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News |  30 May 2024 13:34 |  By RnMTeam

Goafest 2024: Day 1 Sets the Stage for Adaptation and Innovation

MUMBAI: Goafest 2024 brings together the brightest minds from across advertising, marketing, media, and business to explore how adaptability is not just a skill but an essential strategy in today’s dynamic market landscape. As industries continue to face unprecedented shifts influenced by technology, consumer behaviour, and global economic factors, ‘The Age of Adaptability’ provides an opportunity to showcase and discuss how embracing change is crucial for success.

Goafest 2024, hosted by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and The Advertising Club (TAC), kicked off with an electrifying performance by Bollywood playback singer Sukhwinder Singh, presented by B4U Music. His dynamic performance infused the event with energy, ensuring the audience remained captivated and enthusiastic throughout the day. Following this, members of the organising committee lit the ceremonial lamp. Prasanth Kumar, President of AAAI and CEO of South Asia at GroupM, then addressed the attendees, marking the festival’s 17th edition. This year’s event also celebrated the third year of collaboration between The ABBY Awards and One Show. Under the theme ‘The Age of Adaptability,’ delegates were welcomed to Goafest 2024 with a champagne launch, setting a celebratory tone for the proceedings.

In the first session presented by News 18 Network, titled Adapt To Thrive Not Just Survive, Harit Nagpal, Managing Director & CEO of Tata Play, emphasised the importance of adaptability as a key to thriving rather than merely surviving. In a captivating speech that left the audience both thinking and inspired, laden with anecdotes, the keynote speaker underlined the inevitability of disruption in our lives and the critical importance of resilience in the face of it. "Disruption can be caused by anything or anyone, but it becomes our responsibility to survive and thrive," he asserted. He then discussed Business Continuity Planning, a strategy used in the 2000s, designed to address both expected and unexpected scenarios, and its relevance to COVID-19. He then moved on to highlight the surge in digital interactions, including video calls and remote work, which have now become the standard. The pandemic, he noted, disrupted traditional office setups but ultimately led to more flexible and efficient work arrangements.

He also revealed that a significant and growing proportion of Tata Play's customer base is now opting for digital recharge options, marking a notable shift in consumer behaviour. This trend is reflected in the company's increasing market share, as more and more customers embrace the convenience of virtual recharges. In a nod to the rapid pace of innovation, he declared, “Disruption is the new norm.” From the World Wide Web to AI, each breakthrough is shrinking the gap between disruptions, and we're just getting started. His parting words, “Either you disrupt, or someone else is going to do it for you, and the best time to do it is when you feel the most comfortable!” left an indelible mark!

Thereafter, Sun Neo presented an enlightening session titled, Navigating The Age Of Adaptability: Leading with Vision, Flexibility, and Purpose, led by Sanjiv Mehta, Executive Chairman of L Catterton India. In this compelling talk, Mehta delved into the critical elements of leading with vision, flexibility, innovation, agility, and dynamic purpose in today's ever-changing market landscape. He articulated how visionary leadership combined with the agility to pivot and a strong sense of purpose can drive business success and resilience. “Agility demands spare capacity and the ability to redirect talent towards value creation”, he mentioned.

Mehta also highlighted the importance of innovation through several examples, noting that no business follows a linear trajectory. Instead, resilience and adaptability are essential for organisations to bounce back and thrive in a dynamic environment. He stated, “Learning happens when you have the humility to say, ‘I don’t know?’” - by admitting so, organisations and corporations open themselves to new knowledge and understanding, fostering a growth mindset that enables them to learn and develop from others' expertise and experiences, not just myopically thinking of profit generation.

He also highlighted myriad leadership attributes, including sensemaking, a term coined by Karl Weick, which involves piecing together disparate information to foresee and navigate complexity. He spoke about care and compassion being a core value for leaders as well. Moreover, while focusing on the value of team over individuals, he emphasised, “The concept of a great leader is a myth; it is always the work of a great team.” Overall, this session offered invaluable insights, highlighting the need for businesses to remain adaptable and forward-thinking to navigate and thrive in the age of constant change.

Soon after, in a powerful session titled, From Setbacks to Comebacks: The Power of Persistence presented by Adani, acclaimed Writer and Film Director, Tahira Kashyap captivated the audience with her inspiring journey, moderated by Atika Farooqui, Celebrity Host & Actor. Tahira shared personal anecdotes and professional experiences, illustrating how resilience and determination have been instrumental in her success. “Women go through multiple hardware upgrades; every day is so different for women, every hour is so different than the previous one," she mentions, also candidly referring to the books she has written on womanhood and motherhood.

