Newspaper : The Tribune Life Style – Chandigarh
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Back then, when it was a fledgling field, managing an event meant ensuring the speakers and the stage in place; revolved around the venue and the visitors, at maximum long list of invitees passed for publicity. That was then. Half a decade later, post a couple of social catalysts, the offbeat passion’s become a profession, the trend a phenomenon, the field, an industry. And the industry stands redefined.
“Now even in colleges they’ve introduced this as a subject, which means there’s much more professionalism,” Bittu Sandhu, managing director, Strides Event Management, couldn’t have been more apt on the ‘earlier-now’ scenario.
She laughs, “I’ve been in this industry for almost 10 years now and there have been a lot of changes. Earlier people were not very critical, now they are much more aware and want everything co-ordinated, right from the flowers at funerals to weddings,” and adds, “Now people want to spend money, which means bigger budgets.”
Be it people or promoters, product launch to wedding, an in charge who’ll take care of everything is as indispensable as, probably, the flowers for reception. Shares Sahil Shandilya, of All Rise Events, “Now nobody wants to take any kind of tensions for the event. They dump it all on us. We’re responsible for everything, right from that tiny bulb going down on the stage.”
Roping in celebrities, pre-event hype, publicising while the occasion lasts are just the peripheral part of the story. Adds Harsh Deep, of Cine Valley Entertainment, “From show stoppers to foreign models to celebrities, they all have to be roped in, at times, to hype up the event.” Highlights that go into making catchy newspaper supplement promos! Shares Sahil, “It doesn’t end there. Of course celebrities are usually needed to gather more press, which generally is the client’s demand. At times, the corporates want their product to be the celebrity. Then, it’s even more difficult.”
It’s a classic example of the profession developing and branching out to various specialisations. Adds Bittu Sandhu, “Earlier people thought they could do it themselves. Now they know they can’t. Or may be if they can, they at least know they probably can’t take care of an event as much as a professional in the field would be able to.” Echoes Harsh Deep, “I’ve been in this industry for almost five years now and yes people’s awareness levels have risen. Corporates have been coming in like anything, they are willing to spend big bucks and that is the prime factor for any change.” Something that started with product launches has trickled down to weddings, private parties. Did someone even say birthday?
It’s a study in comparison, earlier-now scenario. Innovation is the key to survival and concepts hitherto crazy are now considered out of the box. Where earlier it was about managing the venue, it’s now about conceptualising, planning, presenting, rather, creating an event, where none exists. Shares Sahil, “An event was a two-day thing earlier. Now at times, planning starts two months in advance. The budget could range from twenty grands to half a million. Recently we did a product promotion for a lifestyle showroom in Jalandhar that had promoters wearing a bag on the back with LED screens, which have lights tied to them.” He adds, “Imagine people walking on the road at night to promote your brand? The concept was originally from Delhi, but they sub-let it to me.”
Laughs Shandilya, “A lot of people still harbour this misconception that it’s a fun field, we get to attend all the parties, have a great time. Little does anyone know, any speaker going down, it falls literally on our heads first.” That’s what they call completely stage-managed!