This report considers ways through which promotion is used for the Notting Hill Carnival. It further considers how promotion for the same event can be expanded on. This is done in reference to the marketing mix employed or that can be employed. Critical to developing a marketing mix is research. From available information, there are many challenges that mar the Notting Hill Carnival’s organization and management. To each particular challenge, an intervention has been designed based on the 7 Ps of a market mix. The assumption is that once a perfect mix has been achieved, the Notting Hill Carnival Brand will continue to excite and attract more participants.
Notting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival is a very notable activity that many people associate with. To a great extent, as a brand, it has grown to be synonymous with what London and Londoners are. It reflects the diversity and dynamism that characterizes London (Duncan, 2008). This event started as a low key event aimed at celebrating something Caribbean among the blacks of London. Slowly it has developed to capture the interests, in many ways competing ones, of all peoples in London or the larger Britain. What distinguishes or sets apart the Notting Hill carnival is the cultural richness it presents. Anyone coming to the carnival has an opportunity to encounter and interact with very many diverse cultures. This is one event that makes London breeze with life and vibrancy (Duncan, 2008). It helps distinguish and highlight the uniqueness of London as a culturally diverse capital city.
This carnival does not just remain at the level people coming out in great costume designs. It has distinguished itself for the kind of performances that participants display. Artists of all sorts come out and are able to perform for members of the crowd who are very eager to join in performances. Some of the key elements on which the carnival is built are music, culture and costume (Duncan, 2008). Music comes into play through the many musical artists and DJs who come to perform. Culture is expressed through people displaying and acting out what they have inherited or what was passed onto them as their cultural heritage and costumes.
Challenges in Promoting Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill carnival started long ago in 1959 (Duncan, 2008). It started off as a small event but at the moment boasts of a momentous response and participation. Unfortunately, as it continues to attract crowds, problems and challenges for the organizers and managers of the event increase momentously. Some of the serious challenges are related to raising enough funds that can help ensure a safe and vibrant carnival. Therefore, key to promoting the carnival is ensuring that safety is guaranteed and the vibrancy not lost (Duncan, 2008). Some of the key benefits that accrue from the carnival are the interaction of cultures, sharing on customs and people learning general issues from each other.
The challenges that mar the Notting Hill Carnival’s organization and management include or could be associated with some minority groups not getting an opportunity to perform due to many performances, lack of recognition of some art forms and failure at capacity building for minority groupings e.g. the blacks and Asian artists (Duncan, 2008). There is a general perception some forms of art by minority groups do not fit into the definitions of art as devised by majority group dominated agencies. The other challenge faced by the organizers or promoters is the inability to be able to convincingly differentiate performers from the audience. The question would be, ‘should all participants be looked at as performers or some percentage of them is the audience while the rest are the performers’. The final, major, challenge or issue worth paying attention to is in terms of safety. How is the safety of the people to be guaranteed without getting the police too involved as to cut on the enjoyment of the people?
Brand Resonance and Promotion
Promotion of a product takes into account many aspects. It is through promotion that the considerations put into the other Ps of a market mix are communicated to the general public (Kotler, Pfoertsch & Ines, 2006). The aim of promotion is to keep the product or service in the minds of the customers or clients. Promotion often involves advertising, public relations and sales promotions. It may also involve such activities like personal or direct selling where personal contact with the customer is the desired result.
Advertising consists in creating awareness for a product through a number of Medias (Kotler, Pfoertsch & Ines, 2006). The Notting Hill Carnival has traditionally been advertised over signboards, word of mouth e.g. people sharing experiences, via the internet, and brochures. In these days when clients are internet intensive, the organizers would do best by relying more on social media for advertising. A movement towards that would result into more people being reached by messages concerning the activity.
A market mix refers to the proper working around with different aspects of a good or service to get a customer to believe in the value for his money as inherent in the given product that is being sold to him or her (Kotler, Pfoertsch & Ines 2006). Traditionally, a market mix took into account four P’s i.e. Product, Price, Place and promotion. Overtime, there has been addition of three more P’s i.e. people, physical evidence and process (Palmer, 2007).
