#SMWreporter in Mumbai: The first chapter

We landed in Mumbai on Sunday Morning and it has been none stop since day one! I will be bringing you a more in depth roundup at the end of the week but I just wanted to cover a few of the main points so far. Firstly Mumbai is an amazing city, full of energy, vibrant colours, TASTY food and extremely friendly people. As Mumbai is a diverse country, the level of poverty here can be overwhelming and it has definitely made me open my eyes, engage my brain and find out more about politics and culture. That said, people seem happy with what they have and make the most of sharing food, laughing together and caring for family members. Which is what ‘social’ stands for in my opinion. I have never felt this welcome in a country before.


The opening events consisted of an introduction from the SMW organisers, including Ben Scheim, Director of Social Media Week and Alex Oberberg Head of Markets Engagement for Nokia, who also set up the brilliant Nokia connects competition, to make this possible for us. We then listened to various talks from influential members in the Digital and Social sphere.

Kalyan Varma
Kalyan Varma is a wildlife photographer, filmmaker and explorer focusing on environmental issues in India. He freelances and has worked with some great publications, including the environmental NGOs and television channels like National Geographic and BBC.
Kaylan talked about how he decided to follow his dream of becoming a wildlife photographer and how Social Media helped him to get a lucky break with the BBC and now his photography continues to be shared amongst thousands of fans.


Picture taken at NCPA Art Gallery, Mumbai

He made a very good point, referring to Led zeppelin (a favourite of his) and how something becomes memorable when you listen to it over and over again. “The more you consume.. the more you remember and connect with it”. You can take a look at his work over at www.kalyanvarma.net.

Max Hegerman : Managing Director of Edelman Digital, India
Max has worked in advertising, marketing, branding and communications for over twenty years, planning for brands like Saturn, Nike, Oakley and Pizza Hut. He has been working in Mumbai for five years. Max summed social media up in one sentence , “It’s about creating stories, how we communicate and curate content is essential to business growth.” He talked about how targeted campaigns are even being set up in rural India in attempt to communicate with the wider public.

“Everyone has a desire to share, we take photos before we even eat these days and it is our eyes and ears that really matter.” Max Hegerman

Alex Cambell: Director of Enterprise sales IMImobile
Reach your consumers in the right channels and think about how relevant your content is. Alex took us through some great examples including the memorable Olympic Games campaign and how effective social media was for their communication strategy. Twitter didn’t exist when London received the news about being able to host the 2012 Olympics! Then in 2012 the digital sphere had changed as Facebook, for one, became a major platform for all to use. A live twitter stream was shown via an Xbox which demonstrated how technology could be embraced and used in this way,  broadcast on the BBC.

Conversation needs to be managed  as complaints are now live within social networks and not over the telephone,  so they can cause further problems in the public eye. Follow ups should take place to ensure a relationship is held with that person and the customer remains satisfied.


Be inclusive
Know your audience
Stay relevant
Back it up

Today there was a discussion about the role of social media in politics which raised a lot of interesting discussion around how this is being used powerfully but also, what implications it brings. The panel included Priti Gandhi, head of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) communication, Mayank Gandhi, head for the Aam Admi Party, Priyanka Chaturvedi, national spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee and Gul Panag, actor and activist and Dilip Chalil, secretary Congress.
In an honest and open fashion, the panel discussed the importance of social media but also the impact of what a new medium can have on their parties, referring to the overall communication process. From twitter trolls to risky hashtags, questions were raised and answered and it was interesting to hear how things are changing online in India and what effect this is having and will continue to have on the economy.

“Close to 60 million new voters have been enrolled for the 2014 election, of whom 17.6 million are 18-19-year-old first-timers”.

I managed to get this very short but extremely exciting interview with Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi). You may need to turn up the volume as I didn’t have a mic handy!

I must add that the featured image was taken by myself whist visiting the Gateway of India. It is stunning and definitely worth a visit!

One Comment on “#SMWreporter in Mumbai: The first chapter

  1. Pingback: Around the World With a Lumia: SMW Reporters » Social Media Week

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