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How Aerie has Become a Shining Star in the World of Public Relations

What it takes for an organization to go from drab to fab


By: Hannah Milner



We've all seen it. We all remember it. We definitely don't want to be a part of it. There is a slew of bad public relations examples that we've watched go viral and create a bad reputation for companies. Because of the nature of public relations, when it's done poorly

it is easy to remember. However, good public relations is one that benefits both the

The Aerie logo

organization and the individual. It's one that creates a positive image and gets the consumer

to fall in love with more than what the company has to offer, but for the company itself And while we could talk about bad public relations all day, I want to talk about a company that has excelled in creating a good image. So come on in and pull up a seat while we take a look at the example Aerie has set for the PR industry.



When Society Asks, Aerie Listens


Generation Z has shined in comparison to other generations when it comes to social advocacy. They are a generation that cares about the world and how it is treating the people in it. So, it's no surprise that this generation took a stance and demanded body inclusivity. They want diversity in models. They want to see the beauty that lies in the differences. They want to see the world they see when they step outside. And while most companies have been slow to listen, Aerie turned the volume up and started taking notes. Launching the #AerieREAL campaign back in 2014, Aerie has been committed to celebrating and representing women's bodies for all their different colors, shapes, and sizes ever since.


“Six years ago, Aerie took the game-changing leap to stop airbrushing its models—which ignited a body positivity movement that has empowered women around the world to let their real selves shine,” said Global Brand President Jennifer Foyle in an announcement from the brand during 2020.


As part of the #AerieREAL campaign, the company has been sharing stories about each of their model's experiences with body positivity and how they embrace their true self. They have shown they care about what their customer base cares about. And not only do they listen to their customers, but they also go above and beyond to make sure the need is met.



Social Media with Social Impact


It is one thing to have a large following on social media, but it's an entirely different thing to actually represent that audience throughout the feed. With an impressive 1.5 million followers on Instagram, Aerie is not a stranger to their audience, actually featuring real customers in their posts. They engage with the audience by being quick to respond to comments left on posts, always being willing to help when a problem arises, and highlighting different customers in their clothing. Throughout the feed, the user can find short videos that range from giving tips and trips to talking about the company’s heart for its audience. It's no shock Aerie has a high following because simply scrolling through their social feed brings motivation and empowerment, and everyone needs a dose of that every now and then. This strategy is what has built an impressive and successful social media presence for the company. The way Aerie uses its social media resembles great PR because it shows the importance of valuing the audience it serves.



A Website That Empowers


What if online shopping could be an experience that brought empowerment, confidence, and representation? While you won't find it many places, but you will on Aerie’s website. With a parade of models across the website that are all unique, natural, and raw, it is a breath of fresh air when scrolling through the site. Their commitment to represent faces the public wants to see exists not only through campaigns and social media, but also

A photo of the Aerie blog page
The blog features various categories full of educational resources for the user.

on the website. In addition, the company has created an online experience that doesn't just offer materialistic items to the user but also empowers them with real stories and educational resources. Featuring a blog on the website, the company has created a space for its customers to learn about the importance of loving oneself and embracing all their quirks and differences. They also educate their audience on diversity and inclusion and how the company is committed to improving in showing representation. Through the use of their web content, Aerie has created a company whose audience not only loves its clothes but also the company behind it. They understand that it isn't just about creating a successful company but creating a customer base that feels seen, valued, and heard.



The Perfect Recipe


With honesty, authenticity, and consistency, a company is bound to have a great public relations department. Add to that adapting and embracing social changes while using the web and social media to create a positive message and they may get close to Aerie’s level of success. As the world of public relations continues to become increasingly important for companies and consumers, Aerie serves as the goal to strive for. They represent what public relations means to me because they have created a company that values its customers, which in return brings value to the company.



About the Author

Hannah Milner is an up-and-coming public relations professional in Denton, Texas. Hannah is studying journalism with a focus in Public Relations at the University of North Texas and will be graduating in May of 2022.









Sources

https://www.campaignlive.com/article/gen-z-demands-diversity-inclusion-brands/1705491

https://www.ae.com/aerie-real-life/2022/01/14/social-justice-awareness-month-ft-changemaker-zoe-jenkins/

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200123005191/en

https://www.marketingdive.com/news/aerie-expands-real-role-model-push-with-social-contest-8-new-ambassadors/571027/

https://www.ae.com/aerie-real-life/real-talk/

https://www.ae.com/us/en/c/aerie/cat4840006?pagetype=clp