Growth isn’t always about the panic that surrounds over-weight years as the world is full of those who need to grow faster and healthier. Growth is also not always about complex charts and graphs that a manager displays on the walls of their cubicles. Though in every form it reaches us, growth gets all the attention. It is serious, funny, sordid, pathetic, energetic, and also a source for a brilliant smile. Almost like the smiles I saw on a lot of faces during the Indiblogger-Horlicks event in Delhi that made the hashtag #CatchingUpOnGrowth zip speedily and zoom upwards. It is obvious that events and growth also walk hand-in-hand and so let me first dive into what a successful event is all about and if this even that I am referring to, followed those success key-hints. I say this because I believe that growth is never by mere chance. It is the outcome of multiple forces working in tandem.
STEVE JOHN-N, an Author and an Event Management Consultant, in an article in Linkedin, defines event management as ‘the process of creatively applying necessary professional skills in organizing a focused event for a target audience to achieved a desired objective.’
During my stints as head of corporate communications with various organisations, I was an active ingredient of a lot of events and it was during that period that I had come up with my own set of directions that I had encapsulated in a single word: PROPER.
PROPER here is simply an acronym and once expanded, will mean – Purpose, Relate, Organise, Punctuate, Energise, Review.
Without a purpose an event would be like a massive wind-filled tent in the middle of a desert during a lean period for tourism. I mean, the massive tent serves no purpose as there is no one to provide a shelter to from the harsh desert sun. The Indiblogger-Horlicks event had its purpose written out in bold letters and not a single person attending felt alienated or disinterested in the subject. The product launch for Horlicks Growth+ was reason enough for all parents and soon-to-be parents to be excited about.
Besides ensuring clarity of purpose, what is vital is the way the information about an upcoming event is communicated. The event managers went one step ahead and gave us a catchy hash-tag to be used on various social media platforms. Thus #CatchUpOnGrowth was destined to trend.
The relevant TG or target group must be informed well in advance. I have seen a lot of events fizzle out because there were other events being held on the same date and with a lot of overlapping of invitees, many of those events had to go on without the anticipated buzz. Real-time buzz is what matters and the fact that most bloggers were in by the time the event was to officially start goes on to show that bloggers related well to the Indiblogger-Horlicks event and decided to be there.
Events are nothing but a sum of good planning and this means taking care of everything from booking sufficient space to ensuring that the invitees have the desired profile, from taking care of event date conflicts to a spirited promotion, and also from ensuring that the interiors are appropriate to having people positioned for crowd management.
A short discussion with a few friends there at the Indiblogger-Horlicks event told me that most people were happy on most counts. ‘The speakers were informative,’ said one. Another mentioned that, ‘the speakers were able to hold a blogger’s attention which isn’t as easy as most people think’ and we laughed at this. They were happy about the food, the servings of Horlicks inside, and even the coffee and tea later towards the end.
Events have a tendency to start well but get exhausted much before the anticipated end… this happens when events aren’t punctuated with sub-events or diversions to keep attention and interest from getting flaccid and enervated. This event though was quite different and this wasn’t just because of the high profile of the speakers but also because there was enough creative engagement during the event.
The panel was enthusiastic enough to encourage questions and were prepared to face the tough ones as well. Bloggers were encouraged to participate in the supplemental online platforms and thus Twitter, Instagram stream, and Facebook updates added to make things lively. Such add-ons help in documenting the emotive force of an event and obviously make the entire experience memorable.
I must mention here that the expert talk about the growth and problems of children with Dr. Satinder Kaur Walia, Dr. Rajiv Chhabra, Dr. Jyoti and Ms. Natasha Badhwar was powerful enough to make bloggers go on and on with an unending stream of questions. I was personally fascinated when I heard one of the panellists say that people need to listen to their own heart not what others pontificate when the matter is about the health and growth of your child. The product, incidentally, wasn’t thrust on the guests but was innovatively introduced by making them taste the two flavours. Therefore, even without anyone mentioning, the buzz was about how much the new Horlicks Growth Plus tastes like liquid ice cream. I even heard a few bloggers say, ‘The taste makes Protein, carbohydrates, sugar, Calcium, and Iron seem less like medicines and our kids are going to love this.’ Well, the product is actually meant for children in the 3-9 year old range, though I have an uncanny feeling that even adults are going to go ahead and ask for a drink themselves. Taste matters, you see… despite knowing that the Horlicks claims that you will definitely see visible growth in 6 months is meant only for kids who are growing.
If you still think social media engagement during an event is not enough to energise a population that is ever-ready to go flying into the heart of every platform and talk about everything, then I guess the management pundits have another ace up their sleeve that they call a giveaway.
Giveaways energise and enthuse participants… and at the Indiblogger-Horlicks event, a large box of the new introduction was a charming inducement. The logic of giveaways is that an organiser must not let keeping costs down lead them astray — what you giveaway reflects on your organization. If a giveaway isn’t possible from the main sponsor/s of an event, the organisers need to seek sponsors for giveaways.
This event, by the way, had the participants energised not just because of the giveaway but also because they were divided into small groups and asked to shoot and submit a short video on how they interpreted the product. The level of enthusiasm did shoot up tremendously because of this surprise and event did manage to get some more vital social media mentions. Yes, there was some confusion and some restlessness but then this is what gives an event that intriguing sense of thrill that makes people yearn for more.
The enthusiasm that an event initiates must not be allowed to lessen and thus some really stimulating post event spread of news and feedback mechanism needs to be worked out. Some recommend that an innovative involvement by way of word of mouth, social media, blogs, and articles must invariably be considered. How well does the Indiblogger-Horlicks event score on this last parameter? I’d say it scores well as they have announced a contest with around thirty-five prizes for the blog post that talks about the event. Creativity in expression is obviously going to score.
Events, I must add here, have the power to create another dimension in the space between stimulus and response. What I mean is the power of people to choose their response… and the final blogging contest announced shows that both Indiblogger and Horlicks have made the event a complete event. The way bloggers will respond is where the seeds of growth can be discovered.
22 May 2016