Sumit Chandhoke Moves on from SALTxp To Start His New Venture
by Madiha Khan Industry Watch | March 11, 2019 | Interview
Sumit Chandhoke recently moved on from his role of CEO at SALT Experiential Marketing (SALTxp) to work in the CSR segment of the event industry. His new venture is named Sumit ChandhokeXP. In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS, Sumit Chandhoke, former CEO of SALTxp, speaks about his contribution at SALTxp and his future plans.
Please elaborate broadly on your role at SALTxp, and what you achieved over the years you lead the agency?
Taking up the responsibility as CEO SALTxp from day one, the road map was pretty much set. We needed to be fast but steady. Pitching to multiple clients and hoping to win a few was the way of most event companies. We were pretty sure we wanted to build accounts and therefore build teams that would be dedicated and focused to growing an account, and that not only takes understanding the marketing initiatives of the brand but also the brand itself and the people in it. Hemant Dahiya’s (MD SALTxp) vast experience in MICE and hospitality and my expertise in event management were a perfect mix for our 1st client, who is the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world, and many companies in the future of SALTxp. We were to become a one-stop shop that was breathing and living a client brand and offering all solutions. Each project created the impact they needed and we became the preferred agency on board for all their projects and they became our largest client till date.
Well entrenched, the second year we went for the largest ‘Spirit’ company in India, probably the world. A fashion tour pitch between top agencies in India and SALTxp came out on top to win a four-year contract for the tour, which lasted for five and in continuation. The property which had lost its charm over the years won the ‘Lifestyle Property of the Year’ consecutively for two years after being taken over by SALTxp. We were hungry and relentless, and started penetrating into the other brands in the company winning us multiple four- year contracts.
By the 3rd year, we were a proud but a focused team of over 100. Our multiple awards wins at the industry meets gave us more confidence and we went all out charged to keep the momentum going. Our work was getting popular in the industry and many doors started opening for us and we kept delivering. In 2015, the 3rd year of SALTxp, we were declared the 4th largest experiential marketing company by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, making us the fastest growing in this space.
This unprecedented growth gave us the belief that we were a force to reckon with, and the progress ahead has been nonstop for SALTxp as it grows its clientele now in the FMCG and the IT sectors. From bringing the best of experiences to being a preferred partner with many clients, SALTxp has come a long way in these 6 years and has matured into a company that is conscious of the needs of the clients and responsible to the field of event management.
From 0 to multi-crore, from 3 to over a 100 Salt’sters, from award-winning international productions to on ground product activations, from launching new brands in the industry to building on ground engagement platforms, from creating experiences with technology to activating heart-warming CSR campaigns, it has been a remarkable ride for me in these last 6 years heading SALTxp, and I have Hemant Dahiya and all the amazing Salt’sters to thank for it. This relationship will stand out in my two decades of being in this industry.
What has led to your moving on from SALTxp? Who will take over your duties within the agency?
The last 6 years have been focused on creating a success story for SALTxp. In the position one sits, it becomes imperative to keep the goals of the organization a priority. Often, we get so entrenched and entangled in the daily workings that we forget a few of our own personal goals. While a successful position is a pat on my own back, I always wanted to create events that have a larger impact on society. I had to take some time off from the hectic life and run after my personal satisfaction and create what I feel is a true value.
While I have resigned from my permanent position as CEO SALTxp, I still consult with them on clients and projects which gives me ample time to try and focus on my now other priorities. To my knowledge, the CEO position is being kept vacant for the time being while I consult with them on their projects and clients. The administrative responsibilities will be taken over between Hemant Dahiya and the VP.
What are your plans now?
On the business side, there is a focused plan to
1. Plan and execute social campaigns in partnership with NGO’s. Package on ground product/ campaigns for corporate donors, to create a marketing spike in their CSR initiatives.
2. Create proactive on ground solutions specific to Corporates and their products. These would be in partnership with event companies to secure bandwidth.
3. Consult with event companies on curating large International and Domestic productions
On a personal front, take out as much time possible to spend it with my fast growing 4-year old.
From a corporate perspective, how are you planning to make a difference in the event industry with your new venture that is more based on CSR?
I’m currently consulting with NGO’s working with the government to bring experiential social campaign initiatives to a few states. Also consulting with an NGO that works with sports at a grass route level, to bring broad basing solutions and discussion platforms for making sports an essential yet rewarding part of our lives. Financial Literacy is another topic that needs to be addressed in India, working with Financial experts to create experiential content that helps us do so.
The aim is to use my passion for technology and my expertise in creating experiences, for awareness of social issues, and while doing so involving the community in it.
What are your expectations from this new venture?
To live my passion hopefully get paid for it :) From curating large productions that dazzle audiences to creating campaigns that have a large social impact. It’s the perfect mix for me. The opportunity will come from being able to collaborate with agencies and professionals in various fields, which opens up the playing field.
In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS, Sumit Chandhoke, former CEO of SALTxp, speaks about his contribution at SALT and his future plans.