“Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa”

Should the general public meditate about what a pleasure is to have the possibility of admiring the work of the one that was claimed “the master of all of us” by Christian Dior.

The Basque Country houses a vast diversity of museums; however, it seems to be difficult to find a gallery in which you can just stare at a cute dress or at a pair of vintage shoes. Yet, there is an up to date unconventional place in Getaria (Gipuzkoa) called “Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa”. The museum is located in the town where the designer was born in 1895. He began to sew thanks to her mother who worked for the Marquesa de Casa Torres and other well-heeled families in the area. The many collections and dresses from Paris and London that he found in these houses introduced Cristóbal to the exquisite and refined European lifestyle. By 1907 he decided to move to San Sebastian in order to improve his sewing techniques. He started to work for some important families and boutiques while he travelled to Paris as a way of becoming familiar with the leading fashion houses in the international capital of fashion. It was in 1917 when he opened his first own house in San Sebastian which was attended by many popular characters such as the Queen Maria Cristina and the Infanta Isabel Alfonsa. Together with the Second Republic in 1931, many Balenciaga’s customers exiled and there was a drastic decline in haute couture. He made many efforts to strength his business, and he foundated different houses such as the one in Madrid at 42 Calle Caballero Gracia and the one in Barcelona at 10 Calle Santa Teresa. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he left the country and set up in Paris suspending the regular activity in the Spanish houses. By this time he also created his own firma, BALENCIAGA. In 1958 the French Government awarded Balenciaga with the title of Clavalier de la Légion d’honnoeur in recognition of services to the fashion industry. Cristobal designed Fabiola de Mora y Aragón’s, Marquesa de Casa de Torres’ granddaughter’s wedding dress by 1960, and decided to retire and close all his houses 8 years later, after fifty years of work. Finally, he died in Jávea (Alicante) in 1972 and was buried in the small cemetery in his hometown, Getaria.

A picture of Cristóbal Balenciaga sewing

Cristóbal Balenciaga sewing

At the beginning of Cristobal’s career, his works were highly influenced by the styles of the Second French Empire, with clear references to the 17th-century fashion. Spanish traditional and historical forms and techniques were also used at the creative process, in which every clothing item was different from the previous one due to the many details introduced by the designer. When analyzing his work during the 1960s it seems to be clear there is a style change. Although it continues having a traditional inspiration, this time it is combined with ultra modern and abstract forms.

Some Balenciaga's dresses

Balenciaga’s dresses

It was on June 2011 when the “Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa” was finally opened. It is a public institution aimed to keep alive and do research into Balenciaga’s works. More than 1.200 clothing items can be found there although only 90 are shown to prevent the other ones from getting damaged, and after a period of time they change all of them. Should the general public meditate about what a pleasure is to have the possibility of admiring the work of the one that was claimed “the master of all of us” by Christian Dior.

The raw material of the museum seems to be a great potential, but nowadays a perfect web communication plan is required in order to foster a start up business. The Balenciaga museum’s plan is based on four well known tools: a webpage, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube account. All of them are somehow connected, insofar as, for example, there is a direct access from the web page to any of the other accounts and vice versa. Every tool has a different aim and also distinct repercussions, and so it is better to analyze them separately.

One out of all of them provides us a great amount of different and useful information, the web page. When entering it, the first item that appears is a menu containing the following issues:

  • Balenciaga, in which there is a biography and some information about other collections and expositions.
  • Programme, here different events organized by the museum appear.
  • Museum, inside this item we find facts about the building and some data. We can also obtain information about the services and a guideline to apply for a job in the museum.
  • Support us, this is a space to explain how to become a “friend of the museum”, and to ask for donations and sponsorship.
  • Foundation with information about the Baleciaga Foundation: History, mission…
  • Communications, this is the space of the webpage in which you can find all publications and press releases concerning the museum.
  • Useful information such as how to arrive to Getaria, other museums in the surrounding area…

