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October 20, 2011, 4:28 pm UTC
The internationally popular iMedia Brand Summit was held in India for the first time ever and we were there! Not only was it a power-packed conference comprising of senior marketing professionals and veterans from the digital industry, the gorgeous locales of Goa also helped us relax, converse and network at ease. Organized under the aegis of NetworkPlay, this event’s unique format, itinerary and discussion topics, across a span of 3 days resulted in a buzz-filled atmosphere and certainly left each of us more knowledgeable than before.
If you happened to miss out on all that took place at the Summit, we’ve got the lowdown for you. While the event comprised of multiple sessions- from breakfast presentations to keynotes to panel discussions, here’s our take on what got us thinking.
The minute that counted: A unique way to break the ice and get started with introductions, the one-minute match up was the corporate version of speed dating. The room was abuzz with energy and people were milling about with visiting cards and notepads. We even spied someone dragging along a Powerpoint presentation to each table. Hope springs eternal and all that.
Can digital build brands: The opening keynote panel on Day 1 set the agenda straight with this thought-provoking question. Opinions were tossed around the hall, some said digital alone cannot build brands, others disagreed. The question that remained to be answered by the industry and marketers alike: are we there yet? Have we reached that tipping point with digital wherein marketers can begin to treat it at par with other mediums? Has digital matured enough for communication and content to be tailor-made for this vehicle? Arguments were put forth during the course of the panel discussion as well as the subsequent sessions in the Summit to support and contest this crucial question.
Bulls**t versus authenticity: Haresh Khoobchandani’s keynote session brought forward the transparent facet of evolving media. He deliberated upon how digital marketing and evolving technologies have helped users feel good, rather than making brands look good. An interesting point he made was that technology is horizontal, not vertical; it can’t be treated in isolation but must be integrated across functions, roles and objectives. Look how Best Buy made it work for them!
Where’s the big idea: Advertising is still about that one elusive idea, which, when executed well echoes with target consumers, irrespective of medium, reach, frequency and interface. Alan Schulman brought us back to the basics with his keynote on seamlessly merging both technology and creative while brainstorming on the “central idea”. And how do we know if an idea works? The communication via an interface should form a bond with the user and result in anticipated interactions like playing, sharing, participating etc.
The mobile challenge: Day 3 witnessed many discussions on the scope of mobile technologies for brands in India. Google and InMobi , in their respective sessions presented the possibilities in the mobile marketing space, considering mobile internet in India would overtake desktop internet anywhere between the next 12 to 24 months. Nevertheless, what the mobile space also needs to overcome is its challenge in terms of connectivity, devices and quality of content available.
Beyond the campaign: Meghana Bhat, our Creative Director took center stage and spoke about looking at leveraging digital beyond mere brand promotion. She presented her views on how brands need to be more interesting to consumers and deliver true value/ utility to them. You can check out her awesome 10 minute innovation deck here
And the fun stuff: While the highlights cover mostly that, the team at NetworkPlay ensured that the Summit wasn’t just about heavy-duty digital innovations. There were cocktail evenings (which we loved!) preceded by music and dance performances, recreational activities like the relaxing pool party, wine and cheese tasting and a whole lot of heady conversations that ran on till the wee hours.
While this was the debut year for the iMedia Summit’s India Chapter, we are sure it will become an annual event that the delegates will mark in their calendars. As for those of you who didn’t quite make it this time, you can swing by and pick our brains for now!
Eshita Jayaswal is Director of Business Development at Webchutney.She attended the first iMedia Brand Summit Goa and shared her experience and thoughts.
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