Aurangabad is a historical city. It is the only city in the world with 2 UNESCO world heritage sites. The city has a water channel system spanning 8 km, phenomenal town planning and the second Taj Mahal of India. Aurangabad was also a strong point during the Indian freedom struggle.
Even with all this heritage and culture, one thing which Aurangabad lacked was an art movement driven by the youth of the city. Something which was dearly felt by an individual in his early years of college something which led to the conception of “Kashmakash – Art Media House”
Absence Of Art Related Platforms
Aurangabad as a city lacked centres where people can come and perform. Usually, these centres can be found in the metropolitan cities in the form of art groups, open mics, and workshops. I noticed a lot of talent performing in college events, but those events were less in number.
I also observed the absence of art groups in the city led to stagnation in the growth of an artist. Coming up with a setup where different kinds of artists can come together to network, grow and enjoy became a priority.
With this problem statement, I started Kashmakash, an event startup. The idea was to start a Standup Open mic in the city. As standup comedy was all the rage with comedians influencing a lot of young generation through Youtube. Even though event startup planned our first offering to be a standup comedy event a very crucial message I wanted to put out was that it Kashmakash was a group for all forms of artists.
A place not just for comedians but everyone who admired art. It turned out it was not as easy as it sounded. People in Aurangabad did not really know-how an Open Mic worked.
A Three-pronged Solution
In the first part, we started our campaign calling out to all the comedians in the city, no matter if they had performed comedy before or not. The only criteria were that the comedian should have original content. I used social media and networks to put out the word of the event. Surprisingly, I got 34 entries for the show which qualified for the criteria of original content.
The next step was to train the comedians as a lot of people were not confident enough to face a crowd but had the intent to perform. We used group activities to build their confidence along with improving content through inputs from various individuals of the group.
The second part of the three-pronged solution was finding a venue for the event. I clearly had in mind the setup of a local well-known sports pub. The venue held importance as I wanted to provide an experience as a whole to everyone attending the show. It was difficult convincing a sports pub to collaborate without charging for the venue.
I was successful to make the owner understand the concept of social media and influential marketing on a local level. A bullet point in my pitch to the venue was how locals endorsing a local joint would be more real than investing in advertising campaigns.
Also, as a huge chunk of the marketing of the show was run through social media, it would bring exposure to the social media handles of the venue too.
The third part was ticket sales. For a first time show, happening in a relatively small city by the local artists my best estimates where the sale of 50 tickets. I ended up selling 140 tickets. The ticket sales were executed through local brick and mortar stores and the venue reaching out to its frequent customer base.
Tickets were specially designed to give a feel of a professional big-scale event. This was important as in the long run I wanted people to perceive the company as a professional and artist to associate with us for a long time.
Our model included three major stakeholders –
A major chunk of reaching out was through social media and word of mouth. I was quite clear on the type of people I wanted to reach out to, people who are young, dynamic and creative.
The creatives used in the campaign were witty and engaging. Pop culture references were used in the creatives by using superheroes like Deadpool and Batman to connect with the right audience. Want to learn more about marketing in the millennial era? Here’s a quick read for you.
The second major priority in the campaigning of the event was the artist. As the group stood for local artists and promoting the local art culture in the city, the campaign was also created around the same. Creatives involving personal pictures of the artists with descriptions focusing on their introduction.
The coverage for the event was focused on presenting the venue in the most beautiful way possible. The proper coverage of the event led to other venues in the city approaching us for hosting future events.
This was helpful in the long run for the event startup as it reduced our effort in bringing venues onboard. Also, people embracing the idea of Art events hosted by the locals for the locals led to the starting of an art revolution in the city.
What did we achieve?
- Open mic with 15 artists at Cafe Ninety9
- Fusion music show with 14 singers performing a fusion of folk with western and classical music.
- Ladies open mic with 10 women artists celebrating women’s day.
- Photography workshop with 2 of the prominent photographers in the city.
- Writers meetups to promote the writing culture in the city.
- Featured in the Femina India.
- Featured in the Times of India.
Key Takeaways From My Event Startup
Branding is the key
Branding helps in creating a narrative for your brand through design language. When the narrative clicks with your audience it creates a connection that lasts for a long time. Deciding an approach before you begin helps in the long run as it attracts the right audience and assets for your cause.
Quality, not Quantity
Always focus on quality over quantity, remember that this is a part of your brand that you are offering to your audience try to make it your best. Even the minute details like offering certificates to open mic participants to creating a custom introduction for artists everything matters.
Organizing a fusion music show which even the musicians did not understand at the time of the first brief was a huge risk but still going ahead believing in your vision led to people started to recognising artists not by their names but like the people who sang a Kashmiri folk song or the girl who sang in 7 different languages pays off.
An event startup is an experience that teaches you every aspect of a business. Kashmakash taught me how to handle an artist (partner), how to convince a venue (vendor) and how to sell to my audience (customer) something which builds you as a better professional.
You come across different situations which you are not averse to. You have to think on your feet to salvage every situation. Some things which you only learn by being a part of a startup.