Great Networking And Scaling Is Key For Sponsors - Karan Bhangay, COO, The Indian Luxury Expo


Karan Bhangay, the brains behind the Indian Luxury Expo is a game-changer. Understanding the market and its needs, he grabbed the opportunity and tapped the right market to give India its very own and Asia's largest Luxury Expo. In talks with EE, he spills the beans behind his idea, the current market state and the obstacles he overcame.

An engineer by profession, how did the Indian luxury expo come along?

I’ve been in the media industry way before engineering happened to me. Being in the media, I saw that the technology side of the industry was taking over the print side of the industry. Today, if you’re a retailer, and you don’t have a shop, you can have a portal and still sell whatever product you want. You don’t really have to do a print version of the portal to get yourself noticed. It is the age of mobile phones and internet. I wanted to get into the world of going beyond just a magazine. That is when you give real time experience to the readers. Through the Indian Luxury Expo, my advertisors became exhibitors, and readers became visitors. Brands on getting associated with TILE get the opportunity to sell their products directly to consumers, they are able to have better customer engagement, andare able to market new products. If you’re a brand and you want to launch a new mobile phone, how and where can you launch it? Usually brands launch their new products in a small engagement in a five star hotel or a mall. But through The Indian Luxury Expo, we give the brands an opportunity to launch their products in a much larger scale in front of a filtered audience – their target audience, and also get national media coverage.

What was the biggest obstacle that you faced while conceptualizing TILE?

Transforming the particular mind-set of people to believe in the concept. People who are not exposed to technology and experiential marketing, don’t understand the value that such an event can add to their brand. So getting through to them was the biggest challenge. Pan india you haven’t heard of such a property so I overcome that through communication.

December 2012 was the first time the Indian Luxury Expo was launched. Since then we have moved to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore. But our next stop is Chandigarh. Why Chandigarh, you ask – smaller cities are more accepting for your products. Delhi has seen it all, so the impact that TILE will have in a smaller city is much more than the impact in a metropolitan like Delhi, Bombay, etc.

How was it convincing sponsors that TILE was worth all their investment?

For a sponsor it’s all about great networking and great scaling. If you expose the sponsor to industries that he is not exposed to, he is all yours. And I expose you to industries you are not already exposed to and that too in a very lavish manner. For example, my real estate partner is exposed to people who are beyond the real estate industry – your targeted audience is filtered, co-branding with other properties, etc. It gives you the targeted audience and not the masses.

How does the Indian Luxury Expo manage to run at a time when the Indian economy is declining day by day?

The Expo is a revolution to get a momentum in the market. It is the momentum much required to change the present state of affairs. A property like mine will get the market moving in the positive direction. The government needs to acknowledge that through a property like mine, we are at least keeping the businesses alive – if we don’t do it, it is bound to fall further. We help the market by not believing in the downfall.

How does TILE make its money?

TILE is an intellectual property that makes its money throughaffiliations. We are the biggest luxury expo in all of Asia. In the next five years we are going to be biggest property across India – like how Sunburn, and Lakme Fashion Week, are properties that India is very proud of, TILE will be the same for luxury.

What was the first response like?

Whenever a property happens forthe first time, it is breaking the ice. Yes, the response was immense; visitors had never experienced a property like this before.

The aim of TILE is to create an atmosphere to invest. To buy something you need to be in the mood. You have to create the right atmosphere. A property like mine creates the mood for a visitor to immediately buy the right product. Anexhibitor last year told me that he was chasing a customer for almost 2 years, never got an appointment, even when he did, he was disturbed and did not end up buyingthe product, but the same gentleman quickly bought it at the expo. Ours is not a gender based expo. Another amazing example is of aman who bought a Rolls Royce at the expo after much  negotiations that went on for an hour, hour and a half. The family, wife and a son were getting annoyed, so the man went about buying a piano for the son and the lady bought anINR 10 lac gold necklace. Later they sat over coffee at the lounge at the expo, had their food and left. That is the kind of environment we create.

Future plans?

I plan to launch a Luxury tabloid by the end of the month in Pune, Hyderabad, and other cities soon to follow. A couple of other projects are also in the line, but we’ll talk about them when the time comes.

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