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The Barbados Horticultural Society has won yet another Gold Medal at the highly prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London. This latest stellar performance means that Barbados has now won a total of 20 Gold Medals, 11 Silver-Gilt and 1 Silver over the course of 35 years at the Chelsea Flower Show, including a remarkable current sequence of 32 consecutive appearances.

The outstandingly high level of success consistently achieved by the Barbados Horticultural Society would be commendable at any level of competition, but it is truly exceptional in the case of Chelsea, which is widely regarded as the Olympics of the horticultural world with the highest and most demanding standards.

In choosing this year’s theme, The Charter of Barbados 1652, the group knew they were setting themselves a major challenge to recreate that nebulous concept as an attractive floral display. Mounted on a 20’ x 20’ standalone platform that visitors can walk around, the flamboyant floral display surrounds a wooden façade, made in Barbados by Anthony Roett, to depict The Mermaid Tavern in Oistins where the Charter of Barbados was signed, complete with a table and a replica of the Charter.

The high standard of the flowers and foliage this year is exceptional, featuring a blaze of reds and purples, created with Prince of Darkness, Volcano and Richmond Red Heliconias, Anthuriums, Stralitzia and Orchids, along with ‘flaming coal pots’ of Exotica and Crotons, and ‘market trays’ of Tropical Ornamentals such as Pink Pineapples and Purple Bananas.

An important secondary role of the Barbados exhibit at Chelsea is to promote the island as an attractive place to live or visit. With that goal in mind, the BHS, well supported by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Virgin Atlantic and other corporate and individual sponsors, has undoubtedly done an outstanding job of spotlighting Barbados to a massive British and international audience. In addition to the approximately 160,000 people who will visit the stand throughout the week, Barbados can benefit from the huge amount of media coverage that the Chelsea Flower Show always attracts.

This was particularly evident during Monday’s special Celebrity Day, when Barbados was very well represented by the ever-popular Ainsley Harriott, the UK’s iconic TV Chef, along with the celebrated British author and journalist Hunter Davies, both of whom are longstanding visitors to the island. Distinguished Barbadian guests included His Excellency Milton Inniss, the Barbados High Commissioner to London, and Cheryl Carter of the BTMI. Some extra flair was added to the Barbados exhibit by visits from several other UK celebrities, including Baroness Floella Benjamin, singer/actress Elaine Paige, celebrity chef Marcus Wareing, and TV presenter Dani Sinha.

The tremendous ongoing success of Barbados at the Chelsea Flower Show is very much the result of a great collective effort, whereby many people willingly share their skills and resources. This most recent Chelsea Gold Medal is another laudable example of how Barbadians can achieve truly world-class standards when they work together as a team.

-ENDS-

 

 

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Some of the Siren team have just come back from the Edge European Premiere with Celebrity Cruises. The two-night sailing left from Southampton on Monday 13th May, and everything Edge has to offer was made available to hundreds of media, influencers and travel agents.

Our biggest aim was to ensure that everyone had an amazing time and judging from the feedback we’ve received so far, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience for everyone onboard.

Across the event there were lots of immersion sessions on offer. These gave attendees the chance to be hosted by Cornelius Gallagher during a food tasting experience, to see the beautiful design across the ship including the Iconic Suite and spa designed by Kelly Hoppen, and even get the exclusive chance to have a tour of the Bridge, gaining more of an understanding of the technology behind it all from Captain Costas himself.

A personal highlight of ours was being able to experience the Magic Carpet – sitting over the water with amazing views and the breeze in our hair was definitely a memorable moment.

We had a fantastic experience, and a lot of that is due to the lovely other PR teams we were working alongside throughout the trip. It truly was a dream team, and we are very proud of how smoothly the whole event went.

As first-time cruisers ourselves, we have all been converted and would highly recommend the experience to anyone else. Many thanks to Celebrity Cruises and everyone onboard who made it the wonderful adventure it was.

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With big brands like Weatherspoon’s and Lush taking the decision to no longer have any official social media feeds, others might be considering following suit. While they have their reasons for taking this action and will have given it careful consideration, it feels rather drastic given the many, many good reasons for companies having a social presence. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Social media is at the heart of the consumer-brand relationship. Consumers find direct communication with brands to be more believable, are open to a range of interactions with brands, and feel that they can form stronger emotional bonds with brands on social platforms”.

