Exhibition Showcase Talks To Sanyal S. Desai, CEO, Radeecal Communications
“As it is always said ‘Necessity is mother of Invention’ there are some positive outcomes of coronavirus crisis. Though these silver linings are thin if compared with the impact of coronavirus, it has somewhere made us do more business with less or limited resources and has forced us to find better, cheaper, simpler and faster ways to operate our businesses.” Sanyal S. Desai, CEO, Radeecal Communications
ES. Please share with us your professional journey. What have been the major milestones and most amazing achievements and moments in your career?
Sanyal. I started my career in the Exhibition Industry in the year 2000 by joining as a Marketing Director of a reputed and well established exhibition organising company. With the experience on hand, I and my partner Mr Neeraj Shah founded Radeecal Communications in July 2010. Radeecal communications has just became a decade old company while I am answering to this question. The first major milestone that we hit in my opinion has to be the concept of organising first ever exhibition from the very scratch – Agri Asia. This was a huge boost to us on both an individual and organisational level which filled the team with much more enthusiasm and confidence. All of us at Radeecal Communications craved quality more than anything. We knew that achieving the highest levels of quality will inevitably bring success to us. Our team has constantly grown and improved which has helped Radeecal reach out and create a significant mark in as many as 10 major industries. We’ve gone on to put together 65+ events within a decade and have along the way become associated with DLG, IFW Expo and many more well established and reputed organisations both in the country as well as across the globe. Radeecal’s tremendous growth has pushed me and my partner Neeraj to improve and innovate our vision about how Radeecal communications is to be taken forward. Radeecal Communications has managed to cross the seas and tap the African markets brimming with potential especially in the agriculture industry with Agritec Africa. One of our main achievements can said to be organising exhibition focused solely on the niche subject of Nonwoven Industry in India. Over the years we have associated with the Government of Kenya and Government of Gujarat on number of initiatives such as Vibrant Gujarat.
Standing on the verge of a new decade and with an aim of serving various industry fraternities in these tough times by providing a virtual exhibition platform ‘I Radeecal’. The experience of the way Radeecal communications has grown over the years and the colleagues, clients, and industry patrons I’ve come across has been truly heart-warming and makes me swell up with pride and happiness.
ES. Please share with us your take on this situation.
Sanyal. The world is still struggling to understand and adjust to the new situation due to the coronavirus outbreak. Uncertainty is still keeping consumers away from spending and businesses from investing. The road to recovery requires inspired convictions. Saying this I am also astonished to see many things that have accelerated structurally in terms of going Digital. Many futuristic modules of work expected to be a decade away happened in a week. In my whole life I have never seen ideas travel faster than they do now. But the threat is still out there and no one knows how long this uncertainty will persist. All we can do is adapt and learn the necessary response measures needed to deal with the situation that we are in due to the coronavirus crisis. We should somehow get going because post lockdown we are somewhere in a much better position to respond to the situations that we come across in this unprecedented times.
ES. What do you see the roadmap ahead & recovery guide for Exhibition Industry?
Sanyal. As we know our Exhibition & Convention Industry is one of the worst affected Industry due to the Covid-19 crisis. As per the December 2019 report demonstrated by “Global Economic Impact of Exhibitions’ states that the Economic Impact of the Exhibition Industry is calculated to be 167 Billion Euros globally. This shows the significance of our Industry. Our Exhibition Industry will play an important role in the reviving of economies across the world. In context to the uncertainty of how future would be, we don’t know how physical exhibitions will be organized. Several Exhibition organiser associations and exhibition organising companies across the world have opened dialogues with the governments to show them the readiness and preparedness of our sector regarding organising exhibitions, but one cannot deny the levels of risk associated on managing and operating large scale physical exhibitions along with the added cost of maintenance.
To keep the wheels of our exhibition Industry moving in this tough times going digital is only an effective option that we are left with. Around the globe many of our Industry patrons at their own pace are digitally transforming by designing virtual exhibition platforms. These virtual exhibition platforms according to me are the most appropriate temporary replacements to get things going until the threat of the pandemic is not over.
ES. What is your take on pros and cons of Virtual exhibitions?
Sanyal. In my personal opinion I genuinely believe that nothing matches the profound impact of physical exhibition. Maybe for time being physical exhibitions can be overshadowed by virtual ones mainly due to the situation that we are in.
With this I will like to add that virtual exhibition platform is the next big trend in organising trade shows and exhibitions. Virtual exhibition platforms brings in great amount of flexibility in context to designing and changing what doesn’t works unlike physical exhibitions where you don’t get that leverage of making it flexible.
The freedom of exploring new markets is one of the most important advantage of organising an exhibition virtually as it has no geographic and demographic boundaries limiting its reach. Virtual exhibitions is a very cost effective solution as they are not limited to time, travel and space. The real time data analytics helps to analyse and generate leads immediately which helps to improve company’s marketing operations. Despite the attractiveness and huge potential virtual exhibitions are no match to the physical exhibitions in terms of face to face visitor experience. There is a tendency of the virtual experience not being a memorable one. Poor representation of products & services can also hinder the overall experience. Low Internet connectivity can act as a major technological barrier which impacts the virtual exhibitions negatively. Along with this the virtual exhibition platforms can be vulnerable at times if exhibitors & visitors are not educated properly on how to use it.
