EEMA’s new president Sanjoy Roy calls for action to strengthen India's events industry

In today’s hyper-connected world where every second seems to be a race to the finish, the quantum of messaging pushed out to the ‘online milieu’ has imploded. It’s not news nor views that make the NEWS, it’s fake news that finds more eyeballs and creates a lasting impression!


In a scenario as proliferated by information such as this, how will brands stand out and make a true impact? The digital medium’s biggest disadvantage is its inability to reinforce a ‘lasting impression’ because of the lack of the ‘touchy feely’ factor which is what allows our brain cells to format what we know as `memory’!! The millions of images that pepper our screens and bounce off our eyeglasses tend not to have `a sticky factor’ and thus fail to imprint themselves on our psyche.

Santa Claus, a derivative of Saint Nicklaus adapted by Coca Cola to be its brand ambassador, sporting the now famous red Santa costume, denoted happy families, joyous times, celebration, gifts and more. It was the perfect ‘experiential’ marketing roll-out ever! Shah Rukh Khan’s `come to Dubai as my guest’ personalised an experience and created a sticky factor – implanted a memory!

Experiential marketing events will become more and more rarified; a box at Centre Court at Wimbledon or at the French Open, or at the finals of the T20 are not nearly enough any longer. Tomorrow’s events will have to go way beyond this. Niche events where you fly 20 – 30 people to the Antarctic ice shelf for a sleepover or to watch a faultlessly choreographed contemporary dance act by a group of performing penguins who invite you to their home for a meal of albatross and flying fish is what will be the norm!

Marry history, culture and built heritage with tradition and the exotic, creating experiences that are both breath-taking and visually satisfying, along with being gastronomically heightened, offering up the pleasures of retail therapy, or create occasions that allow people to bond together: you are certain to feel love all around, find peace, celebrate life itself or perhaps embark on an adventure that you will never forget! 

Most companies and ‘event professionals’ tend not to think out of the box and prefer to copy, adopt, adapt or steal ideas rather than experiment, experience and invest in long term brand building experiences. 

The need of the moment is education and information – old advertising is long dead…make way for the new! To do this you need daring corporate marketing managers to make a leap of faith and take a risk, young professionals who understand their clients and sweep them off their feet not just with a stupendous set and fanfare music but by being able to keep them entrenched at the heart of an event. 

The event and experiential industry in India is worth tens of thousands of crores; it provides jobs, contributes to local economies, employs millions and yet we remain in the shadows, working under the radar, away from mainstream narratives of policy and business processes, continuing however to bring in riches in a form that isn’t recognized and cannot be tabulated. 

We need to clean up our act and clear out the skeletons in our proverbial cupboard. We need to ensure flawless health and safety standards and steer away from accidents and incidents which seem to haunt us, we need to put into place good governance and HR systems. 

We have to nurture the young, celebrate genius, bring in a sharp sense of design and throw out faux and tacky outdated acts; above all, we should be driven by a hunger to be original and thereby create that one occasion which will live on in people’s memories!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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