How Influencer Marketing Can Help Save the Jamaican Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

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The tourism and hospitality industry plays a major role in the Jamaican economy. Last year, tourism represented 11 percent of GDP, providing some $1.3 trillion in revenue and recognising 1.4 billion international visitors. The occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, put an inevitable dent in profits for hotels, villas, tour guides, and other businesses dependent on the hospitality industry to thrive. With tighter restrictions on travel, and possible banning of foreigners visiting at any given time due to the spike in cases,  the Jamaican hospitality industry has to now pivot and shift marketing strategies to attract locals to stay afloat.

YouTuber Annesha Adams likes to showcase the real side of Jamaica

More than ever, staycations are being promoted and Jamaicans are being urged to “rediscover Jamaica” as a place to vacation and explore.  Yet to thrive, the Jamaican hospitality industry must find creative ways to be profitable. The onset of Covid-19 and the rise of social media, (as of January 2020, according to HootSuite’s Digital 2020 Report that cites trends, internet and social media data, the total number of Jamaicans who are active social media users is 1.3 million.) means traditional advertising needs to shift budgets to make way for  online marketing and this should  include Influencers for product mentions and endorsements. 

Embracing Influencer Marketing

An influencer from a marketing perspective is: “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.” By hoteliers embracing the local bloggers and creators they bring a unique perspective and Jamaicans follow and admire their contemporaries enjoying our beautiful island.

Bloggers and YouTubers

 A blogger by definition is a person who regularly writes material for a blog which is hosted on a website. Usually focused on a particular niche, whether that be food, travel or lifestyle. The benefit of using a blog is that it will show up in Google search unlike on Instagram which is limited in terms of search. A blog is also forever and will come up on the first or second page of  Google if SEO is used correctly.”

The Storyteller Agency. Co is looking to revoultionize the Jamaican hospitality industry

As the second most visited social media platform in Jamaica according to HootSuite’s report,  using YouTubers has a great benefit within the market. YouTubers also have their subscribers and they are very invested in their lives. Our strategy is always to look for out-of-the-box ways to showcase an attraction. In the US, brand-sponsored trips are a standard and we want to make that the norm  locally as well.

For us it’s more than just taking a pretty picture. Our approach is always robust, combining mega and micro-Influencers, local content creators, YouTubers and bloggers, to bring your brand story to life and showcase the very best of the attraction or villa/hotel. In the past year, we’ve worked with Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour, Joy Spence’s Appleton Estate Rum Tour, non-profit Kingston Creative to showcase their Art Walk activities and Ministry of Culture, Gender and Sport to promote the activities for Reggae Month.

Last year for International Rum Day, Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour invited a group of 12 bloggers from Love Not Likes to visit the tour and received more than 100,000 impressions on Instagram on the commemorative day. After the visit, each blogger wrote their own review and they received over 500 reads on their blogs collectively.

To target a new local audience means a local voice is needed. Jamaicans are ready to rediscover their island, find hidden gems, and staycation in hotels and villas, but they want to learn about it from a local consumer perspective. Local bloggers can show them the way, where to find the best deals, the hidden gems, stir off the beaten path and patronize the smaller establishments who need  support the most at this time. More and more, local consumers want real-life reviews of the hotel/villa and attraction experience from the ambiance, service quality to amenities. And they want it from people they trust, many of whom are the influencers they follow on social media.

Building awareness for brands using the art of storytelling

The Storyteller Agency.Co.  has partnered with several local hotels, restaurants, villas and attractions to connect with Jamaicans through the use of Influencers and local creators in the past year. By using creators who are travel-centric and like to share their honest experiences, you can have a  deeper connection with your target audience through their eyes. These influencers share their life through the art of storytelling and  their followers are invested in those stories.

Annesha Adams received over 10,000 views and 200 comments on her hotel review of Lashings Boutique Hotels and Villas

For instance, Jamaican YouTuber Annesha Adams  (who has more than 40,000 subscribers) visited Lashings Boutique Hotel in Treasure Beach and received more than 10,000 views in 24hrs with more than 200 comments on her hotel review.  In her video, which now has more than 25,000 views,  she shares her honest opinion of the hotel, details about amenities, local fare and price range.

“Since moving back home to Jamaica from Canada two years ago, I’ve wanted to showcase the very best of the island. From the best attractions to visit in every parish to even the not so popular places, I always share with my subscribers the real life perspective of living in Jamaica. St. Elizabeth is one of my favourite parishes and I liked Lashings Boutique Hotel’s aesthetic and wanted to show my subscribers a different side of Jamaica. Not just the touristy side but the relaxed side as well.” says Annesha.

Follow Travel YouTuber Annesha Adams on IG @annesha.adams.

