We are very excited to continue our public relations and crisis communications expert interview series with Diana Bianchini founder and President of Di Moda Public Relations.
Di Moda Public Relations is a lifestyle communications agency established in 2002, currently ranked one of the top PR firms in LA and the nation by Upcity.com. With over two decades of solid industry experience, and a 18-year company track record of business success, Bianchini is a significant asset to brands, startups, innovators and disruptors looking to grow and expand business in authentic and meaningful ways.
Bianchini began her career working in Fashion PR for top-name brands like Hugo Boss and Stuart Weitzman. Since starting Di Moda PR, Bianchini and her team have successfully introduced, launched and boosted dozens of lifestyle brands into the market including Gilt Groupe, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Asprey, HELM, Deus ex Machina, and many more. Working at the intersection of lifestyle-meets-culture, Bianchini holds an impressive roster of forward-thinking clients in an array of verticals including art, architecture, design, hospitality, and non-profit. In 2017, Bianchini’s agency handled the PR campaign for the documentary film based on the life of the late Kevyn Aucoin; Beauty & The Beast In Me, which scored a feature in the coveted September issue (2017) of Vogue Magazine and went on to win an Emmy in 2018.
Bianchini’s strategic approach goes beyond pitching a single product or client. She is a pro-active critical thinker and ideas creator, skilled in developing engaging stories and innovative communications to drive new interest in lifestyle-based subcultures. She has helped shape a number of emerging lifestyles with the help of strong media and influencer relationships.
She currently sits on the Board of Project Angel Food and lends her expertise to a variety of charitable organizations. Bianchini is credited for leveraging millions of dollars in donations to mostly Los Angeles-based nonprofits. In addition to volunteering her time, Bianchini also mentors youth, and speaks to student and entrepreneurial audiences about public relations, social impact, female empowerment in business, and entrepreneurship. In 2019, she was the keynote speaker for a Women’s Group event hosted by UCLA and spoke on a panel at the Female Empowerment Conference in early 2020. Bianchini regularly contributes to Forbes as a Business Council Member.
Bianchini is a UCLA graduate and endowed scholar. She lives with her family in Santa Monica, California.
What is reputation management? How does it relate to public relations?
Reputation management (much like public relations) can include a lot of different services (and definitions). Within the digital space, it can directly relate to search results but perhaps the foundation of reputation in my industry started with a company or individual offline. Both the offline and online spaces are extremely important and can include communicating social responsibility, company values, earned media placement, and brand alignments. One of the first things a person or company does to research the “best of” or find more information on a specific brand/company, is search the internet. How you show up in both spaces are key factors to success.
What are the biggest PR mistakes you see companies make online? How could these mistakes have been avoided?
A company that does not have a strong line item for strategic marketing, communications and public relations in its business plan/model, is making a big mistake in 2020. Companies that enter the market (online) still believing if you build it, they will come (or find you on the internet) are setting themselves up for failure. Mistakes like these can be avoided by hiring experts that have successful track records.
How does social media factor into your reputation management strategy?
Social media and how it is can be used by a company and leadership within a company is extremely important and should always be included in the reputation management strategy.
What is the first thing a company should do when there is a crisis online?
This is a hard one to answer specifically because a “crisis online” can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I would recommend, generally speaking, to quickly contact your team in charge of communications, PR and reputation to guide and consult on the situation. It is also important to remember that this team cannot give legal advice.
What can employees do to help their company during and after a PR crisis?
It is the responsibility of the company’s leadership to swiftly communicate with the employees on what has happened, how it is being resolved, and advise the team (can involve sample communication and bringing in other types of professionals) on how they can best assist during the time period. It is important to get face time with your employees when discussing a company crisis.
What can senior executives and companies do to better prepare for a PR crisis?
Hard to advise because there are many different kinds of PR crises. Overall, it’s important to have a team of experts consulting on best actions to resolve.
Is reputation management getting easier or harder? Why?
I do believe it’s getting a bit more complex as we add more and more platforms to do business on and watch the digital space grow exponentially in all ways imaginable. Also, news travels at the speed of light. Things seemed to happen a bit slower just five years ago.
What has been your biggest PR or crisis communications challenge? How did you handle it? Instead of naming one specific situation, I would rather speak more generally. Protecting my clients’ reputations while helping them grow their businesses and profiles is a job that takes skill, intelligence, solid relationships, trust, and experience. It’s what I have been doing daily, and with a successful track record, for almost 20 years. Each crisis will have its own special challenges. As a company, it is important to hire an agency / professional that understands what your business needs before, after, and during a crisis.
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