Heya all!!! Just grab your seats if you haven't yet, and join me as I unravel the Social Media Extravaganza a.k.a Social Media Week!! A world wide event that I'm covering in my blog; and boy! am I lucky to attend its Bombay Chapter or what. I missed the first day, but nevermind, the rest of the days I got booked and how! This post is gonna cover all the days ~ so be warned, it gonna be miles long \:D/ Be sure to bookmark it ~ you don't wanna miss the fun ;-)

In a nut-shell 'Social Media Week' brings together the pioneers of Digital & Social Media from all walks of life; from different backgrounds companies/brands/services/influencers etc as well as Social Media wannabes & enthusiasts in a single platform to share their experiences, give/take tips etc. In each session the 'now-experts' brings in their expertise in their respected fields - all within digital and social-media platforms. As the event progresses, there are also the people behind the scenes ~ like the twitter-army who tweeted and retweeted over 50k times, keeping the event live on Twitter religiously. After all it is Social Media Week ain't it ;-)
One thing I noticed, almost all the sessions mentioned the TOI-Cleavage saga - that shows what impact Social-Media has on all! And I had to mentioned it too here, didn't I? :D Anyways, without any further delay lets do a quick round-up of the sessions.

Covering the event from Day 2 onwards - excited, are we?!
Day - 2 ( 23rdSept ): Well, with 3-4 halls and multiple session going on at almost same timings, one is bound to miss a few. But hold on, I did get to attend some quite fun and informative ones; and enjoyed myself thoroughly! So, presenting the ones I attended ~ that really left me overwhelmed and wanting more!

1. So it was SEP23, Tuesday and I was ushered into the session hosted by Fratelli Wines, aptly titled "Your's Socially, Wine!" The event was to be from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ( though we exceeded that a bit ). Aimed at Marketing in a Multi-format, the session had its speaker Prateek Arora ( a Wine Professional representing Fratelli Wines and a blogger ) taking us on an enthralling & lil'tipsy trip into the world of Wines, Wines and more Wines. I have negligible knowledge about the beverage, so I listened on and watched it through, not to mention tasted through too ~ the entire session ( yes, we got to learn the fine nuances of Wine Tasting ).

Lots of things learnt ~ eg. Names of Wines being generally connected to names of grapes ( and there are a wide variety of them found all over the world - but mostly originating from France ), Bottles generally have the year listed on the label ( to find its age ), Different types of Wines ~ Red, Wine, Dry, Sweet etc how to serve them with different dishes ( a.k.a Wine etiquette ) in different glasses; also the ideal temperature to store them ( in India it doesn't harm to cool it a bit - though in western countries that are cool enough, they are served in room temperature ). Then, there is also the old wine producing markets and new world ( where almost everyone is producing their own wine ). "The session also dwelled on the relevance and importance of social media to businesses in general & how it has helped a wine company propel itself and reach the end consumers in India wherein marketing and advertising of alcohol on any media platform is prohibited! About surrogate marketing for alcoholic brands in India over social media platforms"

We were also taken through the wine making process, which is essentially crush, yeast-ferment, barrel ( to age them ) and bottle ( packing it ready to sell ). The session ended with a fun wine tasting session with 3 wines - Red, White, & Sparkling. How do you drink wine? Well, there are several ways. Gulping it in one go, you'll never come to know. Taking small sips, shaking the glass a bit and putting your nose inside the glass to take in the flavour that grows gradually, and blowing air into your mouth along with the sip are various ways where all the senses gets aroused. Ah...finally now I can say I too did Wine-tasting!

2. 2nd session was "Can Pinterest help Social Change?" Hosted by Kaushal B.K. ( Social Media Strategist , Web Marketing Academy ) from 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM. Independent Event with Marketing Presentation was about "how Pinterest can Inspire Social Change, cause or business objectives. Be it a cause, change or business looking into : • What is Pinterest • Pinterest best practices • How to use Pinterest for any cause • Case studies of successful Pins and boards • Tips on how to effectively use pinterest • How to optimize your visuals using Pinterest • How to launch a pinterest campaign • And how to measure success in Pinterest"

It started with history of Pinterest, which started off small, but now is the 3rd largest social media platform after google/facebook with growing brands and businesses ~ all using Pinterest to market and promote their brands & products. Indian users counts to nearly 70+lakhs. Usage of ( unique ) images makes pinterest a highly interesting medium to promote products. It is important to pin ( your own stuff ) and re-pin ( other's stuff ), so as to grow your network. Interaction by commenting on other's pins, makes you noticed too, and high chances are others taking interest in your pins too & following you back. Contests, creating shopping list, awareness campaigns etc makes great promotional tools on Pinterest. Optimization of images is a must. 13 is the new 18 and 30 the new 24 in this age of SM, as what we knew when we were 18, is what a 13 year old knows now.