“We’re very happy to have partnered with The Storyteller Agency. Co and Annesha Adams,” says David Folb, owner of Lashing Boutique and Villas.  “We’ll be using them again when we have our official launch of our new Beach Club in Treasure Beach later this month.” he says. TO GET A 5% PERCENT DISCOUNT, USE PROMO CODE “ANNESHALOVES” ON LASHINGS BOUTIQUE HOTEL AND VILLA’S WEBSITE

“I’m really aware that some Jamaicans don’t like the all inclusive experience you get in the main resorts,  so I have been keen to offer something different. Our hotel and villas offer a more ‘grown up’ approach to tourism – with an authentic Jamaican  experience which doesn’t patronise or exploit. It’s also something more interesting for bloggers to write about or create videos around – beyond the standard bikini shots!”

MyRepeatOffender showcased Turtles’ Nest with this breathtaking photo

After a group of influencers curated by The Storyteller Agency. Co visited Turtles’ Nest earlier this month, the Treasure Beach villa’s Instagram followers grew by more than 500 followers in 24 hours.  Lucy Atherton, the owner, said: “We’re pretty much booked out until Christmas now, it’s been quite amazing for us. I just took a view early on in the pandemic that I would focus entirely on the Jamaican market and that using influencers was the quickest and most effective way to do this. I’m always as generous as I can be to bloggers who stay and I rarely say ‘no’ – so it’s really paid off.

 

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“With the help of Instagram and its influencers, Jamaicans in general are rediscovering a love for their beautiful country, at a time when it’s very difficult to travel abroad. The south coast, which has been largely ignored as a staycation option in the past, is now really benefiting from this.”

Sustaining Profitability for the Hospitality Industry in a Covid-19 world

The way the Jamaican Tourism and Hospitality industry targets local tourists must expand. Incentivizing creators to promote the local hospitality industry so that they can be encouraged to promote off-the-beaten-path villas using diverse local content creators (e.g. bloggers and YouTubers), as well as innovating online are a few ways to pivot. Using platforms like The Storyteller Agency. Co to match influencers with the target demographic to create organic-driven online and influencer campaigns, are key to surviving and finding new patrons. 

Guest Blog: How to Pivot Your Business During #COVID19 Like KFC Jamaica

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Photo Credit: @kfcjamaica

Industry: Fast Food | Company: Restaurants of Jamaica

Managed Brands: KFC, Pizza Hut |Years In Operation Locally: 45 Years

When the first confirmed COVID19 case hit Jamaica, on March 10, like many businesses,  Restaurant of Jamaica, owners and operators of KFC scoped the landscape and saw how to best to pivot given the unprecedented times to make ‘painful decisions’.

A week later, on the heels of the Government shutdown which brought the limited operation with a 12 hour curfew, the once high trafficked and high volume stores saw sales plummet by 50%; fewer persons were eating out given the restricted public gathering to 20 persons and out of fear and uncertainty of coming out into public places. According to Director of Marketing Tina Matalon who noted in a July Zoom session, “our biggest challenge was accessibility; we’ve been looking at the delivery channel for a couple of years, the right model and approach to enter it with a brand like KFC; we accelerated that, rapidly”

This spawned two news releases in April:

·       The brand added a delivery option.

·       The brand announced temporary layoff of staff.

Social Media Backlash

Once social media got wind of the layoffs, the brand came under severe backlash online.

Thousands of Jamaicans online begged for their fellow Jamaican workers who by that time would have received lower working hours and possibly been laid off. The challenge? Jamaicans saw no reason to lay off staff when the demand for the brand’s key products was still very high. Jamaica’s Largest food chain, amidst a tight curfew which brought “early closures of our restaurants during some of our most patronized times of the day the options were very slim.

According to the release ‘it has been struggling to cope with significant declines in sales and transactions of more than half of its business.” The company went on to say that it will re-engage employees as quickly as possible. adapt and find creative ways to sustain its operations in order to ensure that it can continue to support its employees for as long as possible.

Digital Shift

“The Jamaican marketplace is behind on a lot of trends that are globally successful when it comes to technology or in the digital landscape; one of the immediate opportunities we saw was opening our access channels”. As delivery partners were small in operation catering to casual dining, the infrastructure was not equipped to take on the robust nature of a high-demand, quick service fast-food model like KFC. The brand worked with partners to scale up and meet the demand quickly with an excellent package, on-time delivery and fast turn-around time.

Thankfully, amidst the flurry of COVID19 and the backlash, not only did the team “keep everyone employed and on the team which was an incredible feat”, social media sentiment  has been returned in a favorable light and  the brand accelerated business models in 3 weeks to:

✔️Adapt to the shift in consumer behavior (stay-at-home or WFH).

✔️Get the product to them (online ordering via 7Krave )

✔️Redefine customer acquisition via digitizing.

The business now has three models – walk-in, drive-up, or order in. Digital ordering and delivery will be a ‘permanent channel moving forward’.

#HowToPivot: Advice to the Caribbean Biz

·      Review your operations and spreadsheet.

