How GB Srithar of Singapore Tourism Board Goes About Deepening the ‘Singapore Connect’ with India
by Srabana Lahiri Marketing | December 22, 2020 | Interview
GB Srithar Singapore Tourism Board Zomato Tripoto Voot
GB Srithar, Regional Director (India, Middle East and South Asia), Singapore Tourism Board, is someone who sees great value in the events, experiential marketing and activations space to promote Singapore as a destination for Indian business travellers and tourists. No wonder then that he has a high volume of engagement in the India market as well as brand collaborations that bring Singapore closer to the Indian traveller. Here, Srithar talks of his extensive work in India in the brand engagement space, opportunities he sees in the market and his future plans.
‘Passion Made Possible’ in India
Over the last couple of years, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has promoted its destination brand ‘Passion Made Possible’ vigorously and presented Singapore’s diverse offerings through interesting activations and brand partnerships. “We had partnered with Vh1 India to create the first ever music video by a National Tourism Organisation (NTO). Titled ‘Unstoppable’, the video made STB the first tourism board to create its own, cross-border collaborative English music video featuring both Indian and Singaporean talents. It was headlined by Indian American song-writer, rapper and singer Rajakumari; along with Indian fusion artists ‘Midival Punditz’, Singaporean b-boying dance crew ‘Radikal Forze’, Singaporean sneaker-design artist Mark Ong; and the youngest opera singer in Singapore, Tan Wei Tian. Another initiative to reach out to Indian millennials has been a collaboration with Tripoto for a web series ‘Trails 2 Passion – Singapore Redefined’ which showcases the experiential exploration of Singapore by Naveen Kasturia and Veer Rajwant Singh, well-known faces of the Internet web series scenario.
Another partnership was with St+art India Foundation for Singapore Weekender in Delhi and Mumbai, a three-day experiential festival featuring Singaporean talents who helped in showcasing Singapore’s vibrant art and culture scene,” says Srithar, elaborating on STB’s initiatives.
“We also collaborated with one of the leading OTT platforms, Voot, for a three-part video series titled ‘#CheatWeek in Singapore with Celebrity Chef Saransh Goila’. The series chronicled Singapore’s gastronomic landscape through content on unique restaurants, street food and nightlife, among others. It captured Chef Saransh’s experience of Singapore’s diverse culinary offerings,” he added.
In 2019, STB also partnered with Zomato for Zomaland Season 2, a multicity food and entertainment carnival. “It ran across nine cities to engage with foodies in India through the showcasing of Singapore food and experiences through a designated ‘Singapore Experience Zone’,” recalls Srithar. “The world’s first Michelin-Star Hawker from Singapore, Liao Fan Hawker Chan, was also a part of this event. This year, we did Zomaland@Home, a digital initiative which featured renowned artistes from both India and Singapore showcasing their talents and passions across food, music, stand-up comedy and more. STB was among the first NTOs to stage an elaborate consumer engagement event in India, digitally, in partnership with Zomato, during the pandemic,” says Srithar.
Driving consumer engagement
Currently, even though travel restrictions are still in place, it is an important time for travel authorities to drive higher consumer engagement than ever before. “At STB India, we have been active in our marketing efforts and recently did a consumer engagement initiative with BookMyShow titled ‘My Singapore Connect’. This four-part web series celebrates creativity across various art forms, including film-making, music, food and comedy through interesting, candid conversations between renowned artistes across India and Singapore. We also participated in the popular Indian music festival Bacardi NH7 Weekender as the ‘Country Partner’ where Singapore’s renowned rapper Yung Raja performed,” relates Srithar. “We also partnered with one of India’s largest social travel platforms, Tripoto, for the second time for a microsite which serves as a one-stop guide for Indian travellers with content that encourages them to ‘Rediscover Now, Travel Later’ to Singapore.”
Recently, STB was the exclusive ‘Destination Partner’ for the Windmill Festival 2020, a virtual event targeted at the family segment, wherein STB created a ‘Singapore Experience Zone’ allowing children and parents alike to enjoy curated Singapore-themed experiences from the comfort of their homes.
Talking about other initiatives, Srithar says, “We have also launched an influencer campaign ‘Singapore thru Passionistas’ Eyes’ with five renowned Indian social media influencers to further amplify our brand messaging among our target audiences in India. The initiative invites the influencers to share their authentic views and perspectives on Singapore. It continues our efforts to create a community of advocates for Destination Singapore. The digital activations, brand partnerships, on-ground events we have done have been well received by the audience and we will continue to explore even more creative and innovative ways of marketing.”
Most memorable experiential activity
Ask Srithar to single out any particularly memorable activation or experiential marketing activity from what STB has done so far, and he says, “It is difficult to select one such activation as each one provides a different experience for our target audience. We are heartened by the high engagement levels generated from the various activations and partnerships we have done recently in spite of the limitations during this pandemic. The Zomaland@home was one of the first that we had organised in the India market and it was very well received. STB was among the first NTOs to stage such an elaborate consumer engagement event in India, digitally.” That activity had featured a total of seven Singaporean artistes including rapper and singer Yung Raja, chefs Sarah Huang Benjamin and Eric Chan, mixologist Vijay Mudaliar, stand-up comedians, Rishi Budhrani and Sharul Channa, DJ Luq Here along with Indian Chef Saransh Goila, who has previously worked with the STB on multiple projects. Viewers got to see interesting collaborations between the artistes from the comfort of their homes. The activation garnered a reach of 7.5 million with an engagement rate of close to 30%, according to STB.
In future, Srithar looks forward to more such rewarding associations. “We will continue to explore innovative and unique initiatives to bring engaging content to the audiences in a creative way,” he says.
In this interview, GB Srithar, Regional Director (India, Middle East and South Asia), Singapore Tourism Board, describes his extensive work in the India market.