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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spice Signature Line....


Hey Spice
Crew...Last week we gave the media a sneak peek into our presentation
for Carnival 2011 and we are very happy you love the costumes!...This
week we are giving you our fabulous Spice Masqueraders a first look
at one of the many surprises we have in store for you for 2k11...Spice
has once again raised the bar in costume design as we will now be
offering three options for selected sections...the Regular, the Frontline
and we introduce to you (for the first time ever) the level above
Frontline...."The Signature Line"....here is your first look at
"Jubilee, the Signature Line" from our "Diamonds are Forever Cluster

Interesting!  I would have loved to see that costume on a different background, white on white does not show the detail.

That "Signature Line" reminds me of Mystery of Loulan's three costume options, the Regular, The Frontline and the Premium (Individual) costume... carry on!

The Way Of The Warrior


Are you ready for TRIBE 2011??

Social Media and Changing the Carnival Communication Game


It baffles me sometimes that Carnival Bands are so out of touch with the new way to communicate with their supporters, masqueraders and potential masqueraders in the 21st century that they remain silent for virtually the entire lead up to band launch season, and sometimes after,so much so that we forget they even exist! With more competition it is now becoming a case of the Carnival Band that makes the creates the most noise (read social chatter) gets the most attention. And it has nothing to do with seeming to appear desperate by reaching out to your masqueraders via all the avenues available, if you don't start selling what you have to sell and make an indelible mark among all the competition out there, pretty soon it will be too late to get people buying, especially when no one knows who you are and what you have to offer.

Take for instance Skullduggery (Woi!! Mas) who have admirably worked the Social Media to their full advantage. And while traditional media also serves the purpose as well, they have understood the importance of merging the two and bridging the gap between the connection. Go over to their website and there is a dedicated Press section where you can find digital conversion of articles that have appeared in the local press. If you do not live in Trinidad and as a consequence were never able to pick up an actual newspaper and read the articles yourself, there it  is available to you for your reading pleasure. Not to mention as a blogger it is pretty cool to actually have photographs, video and even press releases right there on the website so that if need be I can use them on the blog as well.

I also commend them on their Facebook Group (though it might be time to upgrade to a fan page). Businesses need to understand that one of the best aspects of using this form of Social Media is that you can get instant feedback and it is an excellent forum to communicate with your customer. You do not build a Facebook Group or Fanpage then disappear, having zero communication with all your fans and supporters even when they are writing on the wall looking for information. At Skullduggery there is rapport, the band leaders and designers communicate with their masqueraders, fans and supporters constantly. We have video and photographs being shared as well as lively debates taking place. Seriously, this is one of the most active groups on Facebook and it is all being done by a brand new band which is getting tons of press! Skullduggery is also the ONLY new band on Twitter and one of the few that update overall. 

Other bands that have upped their social media game is TRIBE, go to their website and they have now added button links to their Facebook, Twitter AND a brand spanking new  YOUTube channel which is being used to share a series of videos leading to a build up to their band launch. TRIBE has a website that does not go dormant after Carnival as well. It irks me that some bands still have their 2010 website up with not even a change to the front page since Carnival has passed. Your band launch is coming up, how about a note to let masqueraders know that, like Harts who have a popup with details on their band launch. Why are we still seeing information on costume distribution or in some cases the link to the website is dead! 

Apart from Skullduggery, TRIBE and Pulse 8 the other bands are virtually dead in the social media world. Right now I believe Island People is in a coma, YUMA is still to get their name on people's lips, yes I am still getting "YUMA who? what is that?", Spice has increased their coverage on Facebook but they have seem to forgotten Twitter and their website plus there is a list of bands that have zero social media presence. Does anyone even know if Brian Mc Farlane is bringing a band for Carnival 2011? The thing is that traditional media is great for a one time blurb in a newspaper that will get thrown out the next day, with Social Media there is content online available for years! Trust me, wayback machine can uncover a world of information on lots of Carnival Bands that no longer exist. You leave your tracks virtually and we, savvy users of the internet, can follow you.

You no longer need to wait until a TV station shows a clip of your band launch, you can post the whole thing on YouTube and why invite so many media personnel to get ONE photo of your band launch in the newspapers when you invite only ONE blogger and get hundreds? Making the frontpage of the Express or Guardian is excellent post band launch, but really how many people are going to see it and for how long will that one image be relevant to the masqueraders who want more, more photos to pour over? While getting your band featured in the newspaper  helps some of these bands are not even drawing attention to even get that nod. I am positive that Skullduggerry would not have gotten so many features in the Express and Guardian if their very existence was not being talked about virtually everywhere.

So here are some tips for the bands that need to hire a dedicated Social Media Employee to take advantage of all the benefits that they provide in marketing your band to all of us that live in the virtual world:

1. Clean up your act on Facebook and start communicating. The worst thing is to be looking for a Carnival Band on facebook and come upon multiple Groups and Fanpages not knowing which is the OFFICIAL group to join for updates and information. Simply, create ONE and only ONE page for your Carnival Band, get rid of all the other groups and update, update, update! It makes no sense to have a group that is dormant. Get interactive and start communicating with the members who are asking questions.Share information like pictures, videos and even teasers. The only way to know if you are successful is to see how many people are writing on your wall, if your wall hasn't had anything written on it but an unanswered question since February 2010 you are in trouble! And don't just use the page to blast information, take time to answer people's questions.

2. Update your website, please!  Not everyone is on Facebook or it can be blocked at work so your website is also a primary source of information. Use the opportunity of having a static address on the world wide web to give hints and teasers to the 2011 theme, add photographs and video from Carnival Monday and Tuesday of your band on the road and most importantly advertise your band launch on your website; brilliant idea which is hardly ever done.


3. Respond to emails, and respond in a prompt and timely manner. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, the emails lost in cyber space! So, I am interested in getting some information on your band but cannot call. I choose to send an email instead asking some questions that I am eager to get answered , and what follows is me checking my inbox for days on end never to receive a reply. Frustrating!

4. Get Tweeting! I have to admit I was very slow to embrace twitter and even now I do not tweet as much as some of the other bloggers. However I have discovered that Twitter is very effective in getting short bursts of information out over a period of time, keeping people in the loop. It worked with Skullduggery and Spice's Media Launch. At the former Afro Chic, Carnival Jumbie and I were all tweeting live updates with photographs and at Spice's media launch you had photos of the costumes on twitter before anywhere else.As bloggers it is great that WE are doing this, but what is stopping a Carnival band from having someone doing  their own live tweets at their Media and Band Launches?  Not to mention that it is useless following Bands on twitter that are yet to make one tweet.. chirpless! Think about it! 


5. Start a blog. This is for all the Carnival Bands that think Trinidad Carnival Diary is biased. What is stopping you from hiring someone to start doing your own blogging?  I think it would be pretty cool actually, even if it is just a blog integrated into the existing website. Then when you are sick of seeing too much coverage here of any one band, you can go check out the blog of your favourite band. The problem there of course would be having the blog be relevant, current and with topics of interest but it really is not that hard. If you want advice, call me! 





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