Developing a marketing mix to expand the promotion for the Notting hill carnival is not easy. This is informed by the idea that first we are dealing with a service here. Like all services, the challenges are in creating the physical evidence that would encourage tourists to believe the event is worthwhile. The market mix is supposed to cater for the two market segments i.e. the Londoners and the tourists from other parts of the Europe or the world in general.
A proper market mix is not possible without research. Market research helps in understanding product characteristics in relation to the market or environment (Kotler Pfoertsch & Ines, 2006). The business environment consists of both internal and external factors. It is only after both internal and external factors that one is able to formulate a good market mix. Such environmental factors include by are not limited to competition, workers, suppliers, political, social, economic, legal, technological and competitors.
Environmental scans in relation to Notting hill carnival will help reveal its strengths as well as weak points. The analysis of findings from an environmental scan also help in identifying the threats and opportunities to a given trade or business concern. On the strengths side, it has been argued that due to cultural diversity, great artistic performances and great costume designs displayed, the Notting Hill Carnival is a great tourist attraction. On the weaker side, the carnival is marred by many challenges.
The purpose of the market mix is brand building and management. Market communication is a crucial element necessary for brand building. Kotler, Pfoertsch & Ines (2006) indicates that the brand pyramid consists of four levels, which are characterized by salience, performance and imagery, judgments and feelings and finally the pinnacle characterized by brand resonance.
Brand resonance is achieved as long as brand identity is well choreographed. This is followed by efforts to improve brand performance mainly by working on brand imagery. Customer judgments have to be taken into account as well as their feelings. This helps in bonding customer to brand i.e. if the process is well designed and executed a customer will strongly identify with the brand. In the case of Notting Hill Carnival, the question is how to design market communication as to address the mentioned challenges.
Reworking the Market Mix to Expand Promotion
In 2002, a study was instituted by the Mayor of London to establish how much revenue the Notting Hill Carnival contributes towards the economy of the city and its environs. The findings showed that the carnival had considerable economic benefits to the city and had a lot of potential for further growth (Duncan, 2008). The establishment of its substantial economic value informs its continued enjoying of support from government. The Notting Hill carnival establishment is actually considered as a national institution.
Notting hill Carnival has to be positioned in the market in line with certain ideals. Positioning refers to identifying a product with given admirable qualities. This helps towards people associating or identifying with the product. This Notting Hill Carnival is known to represent or to be anchored on ideals such as liberty, empowerment of minorities and brotherhood or unity. This has to be embodied in the positioning of the event. The marketing communication ought to present Notting Hill Carnival to Londoners and tourists as the one unifying, empowering event in which people of all cultural and socio-economic origins celebrate the beauty of living in freedom. To strengthen this position, market communication has to explicitly show the contextual freedom that frames this event. This would necessarily rely heavily on communicating the multi-cultural and dynamic spirit that informs activities or performances during the event. To financiers, Notting Hill Carnival should be positioned as the greatest tourist attraction to London.
The first P considered in a marketing matrix is product. The product in question here is a service. Services unlike goods often pose challenges such as intangibility and inseparability (Palmer, 2007). A service therefore lacks physical evidence that would help client judge its quality or value before consumption. The only way of judging the final quality of a service is by buying and experiencing it. The product mix for Notting Hill Carnival could only be changed by varying type of performances allowable in the event. The exciting variation of performances communicated over social media, through billboards and brochures would raise excitement about the event.
Pricing is a critical P in the market mix for a service. Often for a service, a high price is indicative of quality to be expected (Palmer, 2007). However, for the Notting hill carnival, capping a price to it is not possible. Price as an aspect of the market mix may only apply to the levies on tourists or prices of goods that carnival goes may use or want to buy. Brochures or information on prices of things at the carnival can be a great encouragement towards participation.
