Goafest 2015: A look at the final day

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Goa | In Advertising | April 13, 2015
Speakers from all walks of life came together to share knowledge on a gamut of subjects as the festival drew to a close.

An eclectic mix of all things fun - that is what the final day of Goafest was all about. While someone discussed brands, someone else discussed the possibility of mythology and branding crossing paths. Comedy shows and path-breaking cinema were also a part of the discussion on the third and final day of Goafest.

In its 10th year, Goafest 2015 touched upon things apart from conventional advertising. With the way digital is changing the marketing environment, and how entrepreneurs are bagging funds from overseas investors, it has become crucial to address the same for the new bunch of marketers. Similarly, advertising and media planning have shifted focus; and so has the conventional knowledge of branding.

East India Comedy

A few gems from the final day at Goafest 2015:

Devdutt Pattanaik, leadership coach, consultant, mythologist

Devdutt Pattanaik

Few would have thought that mythology could ever be part of a session at Goafest. What do Hindu Gods in their animal 'vahanas' have to do with branding anyway? But, as people who attended the session today found out, branding and imagery started a long time back. According to mythologist Pattanaik, God can also be looked at as a brand. He suggested that while for an American audience it may be different, for an Indian audience the branding of God becomes varied. God is not limited to the masculine gender nor is God a singular entity.

For example, the difference between Hindu Gods Shiva and Vishnu - Shiva is seen as a hermit, one who has severed ties and lives a rustic life, and yet, he is worshipped along with his wife, his Linga is entwined with the legs of the Goddess and his marriage to Parvati is seen as a call to return to the household. On the other hand, Pattanaik explained, Vishnu is seen as a householder, a family man. He is one who has the qualities of a husband, one who is more docile and more domestic. His vahana is the Garuda, which eats Shiva's vahana, the snake. However, while worshipping him, no female deity is needed. He is not worshipped as part of the family, but rather as a singular soul. This is the underlying truth of the two figures, but their branding has been done so that people perceive Shiva as a hermit and Vishnu as the household man.

Alan Moseley, president and CEO, 180 Amsterdam

Alan Moseley

180 Amsterdam's Alan Moseley has a keen sense of humour. While he shared important knowledge and tips, he kept the audience engaged and engrossed. Moseley tried to explain that, often, it is not the problem, but the way we look at the problem - the perspective - that stops us from solving it. Using examples from popular art and fiction, like Francis Ford Coppola and Joseph Conrad, he urged agencies to face up to the challenge. Jumping head on into a challenge with passion, he declared, is what is going to make a difference. But, this passion needs to be backed by a fresh perspective. The bigger the ambition, the bigger the solution required, he said.

Meanwhile, on changing human behaviour, Moseley said that reframing problems lets one find better solutions, which, in turn, helps in altering behaviour. "Everyone feels safe with the obvious. But, with the obvious it is hard to shift perspective," explained Moseley. Brands may need to face an apocalypse - a dangerous situation - for them to come out of some rut. When brands try to do something which makes them uncomfortable, it is only then that they create something new and truly clutter-breaking.

Suhas Gopinath, founder & CEO, Global Inc

Suhas Gopinath

The youngest CEO in India, Gopinath, had several learnings from his early career. According to him, CEOs - or for that matter any senior person - must identify within their workforce those who are passionate about their work. They must also encourage the younger generation to make new mistakes - as long as it for the first time and they learn from them. Gopinath also shared his ideas of dreaming big and following them through for the younger generation. He feels that Indians' risk appetite is quite low. This needs to change for someone's passions and dreams to take shape.

He confessed that while many know him because of the youngest CEO status, not many recognise his company. So, his task right now is to make sure that his company's brand name becomes more popular than his brand name. Another personal challenge he faces is that as his company grows, with a functional board, many of them do not share his visions of what he expected the company to become. He finally also shared that Global Inc is looking to fund various start-ups and is taking special interest in big data and mobile entrepreneurs.

Vikas Bahl, film producer, screenwriter and director

Vikas Bahl

The director of the popular film 'Queen', Vikas Bahl, was the final speaker at this year's Goafest. While film direction has not been a topic of discussion traditionally, this year Bahl spoke about his experience of directing something which truly moved a nation. According to Bahl, he used his real-life influences to make the story of 'Queen'. He is a believer in passionately liking one's own work, which he does.

He feels that, because he loves the team he works with and is excited about going to work every day, he gives his best shot at whatever he is doing. Team work, according to Bahl, also allows one to leverage each other's strengths effectively. Fear, he said, attacks each of us, adding that while he was fearless as a child, as he grew older he became 'saner and boring'.

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