With five elaborate floats and a cast of more than 3,400 performers dressed in attention-grabbing yellow and black costumes — dancing, singing, and proudly beating the Brazilian tamborim drum — the São Clemente Samba School's Carnival performance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a huge coordination operation and WhatsApp is proving to be the key to bringing teams together.
Roberto Gomes, the school's Vice President, says their festival success is all about teamwork and with the integration of WhatsApp into their workflow a few years ago, collaboration and coordination have improved dramatically.
Performing at Carnival since 1962, team members used to connect with each other over phone calls, text messages, and in face-to-face meetings, explains Roberto. Today, everything is faster and he insists that São Clemente now relies on the private messaging service to put on a world class show.
“We have to decide things in the moment. If something needs to be modified or created right away, information needs to be shared immediately; WhatsApp helps us with that. We have several groups for each part of the school such as the drums and the famous “baianas” (women from the state of Bahia, whose performances symbolize Carnival). WhatsApp groups help connect 1,000 team members.”
Carnival is a sensory spectacle and so too are São Clemente's WhatsApp groups. Text messages are vital but voice messages, video, and photos are frequently exchanged, too — guiding visual aspects of the performance like costumes and floats.
Everyone from dancers to drummers are assigned unique costumes, details of which are often discussed within and between departments via WhatsApp. Decisions made in these exchanges can have a big impact; some of the grandest costumes worn by performers positioned on top of the floats cost more than BRL 38,000 (approximately USD 10,000) each.
Jeferson Alves de Castro, in charge of 250 musicians, says the immediacy of information is key. “Sometimes, when I think of something new, I record it and send it to the others to see if they can play that way.”
Often described as “the biggest show on Earth,” Carnival is a celebration of diversity and togetherness and WhatsApp is helping to bring the São Clemente community closer together and put on a better, more show-stopping performance every year.