·      See where you can meet customers where they are in terms of delivery.

·      Make a big deal of the new options to drive awareness, trial and uptake.Be agile in your approach, listen to feedback and follow all guidelines stipulated.    

About The Guest Blogger

Shane Bennett is the co-founder of Social Media Day Jamaica. A media and marketing strategist by profession, he focuses on digital, experiential and public relations for personal, corporate and SME brands. Find him on Twitter and on LinkedIn sharing tips for digital branding at his @iamsgb handle.

How artists and creatives offer hope during the COVID-19 crisis

To launch my Creatives of the Future e-book, (to sign up to receive it, click here) I researched creatives who are using their platforms to spread awareness about taking precautions in fighting COVID-19: including wearing masks, staying home and social distancing.

More and more everyday people are being diagnosed with COVID-19, critical resources are stretched, the very essence of our freedom is shrinking – and yet we are moved inward, to the inner space of our thoughts and imagination, a place we have perhaps neglected. Of all the necessities we now feel so keenly aware of, the arts and their contribution to our well-being is evident and, in some ways, central to COVID-19 confinement for those of us locked in at home. For some, there are more pressing needs. But momentary joys, even in dire circumstances, often come through the arts and collective expression.

People on social media are sharing favourite Apocalypse playlists, Netflix movies, TikTok videos and even artwork to reach out beyond isolation and share what they love.

Artists are also finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.

Besides the usual IG lives, some Jamaican creatives are raising awareness by swapping physical performance spaces for virtual ones. Londie Murray teamed up The Fix, a podcast usually reserved for interviewing dancehall artists to live stream on their YouTube channel of over 111,000 subscribers.

VIRTUAL LIVE MUSIC SERIES: SUNDAY LIVE!

 Sunday Live! is an online concert series that aims to give artistes the chance to reach an audience that they’re not able to physically due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

They’re trying to raise funds to purchase masks to donate to the infirmaries in St. James and an orphanage & battered women shelter in Montego Bay. 

Sunday Live! is sponsored by Sagicor Bank Jamaica, Rainforest Seafood, Buzz Caribbean, Pier 1, MDLink, John Swaby Entertainment, Orijin Juices and iCreate.

Watch the lastest episode with ft. Joby Jay, Royal Blu & Indie Allen – 

Sunday Live! is an online concert series that aims to give artiste the chance to perform for the public that they’re not able to physically reach due to COVID-19 restrictions.

COMMUNICATING SOCIAL DISTANCING

Phillip J Clayton created an Facebook frame to create awareness about social distancing

public awareness campaign is a marketing effort to build public recognition of a problem through media, messaging, and an organized set of communication tactics. These campaigns target a large number of people over a specific period of time to try and generate specific outcomes or achieve pre-determined goals

Art connects us to the foreign, the exotic and the impossible – but in our current context, it also connects is a means to educate. Phillip J Clayton created a Facebook frame to create awareness about social distancing. Click here to add a Facebook frame to your profile picture.

If the story about Covid-19 is told from a different perspective, the communication could focus on something deeper for greater impact…all groups of people are at risk, and can be infected or be affected in some way – Children will lose parents, it’s everyone’s duty to participate with the guidelines provided by the WHO, CDC and all relevant agencies and governments- Phillip J Clayton

SPEAKING IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE

Kenia Mattis the founder of ListenMi, an animation pre-production and design studio for diverse content created Fimimoji, which are free Jamaican Whatsapp stickers to help you share how you really feel in a creative way. From a mask emoji to the ever essential cleaning agent Dettal, there is something to share your expression of the reality of the virus.

We need to be socially distant while staying connected with those we care about. But how we communicate is as important as what we have to say. The team, led on this project by Jenille Brown, wanted to create Whatsapp emojis to help people share important messages the way Jamaicans can; with creativity and vibes. There’s lots of serious and positive information to share. We hope these stickers help people get their audience’s attention– Kenia Mattis

Download today 

BREEDING EMOTION

As more cases rise some creatives are speaking to emotion. In times of crisis, design and visual messaging are more important than ever.

I feel at this time creatives should dedicate some time and create awareness through their skill set- whether through animation, motion graphics, graphic design or any creative gift of expression.

We are fighting against the ugliness of poor design communication but we can come together and create something impactful or emotional to drive the seriousness of the situation that’s in effect currently.

Yes some of us were laid off, some of us have lost revenue but let’s also bring hope as a community. -Keifer Simpson

HEALING THROUGH ART

It is recognized that adult coloring activity has great virtues in our behavior and on the brain. Indeed, adult coloring will allow you to isolate yourself, to cut you off from the world for a pencil stroke. This is why many people call these drawings anti-stress coloring. In addition, the advantage of these colourings, is of course the possibility to remake them to infinity with new color palettes, and thus give them a whole other aspect. Hours of fun and relaxation to color these coloring pages for adults! At each mood, its colors!

