Experiential Industry after COVID-19: Shripad Kulkarni

COVID-19 provides us with the opportunity to take stock, strategize and launch a huge drive to organise the unorganised experiential market writes Shripad Kulkarni.


I have been observing the Experiential Industry as a Media Planner and Buyer for the last 3 decades. This is my view of the Experiential Industry, from the sidelines. A view beyond COVID-19.

Yes, you read that right : life after COVID-19! That’s because we can do our bit but must leave the flying to the pilots – Govt and Healthcare machinery! Think of it, we have a big opportunity to take stock and chart the course of the Industry. We can do this by focusing on the future. By creating our future, so to say! And all of us in any case need a re-boot to be relevant and thrive in the changing dynamics.

COVID-19 provides us with the opportunity to take stock, strategize and launch a huge drive to organise the unorganised experiential market. In short, plan the future of the Experiential Industry!

Experiential Industry is one of the few in Marcom with real toplines and healthy bottomlines! That’s known. I will illustrate the stocktaking of the Experiential Industry before COVID-19 in brief, with three anecdotes.

Anecdote One

I remember a very senior ex-colleague from the Experiential Industry telling me in the context of Annual Reviews, a couple of years back: ‘We just put some numbers, as we have very little assured business. We are as good as the last big event “!

Anecdote Two

Recently Dr Annurag Batra pushed me to do a Market Sizing of the Experiential Industry and after grueling Top down and bottom up simulations, I estimated the size to be Rs 85086 Crores, with the Organised Sector just under Rs 10000 Crores and Weddings accounting for a good Rs 30000 Crores!

Anecdote Three

COVID-19 surfaces and I see a story in BW Everything Experiential saying that as a result of the slowdown, Industry (Organised) will lose Rs 3000 Crores!

The Organised Experiential Industry has a huge opportunity of thousands of Crores of Experiential business waiting to be organised! Yes there are challenges galore. Discussed in many forums. But Organise, we must!

The starting point of this new outlook is a vision, and I give below a few thought starters as action points.

The Vision:

What if we target that in 3 years, the No 1 Experiential Agency revenue should be Rs 8000 + Crores?

Some Thought Starters:

· Like the Digital space, should we target ‘Growth’ Funding? We could, for example solicit Investors to build physical and digital infra.

· What if we drew out an Industry-wide SOP Certification for all our execution partners to follow? Lack of standardization and short cuts is one of the main

reasons organised players are seen to be more expensive.

· What if we look at building, funding and promoting our partners much like the auto Industry, as our ‘ancillary industry? Maybe one of the leaders can do a backward integration and set up a massive execution facility all can use.

· What if we take a quantum leap into Technology and Digital with big investments? Much of this could drive more efficiencies, drive scale and lead to an upstream industry Sector.

A simple Question needs answers:

What do we need to do to be a Rs 50000 Crore Industry by 2023?

( Shripad Kulkarni, a veteran in the media planning and buying business and Founder of Shripad Kulkarni & Associates)

Tags assigned to this article:
experiential industry COVID-19 coronavirus events

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