Clearly, the web page is the tool for everyone that wants to get specific and extended information about the museum. It is a well organized page that can answer almost any question and a good use of it is given thanks to the communication plan that basically consist on underlining their greatest difference: The fact of being a fashion museum. They know they can offer a type of exhibitions and activities that can only be carried out in that gallery, and so they publish many posts advertising diverse theoretical and practical workshop, like the design and textile screen printing lessons. As mentioned, there is also a space called “Support us” in which there is a possibility of becoming a “Friend of the museum”. This means developing customers’ loyalty by offering different advantages such as free admission, priority entrance and 10% discount in every museum activity or publication.

A picture of the museum's webpage

Museum’s webpage

The next tool is Twitter. This account is followed by 2.588 people, which means it is a good way of enhancing general public’s knowledge about the museum. The page has 4.423 tweets, that are not read only by the followers but also by the followers of every one that has retweeted them. Here we find pieces of news related with the gallery and coming events. As well as the webpage is a good tool for those who want specific information, this can be focused on a different public, that part of the society that is not thinking of going to the museum, but can be convinced by reading about it via Twitter.

A picture of the museum's twitter account

Museum’s twitter account

The role of Facebook is very similar to the one of Twitter; what is more, many tweets have links that guide you directly to a wider publication in the other social network. There are four main sections inside the account. In the first one we find photos about events related with the museum, while the second one remains visitors of the coming workshops and exhibitions. The third one is a list of every tweet sent in the connected Twitter account, and the last one is a chronologically organized gallery of pictures showing Balenciaga’s work. 4.149 people like the Facebook page, and so it has become another important tool to get people into knowing the museum.

A picture of the museum's Facebook page

Museum’s Facebook page

Finally, there is also a YouTube channel in which we find videos about the work done inside the museum, videos showing the building and some of the parties carried out inside it and also some workshops.

To sum up, the “Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa” has a very specific communication plan which is based in the originality of the project itself. The use of many different tools allows getting to many different types of public; young people via Twitter, families thanks to the webpage… The diversity of its services; including opening parties, workshops… helps to foster their business and due to some promotions broadcasted by this social network they ensure the loyalty of some of their customers.

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Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

As mentioned on my twitter account (@ArrutiMaria) I was thinking about writing about Bilbao Fine Arts Museum’s web communication plan, but I have just realized they don’t have a twitter or facebook account, so it’s almost impossible to complete the post using with this topic, but I am attaching some information about it so you can get into knowing the museum. CRONICA 11

bellasartes

Why use WordPress to power your small business website?

Here you have a piece of the article calles “Why use WordPress to power your small business website” by Don Campbell:

Top Five Reasons to Use WordPress for Your Small Business Website

  1. SEO – WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO) right out of the box. There are a few tweaks you need to make, but there are many seo benefits that WordPress provides for free. In fact Google’s own Matt Cutts says WordPress is “made to do SEO well” in this video: Matt Cutts gives tips to small business owners.
  2. Content – it is easy to update content on your website without knowing HTML.  Do you hate the idea of having to learn to use a complex HTML editor tool like Dreamweaver? Do you have to “ask” your webmaster every time you want to make a small change to your website? Well no longer – once WordPress is set up for you, you can easily create new pages or edit existing pages using a simple rich text editor.
  3. Extensions – There is a thriving ecosystem of developers creating themes andplug-ins – imagine free design themes, or the ability to extend your website with polls, contact forms, ratings or hundreds of other cool features without having to hire a web developer.
  4. Support – If you do have problems, or want to add very custom features, it is easy to find support and developers who can help you. There are literally thousands of WordPress developers out there. And there are so many people writing about WordPress that help is only a Google search away!
  5. One-click-installation – Quick installs are provided by many hosting providers, including Bluehost and 1and1.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks we’ve learned by using WordPress for a bunch of small business websites.

