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EEMAGINE 2011: Where ‘scaling up’ was for real!


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Events and entertainment industry set to grow 200% by 2015, predicts EEMA president.


The calm and serene drive to Varca district - venue of the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA)’s national convention, EEMAGINE 2011 - was hardly an indication of the three days of intense activity, enthusiasm and knowledge-sharing that lay in store for the 300-plus delegates who travelled to Goa from across the country. 


This was the fourth edition of EEMAGINE and Goa was to provide the much-needed retreat to event agencies, artiste managers, vendor partners, CEOs and  international speakers who were to address some of the biggest names in the Indian events business on topics associated with the key theme: Scaling Up. Speaking to IMPACT, Brian Tellis, president, EEMA, said, “Scaling Up, as a theme, was launched with the vision of taking the industry to the next level of success and prosperity.” Hence, the key topics of discussion included creating a great work environment, event risk management and safety, sports marketing, rural marketing, creation of client loyalty, and so on. 


Tellis, who was re-elected president of EEMA for the second time in a row, stated that the events and entertainment industry is at about Rs 5,000 crore. “By 2015, it will be around Rs 15,000 crore, which is a growth rate of 25% year-on-year. We are at 35% right now. Think of what we can do when we include the remaining 65%,” he added.


EEMAGINE focused on issues like human capital in events, academic tie-ups, strengthening of events’ course material, creating new state chapters and organizing more workshops that help produce better event professionals.


Keynote speaker Deep Kalra, CEO of makemytrip.com, dwelt on the many challenges of a start-up and the process of scaling up businesses. He suggested the concept of ESOPs and sharing profits and mentioned that the success of any organisation lies in getting the right team, trusting them and encouraging risk-taking. “The event was exciting and sharply executed. I am very impressed with the leadership and passion of the EEMA team and wish them every success,” Kalra later said. 


Sports marketing is a new sector of interest to many event agencies and Harish Krishnamachar, VP (South Asia), World Sports Group, provided an in-depth analysis of this field and brought out the commonalities between sports marketing and events. Krishnamachar spoke about the industry structure where media rights reigned supreme, followed by sponsorship, licensing, TV production, events, ticketing, and hospitality. Sponsorship and licensing is currently at $120 million and Krishnamachar claimed it would grow by another 20%. Player management, currently at $30 million, is expected to grow by 10%. “However, the sector that will see rapid growth will be events, ticketing and hospitality, which will see a 100% jump,” he predicted. 


Speaking on customer loyalty, Ambi Parameswaran, Executive Director & CEO, Draftfcb Ulka, cited the 10 commandments of creating a loyal client base:  Treat every assignment as the beginning of a long relationship and before the assignment is over, find ways to identify and start another assignment. Good pitches get you business, but good relationships help you keep it.”


The last session of the day was humorous as well as introspective. The audience was in awe of Raj Kumar Jha, National Creative Director, Ogilvy Action, & Vice President, RMAI, who provided insights into ‘Rural Marketing-The Unexplored Frontier’. He noted differences between rural and urban events and supported this with event visuals, concluding that all brands are identifying rural India as a significant potential market.


Viraf Sarkari, director, Wizcraft, spoke of qualities like passion, team spirit and risktaking attitude, and presented an insider’s story on how Wizcraft started with three partners and Rs 7,500 and went on to become one of the biggest and most innovative event properties. “Apart from focus, imagination plays a very important role in scaling up because it brings creativity. The Michael Jackson tour in 1996, managed by Wizcraft, was a classic example of taking risks for branding,” he said, adding that agencies could create event properties apart from regular events organised for clients.


EEMA members also had a candid discussion with Dipali Khanna, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Speaking on the Ministry’s expectations from the events industry, she said, “There is a huge market for events in the government, provided that the events industry is more honest about their strengths and weaknesses while filling tenders.” To make it a bipartite discussion, she also requested EEMA to hold workshops for the government to educate them on how to make the events industry-government liaison smoother and seamless. The discussion ended on a positive note where EEMA members stressed that the industry would like to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the government.


Among other speakers, Vivek Bhargava, founder & MD, Communicate 2, spoke on Social Media and integration with experiential marketing. Ashwini Singla, MD and Chief Executive, SE Asia for Penn Schoe Berland, spoke on ‘Getting the Press you deserve’. Kevin Cottam, Director of Multidisciplinary Events and inspirational coach at Aspire 4 Excellence Coaching, spoke about the importance of imagining one’s next meetings and projects to attain objectives that one had set. He also talked about having a well-defined vision and purpose and to encourage thinking out of the box. 


Subsequently, the EEMAX awards took place at Goa Marriott Hotel, and 22 agencies won a large number of trophies in gold, silver and bronze for their work in different categories. While Wizcraft and Encompass dominated the awards by winning eight awards each, E-factor Entertainment led by Samit Garg grabbed all the awards in the Best Wedding category, and Krayon Events took away all the awards in the Best School Contact Programme category. Varun Verma, National Head, Encompass, said, “EEMA is a great initiative for all of us in the events industry.”


Candid Marketing, Jagran Solutions, and Innobuzz Marketing Solutions won four awards each for their campaigns in different categories. Speaking on her  team bagging multiple awards, Poonam Lal, MD, Marketing Solutions, said, “It is a very exciting time for me and my team. Competing with industry stalwarts and winning purely on the basis of work is indeed an achievement. It reiterates my team’s belief that there are no shortcuts to recognition other than hard work.”


EEMAX also saw 70 EMG, Event Crafter and Vibgyor Brand Services winning two awards each for their campaigns. Filmfare Awards 2011, which were aired on  Sony Entertainment Television, helped Cineyug Worldwide capture its only award in the Best Live Televised event category.


Other agencies which won singular awards at EEMAX included Phase I Events & Entertainment, Markcom Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Fountainhead Promotions & Events, Impresario EMI, Beep Experience Management, SOI Live Marketing & Events, and WOW Events. Harish Babu, MD, Impresario Events, said, “Year after year, I see enthusiasm rising among members from the South. This year, we had 15 members participating in the event. It was really great to be among the Big Brothers of the industry.”


Two special awards this year for contribution to the events industry were given to legendary musician Louis Banks and Felix Remedios, MD Reynolds Sound & Lighting Services. Remedios commented, “When we started out as production companies for sound, lighting, and video, there wasn’t an event industry, as we know it now. The industry slowly earned recognition, and companies and corporations gradually started coming to professionals to organise events. We have grown with the industry. So, it is a great honour to be recognised and honoured by top professionals from the industry.” 


The awards ceremony was hosted by Vir Das, who provided the much-needed breather between the long list of awards with his witty one-liners and his multiple avatars from politician to event manager.


Speaking on the action behind the scenes, Ankur Kalra, general secretary, EEMA said, “We had over 60 awards given to outstanding events and promotions carried out across the country by EEMA members. It took us three months of planning and a team of 5-8 event companies to put together the entire convention. We were very fortunate to get excellent participation from the fraternity, and I feel that this convention will set the bar for future events in the industry.” 


Commenting on the EEMAX awards, Tellis said, “It gives me great pride to conduct such awards for the event and experiential marketing industry. This is a growing industry and rewarding good work will be a motivator. I congratulate all winners at EEMAX and hope to see them next year too.”


Feedback: sai.prasanna@exchange4media.com

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