Abid Mohammed, Sales & Marketing Consultant – BBC GoodFood India & FoodFood TV Awards, Events & Show, gets up close and personal with TFT in an Exclusive one on one. He shares his thoughts about the changes he’s witnessed in the Exhibition Industry and where he believes changes are to be made.
TFT – Greetings, Abid! Hope you are doing well? Tell us about your early years. What activities and habits are a part of your daily routine?
AM – I am fine, thank you. My early years were completely from a different industry. I grew up in a creative environment where I was influenced with my Dad who was an Art Director for various leading Advertising agencies, Newspapers and Publishing companies in Mumbai. Growing up was all about design aesthetics, what works and what doesn’t.
My daily routine is to watch and read as much content as I can. To be updated on all sectors of the business.
TFT – In your 25+ year career, you have been a writer, an artist, magazine editor, photographer, stylist, event organiser and a disc jockey? How have you managed to keep up with these different roles? What kind of challenges or obstacles you had to face in your journey?
AM – I see everything as a challenge. A problem that needs to be fixed. Then I go about fixing it. Once you fix it you then move on to the next challenge. My 25+ years has been full of that.
I started as a Commercial Artist, as it was known at that period of time. So along with designing I used to write, as a hobby. But I took writing seriously when I started getting paid for it. So now I was writing and designing for the print media. I soon moved to Dubai as a magazine Editor in 1999 where I learnt about the fashion and lifestyle world. We shot with top models, photographers, production and I got to learn so much from them. I loved music and one day decided to learn to be a DJ and soon I was playing music for events, parties and for Dubai’s social party circuit. We even launched Dubai’s first DJ school in 2004. This is where I got exposure to the events industry as we had started organising few small events for ourselves. Once I started working with events I realised that the music was just a small part of the industry, the bigger challenge was to organise and manage the entire production. We managed some very successful events there.
The biggest challenge I have faced and continue to face are people with no vision. Some people just cannot see the future. They belong to the herd mentality. “You do. We will follow” is their mentality and motto. So it is very important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who can see the bigger picture and support you to reach your goal. People with a ‘Can Do!’ attitude. Because an idea is nothing if it’s not executed well.
TFT – Tell us about BBC GoodFood India & FoodFood TV Awards 2019?
AM – The first FoodFood Awards were held in Mumbai in 2017. Since then it has just grown. Today it boasts about having the best jury in the industry. Some of the most respected names in the business are now behind the awards giving it more credibility.
When we wanted to re-launch BBC GoodFood India in 2018, we were quite apprehensive. But it has been a successful re-launch story of recent times. It’s back with a bang and going strong for 2 years now. Still there is so much to do with both the properties. A long way to go!
TFT – What can you tell us about the Food and Hospitality and MICE Industry in India?
AM – After the Dotcom boom it’s the Food that has hit us. Suddenly everyone is a foodie, a chef, home chef. There are more restaurants being opened and new Apps being launched. More food events are being organised, new TV shows coming up. I think this is the best times the food industry has ever seen. There is so much awareness and it’s global. The F&B and the MICE industry in India has a huge potential and there is so much more to be done.
TFT – The FoodFood Awards concluded recently in Delhi and Bengaluru and its scheduled next for Mumbai. How different is the event from the previous ones? What is the expected amount of footfall? Is it only for professionals from the FNB Industry?
AM – The awards are just growing with new names and faces giving it more credibility each year. The awards are strictly by invites only and the footfall depends on the venue as we have new venues for each award but the footfall always exceeds the number expected. Every event we try and give a different experience, whether it is a new chocolate launch or a tasting experience, we want people to remember the experience.
TFT – You have been an event organiser, what according to you is the biggest challenge of an event manager and organiser?
AM – There are many challenges that event industry professionals face on a regular basis. From client budgets and expectations, to transport and logistics, timelines, backup plans, artists, natural causes to payments and delays, everything is a challenge. For me the biggest challenge would be to see what new I can do better next time. How can I create a lasting impression on the visitors? What will they remember my event for?
TFT – What is that one quality an Organiser needs to change for optimum event success?
AM – A good management is the biggest quality that you need for any event success. You need to have the right team in place for the management of budgets, time, resources, creativity and innovation. These are the keys for a successful event.
TFT – Having donned many hats, which industry do you feel has immense scope of growth for a young enthusiast?
AM – Today, I feel it’s the content industry that is taking the forefront. People are consuming content at an amazing pace. Big players like Netflix are changing the content game in India. Food videos, movies, TV shows, documentaries, music are available to watch at the touch of a finger. Growing up we all had TV and cable, but soon digital content providers will take over cable. It’s an amazing time to be in the content industry.
TFT – What advice would you give to your younger self if you were to start all over again?
AM – If I had to start all over again there are many things that I would like to do differently. Be bold. Don’t be afraid to take risks is what advice I would give.
TFT –Where do you see India when it comes to Events and Exhibitions? Can you share with us your perspective on the shortcomings or plus points of the Industry here?
AM – India with its billion + population and its money has a huge scope for everything. India is the biggest in wedding events, food events, entertainment and even political and religious events. The sports event sector is growing by 15-20% annually. The Ambani wedding was one of the most expensive weddings, the Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious event. In 2017 we organised the world’s largest Khichdi and entered the Guinness World Records. India has such potential. However the event sector is not so organised. I would like to see more events for the Indian event professionals by the Indians and for the Indians.
TFT – Life in the Events Industry can be hard. What is that one mantra you live by to overcome difficulties and obstacles?
AM – ‘Solutions. Not problems!’ has always been my mantra and I live by it every day. It’s when you go around finding solutions is when things fall into place and everything runs smoothly. Event industry is probably one of the high-stress sectors and you should have a calm mind when dealing with such stressful work. Events Industry looks all too glamorous but there’s a lot of stress and hard work involved. If you think you have it then this industry is for you.
TFT – What will be your advice for a successful and sustainable show?
AM – People have a different measure for success. For some it’s the money, the profits they make while for others it’s the experience that they want the visitors to have. If you are doing your own event then the measure of success should be the takeaway from that event. What experience have you given your visitors? What will they remember about this show?