Download here

How to Network Online in the Age of Social Distancing

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Many people in the UK, United States, Caribbean and across the world have begun working remotely. If they haven’t been furloughed or laid off; schools have canceled classes for weeks; and restaurants, retail stores, bars, gyms, and other gathering places have closed or limited opening hours. Major events were postponed with a domino-like effect, including Carnival here in Jamaica, South by Southwest, and virtually all sporting events, such as the Olympics, NBA, NFL, and Champs.

These closures are all attempts to force social distancing, a crucially important global public health intervention that can help stop transmission of the coronavirus. With COVID-19, many people in the US, UK and the Caribbean will at some point, either this year or next, get exposed to this virus. Social distancing, health authorities confirm, can slow the spreading, helping to ease the burden on our delicate health care structure. Best practices require maintaining at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.

People were already making home their headquarters As COVID-19 sweeps around the world, the virus could accelerate a trend that was already underway. Even before social distancing, the home was becoming the HQ for busy people

Google Trends

More time at home and less and less real-life human interaction, you may find that people aren’t always sure how to network in the online space. Hashtags like #WFH, #SocialDistancing #FlattenTheCurve and many other coronavirus related hashtags are sweeping the internet. TikTok dance videos and challenges like #DontRushChallenge has also become quite popular.

NETIQUETTE

Just because we are no longer forced to see each other face-to-face, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t practice etiquette or netiquette.

Netiquette means, “ the importance of proper manners and behavior online. In general, netiquette is the set of professional and social etiquettes practiced and advocated in electronic communication over any computer network. Common guidelines include being courteous and precise, and avoiding cyber-bullying.”

Technopedia.com

Just because we’re indoors and many people now have to resort to online communication, the use of WhatsApp, Zoom and social media networks have now become the norm for communicating. Here are my tips to network online that will reap rewards in the long run.

In 2019, WhatsApp reached 2 billion global users and solidified itself as the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide.

Hubspot, How Five Brands Use WhatsApp for Marketing.

HOW TO NETWORK ONLINE

Do your research: Take the time to Google the person’s name and read their bio, so you can understand what their core business is. For example, I’m in marketing so I’m looking for SMEs who need help marketing their business to the ideal customer. I often network with CEOs and Marketing Managers looking to build out their company’s online presence.

Don’t message at odd hours: Just because the internet is open 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean you need to message at 2 am! We do spend time during the day working, so at night we need to destress. Most times if you message people late at night that you don’t already have a personal relationship with, they are not in the frame of mind to do business. Try to message between the hours of 9 am-5 pm.

Master your elevator pitch: Taking a few minutes to write a script, i.e., one to two sentences introducing yourself. Saying what you do saves people’s time and we all know, time equals money. Still practice etiquette by using a greeting. Be as polite as possible.

Try to take the conversation off social media: The quicker you take the conversation offline, the better. Take the time to get the contact’s phone number or email and make plans to set up a Zoom meeting. We live in an online world but most people still like to work with people they know and trust. That often gets lost online. Set up a WhatsApp Business Account, so you never miss a question from a potential client. Being a connection, meaning friends on Facebook or a follower on Instagram or Twitter, doesn’t mean that you are trusted.

SOCIAL PROOF

Social proof is more vital than ever before, that includes your website, social media networks with a headshot and photos describing your personality are crucial to developing a social media footprint.

The website should include:

Bio, short bio, downloadable press kit, approved headshots, and contact information. Here’s the link to my press and media page.

Buy my top Marketing books of all time to help you navigate the online space.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

Life in the Time of Corona (Beer, Not Virus)

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Ever since I designed the uniforms for the popular hipster Ja Mexican restaurant, Chillito’s a few years ago, where we swapped Corona for Chillito’s, I’ve been loving the Corona Beer logo.

But on February 28th, Time wrote at the onset of the Corona virus outbreak that,

“Corona has become the subject of memes and videos shared on social media as the toll from the virus climbs worldwide. Reports of an increase in online searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” show the Mexican beer hasn’t been able to escape the association.”

We saw the memes…

Don’t think we Corona Beer Lovers didn’t notice.

For those living under a rock, Corona Extra is a pale lager produced by Cervecería Modelo in Mexico and owned by AB InBev in Belgium and distributed locally by CPJ Limited. It is one of the top-selling beers worldwide. Corona is commonly served with a wedge of lime or lemon  around the neck of the bottle to add tartness and flavour.

There are some spin-offs

We like it with some passion fruit. Buy it here

I also love this…

Beer drinkers unite! Show your love for Corona!

And this..

So do like the pillow says, here

So relax and hold my Corona….

Buy this Corona Ugly Sweater T-shirt here

In the beginning of March, Fast Company wrote,

“The company also pointed to IRI retail sales trends data showing that sales of Corona Extra actually increased by 5% in the four-week period ending February 16. So you know, scoreboard.