3. 3rd Session was "Content And Social Media Marketing On Budget" Hosted by Navneet Kaushal ( CEO, Page Traffic ) from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM. Independent Event with Marketing Multi-format was about "When 87% say that online content has major or moderate impact on a consumer’s purchase decision, you would definitely not want to skip the content & social media marketing part in your strategic growth plan. A solid content and social media marketing plan is the key for any successful business. But, how do you get started on a shoestring budget? If you are on a limited budget, instead of risking your website with a low quality service, learn the ropes and do it on your own. This must attend session will share some great Do-it-Yourself tips to help you succeed in content and social media marketing."

I could attend only the last part of this session. Mantra of this event was if you do not have the budget to make expensive advertorials to reach to your consumers, the best way is essentially to engage with the users/customers who have liked your social media handles ( do not ignore them, always answer their queries ). Even during off season ( eg. a seasonal marathon event ) keep engaging with interesting contents or information. They offered a FREE Content Marketing Guide for download as well, with tricks of the trade in it.

4. 4th Session was "With Etailers gaining traction and funds, Retailers would shut down" Hosted by Anaggh Desai ( Co - founder, 1+99 Experience Consulting ) with the panel comprising of
Jaydeep Shetty ( Founder and co-promoter, Mineral, a leading womenswear brand ), Sanjeev Agrawal ( Managing Director, Skechers South Asia Private Limited ), Karan Mehrotra ( Co-Founder & CEO, ) and Kumar Rajagopalan ( Chief Executive Officer, Retailers Association of India ). Independent Event Business & Entrepreneurship with Multi-format was "a panel discussion to understand the journey of retail to e-tail with the advancement of Social Media in digital world."

So, after attending Single presentations so far, it was quite interesting to watch a panel discussion with people from diverse fields of marketing both online and offline. It gave insight into the strategies both parties have had to take ~ to woo its customers. While online ones thrives in large discounts, exchanges etc, offline has advantage of trials, touch and feel. With increasing number of customers buying from online stores, offline retailers have had to introduce newer business models to enhance the shopping experience. Will either one fade out or out-do each other? Verdict is no ~ so long as they keep introducing newer, innovative strategies and keeps the customers intrigued.

5. 5th Session was "How well do you know social media? Ogilvy Pop Quiz." Hosted by Ogilvy&Mather from 4:15 PM - 4:30 PM. Independent Event Marketing in Multi-format, it was a 15 min quiz on Social Media with exciting prizes.

So we had to log into this page and answer the Qs. -
Did I win? No! But it was quite fun and I enjoyed it.

6. 6th Session was "The Age of Branded Content" Hosted by Ekalavya Bhattacharya ( Head Digital, MTV, Viacom18 ) from 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Independent Event Marketing in Multi-format was about "How does one create content that not only promotes a brand but is also massively engaging for the audiences? While others are just about waking up to the idea of creating branded content for digital, learn how it is really done from the pioneers of Digital Branded Content in India – MTV, who have been doing it for the last four years."

First of all I must say the speaker Ekalavya has a really good sense of humour. Right from urging people not to leave the room, and threatening to stare at anyone who is too busy into his/her smartphone ( rather than listening him ), to not ask him where's the music in MTV ~ he set the mood right. I liked his presentation the most, of all that I attended that day, because it was presented in a very interesting manner. He went on to say how they developed a new App that counted how much people drank, and as a long term marketing strategy the data collected can be used for further 'target' brand marketing. He also gave interesting insight as to how brands normally try and cater only to the 'happy' customer, whereas infact there are all types of customers; some irritated, some trolls, some always complaining, some careless, some disgruntled, some skeptic, some satisfied etc and engaging with all 'two-ways' is what that makes the brand ~ a success.
He also spoke on how the Tata Nano Challenge became really social, when on a budget of only 4k, 4 groups of people travelled the Nano in different corners of India each, totally relying on help from the locals with everything recorded and broadcasted the next day itself and all participants updating via FB, Twitter, Instagram all their activities in real-time. There's also another App 'Pepsi Indies' where if a person plays a particular track 3 times, suggestions about where that musician might be playing a gig is given ~ must say another innovating marketing strategy that.


