Novella Paghera On Her Expanded Role At Negri Firman And The Importance Of Marketing

by Eddie Roche

Industry vet Novella Paghera was recently promoted to vice president of PR and communications company, Negri Firman. She tells The Daily about her new role, how the company has evolved since she joined in 2015, and why marketing is more important than ever. 

Congrats on your new role at Negri Firman. What does your role entail?
In my new role I’m working on big picture strategy and long term growth for Negri Firman (NF), specifically for our New York office. While I am still very actively involved with our clients and day-to-day work, I’m also focusing on the strategic business development. With the new merger with WSM, NF will now have the capabilities to expand our services, particularly in the digital space such as social media management, funnel management, mail automation, and webinars, among others.

When did you join the company and what do you love about it?
I joined NF in early 2015 in the Milan office, and had the opportunity later that year to move to New York to oversee the NY office. I love New York and it was always a dream of mine to live here. After more than 10 years working in Milan, I was ready for a new challenge. NF isn’t a traditional public relations agency, we truly believe in brands and use a 360 degree approach to help our clients grow. Because we are boutique, we are able to function as though we are in-house with a very high level of service and commitment. But we benefit from having that outsider’s perspective. We can have a fresh point of view to help our clients grow in different directions.

How has the company evolved since you’ve been there?
NF is a very receptive company and was an early adapter to the changing relationship between PR and media. It’s no longer a question of editorials and interviews, it’s omnichannel integrated communications. We were one of the first companies to embrace digital media and new technology—for example in Italy, we were early users of the Launchmetrics platform. In fact we were the very first in Italy to use its Galleries function. The next step with WSM is to provide a full-service digital department and digital marketing services.

What were you doing before Negri Firman?
Prior to NF, I worked for Trussardi. I joined Trussardi in early 2009 as public relations and press manager, until a 2012 promotion as head of PR & press office. For six years I worked very closely with the Trussardi family and the creative directors (Milan Vukmirovic at the beginning and Umit Benan after.) Before that, I worked at Prada, Pirelli P Zero, and Ralph Lauren in marketing and communications departments.

What’s the difference between the Italian and American markets?
Italy has a long tradition and heritage of manufacturing and production to create a beautiful design or product. Marketing tends to be an afterthought. But Americans have a very entrepreneurial spirit and marketing is much more ingrained in the culture. Anyone can take an idea and develop an entire brand around it. A key element in building a successful brand is communicating the craftsmanship and the history behind the design instead of letting the products speak for itself.

Things are very different right now in fashion due to the pandemic. What’s your philosophy or approach to get through this time?
The pandemic and quarantine period has truly been life changing. If you know me, I was constantly on the move, from morning meditation and workouts, to client meetings, business lunches, drinks with editors, and late dinners—it was non-stop go, go, go! But with social distancing and staying inside I’ve now had the opportunity to reflect on myself and also find creative solutions to previous challenges. I believe when you are aligned with your true self, only positive change can happen.

Why is marketing particularly important right now?
As previously mentioned, the media landscape has been changing and evolving for many years now, and so have the lines between marketing and public relations. It’s not enough anymore for a brand to be on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar or W Magazine. You need to connect with the audience and eventual consumer of your product in new, exciting, and innovative ways. The fact that we all spend more time on our computers and phones opens new opportunities because brands really need a strong digital presence.

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