Now, 70 EMG Directly Competes with Every Digital, Advertising and Content Agency: Martin Da Costa
by Komal Parmar Industry Watch | October 5, 2020 | Interview
Seventy Event Media Group (70 EMG) is recognized as a leader in luxury and special events planning, representing both corporates and HNIs from across the globe. EVENTFAQS Media reached out to Martin da Costa, CEO, 70 EMG to know how the agency is coping up with the pandemic, its key focus areas, new initiatives, challenges faced, future plans and more.
Focus on Core Strengths
“The challenge with virtual events is that for perhaps the first time, we’re directly competing with every digital, advertising, content and online agency in India, and sometimes, the world. It’s a challenging situation. We’re approaching it by focusing on 70 EMG’s core strengths - creative design, the ability to tell a story, galvanize and develop a community, create actual engagement, and not just eyeballs. That’s what we’ve always done in the live, on-ground world. We’re simply transferring those skills to the virtual and content space. Obviously, there has been an immense amount of learning we’ve made along the way, from film direction to software and online engagement, strategic design…We have in fact launched a new company vertical - Digital 70 - to focus on developing these cutting edge skills and shaping them to dovetail with our core competencies. So far, it’s been working well. We’ve won well over 15 pitches, and produced some amazing work on the branded digital content and virtual space for MG Motors, Conde Nast, etc.,” says Martin da Costa.
Towards the New Normal
“We’ve clearly had to cut our cloth to fit the new scenario, like every other agency in the communication space. Luckily, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown caught us in a fairly positive part of the liquidity and payment cycle, and we had the good fortune, or perhaps the foresight, to see what would happen, and plan a year ahead in stages from February, 2020. It has been a case of developing new techniques for teams to learn how to work from home efficiently, online including virtual training of the new skill sets required, venturing into new content and business verticals. For example, we’ve become equity partners in ‘Social Star’, a company that provides online training and engagement tools for corporate HR heads and employees. Additionally, we’ve been building communities in the Biking, Wellness and Foodie space in India for the past five years through India Bike Week, Zambhala and the XFood Festivals, and we’ve been developing online engagement and community programmes for those brands,” adds da Costa.
Keeping the 70 EMG Spirit Alive
“Clearly, the biggest challenge was to see revenues go from gang-busters to zero in a matter of six weeks in March 2020. We’ve since made a very healthy recovery on the billings front and can look forward to a pretty robust final two quarters. Initially, there was an immense amount to be learnt in the online, digital and content creation space so that we could even begin to compete with every digital, content and advertising agency out there. We managed that in a fairly short space of time through a combination of targeted training and relationship building externally. But, no, the main challenge was to keep the spirit of 70 EMG alive, kicking and well through the lockdown. We’ve always prided ourselves on being closer and warmer as a group than otherwise - we laugh together, and we tackle the world head-on as a team. That spirit was profoundly affected by the lockdown, and we had to work very hard to keep people’s energies engaged. By and large, we managed it, although we did, of course, have to let people go. With luck, however, and with a cure or a vaccine, we’ll see them all come back to the 70 EMG family,” Martin da Costa tells us.
Talking of brand communications executed by 70 EMG in the last few months, Martin da Costa says, “The main insight to be gleaned from the work we’ve done over the past months– be it for the launch of MG’s Gloster, or the AD Weekender and 7 Rivers projects, along with many others – is the importance of original content ideation, balanced with world-class design. What it has not been at all, is the casual regurgitation of the bog standard basic ‘virtual launch’: i.e., product, CEO and MC against a green screen and load of flashy graphics. No one watches that. Where we’ve made a difference has been in developing brilliant new ideas for communicating brand qualities - for example filming the Managing & Marketing Directors of MG in a ‘Top Gear’ style car review sketch, rather than just the standard 3D digital reveal: far more engaging, personal, and much, much more watchable.”
What Next for 70 EMG?
“We’re working hard on developing and selling Social Star’s online training and entertainment modules across corporate India, building India Bike Week, Zambhala and the Food’s online communities. We’ve designed and are now marketing, framework for small-scale, COVID-friendly luxury event experiences in the wedding, social and corporate event spaces. We’re also collaborating with a great set of guys developing an app and user-friendly interface for the driving holiday market - we believe it will get huge over the next year or so. We’re working with a number of content, virtual developer and digital agencies to form the backbone of Digital 70. Plus, of course, upcoming work with our corporate clients. It’s busy. Ultimately, though, we’re looking forward to rubbing shoulders with our friends, clients and partners again, when all this gets over. We’re really, really looking forward to that day!” sums up Martin da Costa.
EVENTFAQS Media reached out to Martin da Costa, CEO, 70 EMG to know how the agency is coping up with the pandemic, its key focus areas, new initiatives, challenges faced, future plans and more.