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The event industry is completely focussed on India, and ignorant of Bharat: Anirban Das Blah, founder, Kwan

Anirban Das Blah, Founder, Kwan was one of the many esteemed speakers at exchange4media BW Applause Awards held on October 6, 2017 in Mumbai.

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Blah spoke addressing the entire event industry about the burning need to concentrate on not just urban but tier two and tier three cities/towns to conduct offline events. He made some pertinent points about the same and also highlighted a few challenges. Here’s a gist of his informative and engaging address at the summit.

While introducing himself, he was modest as he called self a ‘failed event manager’. He admitted that events are a ‘bloody tough business’ and therefore they were forced with no other choice but to shut them down. He also later clarified that his company Kwan, today, partners with around 3000 events in a year and owns is a Rs 100 cr business with his business partner. Blah spoke how the industry has come far in seven years and has definitely become more streamlined with progressing time. According to him, events back then were all about clients asking who can give me the lowest cost. Talking about the challenges while organising large scale events, he spoke about the failed ticketing models, lack of good venues and the fact that there was corruption involved which led to agencies incurring losses.

Cut to present scenario, Blah observed that though the industry is far more structured now, it still has not reached its potential. He said, “We are still stuck in the mindset of managing a event but we don’t realise that our battle is with marketing the same. Every event is competing with an ad put out of another such event in Times Of India or a hoarding in Haji Ali but we don’t think about that. We approach brands and create events. But we don’t think it through how do we compete effectively with the broader market and increase our revenue.”Further, he spoke about the need to discuss for the industry to get together and think into tapping the underutilised opportunities instead on wasting time on observing how changing the external factors would affect the same.

He gave a few examples where the industry can work together and realise their full potential. He revealed that about of 3000 events which Kwan is associated with, about 2500 happen outside the metros. He explained, “In a city like Mumbai, there are around 30 events organised over the weekend which are forgotten the next Monday. The same can be accrued of other metros. The event industry is completely focussed on India, and ignorant of Bharat where 90 per cent of population resides.” He also observed that clients wanting to promote in tier two or three cities never almost come to event management companies.

“It blows my mind to think that almost never have we been approached to do a Bollywood tour in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jaipur or Patna. Cities are saturated markets. Events happen every day, forget every week. When we go to Bharat, the people lack such experiences.  We have such myopic view of what market is, as an industry, we don’t challenge ourselves to go beyond our comfort zones. “

He further said that the companies look at events very chronologically as what the market wants is premium or unique experiences. He reiterated that while brands and agencies and selling ‘one-night stands’ to consumers via events, they need to build a relationship with them which will prompt them to come back for more. The session ended with Blah urging the events fraternity to come together and work towards to common goal of expanding their horizons.


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