Day - 3 ( 24thSept ):

1. 1st Session was "CONTENT MARKETING - THE FLASHFORWARD' -WHAT CONTENT MARKETING IN THE FUTURE" Hosted by Payal Shah Karwa ( Founder, The Word Jockey Creative Content Studio ) from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM with the panel comprising of Peter Yorke ( Founder, Yorke Communications Pvt Ltd ), Sundeep Nagpal ( Founder & Director, Stratagem Media ) and Susmita Dasgupta ( Founder & Chief Ideator, Smart iDeAS ). Independent Marketing Panel was about "Next -Gen Content Marketing would be ‘Content Marketing – The Flash-forward’. What Content Marketing in the future would be like? By now, the mantra of “content is king” has been relentlessly drilled into our collective heads – but more isn’t always necessarily better. We talk about Brands as publishers citing relevant case studies and examples. Use of content by brands to market themselves. Future trends in Content Marketing. Content as tool of future Marketing. Brands often use Advertising and Events as a way to market themselves. As well as exploring the scope of Branded content in Marketing."

A very interesting panel discussion I managed to catch up towards the end ~ nonetheless, it was invigorating enough. It was about challenges for brands to do content marketing. Examples of how a Vodafone ZooZoos notched up much higher than the crowd-sourced Airtel logo name or its adv tone recall value. Not ROI, but engagement rate applies more in SM. Content is very important, as well as the fact that it has to be available in various languages too ( a feature Android One introduced recently ). Isolating content from business - a challenge for brands. Interaction and communications with multiple groups of people is vital in SM. Brands will have to adapt, else will loose consumers. Also the generation gap between brand management and the customers will have to be looked into - with the brand side usually being in the wrong side of fourties while the customers are mostly in right side of their twenties. In the future, the average age group of Indians will be around 29, and how brands will need to focus on that.
New ways to make content is also by outsourcing it to public without being intrusive. SM has empowered the consumers in such a way that, no matter how much brands creep into SM, consumers will always find out the truth. As such, brands for the fear of being scrutinized has these days what is called 'reputation management'. SM has helped mettle deception to large extent. Choice & budget - content marketing creates a stage where consumer can integrate with brands. Interesting example of Red Bull's marketing strategies and its success story in creating impact by a series of offline contents created via various interesting engaging events.

2. 2nd Session was "REDEFINING A TOURISM DESTINATION TO A TOURISM BRAND - GOA" Hosted by Chitresh Sinha ( Brand Strategist, Ideator, Executer, chlorophyll brand & communications consultancy ) from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM. Independent Marketing Workshop was about "There are new tourist destinations that appear on the radar every singly day. Why is it that a few destinations continue to draw crowds decades after decades while others disappear of the tourist radar in just a few years? What is the difference between a tourist destination and a tourism brand? Do the rules of product or service brands apply to tourism brands? Does a tourist destination like Goa which is popular with domestic and international tourists even need to bother with creating a tourism brand? Chitresh will try and address all these questions and more during this session. Chitresh has been working with Goa Tourism for over 1.5 years to turn the popular tourist destination into a great tourism brand."

The words 'Goa' and 'Tourism' had me walk into this session next. Being a travel buff, I was greatly interested ( though had to unfortunately skip a few morning sessions on travel because of the distance and travel time it takes to reach the venue from my place ). But what I learnt here can be applied to basically all travel related. The session was about 'turning a tourism destination into a destination brand'. Certain hindrances were looked into, such as the declining tourism into this once hottest destination and how to counter that and turn the tables. Goa is triple the price compared to Andaman or Phuket ( esp Oct-Dec ), and travel stay is usually short - 5 for Indians and 9 for foreigners compared to the days they spend in other places offering the same amenities and activities. Also Goa's reliance on mostly 2 countries; UK and Russia (62%) with UK having a damaged economy as per survey and Russia a facing bankruptcy of Russian Tour Operators. You can't brand a state or a place. You can only brand an aspect of it eg Tourism of Goa.