When asked about the various facets of her identity, she smiled, “My identity is no longer defined by my title, but by the relationships I cherish. I take immense pride in being known as a wife, mother, daughter, and Mrs. Kashyap. It's the people in my life who give my existence meaning, and I'm humbled to be seen as a person, not just a professional label.” Throughout the discussion, she underscored that setbacks are not the end but opportunities for growth and reinvention. She reflected on the numerous hardships that life can bring, yet felt profound gratitude to the universe for her journey thus far. Her faith had been a constant source of strength, empowering her to overcome obstacles. Recognising that each person's life is unique, she acknowledged that everyone faces challenges, but it is their faith that enables them to persevere. With a steadfast determination to create meaningful stories, she vowed that her female protagonists would never be relegated to marginal roles, instead, they would be dynamic characters who drive the narrative forward. With a personal commitment to growth and self-improvement, she embraced the challenges that lay ahead, knowing that her perspective and journey would shape her path.

Her story resonated deeply, offering a compelling reminder that persistence is key to overcoming challenges and achieving long-term success. This session underscored the transformative power of perseverance in turning obstacles into stepping stones.

In a finale brimming with wisdom, Disney+ Hotstar presented a session, titled Lessons of Adaptability: Embracing Failure to Touch Success, featuring Indian actress Medha Shankr, and actor Vikrant Massey, moderated by the multifaceted Actor, Producer & Entrepreneur, Neha Dhupia. Medha and Vikrant, the cast of the acclaimed film 12th Fail, illuminated the audience with their insights on embracing failure as a stepping stone towards triumph.

Reflecting on his 21 years in the industry, Vikrant delved into the essence of adaptability, citing his varied experiences from television to movies and the invaluable lesson that success cannot exist without acknowledging failure. He said, “Success cannot be defined as a standard without failure. Out of 365 days in a year, in 300 you're off the mark, and only 65 are successes.” He shared anecdotes from his latest project, ‘12th Fail,’ finding resonance in the film's themes of familial responsibility and the values instilled by Manoj Kumar's vision. Meanwhile, Medha, having relocated to Mumbai several years ago, echoed Vikrant's sentiment on embracing failure as a catalyst for growth.

Despite uncertainties about the film's reception, both actors were committed to authenticity, prioritising storytelling over commercial success. They expressed openness to future collaborations, guided by a shared dedication to staying true to the director's vision and exploring diverse storytelling opportunities. Through engaging anecdotes and candid reflections, they demonstrated how resilience and adaptability are vital ingredients on the path to success.

The ongoing partnership between The Advertising Club and One Show has elevated the ABBY Awards 2024 Powered by One Show to unprecedented levels of global recognition and excellence for the third consecutive year. This year, a staggering 3,506 entries were submitted from 273 companies, demonstrating the immense enthusiasm and commitment of both participants and jury chairs towards the awards.

Prasanth Kumar, President of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and CEO of GroupM, South Asia, said, “The composition of the clients has been very interesting this year with a notable presence of tech specialists. It's encouraging to see such diversity. It's truly heartening to witness the growing number of partners, which not only strengthens and welcomes many newcomers into the Goafest fold. While we anticipated challenges, the dedication and support of all involved have exceeded our expectations, and for that, we're immensely grateful. We're excited to welcome many new faces and investors to Goafest 2024; we’re also looking forward to numerous tech sessions and integrations that will enrich the experience. Our goal is to institutionalise Goafest, constantly striving to improve. By completing 60% of the work early and refining timing, we're making practical strides toward our vision for the next year."

Rana Barua, President of The Advertising Club and Group CEO of Havas India, South East and North Asia said, “Through countless journeys together, we've always been driven by passion, not profit. This year, our commitment to not miss out has been unanimous. The whole team rallied together, united by our love for this industry, to make Goafest 2024 happen within our tight timeframe."

Jaideep Gandhi, Chairperson of the Goafest Organising Committee, said, "We aim to keep this festival relevant, as we've successfully done in the past two years, especially in the post-pandemic era. Each year, we strive to introduce new elements, constantly raising the bar."

Dheeraj Sinha, Group CEO - India and South Asia, FCB and Co-chair Awards Governing Council, Abby Awards 2024 powered by One Show said, “We're thrilled to see a fantastic response from returning agencies, with VML, and McCann Worldgroup India, amongst others, making a comeback, along with many others. It's a near-complete reunion, with only a handful of agencies not joining us this year!”

After the sessions closed, Abby Awards 2024 powered by One Show: Publisher & Media Abby was presented by Sony Liv in association with Zee Media and WION.

The Sakal Gala Dinner followed the awards and the Sports 18 & JioCinema After Hours Party with DJ Akhtar.

As the curtains closed on these informative and insightful sessions and Day 1 of Goafest 2024, it was a poignant reminder that even in the face of adversity, there lies the potential for extraordinary growth and achievement.