The event industry is completely focused on ‘India’, and ignorant of ‘Bharat’: Anirban Das Blah, Founder, Kwan

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

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 11, 2017 8:41 AM

At the exchange4media BW Applause Awards held recently, Anirban Das Blah, Founder, Kwan, addressed the entire event industry about the burning need to concentrate on not just urban hubs but tier two and tier three cities/towns to conduct offline events. He made some pertinent points while also highlighting a few challenges.

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 is a Rs 100 cr business. According to Blah, events back in the day were all about clients asking who can give them 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 the present scenario, Blah observed that though the industry is far more structured now, it has still not reached its potential. He said, “We are still stuck in the mindset of managing an 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 about how we are going to compete effectively with the broader market and increase our revenue.” Further, he spoke about the need for the industry to get together and think into tapping the underutilised opportunities instead of 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 of the 3000 events which Kwan is associated with, approximately 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 focused on India, and ignorant of Bharat where 90 per cent of the population resides.” He also observed that clients wanting to promote in tier two or three cities almost never 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 a myopic view of what the market is, as an industry, we don’t challenge ourselves to go beyond our comfort zones.”

He further said that companies look at events very chronologically as what the market wants is premium or unique experiences. He reiterated that while brands and agencies are 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 the common goal of expanding their horizons.

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