So with that in mind, can brands really afford to not have a social media presence? Here are just a few of the business benefits which support the argument for making sure a company invests in social media marketing…

1. The way people consume media has changed radically since the arrival of social media. The channels a brand uses to share its content should be based on where its audience spends time. Connecting directly with a target audience is much easier when a brand is active in the channels that they use most often. If a brand doesn’t have a presence on social media, it could be missing out on an important chance to connect with customers and engage new prospects. Social media is also undeniably a significant customer service channel for those who can’t or won’t use the telephone.

2. Users have ‘opted in’. Consumers are more receptive to brand messages via social media. Social media allows brands to be more conversational and show a different, more human side. The content brands publish on these channels contributes to the brand’s personality and helps demonstrate its voice. It’s on social media that brands can make authentic connections with prospects and customers, rather than just delivering direct marketing messages.
 
3. Social media marketing gives access new customer insights. Customers are online and having conversations about brands whether the brand is present to engage or not. By interacting with prospects and customers on social media, brands can gauge what their customers’ interests are and what drives them. By analysing the conversations taking place on social media, a brand can gain a better understanding of what they care about most. Social listening is also a useful tool in the armoury for seeing what customers are saying about a brand, and use the findings to make changes to improve customer satisfaction.

4. Social media helps connect a brand with customers it doesn’t know…yet. Most brands rely on SEO and PPC to find and engage new prospects. By following certain keywords and checking trending topics, you can see who is taking part in conversations relevant to a brand. This can provide a business with a wealth of new prospect opportunities as well as head off any potentially disgruntled customer incidents or the sharing of incorrect information.

5. Increased brand recognition. Posting compelling content that adds value for the target audience makes a brand both more accessible and familiar. Through social media content, consumers are able to learn more about a brand and the value that it provides.

6. Social media marketing may help improve search engine rankings. Successful brands tend to have a healthy social media presence; therefore this presence may act as a signal to search engines that a brand is valuable, credible, and trustworthy. Though the ranking factors are always changing, it’s safe to assume that active, highly engaged-with social channels will help. It’s also important to note that social media profiles will likely show on the first page of Google when consumers are looking for a brand.

7. Marketing through social media increases inbound traffic. Social media provides another way to increase inbound web traffic and complements SEO efforts. Each piece of content posted to a brand’s social media profile is an opportunity to drive new visitors to its website. It’s important that the content published is engaging and adds value for the target audience. Quality over quantity is important, but the more quality content posted on social media channels, the more opportunities to engage new prospects and direct them to the website.

8. Different social media channels help you reach specific audiences. Brands can strategically target different audiences based on the channels that they are active on. The key to getting the most out of any social media engagement as a brand is to strategically choose which channels you plan to invest your time, money, and effort in.

9. Social media marketing helps improve brand loyalty. Social media is an effective way to build relationships with prospects and customers that lead to greater satisfaction and loyalty over time. A study from Texas Tech University shows that brands which engage with their current customers and target audience on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. By engaging with an audience through valuable, compelling content and conversation, brands can work to turn happy customers into brand advocates.

10. Consumers are looking for recommendations on social media. Word-of-mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing tools. It goes a long way in helping build trust with new prospects. In many ways, social media has become the new outlet for word-of-mouth marketing. Now more than ever, brands are encouraging their customers to leave reviews on their social channels, recommend their brand to friends and family on social, or provide testimonials. Consumers are more likely to buy from brands that have been recommended by peers.

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Siren recently attended the Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference hosted by The Business Travel Magazine, the first event dedicated to wellbeing in the business travel sector but certainly not the last.

Discussions covered the big four wellbeing influences including how well we sleep and eat, how much we move and how happy we feel. Tailored to suit business travellers, sessions discussed sleep and jetlag, mental health and stress, diet and creating a wellbeing policy in the workplace.

Given that one in six people show signs of mental illness in the workplace, emphasis was placed on the importance of workplace wellbeing policies and tips on what hoteliers, employers and organisations can do to encourage business traveller wellbeing.

The wellbeing industry is booming with younger generations fuelling the growth as they move through their working life demanding wellbeing policies that value the human assets within organisations.

There is a growing demand on organisations to accept greater responsibilities around employee wellbeing, and employers should be prepared for the inevitable by having their employee wellbeing policies in place.

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