Perhaps the most valuable asset that any marketer can have is earned media—coverage and brand promotion achieved via free coverage and conversation whose value far outstrips any official media investment. Corona has found itself the unintentional beneficiary of perhaps the worst kind of earned media a marketer could imagine. Saying nothing goes against just about every natural instinct of any marketer. In this case, the silence is as refreshing as a beer with a lime in it.”

– Jeff Beer, Fast Company

Do you think the company handled the fiasco appropriately or not? Often in these delicate situations, it’s better to be silent than speak before it’s time.

Either way, in this time of quarantining,I wish I was on a beach with one right now.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

The COVID-19 Playlist: Reggae and Dancehall Songs for the apocalypse

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With folks self-quarantining and social-distancing — and all live music entertainment shut down — I’m putting together a stay-at-home soundtrack for the viral apocalypse until Protoje and the crew buss a livestream on us.

Turn your room into a dance with the sleek and portable design of this Marley Bluetooth speaker. Purchase here

Serious times: Gyptian

Untold Stories: Buju Banton

Justice: Sevana

Guide Over us: Sizzla Kalonji

Any Weather: Vybz Kartel

W: Koffee

Hol a Fresh: Red Dragon

Popcaan: Firm and Strong

Listen to your playlist with Beats by Dre Classic Black Headphones. Purchase here

I Can: Chronixx

Fresh & Clean: Jazz Elise

Babylon: Jane MacGizmo

Feeling Chronixxx? Buy a tee

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

73 Vogue-Inspired Questions Answered.

I’m honoured to announce that I’m a Brand ambassador for Poppy Apparel. You can use my code “KESI” and get a 10% discount here.

So in honor of this I thought I’d do a 73 questions inspired by the popular Vogue video series, so here goes:

1. What are you most excited about these days?

Truly living my best life.

2. What’s your favorite holiday?

I want to say Christmas but it’s really Easter because that’s when Marbana is and that’s the best party of the year.

3. Favorite season?

We don’t really have seasons here but I like when its really hot and you have to turn the big fan on. If you know me well, you know I hate cold and snow.

4. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?

I hardly go anywhere tbh, I’m always working but I do love a good trip to the mountains on a Sunday.

5. What is the best activity when home on a rainy day?

I love to curl up in my bed and watch YouTube videos. I only watch the news.

6. If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be?

Honestly, I’d love to switch lives with one of the richest female billionaires in the world and I don’t mean Kylie Jenner.

7. What is the best thing that happened this year?

Being nominated as Digital Influencer by Digital Jamaican was the best thing that happened to me so far but the year isn’t over year. See the post about it here.

8. What’s your New Year’s resolution?

I promised myself I’d go harder than ever this year, so there are a lot of sleepless nights.

9. What’s your favorite exercise?

Exercise? Honestly, don’t have the time but if i had to choose, it would be swimming. I was on the swim team in high school.

10. Best way to decompress?

Honestly, write.

11. What’s your favorite country to visit?

Omg, that’s hard. I love New York but then I practically grew up there. It does give me all the feels.

Wish you were in New York? Get a mug here

12. Last country you visited?

Miami. I lived there for two months.

13. Country you wish to visit?

I’ve always wanted to go to Santorini. I believe I will live out my last days looking at that blue ocean.

Wanna feel like you’re in Santorini? Purchase a Pura Vida bracelet, here

14. What’s your favorite ice-cream?

Coffee. I’m obsessed with anything coffee.

Speaking of coffee, here are my faves:

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Dunkin’ Donuts Hazelnut Flavored

15. What makes you smile the most?

Money. Lol. SEND ME SOME

16. What’s the coolest thing in the world?

Getting DMs from people saying that you’re awesome and they love your content.

17. What is the cutest thing in the world?

Babies?

18. How do you know if you’re in love?

Don’t know her. Don’t want to be her.

19. If you could go to any concert past or present, what would it be?

I would absolutely die to see Prince in concert. Hands down. I mourned for three days when he died.

20. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A Tiffany’s bracelet. All the Jersey girls were wearing them when I was in college.

Get one like it here

21. Favorite fashion trend of all time?

I would not call myself the most fashion forward although I used to be but I did love 90’s supermodel fashion back in the day.

22. What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Eat Pray Love. I read the book first and then saw the movie. I could watch it over and over.

23. What was the movie that made you cry?

Omg. 101 Dalmations?

24. If you could make a documentary, what would it be about?

I would love to talk about the amazing content creators in Jamaica doing some amazing things. And when I say content I mean film, movies and music videos too. Not just photography.

25. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

I would love to be able to read people’s mind.

26. What is the skill still unmastered?

I still don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Long story.

27. What is the best thing that happened to you today?

The check cleared.

28. Do you like surprises?

Yes, actually my former boss gave me a birthday party in December (my birthday is in August) Wanna buy me a birthday gift? Here’s my wishlist.

