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Goafest 2017 kicks off in style

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and Chief Executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, and Raj Nayak, Chief Executive Officer, Colors, gave the inaugural speeches. An Industry Conclave followed where brand custodians spoke about the role of brands in changing India

Hemant Malik

The much-awaited Goafest kicked off in style in the land of sun and beaches on April 6, 2017. Day one saw inaugural speeches by Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and Chief Executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, and Raj Nayak, Chief Executive Officer, Colors. This was followed by a power-packed Industry Conclave where bigwigs such as Hemant Malik, Divisional Chief Executive, Foods Business, ITC Limited, and Acharya Balkrishna, CEO Patanjali Ayurved, shared their two bits on everything from branding to effective communication.

Ashish Bhasin

Bhasin, in his inaugural speech, spoke about what makes Goafest different and how they endeavour every year to go a notch higher.

“This is a journey we started 12 years ago and we have been adding value to it and making it bigger as the years go by. This year, you are going to see a lot of things that you saw last year but also a lot of new and different things. This year we have tried to make Goafest a little more digital in keeping with times. You are all aware of the Goafest app. There will be a lot of digital speakers and the digital awards have really taken off.”

Goafest is going green this year and speaking about the initiatives being taken to ensure the fest is environment friendly, Bhasin, said, “By partnering with National Geographic, Goafest has tried to go green in a small way. You all will see some water conservation efforts and all the schedules and badges have been made out of recycle paper. We have taken some measures because we believe that this is our responsibility and we must do it.”

“Besides going green, we have tried to do some good. Led by Ramesh Narayan, we ran a gender sensitivity campaign the winners of which will be felicitated during Goafest. Ad Club and the AAAI will fund the production of the winning campaign,” added Bhasin.

Raj Nayak

Nayak pointed out how Goafest is the world’s largest advertising festival organised by any industry body.

“There are lot of private, for-profit fests happening in the world but the largest festival in the world by not just one industry body but two industry bodies is Goafest. As an industry body, we are really giving back to the industry. Just to give you the scale of Goafest, we will spend Rs 8-10 crore over the next three days and all of this is giving back to industry,” said Nayak.

Nayak spoke about how the fest started as a creative festival a few years back and has now become so much more.

“Goafest started as a creative awards a few years back but over the last few years, it has evolved into a festival. It is not just creatives today, it has got digital, print, television and all kinds of awards. There is a lot more networking and we subsidise for professionals below the age of 30. The last thing I want to say is that every professional in our country who has made a name for himself or herself is made of Abbys,” said Nayak.

The inaugural speech gave way to the Industry Conclave where Upasana Taku, Co-Founder and Director, Mobikwik; Hemant Malik, Divisional Chief Executive, Foods Business, ITC Limited and Acharya Balkrishna, CEO, Patanjali Ayurved, spoke about the ‘role of brands in changing India’.

Taku spoke about demonetisation and the effects it has had on the Indian market. Taku agreed that demonetisation and the government of India did provide the necessary boost for the company so that they were able to achieve the high speed momentum they had seen in the last three-and-a-half months after demonetisation.

Malik started by putting a twist to the topic in discussion. Malik admitted that he was, to begin with, in a sort of a fix on what the topic of the conclave really was. Was it the role of brands in changing India? Or was it the role brands played in a changing India?

“As advertisers, many here may feel that they are changing India but as a marketer I can only speak about the role brands are playing in this changing India,” said Malik.

Speaking about the pillars of brand building in this changing India, Malik said, “Communication is only one of the pillars of brand building. A couple of other pillars that we look at in terms of building the brand are supply chain, logistics, the product and packaging, pricing and promotion, all of these factors contribute towards creating a brand.”

The first day at Goafest ended with a thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining session by Acharya Balkrishna who brought the audience to their feet by his uninhibited views on brand building and advertising.

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