Cliftons Welcomes New PM for Events


Posted on March 3, 2023



Event Management

Get to know more about Koushik

Koushik Bhattacharya is a recent addition to the Cliftons team, coming on board as Project Manager – Events. In this role, Koushik is helping our clients to coordinate a range of events, with a particular emphasis on conferences. His focus is on streamlining events, bringing together multi-faceted elements to help create remarkable events for our clients across various industries.

What’s your professional background, and how did you get started in events?

My route to events wasn’t direct, but all the stops along the way helped me add value to clients today. I started as a graphic designer more than two decades ago, working in print and digital photo processing, as well as print campaigns in advertising agencies, before moving to online web designing and multimedia in 2000. While working at organisations like IBM as an interface designer and animator, I became more interested in visual and animated content creation for marketing and sales campaigns. My next move was to HCL Tech, joining the global marketing team as a creative manager, where I was exposed to account-based marketing. This, in turn, led to creating customer content for multiple touchpoints, including events, pavilions, exhibitions and technology installations, which all piqued my interest in events. Eventually, I became head of global events, planning, designing, executing, and running a Customer Experience Centre for HCL Tech to engage global clients. My experiences cemented my passion for events and unlocked the most exciting phase of my career. I have run independent, innovative event projects for the past few years, like immersive content experiences in auto shows, technology exhibitions, digital campaign launches, slot casino games design and more. Along the way, I’ve realised designing customer journeys is a highly tailored process. That perspective is what I bring to clients now, treating each event as a new and unique opportunity to connect with customers and create something remarkable.

What excites you about joining Cliftons?

Cliftons is my first event-service side opportunity, and I love seeing how planning and ideas impact customer experience and the business in real time. Because I have previously always been on the other side of the table as a client, I’m able to put myself in the client’s shoes very effectively to help design and deliver an outstanding customer experience. One of the things I love about Cliftons is how we deliver a highly customised customer experience journey – I think this sets us apart from other providers in the market. We can shape customer journeys from end to end to deliver impactful experiences.

What’s your best advice for event planning?

Research is critical and so commonly overlooked! Great events rely on understanding a customer’s business and their clients’ needs before the planning phase. Getting subject matter experts involved early in the planning is essential to ensure everything is included. I also recommend designing a visual planning journey to help explain ideas and bring them to life. This helps get everyone on board and ensure that your vision and the client’s are aligned. Finally, open and regular communication with everyone involved in the event, including subject matter experts, is vital to event success. No one likes surprises, and communication is critical to avoiding this. Checking in with the event team on their well-being throughout the day, including volunteers, is important too.

What does your perfect event look like?

For me, an event is perfect when the execution lines up with the planning and matches the client’s expectations of how they’ve visualised the customer journey before the event day. The key is to build a solid and collaborative team right from the beginning. Tools like comprehensive checklists also help to ensure nothing is missed and that effective calls to action connect with attendees throughout the event. Finally, a strong indicator of a successful and memorable event is when delegates provide great feedback before the client does. That’s when I know we’ve hit the mark!

What are some of the event trends you’re seeing for this year?

There’s significant scope for the increased use of immersive technology in events in Australia. As well as things like RFID and QR code registrations, there’s enormous potential for a range of AV technologies, especially when it comes to experiential platforms. Hybrid events will continue to be a force in the events space, and the available technologies greatly reduce the required lead time for integrated, engaging events. Finally, clients have started engaging customers in innovative ways using virtual platforms. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the potential applications for virtual and augmented reality platforms, and I think that will be a huge area for growth.

What tools and strategies do you use to make event planning a better experience for your clients, team, and event delegates?

I’m a big believer in being prepared, so I’m always onsite at least 30 minutes before bump-in time to check the setup when no one is around. I’ll use this time to review my checklist and ensure everything is ready to go with AV, registration and signage. Throughout the day, checklists are essential; making these visual helps everyone. I also create a detailed breakdown of roles and responsibilities for everyone on the on-the-ground team so everyone knows what to do and when. This all helps with clear communication, which is absolutely critical. I also firmly believe that food makes anyone’s day better, so I always prioritise food planning for any event. Happily, that’s easy with Cliftons, as our in-house cuisine team is fantastic! Finally, I keep a happy face on all day to ensure I’m seen as approachable and friendly.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love creating things from scratch, especially in the garden. Gardening helps increase my patience, and I get an incredible sense of satisfaction when I see my plants thriving. I also love to travel and am a keen bird photographer.

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