Reference:

  •  “Why use WordPress to power your small business website” by Don Campbell, Article.

The Golden Closet, communication strategy

Just a year ago, me and other three business associates decided to run a new business project called “The Golden Closet”. All of us were interested on fashion and clothing and wanted to open a new and different boutique. After being sponsored, financial issues were not a problem, and so we rent an establishment on the center of the city, and started to contact local designers. When everything was ready, we organized a great opening party which was completely successful and gave the boutique a refreshing and trendy image. Nowadays we own more than 15 properties in different countries such as Spain, France, Portugal and Italy. But, what is behind this development? There is just a possible answer to this amazing success, a well structured communication strategy.

Being original and different is a crucial issue in this hard clothing industry, as the competition is so fierce. With shops such as Zara or Massimo Duty, which work all over the world and have attractive prices, is hard to prosper as a large clothing company. That’s why we spent long hours working on our marketing and communications strategies; we needed to have a special and personal contact with our current and potential consumers. I would say that’s what makes us nothing like other large boutiques. After analyzing different social networks, it seemed like Twitter and Facebook were the most useful ones considering our aim.

On the one hand, Twitter has been undoubtedly our most advantageous communication tool. As our idea was to foster our business by using social networking, we decided to advertise our new collections, next parties, current collaborations with famous designers… via Twitter. But, this wasn’t enough to make our boutique an innovative one. So, we agreed on offering special promotions to our followers. Some of the advantages of following us were for example, getting a 5% discount by retweeting us, so that other people could read our messages, or by printing and showing our flyers. Further, some of the Twitter applications were also used, especially the ones aimed to foster a new business, like Twibs, in which we added our company in order to get sponsors and customers. By using Twtpoll we managed to combine Twitter and Facebook and to get feedback of our followers and friend. We everyday analyze their answers in order to improve our services.

On the other hand, Facebook was also a beneficial item. As mentioned, our Twitter and Facebook accounts were connected so every tweet appeared on Facebook and vice-versa, but it was especially used to have a more personal contact with our customers. We used the chat tool and private messages to pay attention directly to people who have any question or doubt, and this personal care make completely the difference.

Overall, it seem to be clear that in nowadays connected world social networking is the best way to foster your own star-up business. If you want to have a world-wide known company you should take into account that almost every industry is highly competitive and you should shown your most original face and make the difference. If you follow these pieces of advice I am sure you will succeed just like in the case of the project that once was our golden dream.

Vintage dresses

Vintage dresses

Blogger’s Code of Conduct

The Internet is a highly useful tool if it is used the way it is meant to be, but lately unacceptable behaviours have been appearing in some websites. Although these attitudes can’t be admitted, the fact of censoring them is seen as an attack to the speech freedom. As a way of avoiding these situations, some experts have been suggesting the creation of a code of conduct for a responsible use of social networks, blogs and forums. Many different issues have been devised.

They are mainly focused on individual users, and on the idea of using the website like we would do in any situations of our real life. In other words, you shouldn’t allow comments on your blog which you wouldn’t stand with in an everyday routine, and of course, you shouldn’t write comments you would never say face to face. So, responsibility yours not only in the sense of what you write, but also of what you allow to be written. Another way of moving abusive behaviours away from you could be eliminating anonymous comments and ignoring trolls, as they would finally get bored of talking alone. Providing that after all these steps you continue suffering this attacks, the best way of dealing with it, is speaking directly with the user, without making public statements. Always remember other people could also be in this situation, and, if we knew so, we should help them by talking to the infuriating user.

All this codes are controversial issues, especially because they have been understood as an attack to the speech freedom as they, supposedly, boost censure.  The author of the code has said that his goal was “to propose a system that would make it easier for sites to state their policies without having to write their own”. His intention was to establish some instructions to manage the use of blogs, forums and social networks as it is a world as big a intimidating, which can offers as many improvements, but also some problems.

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