Interview: Shreyas Narayanan Kutty

Event Sponsorship Organizer Community Meetups
Shreyas Narayanan Kutty
Community Manager, HasGeek

Team EventLinked (EL) recently had the pleasure of interviewing Shreyas Narayanan Kutty, a community manager currently residing in Bengaluru, India.
A computer science engineer by education, in his words, he ‘succumbed to the lure of all things social’ and took up community management as a full-time profession. He has been building communities as a volunteer with the Mozilla Foundation for almost 5 years and has been a full-time community manager with Belong (Scrollback) for almost 2 years. Currently, Shreyas manages communities at HasGeek.

EL: Please tell us more about CMX Series Bangalore.
SNK: CMX is a global community for community managers. We recently started CMX Series Bangalore to connect with other community professionals in the city, provide them with tools, resources and most importantly, experiences to succeed as a community manager. This is a platform to share resources and learnings about community management.

 

EL: How has Events, as a medium, helped organizations that you have worked with/ for?
SNK: Events for me was never a medium for marketing. It was always about community and what people wanted. I’ve organized several events in my personal and professional journey. All of these were focussed on providing value to the attendees. I think of an event as an experience to connect with your community on a personal level, especially when you run an online community where people largely interact on forums or mailing lists.

 

EL: What are the challenges/ pain points that you face or have faced as an Event Organizer?
SNK: I’ve faced different challenges with different community events. They’re never the same.

  • When it’s a small or relatively unknown brand/individual conducting an event, although a large number of people register or RSVP for the event, a lot of them don’t turn up and hence planning logistics becomes really hard.
  • When you do knowledge meetups and have the reputation of conducting meetups with good content, finding more people to come talk at your meetups are a problem. It’s usually the same set of speakers, unless the community is huge.
  • When you think you’ve finally managed to solve the first two problems, you realize that you don’t have the ‘right’ crowd at the event.

These are generally some known challenges. Then there are other challenges that are beyond your control like bad weather, countrywide bandh, festivals etc. that happens and people just don’t turn up!

 

EL: Have you ever helped raise sponsorship for an event? If yes, how was the process… was it simple or tedious?
SNK: I’ve raised sponsorships for Makerparty Chennai. I thought it was comparatively easier just because we had big names like Mozilla, Wikimedia, Google etc. involved. But nevertheless, the going back and forth to arrive on some decisions were just time consuming. Everything at a sponsorship level eventually boils down to what their ROIs are.

 

EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV, Online etc., what do you like about Events?
SNK: All the above-mentioned are marketing channels. For me, events were never about marketing. It was about community and what people want. The main difference here is that all these channels involve one-to-many communication – they are your audience. Events allow many-to-many communication – which is your community.

 

EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in India/ Bengaluru?
SNK: I have a dream to see everyone who RSVPs to go to an event, actually turn up at that event. 🙂
On a serious note, it’d be great to see events that add real value to the attendees and are able to map their growth not in terms of number of attendees at their events, but through the journey of their attendees. For example, if I’m organizing a meetup for the JavaScript community, I’d like to eventually see how many attendees of my meetups have grown to become speakers, or maybe got better job opportunities through these meetups.

 

EL: What is your message for Brands that sponsor and Event Organizers?
SNK: I’d like brands to have a clear ROI plan for sponsoring events and convey it to the organizers. This helps set the expectations right for both parties.

Events are really exciting opportunities. However, event organizers should never lose track of their north star – why did they start doing this event?

 

EL: EventLinked is an online platform that helps Event Organizers reach out to interested Brands and raise event sponsorship money online. Listing (creating an Event Sponsorship Proposal) is free and the only fee charged to Event Organizers is 2% of the total sponsorship money raised.
What is your take on EventLinked?
SNK: Looks good.
EL: Would you ever consider listing an event on EventLinked?
SNK: Right now, CMX Bangalore is just 3 months old. Most of our attendees are people who’ve connected with us online because they are managing communities. We hope to grow gradually. But if we reach a stage at which we need to use a platform like EventLinked, I see no reason to not do it.


EL: What is your most memorable moment from an event and what makes it such?
SNK: I was invited to speak at an event in Munnar. The day before my talk, I had the opportunity to attend Daya Bai’s talk which was super inspiring. It wasn’t a normal talk, it was about her journey. Post the talk, I also had the opportunity to interact with her, which went down on my ‘most memorable interactions’ book of life.

Shreyas Narayanan Kutty can be reached on Twitter.
Community managers in and around Bangalore can follow CMX Bangalore on Twitter and Facebook.

Please note: the opinions expressed in this interview are those of the respondent and do not reflect the views of the company to which he is affiliated.

