Whole ownership is 100% necessary for building branded IPs: Martin Da Costa, Festival Director, IBW

Entertainment | November 16, 2022 | Interview

70 EMG India Bike Week

India Bike Week 2022 (IBW), in association with PETRONAS Sprinta is all set to be be held in Goa after 3 years on December 2 and 3. The event witnesses like-minded petrol heads, passionate bikers, biking communities, etc. all who show their love and passion for two wheels. This year, IBW is gearing to offer larger-than-life experiences through special attractions including 5 different race tracks, Wheelie Training, Biker’s Mart (Indoor & Outdoor Expo), Big Trip sessions, Ladakh Tent, the Club Village, Jameson’s Howling Dog Bar, and others.

EVENTFAQS Media reached out to industry stakeholder Martin da Costa, CEO of 70 EMG and Festival Director of India Bike Week to get his view on promoting and encouraging the culture of riding in our country, journey of IBW and more.

Here is what Martin da Costa, CEO of 70 EMG and Festival Director, has to say;

Tell us about the journey of IBW and the challenges navigated to host an event of this magnitude – a celebration for the biking fraternity across the globe.

India Bike Week was dreamed up in a New Delhi Hotel Bar back in 2013 over a cigar and a whiskey with the ex MD of Harley Davidson, Anoop Prakash. Now 2013 was a time when 70 EMG was filled with young guys and girls who would take off every weekend on their motorbikes to explore India. So the idea of producing a Festival as an annual celebration of the best of Indian Motorbiking culture, machines, biking clubs seemed a natural progression for us. What made IBW different, I think, was that from the very start, we were determined to involve India’s biking community in the festival - we didn’t care what bike you rode, what gender you were - everyone who loved riding out for an adventure was welcome. The result was that the Festival grew exponentially, won multiple Awards, and cemented its place in India’s Festival calendar as one of the great Festivals in the year. These days, IBW is genuinely huge - tens of thousands of bikers, 5 Racing tracks, Food and Music Festivals within it, the vast majority of the Bike Manufacturer Brands at it, visitors from across the world. Its become the very heart of the India’s gigantic - and new - biking scene.

How the event has been promoting and encouraging the culture of riding in our country?

When we started, we calculated that there were fewer than 100 biking clubs across India, in 2022 we’re in touch with well over 400. I do think that India Bike Week has been central to biking culture's astonishing growth over the past decade - not just through our outreach program and the Festival itself, but also through the phenomenally successful ‘Chai and Pakoda” rides across multiple cities in India. In fact, just this weekend I rode up to Ambey Valley for one of the 40 Petronas and IBW ‘Chai & Pakoda” rides we run each year - and there were over 800 Bikers on the ride - I remember the first C&P ride back in 2013 with just 40 bikers! The fact that IBW was very quickly, universally recognized as one of India’s largest and most respected annual festivals gave a tremendous push to the whole concept of biking for leisure, for independent travel, for fun. With India’s uniquely young demographic, the future growth in biking here is going to be phenomenal. W’re literally just at the start of this journey.

How has this IP property evolved since its inception? Over the years, how has India Bike Week built the biking community?

IBW evolved in several mutually interdependent ways. Firstly as a destination - the festival is an essential part of India’s Biking Year. Tens of thousands of riders across the country plan their biking year around Goa in the first weekend in December, and we’re probably looking at over 40,000 bikers riding down to Goa this year with perhaps 40% buying tickets to be at India Bike Week in 2022. Secondly, IBW has absolutely become a touch point for how to develop a community based Festival in India - in some ways the biking is almost incidental because IBW actually represents so much more to so many people - comradeship, fun, adventure, travel, independence, like minded souls: all the essential joys of life. Thirdly, we adapt and evolve the festival based on what our fellow riders tell us - hence the 5 Racing Tracks and Ride-Outs this year. We’ve built our community by being literally a part of it - we ride with India’s bikers, we share their joys and their frustrations, we listen to their suggestions, and we adapt the Festival year by year in response to their advice. And at the end of each IBW, we go on stage and tell them what our plans are for next year, and reaffirm this joint ownership of the festival that I’ve described above. 

What are the big ticket/needle-moving touch points this year?

BW 2022 is by far and away the biggest India Bike Week we’ve ever attempted. We’re predicting up to 18,000 bikers at the Festival at any one time, and about 40,000 bikers arriving in Goa for it - so just in terms of scale there’s a huge difference. We’re setting up 5 Racing tracks within IBW - the Adventure Flow Track, Flat Track, MX Dirt Dash, The Mud Rush, and the Enduro Hill Climb. There’s a fabulous tie up with the best Barbecue Pit Masters from across India for ’The Big Forkers MeatFest by Jameson', the Biker’s Mart (Indoor & Outdoor Expo), RevMoto Stage, Big Trip sessions, IBW Used Bike Garage, IBW Surf Day, IBW Collector’s Showcase, Wheelie training, Ring of Fire, the Club Village and Jameson’s Howling Dog Bar, and some of India’s best bands and DJ’s on the main stage. IBW will also support Rides to IBW Goa and ride experiences within Goa, after parties and brunches. Plus of course serious, committed support from the bike manufacturers, many of whom will be launching new models and bikes at IBW. IBW is now a Food Festival, as well as a Bike, a Music, a shopping, a Spoken Word, an exhibition, a Cinema, a Beer Festival. We’re all these things and more.

What are the engaging programs set to pull the crowd?

Clearly social media and the opportunity to engage digitally have allowed us to have multiple conversations with our community - a far more effective marketing tool than the relentless series of adverts that used to characterize event and product marketing. The result is that, increasingly, we rely on communication directly with our own community of millions of bikers across India, the Middle East and Asia. In fact, the festival is constantly being tweaked and changed to adapt to real time requirements and requests by our attendees. IBW belongs to the biking community of India and not just us. Thats always been one of the key mantras behind IBW - and the interconnected digital world allows us to live that mantra day by day in every aspect of the marketing mix. Our marketing strategy is not really a strategy at all - every day, we just live the fact that IBW is about community and conversation - in fact we don’t even call the process ‘marketing’ anymore. Its not. Its community conversation, and its a two way, consistently engaged process

What’s your thoughts on developing branded IPs?

The critical point about developing branded IP’s is the ownership of them. We’ve long moved away from developing IPR for third parties - whether its corporate clients or anyone else. Given the enormous amount of work involved in building IPR and the long gestation period in terms of ticket sale, sponsorship, exhibitor and other revenue streams, we feel its 100% necessary to wholly own your IP - no partnerships, no outside investors, no corporate ownership. A second point, I suppose - and its linked to the ownership issue I’ve just talked about -  is that Branded IPR - specifically Festivals - depends almost entirely on community, and no one should know your community better than you yourself. Ideally, you should be a committed part of that community - talk its talk, walk its walk. This takes time of course, and time is the essence of developing and building long term successful branded IP.

What other initiatives are planned through 70EMG that will bring about collaborations and opportunities in the larger experiential / events industry?

70 EMG is currently developing two new IPR projects to be launched in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Its too soon to divulge details, but we’re both optimistic and excited about their potential. Like I've said, many times before, we’re literally at the start of this IPR journey in India, perhaps 20 years behind other markets. There’s an awful long way to go and that road, by virtue of India’s demographic dividend, and the growth expected over the next decade, leads only upwards.

For editorial related queries, reach us at edit@eventfaqs.com

EVENTFAQS Media reached out to industry stakeholder Martin da Costa, CEO of 70 EMG and Festival Director, to get his view of the current situation and understand his approach to it.

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