163 days to Goafest. 12 Suggestions

By | November 4, 2014

Why speak of Goafest 2015 so early? Most likely it will be held on April 9-10-11, 2015. The answer is simple. I Love Goafest. I have attended every edition and I will be there again. It is still THE INDIAN ADVERTISING & MARKETING FESTIVAL. It has the Abby, the most prestigious Indian awards in creative and media. It expanded to include Publishing & Broadcasting awards, which are yet to make an impact. Meanwhile we know Kyoorius has upped the benchmark.

I also hate controversies linked with Goafest. Its brand equity has been taking a huge beating in the last few years. With this humble piece, I want to provoke the organising team to deliver a seamless smooth fest and set new benchmarks.

Therefore, here are my suggestions:

1. DEFINE THE ORGANISING BODY NOW Do not wait for Jan-Feb. 2015.

2. LET MR SUNDAR SWAMY GUIDE AND ORCHESTRATE GOAFEST 2015. He did a phenomenal job in the short time available for Goafest 2014. Let him choose the team he wants and can depend on. As an experiment, let us keep fragile egos and side-nudges to minimum.

3. DECLARE THE DATES. It not only helps planning but also helps in getting the right speakers. It will decrease dependence on supporting agencies and clients to prop up a few speakers and in process make the event more ‘Value for Money’ for the delegates. Let’s get whom we want and not whom we can!

4. ENHANCE RELEVANCE TO AUDIENCE. Stop being futuristic zooming at 2020 and beyond. Leave that for boardrooms. It is irrelevant to most of the delegates who are young. Be realistic and zoom onto current imperatives for the industry. Stop being a Digital-plus event. In India, print, radio and TV are still a huge part of the ad investment.   Get the right speakers. Reject recyclers. People who present two-year-old Cannes winners as insights or just do a brand sales pitch. The fest should ideally be delivering focused learnings, debate and healthy arguments.

5. GET THE CLIENT SIDE INVOLVED. We cannot afford not to focus on it. It is critical for future and current success. There are no readymade solutions. I am hoping that the industry that claims to work wonders for brands based on consumer insights would not fail Goafest (the brand) in getting Clients (consumers) to its 2015 edition. Maybe like clients we could call for an idea pitch. In addition, there are brands to willingly sponsor such a contest.

6. REVISIT THE AWARD PROCESS NOW. TASK #1. Get all who can constructively contribute to define the award and its process. Use crowdsourcing to publicly solicit suggestion and objections. After that, we should just roll with the new process and stop worrying about distractors.   I support creating an unreleased/ not approved by client category. In addition, severely deal with scam in any category. Ban the individuals (client and agency) for a three-year period. Ban the brand/ organization for a year. Ban should be complete- they can no longer, be a delegate or a speaker.

7. TAKE ACTION ON FEST SPOILERS. To participate or not is an internal decision and is respected. Positive criticism and suggestions are more than welcome. What is unacceptable is the publicly raising doubt on Goafest credibility. Bar the organizations engaging in such practices from being part of Jury panel or attending or speaking at the fest. Can we stop licking for the few that take the industry for granted. Do we have balls to take such a stance?

8. HONOUR THE WINNERS PROPERLY. The blank plate on trophy is an insult to the winner. No name! No Category! The industry known for great execution skill failed on this front in Goafest 2014. Not again.   Please do rationalize number of awards. Otherwise, dinner and late night parties become an event by ‘Mutual Admiration Society’. Everyone is a winner. It kills the excitement and pleasure of winning.   Do not end up discriminating between award categories. Same treatment to metal winners is necessary. Unlike 2014, please do not call bronze winner of one category on stage and deny other bronze winners in some other category the pleasure to accept trophy on stage.

9. GET SOME NON-MEDIA SPONSOR! This is a tough one and a tougher to manage. Media organizations have been sponsoring almost all industry events. Why are the advertisers and advertising agencies not sponsoring Goafest? Do we have a selling proposition?

10. MAXIMIZE RETURNS FOR SPONSORS AND DELEGATES. The answer to above is here. Let delegates go back enlightened or with smile of having got something worth which is more than networking, backslapping, beer and raindance. Let the sponsor get more than mere logo presence and memento delivery. We have neglected this in past and are paying a price for it now.

11. TAKE THE ‘TBL’ PAIN OUT. Internationally not done does not mean we should not do it. What about ‘travel inclusive’ or ‘Travel + stay inclusive’ tickets? Use the technology and firms specializing in it. What about an early morning flight to Goa and midnight return flights? Maybe lot many more will consider coming only for a day and the party that night.

12. GET BACK TO OUTDOOR VENUE IF POSSIBLE. This is not the most important thing on agenda. Beach was fun and indoor does not have the same feel. Indoor is not really Goa. I understand the issues associated with outdoor but no harm in poking a bit more.

Sanjeev Kotnala is Head Catalyst at INTRADIA and believes that the best way forward for an Organization is to enhance the potential of internal teams instead of depending on external resources. He is a management consultant and runs specialised workshops in the area of Liberating Ideas. To contact e-mail netkot@yahoo.com or tweet at s_kotnala

article first appeared in mxmindia.com  29th Nov 2014