Interview: Leela Sai Dev

EventLinked in conversation with Leela Sai Dev
Event Linked interview with Leela Sai Dev
Leela Sai Dev
Lead Marketing and Events, CIAR Software Solutions

 

Leela Sai Dev has been organizing events since high school. Today, he is an ecosystem enabler & a marketing professional by day, and a writer and cook by night. He is involved with quite a few Non Profits, working to support entrepreneurship in the country. He is also a public speaker and loves networking with passionate and driven people. Team EventLinked (EL) had the pleasure of interviewing him.

 

EL: We noticed that you have a history of organizing and managing Events. How has the journey been thus far?
LSD: I have been organising events since my high school days, and during college I was part of the Entrepreneurship cell, raising sponsorships and building comprehensive partnerships. The journey has been amazing so far, delivering more value and ROI to our partners who believe in us.

 

EL: How has Events, as a medium, helped organizations and brands that you have worked with/ for?
LSD: Events as a medium is a marketing tool that needs to be handled with care. Networking events, trade shows, conferences help you gain 3 things – branding, sales leads and meaningful partnerships. At CIAR we constantly attend trade shows and throw networking meetups, so that we have a faithful community who knows about our product offering and helps with a consistently good word-of-mouth.

 

EL: What are the challenges/ pain points that you face or have faced as an Event Organizer?
LSD: Having lasting relationships with the Sponsors
Crowd Management
Budget allocated to PR
Good Locations to conduct the event
Having the Right people
Time constraints
Environmental and Technology Hassles

 

EL: You have been in an active role in raising sponsorship for events. How was the process… was it simple or tedious?
LSD: I have helped raise sponsorship several times during the last three years. To be honest, if the sponsor is a B2C business it always looks for three things – Engagement, Reach and Virality. If your event is all these things, the sponsorship is just an MOU away. It is tedious when we have to reiterate the Mutual deliverables while partnering with a big player, but mostly the challenge is exciting for me. If you want to be an event organiser you have to live and breathe event listing sites, while always keeping the budget in mind.

 

EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV, Online etc., what do you like about Events?
LSD: The above mentioned Media, excluding Online, are too diverse and vague; they may or may not reach the target audience and the ROI is usually under 10%. A physical event on the other hand allows the consumer/customer to touch/feel your product offering, or at least have a firsthand understanding about your company. Events have a relatively large ROI and bring in qualified leads.

 

EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in India?
LSD: We need people who can think on their feet; problem solvers who don’t panic in tricky situations and also the events need to be result-oriented and the organisers need to get feedback from the attendees to constantly improve. Communication to your target crowd through the channel that most suits your event is a very important aspect in making it successful. Social Media influencers can help spread the word out; this avenue needs to be ventured into more.

 

EL: What is your message for Brands that sponsor and Event Organizers?
LSD:
For Sponsors
Do a thorough background check about the event and the average age group that’ll attend.
While discussing the deliverable, be very clear and invest in people more than the event.

For Event Organisers
Dress sharp. Brush up on that accent. Only promise what you can deliver. Be truthful.
Have a solid team in place. Remember the deal is not done until that cheque clears the bank.

 

EL: EventLinked is an online platform that helps Event Organizers reach out to interested Brands and raise event sponsorship money online. Listing (creating an Event Sponsorship Proposal) is free and the only fee charged to Event Organizers is 2% of the total sponsorship money raised.

What is your take on EventLinked?
LSD: I love the fact that you charge only 2% which is very low than the other players. I would love to know more about how you guys vary from the others, in this space.

 

EL: Would you ever consider listing an event on EventLinked?
LSD: Yes, I would definitely consider it when the scale of the event demands it 🙂

 

EL: What is your most memorable moment from an event and what makes it such?
LSD: It was back in college, for our Entrepreneurship summit, and I was in charge of Hospitality. We had a partner, MOU signed, discount negotiated, all in place, but he backed out at the last minute, a day before the big day. I was on the phone with him around 19 times that day. I begged, pleaded, threatened, argued and finally convinced the Front end manager to finally agree to the previous. Interestingly, and no one knows this, that hotel chain ended up offering me a job, which I politely declined, though positively elated!

Leela Sai Dev can be reached via LinkedIn and on Facebook.

Please note: the opinions expressed in this interview are those of the respondent and do not reflect the views of the company to which he is affiliated.

 

 

Interview: Reshma Krishnamurthy

Event Linked Sponsorship Interview
Event Linked Interview with Reshma Krishnamurthy
Reshma Krishnamurthy
Founder, Mums and Stories

Reshma Krishnamurthy is an independent writer, blogger and a storyteller. She is also the founder of a community-driven platform called ‘Mums and Stories’. Following is her interview with Team EventLinked (EL).

