GPJ India’s Rasheed Sait on 15 Changes That Shaped India’s Event & Experiential Industry

The below copy was lifted from EVENTFAQS Bureau. To see the original article, click here.

The author of the below article is Rasheed Sait, Vice President and Managing Director of GPJ India.

George P. Johnson has moved into the 15th year of operations in India. In these times of short-lived warranties, 15 years does feel like a long-term relationship with the experiential industry. I can’t help but look back and reflect on all the incredible changes that the event space has witnessed. While some trends were sustained, some were overruled, but I take pride to observe that, what has stood the test of time are virtues of hard work, innovation & creativity. These have been our constant companions, which helped us keep this industry abuzz with innovation and vibrancy.

When you have lived and breathed events for past 15 years, you inadvertently become an expert. So, while I may still struggle to answer my wife’s ‘do I look different today?’ questions, I can with ease identify the myriad of changes the event industry has undergone over the years. Hence this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take you through an interesting time lapse read of changes that took place in the event space in the last 15 years.

1- Idea trumps execution. And has been voted as the President.

Once upon a time, clients selected event agencies based on their ability to execute and their experience in operations and management. The decisions were made based on how much manpower you had and whether your vendor base was strong. This has changed drastically in the last 15 years. Today, clients pick agencies based on the power of their ideas. If the idea is right, the mandate is yours. At GPJ India we have seen this change closely and have always promoted innovation and out-of-the-box creative experiences which have given us the privilege to sustain the last 15 years in India.

2- When digital takes over. And you know you can’t deny.

Many of us fondly remember the days of the direct mailer. Everything depended on post, couriers and phone calls. Wanted to create pre-event buzz? Design a unique direct mailer or pick up the phone and call the invitee. Then came the digital revolution and transformed communication as we knew it. Today, invitations are video messages. Today every event must have a Facebook page and social presence. The possibilities and opportunities are endless and exciting! At GPJ we are glad we could see both sides of the coin and not just be a part of this transformation, but lead the change in brand communication.

3- Everyone is a photographer. They will find you & they will click you.

Remember the time when that non-discreet, almost brazen photographer kept coming in your face and taking pictures and videos at events? He captured on-stage moments, but also didn’t miss those awkward moments of people eating. What he saw through his lens was the way the world would see the event. And then, just like that, one day everything changed. The mobile phone front camera was launched. With this, the power shifted from the photographer to the audience. You don’t have that one photographer roaming around, you have a hall full of photographers – making everything at the event vulnerable to judgement. The mobile phone camera is transforming the quality and the experiences at events today and we couldn’t be happier!

4- When photo met booth & gave us a star.

With the launch of mobile phone cameras coupled with social media, came a need to have share-able photographs. 15 years ago, a photo booth was probably a novelty – today, the event is incomplete without it. And how this humble photo booth has become critical to every event – from flat 2D backdrops & props, to immersive 3D art, anti-gravity photo booths, 360 degree gif photo booths– the photo booth has risen like a star on the event circuit. Now the challenge is to make photos more exciting, unique and shareable.

5- Women rocked our lives, just like always.

In the early day, events were not perceived as a serious career choice. Events meant late nights, it meant being out of the house for long hours and interacting with a lot of male vendors. This deterred parents from allowing their daughters to work in this male-dominated industry. But there were some women who stepped out of their boundaries to make a name for themselves in the domain of event management. They changed the general perception of the industry. It was no longer a taboo to be out late at night for work. 15 years ago, you barely saw a woman on setups. Today, agencies are filled with talented women managers in all departments. This is one of the things we pride at GPJ – our women colleagues are unstoppable and for once, we are happy to take a step back to give women more opportunities for growth in the industry.

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