A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective of the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. - Steve Jobs
What Steve Jobs said about experiences and design is so true about our media industry! Today, media companies are creating events or rather curating events as an extension of their editorial platforms. Media companies now prefer providing solutions to plain vanilla advertising, and are increasingly using events or experiential marketing vehicles to create brand experiences, drive sales as well as topline and bottomline contributions.
The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), in association with Ernst & Young (E&Y), had in 2012 unveiled a white paper on the Indian events and activation industry. The paper was based on E&Y’s research amongst CEOs of 32 Indian event management companies. In addition, 11 CMOs from corporate houses, and representatives of media houses were interviewed for specific segments of the survey. The report pegged the size of the organized events and activation sector at Rs 2,800 crore, growing at an average of over 20% during the last few years. It is expected to touch Rs 4,375 crore by 2013-14.
The size represented the revenue of organized events and activation agencies. It excluded the value of telecast rights of sporting events (unless owned by the events and activation management company),value of MICE by travel agencies, value of Intellectual Property not owned by event companies and properties managed by in-house activation teams, etc.
Indian media companies have lots of events, be it in the business-to-consumer domain or business media space, where brands have patronized them for many years and used the events or experiential platforms to create serious business value for their stakeholders and themselves.
Increasingly, conferences, workshops, awards, experiential sojourns and co-curated experiential platforms will increase in value to brands and to the participants of these experiences. Today, business media is showcasing best practices and showcasing icons to inspire the industry’s future leaders.
The consequent fatigue in the experiential industry is encouraging and I would say it is forcing leaders to re-think formats, strengthen content, create surround and embellish the experiences. I can talk from experience, as at exchange4media Group, we as IPR owners of one of the largest editorial platforms in the space, have re-invented and re-calibrated our events. We have had huge success with three events in the last 100 days - the IMPACT Digital Power 100, CMO League and Pitch CMO summit.
The response to IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 and IMPACT 50 Most Influential Women in Media, Advertising and Marketing has been overwhelming.
Business media and experiential platforms are a necessity. They fulfill the need of connecting face-to-face and provide inspiration. Speakers, when prepared well and in formats that are deep-dive, are engaging with paid audiences and not just invitees. They are enthralling.
Our CMO League event was an exclusive event for CMOs by invitation only and we did not abuse the word ‘exclusive’.
Face-to-face and experiential formats are evolving and media companies are sharpening the craft year-on-year. Be it the India Today conclave or GQ Man of the Year or Times Now’s Amazing Indians or CNN IBN’s Real Heroes, media companies are doing something or the other to create differentiation in their experiential platforms.
The Times of India creating the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) in Vancouver, Canada is a testimonial to the fact that the world is a stage and all we want is entertainment. It is a salute to IIFA. IIFA, I am sure, will do something to retain its premium quality and pioneering spirit.
Similarly, the Sunburn festival is another example and signal to brand owners and media owners that IPRs can be created out of India and that too on a scale that was earlier unimaginable.