 

EL: Please tell us about your startup ‘Mums and Stories’.
RK: Mums and Stories is a community driven platform where we seek to connect, inspire and engage with our audience. We take pride in being one of the first to bring out curated experiences for mums and kids. We are a small startup focusing on two verticals at present:

We publish true stories on www.mumsandstories.com, our publishing platform.
Over 200 stories are published after detailed interactions on email, telecons and face to face meetings. Many of our stories have been re-published on select platforms after permission.
Right from stay at home mums to entrepreneurs, mums with physical disabilities to mums who are bloggers, athletes, writers, chefs, singers… acid attack fighters becoming mums, successful individuals talking on their journeys and paying a tribute to their mums or mums with children having special needs, our stories have been highly varied, interesting and inspiring.

We also organize events for mothers and children.
Like our stories, our events have been varied too. We have organized Story book picnics, games for children, festival specials, Bloggers meet, Hug a Tree campaign, Workshop for parents of teenagers to handle the adolescent years, dance and fitness events and Mum Talks.

 

EL: How has Events, as a medium, helped users of Mums and Stories?
RK: Events have been a direct medium of expression and interaction with our audience. It has surely helped us connect and create a sustainable form where we are able to bring new interesting stories and experiences.

 

EL: What are the challenges/ pain points that you face as an event organizer?
RK: The success of a particular event depends on a lot of factors and many times these are not really in your hands. We have organized free and constantly organize multitude of experiences for children and mums, of which some events are ticketed too.
Sometimes the timing of the event or the lack of interest of the audience for highly insightful events can make the organizer feel low about it. Yet one should remember that continuous efforts are required to build a sustained audience. So it is not recommended to give up or go low key on initiatives. The key factor is continuity.
Sometimes one tries to introduce a new concept and it may not work with the audience. We have learnt a few hard lessons too and now we try and ensure we are capable to gauge the pulse of the audience as to whether they might like it or not. It is not easy and we are still learning, even after 21 events.

 

EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV etc., what do you like about Events?
RK: Obviously the feedback is instant and you know whether you have connected with those who were present at the event. Print, Radio,Television or even Online takes time to give you feedback on whether it did work for your audience or not.

 

EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in India/ Bengaluru?
RK: Bangalore is one of those few cities that encourages offbeat events or events for a closed group of even 5 members. More event spaces will come up and event organizers will bring innovative events to set a benchmark in keeping their quality standards.

 

EL: We noticed brands such as SIP Abacus and Motherhood feature in a few of your events. How did you go about getting Mums and Stories associated with them? Was the process simple or tedious?
RK: As long as you are able to offer value to the brands that associate with you, it is possible to get into collaborations, partnerships or sponsorship. It isn’t easy to get an associated brand to sponsor or partner with you. It surely takes creative minds to eye that special segment so that brands can relate to your organization, event or reach the target audience. We are in the journey of being that special brand for mums and children and it is still a long way ahead.

 

EL: What is your message for Brands that sponsor?
RK: Sponsorship encourages organizers to go that extra mile in bringing the best of the curated experience. I would say – corporates or organizations need to look at events as a viable mode of connecting with their target audience and it can be something which can be explored and custom made according to your needs of the brand requirements. So along with print, online, radio or any other form of advertising, do consider events as interesting mode that can help you reach out to your audience.

 

EL: EventLinked is an online platform that helps Event Organizers reach out to interested Brands and raise event sponsorship money online.

What is your take on EventLinked?
RK: It is a good platform for event organizers to list their audience, however it will help the organizers only when they are able to get the audience through such mediums.
EL: Would you consider listing your event on EventLinked?
RK: For a large scale event, for which we require sponsorship, yes we could consider featuring and trying our hand in making it successful.

 

EL: What is your most memorable moment from an event and what makes it such?
RK: We organize a curated event initiative called Mum Talks. It has been of special interest as we bring interesting and inspiring moms to talk to a live audience. We are looking for sponsorship to help us bring more editions of Mum Talks. We have organized two of them and such events make us believe we are different and we will try harder to work this out. We are hopeful on making Mum Talks a niche concept and we do know we can scale up faster with sponsorship for such events.

 

Reshma Krishnamurthy can be reached via LinkedIn.
Know more about Mums and Stories here: www.mumsandstories.comwww.facebook.com/mumsandstories

Please note: the opinions expressed in this interview are those of the respondent and do not reflect the views of the company to which she is affiliated.