Brand and consumer must meet in a conducive environment- Owen Roncon, co-founder, Fountainhead

After the successful closure of Mahindra Open Sky, a two-day voyage of adventure, arts, music, star-gazing et cetera, at Jodhpur, Rajasthan, we spoke to the Co-founder of Fountainhead MKTG, Owen Roncon, about their approach towards brands, selection of venues, challenges in the field of experiential marketing and more. The event was produced and promoted by Oranjuice Entertainment, which is a division of Fountainhead MKTG, now part of Dentsu Aegis Network. Excerpts:


Which are the major brands you have worked with?

We would like to think of this more as long-term partnerships, and thus have worked with the Mahindra Group, the Aditya Birla Group, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and many more.

What is the most important factor you keep in mind while creating an experience for a particular brand?

It is imperative to understand that our partners are looking for a meaningful and consistent dialogue with a certain type of audience. Thus, our job is to ensure that any experience we build for the brand leaves a lasting, relevant impression, that has a life both on ground and online. Our aim is to build relationships between brands and their consumers.

How important is the integration of technology to create experiences?

Technology is only as good as how well or cleverly it is being used. Only recently, we executed the Arijit Singh concert for MPower Minds and integrated a holographic projection of the artist at the end of the show, to the delight of his fans. There are many such uses of technology, which when well used, enhance the consumer’s journey on ground. Good Technology can completely enhance the experience as well as make it far more efficient.

What are the key factors you keep in mind when deciding on venues?

There are several factors one must account for while picking a venue- the cost of venue, accessibility and venue capability for how many people it can accommodate, proximity to city limits, parking facilities etc. Additionally, a venue that can render services and amenities especially proper sanitation and power is a top priority. 

The most important factor is also to ensure that one can accommodate for the audience’s health and safety through sufficient entry and exit points, placement of paramedics, and ambulances close to the audience in attendance.

You have mentioned that you take a brand problem and transform it into a wholesome experience keeping the brand value intact, how do you approach that?

We create the physical manifestation of a brand’s philosophy, and through our products, we try to demonstrate the brand’s values in an effort to get his consumer more involved. As an agency, our constant question to ourselves is how do we create real brand love. How do we get a consumer to believe that this brand truly loves and cares for me. That is the story we try to sell.

There are two factors to keep in mind while building an experience- the brand story and how its audience should perceive it. Often times, one forgets about the latter while coming up with a brand solution and that’s where an experience can fall short. This becomes a one-way communication from brand to the consumer. The key here is that both brand and consumer meet in a conducive environment that allows for a meaningful dialogue.

Do you observe brands moving budgets towards experiences?

The events’ industry in India is growing at a fast pace and brand are at the forefront with intellectual properties (IPs), personal events and product launches. They understand to attract the right consumer, one must be present both physically as well as digitally and thus have moved their spends towards both.

What are the challenges in the field of experiential marketing and how do you deal with it?

As in any creative field, the real challenge is the next big idea. I believe this is the greatest challenge. As the industry keeps growing we are confident we will attract greater creative minds from other fields such as advertising, film, theatre etc. who will only enhance the field of experiential marketing. While we try and push the bar as much as we can, we are also creating a fertile environment for future creative minds.  

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