29. If you could do a flash mob where would it be?

Coronation Market.

30. Do you like cupcakes?

31. Do you usually bake cupcakes?

I baked cupcakes for my daughter’s class for Valentine’s Day one year.

But, I prefer cheesecake. Buy my fave here

32. What’s your favorite desert?

Cheesecake.

More cheesecake here

33. Is there a desert you don’t like?

Vanilla cake. It’s so vanilla.

34. What’s your favorite bakery?

Anywhere that sells croissaints. There’s actually French pâtisserie downstairs from where I used to live in Park Slope in Brooklyn

35. What’s your favorite food?

It’s a toss up between Italian and sushi.

Get an Italian gift basket here

36. It’s brunch, what do you eat?

Is there mackerel rundown? Not really a fan of ackee and saltfish.

37. You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat?

Otaheite apples.

38. Favorite color?

Cobalt blue.

Buy a cobalt blue Corkcicle tumbler here

Buy a cobalt blue ring here

Buy a rare cobalt blue Chanel bag here

39. Favorite superhero?

Storm

40. What do you usually order in your coffee?

I used to drink only lattes but, sometimes you just need that caffeine so regular coffee with condensed milk.

But if I’m feeling fancy, I buy

41. Who is the last person you texted?

My former student Tashi

42. What’s your favorite activity to do in Kingston?

I love going to the National Gallery, I used to volunteer there on Saturdays.

43. What’s the next book you plan on reading?


44. What do you love in your pizza?

I’m one of those pineapple goes on pizza kinda gals.

Buy a pineapple towel here

45. Favorite drink?

Veuve Clicquot Champs

46. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Hershey’s

47. What’s your favorite band?

I’m all about Maroon 5.

48. Favorite solo artist?

Post Malone for sure. Sunflower is on repeat.

49. Favorite lyrics?

Woman’s worth

I know you’ve got a little life in you left
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left

50. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Luxurious

51. If you could master one instrument what would it be?

The camera.

52. Do you have a tattoo ?

A swallow on my left ankle.

53. To be or not to be?

That is the question.

54. Dolphins or koalas?

Koalas.

55. How do you like your coffee?

With condensed milk.

56. What’s your favorite curse word?

I don’t curse. lol.

57. What color of dress did you wear to prom?

Red velvet.

58. Diamonds or pearls?

Definitely diamonds.

Buy me some.

59. Cheap shampoo or expensive?

Herbal Essence Black Charcoal Shampoo

60. Blow dry or air dry?

Air dry. No heat on these curls.

61. Heels or flats?

Omg. Flats most definitely.

My fave flats are ballet

62. Pilates or yoga?

Yoga.

63. Jogging or swimming?

Swimming. Hate to sweat.

64. One thing you can’t live without?

My laptop.

65. What’s one cause that’s dear to your heart?

Women’s Rights.

66. Who would you want to shoot a love scene with?

Brad Pitt.

67. What’s your favorite sport?

Football.

68. Do you have a morning beauty ritual?

I use a face mask once a week. That’s it.

69. What’s your favorite thing to wear?

The colour black.

70. What’s the priciest thing you’ve ever splurged on?

I bought a pair of Prada sunglasses once. Purely overrated.

Now I wear these

71. Do you play any musical instruments?

No.

72. What is your favorite book of all time?

The Alchemist by Paulo Cuehlo. Changed my life.

73. What is something you always travel with?

Coffee Travel Mug

Kate Spade Travel Mug

Ember Travel Mug

5 Most Instagrammable Places in Jamaica

If you’re traveling to Jamaica or consider yourself a dryland tourist, here are the top 5 places you must take for Instagram. These locations will have you using the #ILiveWhereYouVacay hashtag in no time. You can vote here.

The Grande is rafting on the Rio Grande

There are many variations to this, but any pose you choose will definitely be monumental. Go early morning and float gently through the waters on your long bamboo raft. The ride itself is about 3 hours but make sure you bring your own photographer because it’s difficult to keep your balance and take a selfie at the same time.

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so far so good 💕 #themacmillans

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Frenchman’s Cove is a Classic

Taking a picture at the famous swing at Frenchman’s Cove is a must when visiting Portland. Other major cool spots include the river flowing into the beach, Blue Lagoon and the Trident Castle. Almost every spot in Port Antonio is grand.

Sandals Suite Life is the Living Your Best Life Hashtag IRL

If you want to say you’re truly living your best life, you have to photograph the over water bungalows. Jamaican Influencers such as Corey Hamilton, Natasha Leeds and Yendi Phillips have taken epic shots there. The drone shots of the heart shaped bungalow formation shot!

