Brian Tellis, Chairman of Fountainhead Promotions and Events, was re-elected as President of EEMA. Also, members of EEMA's national executive committee were announced, with Atul Nath, MD, Candid Marketing, appointed as Executive Vice President; Rajesh Verma, MD, CRI Events, as General Secretary; and Rajiv Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment, as Treasurer. In addition, Tabassum Modi, Director, Krayon Events; Mandeep Singh, CEO and MD, CPM India; Siddharth Ganeriwala, Founder & Director, Aura Integrated Solutions; were each appointed as Secretary. Roshan Abbas, MD, Encompass Events, and Sameer Tobaccowala, CEO, Shobiz Experiential Communications, were named as Patrons.
Talking about the first day of EEMAGINE and the annual general meeting, Tellis, President of EEMA, told EVENTFAQS: "Day one and the AGM was very encouraging. The attendance firstly was very encouraging and beyond that, the quality and abundance of inputs was great. The greatest difference this year was that everyone tried to add value with their participation instead of just complaining of what wasn't happening or could be better. A great sense of comradery, both social as well as professional."
The second day of the convention witnessed sessions on various topics by eminent personalities. The opening session of the convention saw Tellis discussing the focus areas of EEMA in the coming year which included education, standard practices, dealing with the government on various areas, and taking brand EEMA forward with strong PR efforts, among other things.
Media personality and event manager, Roshan Abbas opened the conference, discussing the role of an event manager and the client-agency relationship. He emphasized on the need for event managers to change because clients have changed. He noted that event managers need to change from being reactive to clients to being proactive to an audience. Abbas also discussed the importance of gathering data from activations and treating employees as the most important asset. He also recommended that EEMA hire a CEO who is accountable and reports back to the association. He also suggested getting an Agency On Record status and emphasized the need to collaborate.
Following Abbas, the first session was ‘Thinking Tomorrow', conducted by Vahid Mehrinfar, Founder & Chief, Vahid Associates Brand Futurists. Mehrinfar discussed the need to get out of comfort zones because comfort and ambition don't go together. He emphasized the need to move from being content to curiosity. "When you want to change, you have to evoke imaginary participation, to ensure what we say we should do, actually happens. Assimilate virtual consensus, live in that world, develop techniques, and develop a silent dialogue with your audience. Pre-empt what will happen till the very end," Mehrinfar said at the session.
The second day of the convention also witnessed a session called ‘Be the Change' by TV and film producer Ekta Kapoor. She spoke about the changes in content of GEC, based on small, internal understandings of society, where programming and shows created by her were first based on traditional Indian society values and later, moved to more urban problems/realities of society. Then came the realization of how entertainment was also about larger than life entertainment which was achieved through films. She recommended breaking the rules, noting that if you follow the rules you will achieve success, and if you break rules and even fail, you will still set learning for an industry that you flourish from.
A panel discussion with CMOs was also conducted on the kind of change they would like to see in event agencies. Moderated by Anurag Batra, CEO, exchange4media, the panel included Ranvijit Singh, CMO, HP India; Lloyd Mathias, Founder & Director, GreenBean Ventures Pvt. Ltd.; Neeraj Sanan, EVP, MCCS; and Sameer Tobaccowala, CEO, Showbiz. Each of the panelists first made a presentation about the importance of integrated media approach and the changing value of experiential.
The discussion that followed dealt with some apparent problems in the client-agency relationships like dealing with procurement teams, clients not maintaining sustained/long term relationships with their event/experiential partners, and the issue of clients still treating event companies as vendors and not partners, among other things.
There was also a session by Danielle Barclay, MD, TRO Australia, who talked about overall experiential marketing, what comprises a good campaign, the changing consumer behaviour, and the importance of the digital aspect in a campaign. Finally, there was a session on ‘Mantras to Success' by Martin Da Costa, CEO, 70 EMG, who discussed the importance of having good quality content, the challenges that the industry faces, and how they will determine the success of its future.
The second day of the convention ended with an evening of entertainment and dinner.