ES. Having seen some other virtual exhibitions already, what is your take on the platform?
Sanyal. There is absolutely no doubt that the virtual exhibition platforms comes in handy in these tough times when there is air of uncertainty circulating around the commencement of physical exhibitions. I have seen many virtual exhibitions as part of our research and references as we ourselves are designing our own virtual exhibition platform ‘I Radeecal’. There is sudden rise in the number of people visiting different virtual exhibitions due to the global pandemic. As mentioned before virtual exhibition is the next big trend but still it will be too early to say anything regarding the impact & effectiveness of the virtual platform as they are yet to be tried and tested extensively across varied business sectors. One thing I am pretty much sure about is that the virtual exhibition platforms will stay in trend and will have its own market share even after the commencement of physical exhibitions in the future.
ES. How did you arrive at a decision to organise your own show virtually?
Sanyal. At Radeecal communications we had given a thought of organising an exhibition virtually way back in the year 2014, when we were for the very first time solely organising an exhibition outside India. But somehow due to one reason or the other, we were not able to focus on the implication of the idea since then. Thus, now when the need arise we had that agility to transform ourselves digitally as we already had some references and studies related to the virtual exhibition platform.
We have launched our own virtual exhibition platform ‘i radeecal’ in June which is totally in house designed by our dedicated team with an aim of serving various business fraternities through setting up a digital culture which will help to create business opportunities in this tough times.
ES. What do you see as the upcoming emerging trends going forward?
Sanyal. As going forward, I personally don’t believe that virtual exhibitions will fully replace the physical exhibitions ever. On a longer run once we are out of this threat I feel that a hybrid structure designed combining the features of both virtual & physical exhibitions would be the emerging trend which will take our exhibition industry forward.
ES. What is the silver lining of this pandemic?
Sanyal. We all know that this pandemic is hurting and affecting each and everyone’s lives globally. But as it has been said always whenever humanity is going through this kind of difficult time that ‘This too shall pass’, its time to believe in this phrase and start working on the opportunities that lies in the problem that we all are facing to prevail through this tough time. Well someone has rightly said that this global pandemic is not only a health crisis, but it’s also a forthcoming restructuring of the world economies. This might be an event which can lead to “The Renaissance” which the world needed. The governments and people are likely to take this global pandemic as a ‘Wakeup Call’ for focusing on things which are neglected from a long time. The Covid-19 crisis with exploiting the vulnerabilities it also has and will reveal opportunities too. The crisis have shown the difference to the world that, “What is nice to have and what we really need”. With the inevitable change in financial structuring of the world economies, there also will be more focus on reviving the policies of healthcare infrastructure and many other associated sectors all around.
As it is always said ‘Necessity is mother of Invention’ there are some positive outcomes of coronavirus crisis. Though these silver linings are thin if compared with the impact of coronavirus, it has somewhere made us do more business with less or limited resources and has forced us to find better, cheaper, simpler and faster ways to operate our businesses.
ES. What do you suggest to entrepreneurs who are facing stress in these times?
Sanyal. The world somewhere is on the verge of a transformation where the dynamics of needs, preferences & demands are changing. My suggestion to the entrepreneurs is to try and find the right balance between what worked before and what needs to be done to succeed in this New Normal. I believe that in these tough times ‘Agile’ organisations will work significantly in a much better way. As said before the demand dynamics of people around the world are changing and thus to cope up with the change the organisation has to be resilient, agile and flexible. ‘Digitisation’ was a mere buzz in many business sectors before coronavirus which has now somewhere became the necessity for all, thus entrepreneurs should put some more emphasize on transforming their business digitally if the nature of business allows them to do so.
ES. Your 3 takes on how to cope these times?
Sanyal. (1) Dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath would be possible only by cultivating Resilience. Being resilient by absorbing the shock and to start working on recovery is the first & foremost thing that is to be worked upon in these tough times.
(2) Being Flexible & Agile at the same time is very much essential for any business especially in these tough situations. Entrepreneurs & Organisations in response to this uncertain and unpredictable situation should develop that agility to change the overall working system if needed along with being flexible enough to make changes within the current working system of an organisation to cope up and sustain in these tough situations.
(3) Being Innovative: Adapting to the situation that we are in and finding a way out of it is only possible by being innovative. Many business sectors are providing a perfect example right now of considering ‘Solidarity as an Opportunity’. New business models & innovations could give rise to a completely new trend which can help businesses to sustain and thrive through these tough times by opening a completely new diversified transformation of their businesses.
ES. Your message to the industry?
Sanyal. Our exhibition industry has a major economic importance globally. Some report suggests that through exhibitions total output in business sales including direct, indirect and induced output is €275 billion ($325 billion) globally. The numbers says it all. I believe that the problems that our industry is facing globally due to the situation will be overcome soon or we will find a way out, like many of our industry patrons have started working upon by transforming digitally. I think ‘This is just a bend not the end’ as our exhibition industry will play a major role in ‘Unmasking the Masked Economy’ of the world.