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Photo credit: Laqsyha Live Experiences

At the recent BEA World Festival, one event agency particularly shone. The Indian agency Laqshya Live Experiences took home an amazing set of awards, among them the title of the Best BEA World Event Agency 2018 and the BEA World Grand Prix for project Google Home Training. Kongres Magazine in an exclusive interview talked to the agency’s director and CEO, Navneeth Mohan, about the agency’s work, awards, about experiential marketing in India, about the industry in the future etc.

About Navneeth

Navneeth Mohan started his career with Encompass and was there for almost 10 years to become the national event services head and Vice President for the western region. He then joined BIG Live, from the Reliance Broadcast stable, where he was the company’s national business head. His previous stint was with E18 – A Division of Network18 Media & Investments Limited where he spearheaded overall operations as the COO. He has been the director and chief executive offer of Laqshya Live Experiences since 2014.

Which awards did Navneeth and his company win?

BEST BEA WORLD EVENT AGENCY: Laqshya Live Experiences

BEA WORLD GRAND PRIX

  • 1st prize – Google Home Training, Laqshya Live Experiences
  • 3rd prize – Equal Streets, Laqshya Live Experiences

EDUCATIONAL/TRAINING EVENT

  • 1st prize – Google Home Training, Laqshya Live Experiences

NON PROFIT/SOCIAL SERVICE EVENT

  • 1st prize – Equal Streets, Laqshya Live Experiences

PUBLIC EVENT

  • 2nd prize — Yoga by the bay, Laqshya Live Experiences

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION

  • 1st prize — Zero Waste Management, Laqshya Live Experiences

“We are not overwhelmed by technology. We look at the macro picture”

Q: Laqshya Live Experiences received an incredible collection of awards at the latest BEA World Festival. What has contributed to such a success? What is the company’s secret?

We are a young company with an average age of team members being 24 years. We don’t feel the pressures of legacy since we are just 5 years old. This gives us the liberty to play with ideas, creatives and to really just keep re-inventing ourselves. We are not overwhelmed by technology. We look at the macro picture. Every execution is like a story that needs its characters to fall in place – the tech, artists, content, context, audience … all come together to create the desired impact!!! Viewing them in isolation doesn’t do justice to their potential to create an event. We are constantly trying to push the envelope of creativity and this is the culture we are trying to imbibe in everyone within. We now believe that we are a future-ready agency. We are hurtling towards becoming the #aagencyofthefuture not only in India but globally too … soon.

Q: Company’s website states the following Vision: »To be the most admired and awarded company in the Indian experiential marketing space.« Has the recent bouquet of accolades at BEA World Festival achieved the goal of this vision?

The vision statement is for agency a moving direction. From day one we have kept our vision statement in mind while conducting ourseleves. As our vision statement we had specifically kept an open-ended statement, a non-measurable statement, so we keep evolving with time. Winning one year the recognition and accolades doesn’t yet mean we have achived the stated vision. IT IS ABOUT consistancy; in this ever changing world we need to be globally MOST ADMIRED AND AWARDED EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING Agency YEAR after YEAR. We define short term missions to annually accomplish that change, but our Vision will always stay the same.

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Yoga by the bay (Photo credit: Laqsyha Live Experiences)

Q: Laqysha has since its inception organised more than 500 events. How many in 2018?

2018 has been, by far, the biggest year for Laqshya Live Experiences in terms of all parameters: revenue, growth, number of clients, number of events/projects, and, of course NUMBER of awards!!!! We have done close to 200 events/activations in 2018.

Q: You certainly must be a very sought for agency. What is that what convinces you that the event or the client is aligned with the Laqysha’s spirit and you take the business?

We are a young agency still building brand equity amongst brands, but we beilve we have a long way to go since there are many legacy agencies in India which have been operational almost for 25-30 years; many of them are part of large networks now like WPP, Dentsu etc. We are an independent agency and that gives us a lot of flexibility to choose. One parameter we use regularly is whether the client wants a startegic long-term partner or whether they are just looking for a one-off event; we have been and are working with clients who see the value of long-term association. Secondly, we don’t want to be in the price market; pricing is important, but we usually avoid clients who are just working with agencies with the lowest price. Last but not the least, we look at the financial stability and history of the clients.