When defining tourism brand one usually thinks Goa as - Backpacker's paradise, easy-going place, non-veg, music festivals, churches, night-life, family holidays, beaches etc. Beach festival becoming a commodity becomes a problem. Almost all tourism brands are focused on such an undifferentiated laundry list of activities. As such, there is an urgent need to re-focus strategies and ponder upon ~ Why people travel, How is Goa different from others, What Goa offers, First time travellers, Which age-groups or if Solo etc - and target accordingly. People normally seek off-beat and new experiences, some like an enriching holiday, some like to dwelve deep into the culture and people of that place; as such the destination should add value to the tourist. Hence, focus should be on human experience and not the place. There are also multiple stake-holders in destination brand - not just the customers, but everything that enhances their travel ~ right from booking agents, travel guide, local-vendors etc. Thus, focus should be on human network and not merely digital network. Keeping those in mind, Goa is now being promoted as 'where contrasts co-exists within minutes'. Whole Goa can be covered within 3 hours from north to south, whereas other places with similar contrasts are much larger in area eg. Greece. The terms 'Kenna fast kenna slow' etc highlighting all diverse and contrasting aspects of Goa, is now the official Goan tourism slogan.

3. 3rd Session was "WHAT YOU NEED TO BUILD A CAREER IN SOCIAL MEDIA" Hosted by Ashwath Ganesan ( National Strategy Director, Social @ Ogilvy ) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Independent Marketing Master-class Workshop was about "It takes more than a 24-hour-a-day Facebook habit to make a career in social media. Find out what skills you should be sharpening, and how to position yourself for success in the world of digital communications and communities. There will be a brief lecture, followed by a lively Q&A."

Again a very humourous speaker, who kept cracking light jokes as he made his speech which was actually quite a serious subject in nature. I loved the way he recollected the oldest form of communication which was when early cave-men made those doodles on cave walls to pass on their messages. How word-of-mouth is very relevant till date. Be interesting in what you say, technical specialization is needed as well as the need to keep vocabulary communication going. Story telling, influencers, technologist and analytic insights are important for a successful 'career' in Social Media.

4. 4th Session was "HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW SOCIAL MEDIA? OGILVY POP QUIZ I" Hosted by Kunal Jeswani ( Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy & Mather India ) from 4:15 PM - 4:30 PM. Independent Marketing in Multi-format is about "Take a 15 min quiz on Social Media and get exciting prizes!"

The 2nd quiz I attended. We had to log into this page and answer the Qs. -
Did I win? No again - it was tougher than the first! But still, it was quite fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly inspite of some technical glitches it had :-)

5. 5th Session was "SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SHOWBIZ" Hosted by Social Squared with the panel comprising of Nathalia Kaur ( Singer & Writer, Bollywood Actress, Dancer ), Indu Mirani ( consultant, bombay times ), Tara Sharma ( Creator/CoProducer/Host:TheTaraSharmaShow-DiariesofaNewMum, Star World India ), Sahil Shah ( The East India Comedy, Stand Up Comedian ) and Shakti Salgaokar ( Author, Imperfect Mr. Right, Qyuki Digital Media ) from 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM. Independent Marketing was about "Runway shows are now streamed live online; minute by minute details of what’s happening behind the scenes give a sneak peek to the online audience. Every Friday, the Twiteratis wait to give their opinion on the movies that release. More celebrities now use social media to promote themselves directly and create their personal brand with their fans. How is all this evolving? The diverse panel consisting of actors, a film critic, a showbiz consultant and a digital media maven share their views on the curious relationship between show business and social media."

Bollywood is surely a crowd puller. I was all set to attend a session by Microsoft, when I met Harish of Blogadda who informed me about the session he was about to attend. The term 'bollywood' and 'showbiz' does pull our heart-strings and how. So, I soon found myself attending this event which had actress Tara Sharma in it ( its another matter we hardly see her in films these days ). The hall was packed in no time and the session unfolded with another actress joining in, besides others.


The food and the ambience of the #SMWMumbai event was mind-blowing to say the least. All four days that I attended, I tasted some yummy stuff ( sorry forgotten the names of the dishes ). For both lunch and afternoon high-tea they had a wide assortment of delicacies that had left me licking my fingers. I'm not aware if morning breakfast was provided, since I didn't check. Well organized, with ever-helpful cordial staff ( hotel ) & volunteers ( SMW ) - it was a flawless event; and obviously a big success!


My take-aways from the event besides the above 'selfies' with the famous icons, is obviously the overall enriching experience in the whole #SMWMumbai Event that I had :-) ( Read Part 2 - Here! )


Thank you SMWMumbai and Blogadda | Also read about it - Here! | See more Pics of #SMWMUMBAI - Here, Here & Here!
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