Take the Plunge at The Old Spanish Bridge

Another money shot is the Old Spanish Bridge, a hidden gem is just 45 minutes from Ocho Rios. The road may only be for the 4 wheel drive but it’s definitely worth the effort. With its rope swing, you can get a pretty cool capture like Kaci Fennel’s. If you’re into landscape shots the bridge in the background is also quite beautiful. If you’re brave enough,  get some video swinging on the rope!

Strawberry Hill Hotel is the Mostest

Just imagine an image that looks like you’re staring over a cliff overlooking Kingston but it’s really just an Infiniti pool? This optical illusion is a must for anyone visiting Jamaica. Not to mention the view itself!

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Reflecting…. • • "Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you" • • There are moments in life where I get lost in my head; lost in my feelings…just yearning for clarity. The past couple years have just been filled with so much loss it has left me doing a lot of questioning. Some persons who I truly loved, cared for, respected and held in high regard have left this realm. Some through agonizing illness, tragic accidents and some violenly ripped away. I ponder on each of them. I ask repeatedly "Why would God let bad things happen to good people?" Why would God allow His children who are serving His kingdom to experience such suffering? I remember struggling with this very concept with my mother's death and I was so hurt and felt so betrayed by God as a young girl that I turned away from Him. 16 years later, I am now asking again…this time from the perspective of someone who has rekindled her relationship and who is serving His kingdom. And while it still carries weight and pain, I acknowledge the promise of free will of man. I understand that as mankind we have choice. And with that comes so much of the turmoil we now encounter in existence. But I also more than anything understand that what we do here is not about us, but living in His truth and promise, in accordance to His word, to fulfill the purpose He whispers in our soul, and when the day of reckoning comes, to go home to Him knowing it is well and it is done. #MyHeartWasHeavy #SometimesYouHaveToBareYourSoul #But #IPlaceItAtHisFeet #ThePowerOfSurrender #Peace #Understanding #Clarity #ForMyFriends #ForMyLovedOnes #ForThoseFeelingHurt #ForThoseGoingThroughLoss • • Thank you @_jayenigma for this capture. • • PS. @keneealintonboutique I LOVE this dress!

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Honorable mentions include:

Waterfall at Serendipity Holistic Resort

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#serendipityresort #bluemountain #jamaica my #paradise

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Fleet Street

Victoria Pier Waterfront/DownTown Kingston 

So all these places are up for debate! Do you agree with picks? Which places do you think are the most instagrammable places in Jamaica? Vote here

7 Must-Haves for Instagram going into 2019

So many brands and influencers are still struggling to master all the features on IG.

But with Instagram reaching a milestone of 1 billion monthly users in June, it is a platform that can’t be ignored. – Adweek

Some brands are losing out on valuable real estate by not creating something as simple as highlights but there are a few other things you should be doing on IG before the year is out.

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Vertical Videos: How-to

We never thought vertical videos would become a thing but they are here and here to stay! For now. Vertical videos aren’t just for IGTV however, they are now creeping onto other platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Probably the hardest thing to get right when shooting vertical video for IGTV is aspect ratio, which is the ratio of width to height of your video.

The reason it can be hard to get right is because unless your video is shot on a smartphone (which will usually record in 9:16 if shot vertically), you may need to edit or crop your video in post-production to get the right aspect ratio for IGTV.

So I would recommend shooting vertically, if you’re using a phone or shoot widescreen with the camera so you can always adjust post-production.

Why vertical videos? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile. We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.

Advertising agencies will need to bear this in mind when creating their ads to include vertical formats for IGTV.

IGTV is predicted to become the new Youtube in 3-5 years.

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IG Stories Still Relevant

IG stories is a way to extend the conversation. So for example, you post a picture of yourself in an outfit, the stories can be used to tell the back story of the photograph. Where you got the outfit and maybe behind-the-scenes, etc. This will continue to be vital to engagement strategies.

Shoppable Posts an Added Plus

I see so many small businesses missing out on a simple app they can add to their posts that directly links them to the webpage. It’s called Later’s (Linkin.bio). It’s like $US4.99 a month, but the value, is a direct clickable link where shoppers can purchase the item. Instagram also has a shoppable feature that’s pretty simple to use. Not available in Jamaica just yet however, we’ll have to wait our turn.

IG Highlights for FAQs a Necessity

Personally, I get a lot of DMs from people asking  questions about what I do out of curiosity. I haven’t reached the level that I would want to have a FAQs section but if you’re a company or a big brand, I would definitely recommend you having an FAQ highlight so people can learn more about you without having to send a DM every time. Saves a lot of time!

Stories Ads will be a Must

The time of organic reach is over. Brands will have to invest in an ad budget in order to reach their target audience, but not just that, the content will have to be richer and more clickable. Also in terms of the variation in ads, I haven’t seen the numbers yet, but the animated, IG story ads seem to have more traction.

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AR Filters Bring That Cool Factor

So you’ve seen the diamond headband filter by Rihanna and the lip color filter by Kylie Jenner and other popular ones on IG lately right? Influencers will now be able to create their own filters using Facebook AR Studio.