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Zero Waste Management (Photo credit: Laqsyha Live Experiences)

“We were amongst the few agencies that entered 4 different entries in 4 different categories”

Q: The awards came in categories like educational/training event, nonprofit/social service event, public event, and sustainable innovation. Is it a coincidence that the best events from your company came from these very related categories?

I know a few of them are related, like Sustainable and Non Profit events, but the Training event was way different and so was the Public Event. If you look at the track record of our wins in India across the last 4 years, we have won across all kinds of work – Conventions, Best Conference, Best Mall Activation, Best Youth Activation, Best MICE programme, Best Use of Digital Media, Best Exhibitions, Best Lifestyle event etc etc. We are most proud of this fact that we are not a unidimensional agency and our work cuts across client categories and types of project. We have always believed in the depth of the client relationships – the client should come to us for any kind of/scale of the project and not go to another agency for a specific job. Even at the BEA almost 90% of the agencies entered one or 2 projects in multiple categories, we were amongst the few agencies that entered 4 different entries in 4 different categories.

Q: Which of the awards is your favorite one and why?

This is like asking, amongst all your kids which is your favorite one 😊. Each one had its own uniqueness and idea. So it’s extremely difficult to pick one. Of course the Grand Prix winners  – Google Home Training and Equal Street – will always have a special place in our trophy cabinet.

Q: How would you describe the current state of the event- and live marketing industry in India?

India is placed in an advantageous global position as far as the experiential industry is concerned. For one, in terms of technology, we are at par with the most progressive global companies and ideas. Moreover, our diversity helps us to overlay content with context – a distinct advantage over western cultures that are monolingual. If we blend our ideas with global precision of processes and packaging, then India definitely has an edge. All industry reports say that the Indian events & experiential marketing industry is growing at 16-18% year after year, and clients’ expenditure percentage on experiential in the marketing mix is from about 10% all the way up to 22%; for certain categories this is expected to peak at almost 33% share by 2025.

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Google Home Training (Photo credit: Laqsyha Live Experiences)

“UNLEARNING and RE-LEARNING is a mindset all agencies should have when going into the future”

Q: How competitive are the local event agencies?

There is a lot of fragmentation in India, also a large part of the supply chain is unorganised. If you look at the part, for 10 years Indian agencies have been executing all across the world mostly for Indian clients. The skill set is available now, it is for each local agency to define their vision and work towards that.

Q: In your opinion, what new knowledge, tools, and mindset does the future of experiential marketing need?

Tech will for sure play a very important part in our industry. Like in all industries, AI and machine learning will come into play sooner than we expect. Digital events will grow, the traditional approach will make way for a data-centric approach. But one thing that will stay is ideas and creativity; that will be always the core of our industry. Agencies have to react faster to this hyper-connected world so flexibility is the key. ‘UNLEARNING’ and RE-LEARNING is a mindset all agencies should have when going into the future.

Q: What, do you think, is experiential marketing’s future development? How do you see it?

Some of the points I have mentioned above, but as the world gets more and more virtual and digital, human beings, being the social animal, will crave for more and more REAL experiences – real people, touch and feel, connections. This will change the biggest growth driver for experiential marketing, brands will start spending more and more in this space to give consumers/target audience the ‘real experience’!!!! Other mediums will reach the consumers and experiential marketing with talk to the consumers to make them take the desired action.

Q: Which experiential marketing event of all that you have experienced so far has touched you the most?

Again, there are many many such events – Equal streets is one of those for it is not just an event, it is now a movement. I have attended this event both as an organiser and as a father to my daughter, the very joy of drawing with the chalk on the roads of Mumbai moved me as a father. Some of the Social/Sustainable events still remain very close to my heart as these events have a larger objective, unlike many events that are directly or indirectly designed to impact sales. As an agency, Laqshya Live Experiences will focus on doing a lot more sustainable and social events in the future.

Q: What is your dream event?

An event that fulfills all the KPIs set and moves the people attending it is a dream event; so for me, the scale is really not that defines it. But since you are asking, a dream event for me would be to do an event in Space or a Space Colony!!!!! 😊 I am sure SpaceX, Virgin Galactic etc. would make this a reality soon.

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