Promotion as a third P in the market mix is critical. This is the key thing that marketers or organizers for the event have to focus on. A good marketing campaign delivers on revenue. It is only proper promotion that would encourage people to continue valuing the event. For the local market, advertising as an aspect of promotion efforts have to continuously take into account contending views of different interest groups. People have to be assured of due consideration and respect for their cultures and custom as well as works of art. As for the moment, the event is widely dreaded on the basis of the criminal activities that happen during the event. Actually, the media has generally overridden the economic worth or revenue that accrues from the event. One way of redeeming the image of the event is by contextualizing its development and helping people realize how historically things have happened to date. A detailed understanding of the carnival’s history is likely to help the public appreciate the event some more. Such like market communication would also help the people appreciate the enormous difficulty in the organization and managing of the event.
The promotion activities especially advertising, has to assure and ensure that the carnival will remain as enjoyable and vibrant as ever. Sustainability is of essence and this has to be communicated especially to the financiers. Financiers can only be sure of sustainability if the public remains interested in the event. The brand has to be rejuvenated; often through highlighting different aspects that would otherwise be forgotten. The market communication has also to serve the purpose of clarifying contention and competing interests.
Place as the fourth P in the marketing mix is of crucial importance in the promotion and marketing of the Notting Hill Carnival. First it is situation in London the capital city of cultural diversity and dynamism is a great attraction. However more attention needs to be given to the routing of the whole carnival. If the routes can be well mapped bearing in mind the crowds and anticipating route ways in case of emergency, the risks associated with the carnival will somehow be minimized.
Physical evidence is a crucial aspect of the market mix in the case of the Notting Hill carnival. This is as a result of inseparability and intangibility of the carnival as an event. Of prime importance for the event is physical evidence of safety which can be communicated through commercials and other Medias. This kind of evidence could be provided through good coordination of procession lanes, police presence that is reassuring and closer operations of paramedic organizations that would provide medical attention in case of anything. The physical presence of the mentioned plus the communication; announcing of it through media could reassure people. The mentality people have that the event just happens has to be corrected. Advertisements should help people know of concerted efforts employed in the organizing and managing of the event. Despite glaring limitations, people are likely to trust and enjoy the event without much worry. Physical evidence could also be provided through pictures taken, videos of people having lots of fun and arrangements e.g. discos that guarantee really entertainment for the carnival goers.
The sixth P which is people is of critical importance. In any organization, workers matter a lot in defining how the rest of the market interacts with the organization or a brand (Kotler, Pfoertsch & Ines, 2006). For the Notting Hill Carnival, great attention has to be given to the formation of committees and personnel in the organizations that organize and manage the event. Where there are competing interests, it is only proper that interest groups are well represented in the organizing and management. This guarantees their continued interest and cooperation in taking the brand or organization to a higher level. People would also refer to the kind of artists invited to spice the carnival. There are artist who enjoys awesome rapport with the carnival goers. Those are the people to be sought out and invited to perform during strategic times or places on the routes. This would add a lot of value and credence to the whole exercise.
The final P to be considered in the market mix is process. Process refers to the actual production activity (Palmer, 2007). For a carnival day, it would refer to happenings and orderliness on the actual material day. If things can work out according to schedule, the carnival will gain more credence than if things worked out in a chaotic way. Organizers and managers need to be able to anticipate possible sources of interruption, criminality and sealing those avenues early enough. This way, credence is lent to the participation in the carnival.
If promotion is expanded in the context of the market mix as explained in this paper, the confidence in the carnival will grow. Rather than people focusing on the negative things and challenges or threats posed by the carnival, they will focus on the fun and big ideals that the event celebrates. By so doing, the event will run for long earning revenue while helping toward better culture by the Londoners and tourists.
Duncan A. 2008. Walking London. 6th Ed. Holland Publishers: New Zealand
Kotler P., Pfoertsch W., & Ines M., 2006. B2B brand management, Springer: USA
Palmer A. 2007. Principles of Service Marketing. 5th Ed. McGraw Hill: London