 IG Worthy Branded Wall Backdrop: A Staple for Jamaican Parties

Every event we go to in Jamaica, now has a branded, customized wall. This is no coincidence. This is usually brightly colored wall that is easily identifiable in photos when people post to IG.

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Lil Duval lyrics

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Influencer Patronage will Kick up a Notch

The exclusivity of giving an influencer a special branded invitation to your event or token gift before a party creates a buzz that makes the viewer want to know more.

Frenchmen did it for their parties this year and Moda Market has been handing out special Moda Boxes with goodies inside.

Brands like Benefit of Bohoo in the US, have been able to take carefully selected influencers on a vacation. The idea is to create this cool girl lifestyle, where their followers can go with them on an adventure, wear their products and take IG worthy pictures.

We’ve seen these experiences happening right here with influencers Garfene and Terri-Karelle going on road trips to Skylark Negril and Irie Diva going on a #staycation.

Instagram Worthy Curated Rooms or Walls

Creating an offline, Instagram-worthy experience for your customers can not only help you get more followers, but also generate more sales or visitors.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bla4xnnHy45/?taken-by=natashaleeds

Think about it like word of mouth, but on Instagram: when a customer is at your place of business and you have created an Instagram-worthy moment, they’ll be happy and excited to snap a photo and share it to their Instagram feeds.

They can then tag your brand in the photo, caption, and location, and inspire their followers to visit your business!

This can be as simple as adding a chic, neon sign or wall decal.

What are some other cool IG Trends you see going into 2019?

Coffee Talk with Phillip Clayton: Let’s Talk Branding

No man is an island and therefore, having conversations with someone that speaks my language is very important from time to time. Picasso had Matisse, Basquiat had Warhol, you get the drift. It’s important for me to have people in the industry, that I can discuss things like social media, advertising, brand development and graphic design. There are very few people that understand all those things and that do them well, Phillip Clayton to me is one of the few people that uses his online platform in the way that I do—to connect with thought leaders from all over the world and learn and interact with them.  He is a branding development specialist with over 15 years of experience working in the advertising industry. He is also a member of the International Commission of Judges for the 2019 PAC, Global Leadership Awards, a commission that celebrates great packaging design in the world. Yes, that’s makes us design nerds! We are very much a like in a lot of ways, and so it’s great to talk shop with him from time to time.

Phillip Clayton is a brand specialist and member of the International Commission of Judges for the 2019 PAC

We talked bout a lot of things in the span of four hours at a local coffee shop and he introduced me to this book called The Brand Gap, which is now my new favorite guide to branding. It confirms things I’ve known intrinsically for years, such as the no logo test and the idea that a brand is not just a logo (which I talk about in my previous article, Branding is More than a Logo. ) Anyways, let’s get to the nitty gritty.

We talked about a few things such as:

  • People skim on paying an agency to do research and develop their entire brand’s identity (not just their logo)  and rather pay a graphic designer peanuts to create a logo that will become obsolete in a few years or doesn’t appeal to their target audience.
  • A lot of people don’t understand the meaning of the word branding:

    Branding is a process of creating a unique image or name or logo or symbol or combination of any of these for a specific product in consumer’s mind which differentiates it from competitor’s products.

  • Phillip does not like the word “branding” and prefers brand development, whereas for me, the two can work interchangeably. However, where we both agree is that developing a brand identity is more than just a logo, it’s everything from how the company answers their phone, their internal comms, website–the full gamut of communication.
  • Many companies in Jamaica don’t understand the mixed messages they’re sending when their branding is so confusing. This can be as simple as a font choice. Color has a psychological effect as well, which I will touch on in another post.
  • The brands we love like Coca-Cola for example,  have been able to differentiate over the years by making only slight changes to their logo. The reason for this is that they understand their brand is more than just their logo, its everything from that signature bottle to the brand experience.Coca-Cola-e1453357263954-1024x407.png
  • Some brands know when to innovate by listening to their consumer, for example, Federal Express changed their logo to FedEx because that is what customers were calling the company anyway. So they listened and evolved.fedex4_thumb.jpg
  • Some brands think that jumping on every trendy viral topic is the way to go but if it isn’t true to the brand, then they should avoid it all together. For example, McDonalds decided to recreate the famous Banksy shredding painting with a graphic on their social media. The attempt seems lazy and forced and doesn’t speak well to Banksy’s painting or McDonald’s.
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AND finally, I’ve been talking about personal branding for years, and how using your presence online and offline can bring opportunities for you but David Olgivy puts it simply and we call can relate to this: you build a brand by doing the work, then the rest will follow.

So tell me what brands do you love and why? And do you love the brand because of the product or service it offers, or are the two not mutually exclusive? And should I continue this coffee talk series and talk to other people about branding and advertising? Who’s down?

Follow Phillip Clayton on instagram or twitter.