2020 – The year that forced us all to think outside our comfort zone: Ankur Kalra, Founder & MD, Vibgyor Brand Services – BW Businessworld

We are absolutely certain that life and business will come back to normal in 2021, writes Kalra.

This has been a challenging year to say the very least, especially for the world of live events, entertainment and activation – all of which happen largely on ground. We started the year with a bang with Make me up, India’s largest beauty festival at A-Dot in Gurgaon, followed by Amazon SMBhav – the biggest MSME event our country has ever witnessed with over 4000 small and medium business owners meeting with the likes of Mr NR Narayanmurthy, Kishore Biyani & Jeff Bezos at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at New Delhi. There were some other milestone events and things were going great till about mid March when the pandemic played havoc in all our lives.

Our industry was probably one of the worst-hit that was the first to shut down and will probably be the last to get back up! We at Vibgyor used this time to revisit our business strategy, to reflect and to experiment with new innovations. Each and every team member was encouraged to think out of the box and come up with ideas and concepts – it wasn’t just an academic exercise but one for our very survival. After 18 years of being in the experiential business we became a start up once again! Job descriptions became redundant and each one of us started looking for interesting business ideas, which would help steer through these difficult times. There were about 10 different business plans that were detailed out and presented to the larger group and we decided to invest our energy and time on two of them. I am thrilled to share that both those business plans have been now fully developed and launched into independent business ventures and are getting excellent traction (as well as revenue). The two business extensions are HAPPY FLAP and HOPPOVER both function as independent SKUs with their own brand identities.

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HAPPY FLAP is India’s first Ecommerce based intelligent sampling platform that delivers precision based sampling using technology to engage consumers and induce trials, feedback & sales. We have already sampled to more than 2 million consumers over the past few months are working with almost all the leading consumer brands across the country.

HOPPOVER is a virtual event platform which has been developed inhouse by our team of Tech Chefs and has multiple models catering to small, medium and large events We have used our experience of almost 2 decades in the event business to pack in as many useful features as possible for organizers and clients. The platform uses innovative features and AI machine learning solutions that redefine virtual events.

In addition to the above there are a couple of other initiatives that we are working on and should be in a position to launch in a few months. The pandemic actually provided us with an opportunity to go outside our comfort zone and create something new. Our regular business kept us so occupied that we were never able to innovate and come up with unique offerings. We are absolutely certain that life and business will come back to normal in 2021 and in addition to our regular line of work we will have the right tools to propel us into the future.

Some points which I learnt from 2020 that I would like to share with my friends and colleagues in the industry:

1. Use the time to really pause and think

2. Explore your own hidden interests and talents (and those of your team members) – see what new can be created

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3. Find the right partners rather than making large investments

4. Think outside your immediate comfort zone and take chances – this is the best time to experiment

5. Stay connected with all you clients and contacts – you never know where the next opportunity would come from

6. Identify your core team members and retain them at any cost.

Wishing you all good health, peace and a very positive new year.



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