The new thing on the block isn’t the incorporation of music and sports but how an event can be transformed into a personal experience via these two mega industries. In the vast “I” world, where we are fast becoming the most documented generations as compared to our predecessors, we all understand a need in documenting our most impressive personal moments and this is what AIA is hoping to create at its most recent Music Run. MNA’s attendance at the event saw the success of not-so-much of a “run” per say, but the obvious attraction of the Music Festival thereafter that speaks significantly as part of the event. AIA has shown the millennials how sports can be enjoyed in the most fun possible way – by having the recent music mascot Nathan Hartono on stage and a cool festival-like setting. Music is naturally one of the biggest drivers of the overall health & fitness experience as has music streaming since the invention of the walkman.
Gap in the industry
At a recent interview with the co-founder of Exceed & organiser of the AIA Music Run, Ben Pember speaks to MNA who not only sees the gap in the mass participation space and health & fitness space but also the importance of filling the need. Exceed’s strength is in creating strong brand partnership rather in event organising and found that such event in Asia is still rather in its infancy.
“We have been looking at things from a slightly different angle. A lot of people who are running these events are running from an operations background. However, Martin [co-founder at Exceed] and I approach it from a totally different angle – the commercial angle. When we set up the company, the number one criteria for any event we did was the potential to find strong brand partners and to drive revenue from that,” said Ben Pember.
Strong brand engagement
Other than that, the Music Run is also creating new experiences introducing the participants to some of the newest developing technologies in music – the experience of Virtual Reality. Remember at the time when we went berzerk with Wii from Nintendo? VR has undeniably caused some similar stir, even more than Wii some would say in providing realism to entertainment.
“Why we see more brands got involved with Music Run is because it is basically built on these two pillars: healthy living and music. These two pillars are basically something that most brands in the world want to be affiliated with. Music Run is a very fresh way to be associated with music and also for brands to become the driver of a healthy lifestyle,” added Pember.
Singapore CEO of AirAsia, Mr Logan Velaitham commented:
“Brands need to enter into a conversation where their audiences who are already actively engaged, are passionate and driven. We need to meet them where they are, help them dream bigger than they can imagine and act it out: as the springboard that will launch their ambitions. Marketing today is about forming a bond with the customer through a memorable experience to create a lasting impression in the customer’s mind. The feelings we are able to arouse within them during the event will be the same feelings they associate with us in the long run.”
Build Relationship with Your Client & Audience
Arguably, some of us don’t mind making enemies along the way in partnerships as long as you get what you want. But these industry heavyweights do not take their brand relations lightly and have shown great interest in direct brand engagement highlighted at the Music Run.
“The trust the brands put in us when they decide to partner with us and then work really hard to make sure we honour [our part] with AIA,” said Pember.
“If you can build trust and credibility consistently, then finding a solution for a brand would be easy. The hard part is building the relationship and reputation first. Be honest, real and open because at the end of the day you never know if you might be working with that person in the future. It’s a solution-based offering as opposed to hard sell pressuring people into buying our product.”
AIA Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Ho Lee Yen commented:
“Increasingly, you are seeing more brands trying to have more direct face-to-face interaction with customers. As we are stepping out from our more conventional marketing approach, a lot more sponsorship are directed towards engagement with the community. This is how we see it going forward: getting people to better experience and living the brand.”
“The key element to choosing a brand partner is that they have the same goal as you. In our case, it is to provide the experience of a healthier and better life. What is becoming a trend is having more on-the-ground activation with consumer and we are no longer bound by the traditional market. Underlying the same health principle, we want to engage with as many segments of the consumer as we can.” added Ho.
The Human Experience
This could not be summed up better than Mr Logan Velaitham, Singapore CEO of AirAsia. “The Music Run embodies the same spirit of fun and adrenaline that drives the AirAsia brand. We are glad to be a part of the team that brings a unique experience to Singapore, giving our audience an opportunity to capture, share and celebrate these moments. As a brand, it is important for us to support, build and nurture the communities we operate within, and The Music Run gives participants an opportunity to experience the sound of the track, break from the monotony and celebrate their love for music and sport in an afternoon of high-octane festivity.
An Initiation For Change
While this is the third edition of the Music Run in Singapore, it will continue to evolve in the hope of encouraging more people to join the ‘healthy lifestyle’ initiative. Change is a big step for many and what better ways to do it with friends and family and enjoy some music after a ‘laborious’ activity.