective of Eva Slunečková, head of ELLE Decoration, a magazine that can be considered the bible of contemporary design.

“Design is getting a space in the media that can be created in a non-commercial and unpaid way, but the quality of the creator and the readiness of the materials are required. The journalist must receive good texts, photos, videos… The author should also be available for interviews, quotes…” says Nikola Lörinczová from PIARIST. She adds that besides talent and potential, the artist’s confidence is also important. 

And although it might seem that an editor like Eva Slunečková must have an email inbox overflowing with messages from emerging artists, the opposite is true. “Rarely do young designers reach out to me on their own,” she notes, “and often I’m the one reaching out to young people to send me their material.” But she warns that designers are not always prepared for this situation. When it comes to their own PR, their skills sometimes fall short.

So what are the basics of successful self-promotion?

  • It’s important to know who to approach. In the age of the internet, it’s not hard to make at least a basic survey of the media and especially of specific editors who write about the industry you’re in.
  • Be prepared. Have your work professionally photographed, have enough information and supporting material to provide to the journalist at any time. (Editor’s tip: And it doesn’t hurt to have nice and representative portraits of not only your work but also of yourself! ;))) In short, don’t expect the editor to give you full service. Most of the time there is no time or space for that. Go for luck yourself!
  • Don’t be afraid, be confident. But not arrogant! Stand behind your own products, your own work, willingly answer editor emails, and answer the phone. 
  • And the most important advice at the end – KEEP GOING! “Pushing” yourself and building your own brand is a long process and no one becomes successful overnight (and if they do, success is not always long-lasting ;))

It just doesn’t always work out that if a person is talented and capable and does their field well, journalists will actively seek them out on their own. “Marketing is half of success,” believes Eva Slunečková.

However, public media work in a very specific way compared to other media. Eliška Černá of Czech Radio says: “Set your priorities and study what the media actually do,” she highlights. Of Czech Radio’s stations, Wave for young listeners is the most art-oriented, and Vltava in general. “Design, however, is slightly neglected at Czech Radio,” adds Eliška.

“Compared to film, theatre or music, design is more demanding,” says Vojta Frajt. “Design is something you take longer to build a relationship with, you need to get into it.” 

“A lot of people still see design as something unattainable or beyond their reach,” notes Tereza from Czechdesign. “But Czechs are already learning to pay extra for design,” she adds, “even though we are still not at the level of Western Europe. But we are much more able to invest in quality and care about who made the product and how it was made.”

The discussion was moderated by Katka Večerková. The recordings of both discussions are still freely available, the first part can be watched HERE and the second part can be viewed HERE.

And the expert workshops are also led by the PIARISTS themselves, you can watch the announced courses at this link, or listen to one of the podcasts to get more info about the world of cultural PR.