Networking - Analogue and Unplugged

What are we talking about?

Rewind a couple of decades back and I see that the corporate event industry was just taking shape. That time events were this new segment where many companies wanted to venture in but maybe did not know the best approach at the best cost. More so, events need special expertise. In India, the pharma and retail industry may have been the oldest in terms of organizing and hosting events. Today, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, better known by the acronym MICE, is one of the key sources of revenue for the hospitality industry and actually for a while now.

So?

Because I have had the opportunity to live through the non-digital, non-smartphone, non-Alexa, non-amazon era; tell you what, at the end of the day we all look forward to that moment of analog and unplugged. And that my friend, has its own essence, importance, and potential. Also, having been in core pilot teams of reputed international event IP launches in India, I see this ecosystem as something which is just beginning to get bigger and hotter.

What now?

Further to my observations, below at some simple yet high impact element below that makes this ecosystem of offline activities, events robust.

Networking– this takes the top spot. The pedestal and premise of all kinds of events are networking. I have had industry folks at events tell me that we only get to meet at events, that it is a change from regular days and get to meet folks we know and meet new people. That may be one of the reasons that the ‘breaks’ are known as networking tea breaks or networking lunch. Business leaders of various industry verticals in different functions want to leverage the power of meeting new people, refer and build on relationships. And of course, for any party or movie to be a success, one needs people or an audience.

Monetization– a plethora of opportunities to monetize. Essentially ticket sales, exhibition, sponsorships and parallel custom events within. The magical part it that the scope of sponsorships, branding, and engagement is vast.

Community framework– this is my personal favorite. Gradually every event builds its community which ideally becomes a unique proposition for more people wanting to join the network. This gives deeper meaning to business circles, value-driven conversations, learning about who is doing what differently and creating magic out of the snowball effect. Some may agree and some won't, but I believe that our network is our net worth depending on how seriously we are building and maintaining it. An event creates that much required offline platform. (There is an interesting book by Porter Gale called Your Network is your Net Worth which I recommend people to read 

Recognition– if observed closely, a lot of events are coming up with a new property within an existing event - Awards night. This is the trump card driving buzz and enabling more participation while adding to the flamboyance, flavor and brouhaha. Why? Because people, organizations thrive on validation and ‘metals’ work out the best.

Unlearn– this opportunity that events create is invaluable. Listening to perspectives makes us think on the lines of how better we can do something to get better at it and unlearning is the key at times to learn something different. And you will agree that we do not trust cold calls but maybe trust someone we meet face to face. 

Technology – I have been regular at many events from the past decade. The one key element that I have observed and feel happy about is the event producers every year evolve on the technology quotient. In addition, I get to know the new technologies at the expo zone, why do they exist and what problem are they solving. Also, technology and events go in close juxtaposition today and complement each other with programming content, sponsorship visibility, audience engagement and create deeper and differentiated value for the participants.

At the end of this piece, I would like to highlight that what will make or break it for the organizers is the way they create an experience each time with a difference. For the audience and participants, it is keeping a track of your networking and keeping contacts safely in order of your priority. When someone asks me to make an introduction to someone I know, the first thing that comes to my mind is the way I have built my network. 

Relationships of any kind need nurturing, so keep discovering, keep innovating while recognizing the importance of analog in our lives and allowing ourselves the opportunity to unplug and get face to face and evolve on your ability to connect and have more and more authentic conversations. This event industry is solving not only a pain point but a basic human need, the need to stay connected unplugged.

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Ankoor Dasguupta

Ankoor believes in the power of Energy, Energize and Network Effect. He brings with him 19 years through the spectrum of marketing and advertising across functions in print, digital, mobile, events along with a strong C-Suite network. A learner, coach, and trainer, Ankoor has been part of the core launch teams of conceptualizing and producing multiple international IPs in India and is an avid writer and active speaker at various forums and business schools. Ankoor is a firm believer of nurturing relationships and tweets from @ankurnow. Connect on LinkedIn

 

 

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