Silk Events started out about 7 years ago charged with the responsibility of organizing in-house activities such as the Club Silk Street Jam and Ekiggunda Kya Radio Simba. Today, the company has become one of the leading events management companies in the region.
However, as time went on, other people in the corporate world the likes of Uganda Breweries Limited who had been sponsoring the Street Jam liked the way we had been paying so much attention to detail in executing our in-house activities. They felt that the team would make very good Event Managers, a view we evaluated and soon set out to implement. Later, in 2007 the Executive members of the team went ahead and registered the company as an entity of its own thereby marking the birth of Silk Events. Upon registration, Uganda Breweries actually became our first client and are still one of our biggest clients’ to-date.
How does Silk Events manage to secure large contracts, such as the Presidential victory party and NRM grand final campaign? It seems you have established a market share, but how was it in the initial phases?
As a business, we have not only continued to invest in high quality equipment but also superior service delivery. To us superior service simply means offering a service that will enable us to keep an existing client and also attract a new one. It is for this reason that we execute every single task with one aim; to exceed our clients’ expectations. It definitely isn’t easy establishing a market share but if you deliver what you promise, your clients will never have a reason to look elsewhere for any service you are able to offer.
Silk Events has primarily stuck to experiential marketing. Do you feel it is the best type of marketing for Uganda as opposed to selling-based marketing or Education-Based Marketing?
We are not exactly a mainstream marketing agency since our core business is strategic events planning and management, which for some reason has pitted experiential marketing as one of our various service offerings. Logically, experiential marketing is comprised of a series of events aimed at bringing the experience associated with the consumption of a given product down to the consumer. In short, experiential marketing necessitates a series of events. This close relationship between experiential marketing and mainstream events business perhaps explains our choice of experiential marketing over the other forms of marketing.
What tools do you use to track performance/ measure your marketing success? How do you create urgency in the market especially with your concerts, conferences, and product launches?
I believe that the best way to evaluate performance is through appraisal. At the end of every event, we always go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate ourselves against prior set goals and key performance indicators. This helps us identify areas in which we excelled as well as those areas that require improvement. Our events are designed to bring out more than just the experience associated with each and every bit of a brand/product. Perhaps our ability to deliver more than just the experience explains the anxiety in the market especially at our concerts, conferences and product launches among other events. To be precise, we always strive to deliver more than what we promise.
This month we are featuring a special report on marketing, advertising & public relations. How difficult is it to operate in this industry? What are the constraints, how do you improve visibility, and how do you assess the industry as a whole?
The nature of our business does not directly pit us into mainstream marketing, advertising and public relations. Nevertheless, events planning and management services complement each and every one of these services seeing that you can use events to bring to life marketing, advertising and public relations services. Definitely the current economic conditions have not been very favorable which has greatly increased the cost of doing business and yet the market is reluctant to adjust their operating budgets. At the moment, the industry is still quite young but with a very huge potential for growth. One of our biggest challenges is that the industry players are quite fragmented which has made it difficult for us to not only be recognized but also have a collective bargaining power like it is in other sectors. But with the formation of the Events Association of Uganda, we are currently trying to bring together all industry players and we are hopeful that we will soon professionalize which should make business a little merrier.
What is the future of marketing in Uganda? Clearly there is plenty of room for growth, but in which direction and with which services would be most conducive.
I do not want to speak for the entire marketing fraternity as a whole but if you asked me about events, like I mentioned earlier there is definitely plenty of room for the growth. Once we come together as industry professionals and professionalize, we will definitely set guidelines and minimum standards which will help us self-regulate. We would like to see the Events Association of Uganda become a hub where you can find all events practitioners from decorators to videographers, photographers, performing artists, wedding planners, event venue managers and owners, among other.
Is this growth highly dependent on economic development? i.e. is growth dependent on the number or companies able to afford services offered?
One thing I would like to assure the public is that events services are very affordable depending on magnitude of event one would like to host. All you have to do is fill us in on the nature of event that you would like to host and we will put together a package to suit you.
Tell us about entrepreneurship. How does one match your success as an entrepreneur in this industry considering they are many local companies operating on a small scale?
In my view, there has never been a single secret to success. However from my personal experience, you need to love what you do if you are to make it in any industry. This coupled with dedication and hard work, the sky can only be the limit.
Which methods of business do you employ which you believe have guided you to success? What lessons have you learnt, and what do you hope to learn/ conquer in your many remaining years?
In business, it is important to always stay ahead of the game. Creativity and innovation are key drivers towards this direction. It is always important to remain unpredictable by designing unique concepts for each and every project/client. By so doing, clients will always keep looking for you because then they know that you are the ultimate solution to their needs. Silk Events has definitely grown over the years and so far we are the leading events company in East and Central Africa and our hope is to take this on at the continental level.
Aside from Silk group of companies, what are your other involvements? How do you as an individual strive to be active in marketing, advertising & public relations industry?
Aside from Silk Events and Club Silk, I also have interests in broadcasting, manufacturing, motor vehicle, import and export trade, as well as real estate.
How important has it been to be self-sufficient? While we here at Summit are aware of your humble spirit, but detractors may say that the roadway was cleared by your father’s (Prof. Gordon Wavamunno) connections.
Self-sufficiency has enabled me realize my full potential as an individual. However, I must also give credit to my father because his mentorship and connections have been and will continue to be very instrumental throughout my journey as a businessman.
Speaking of your father, he is a renowned entrepreneur who was the first person ever to be featured in our magazine. What ideas of business has he passed to you? And would you agree that even in entrepreneurship it is important to be mentored?
I would definitely be lying to myself if I said I didn’t learn anything from my father. One of the things I learnt from him is patience, hard work and determination. He taught me how to avoid detractors and never to be satisfied with what I have and these are some of the things that have helped me become who I am today.
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