Interview with Aarti Joshi

Head of Marketing and Communications at DF Concerts & Events

We caught up with Aarti Joshi, Head of Marketing and Communications at DF Concerts & Events, ahead of the next Inspiring Minds event where she will be one of our key speaker.

You’ve worked with some brilliant brands and organisations – what’s been the highlight of your career so far?

That’s a tough one! There have been so many. I’d say it would be between the first time I ever stood on a Main Stage at T in the Park and looked out at the tens of thousands of faces singing back to the band onstage (Coldplay at the time, I think) and realised I was a small part of allowing people to have life affirming experiences or the birth of TRNSMT – which my team and I were up until all hours of the night for weeks putting together. Seeing that all come to life and being a part from the inception with such a brilliant bunch of people was quite emotional!

2020 has been a tough year for everyone and particularly those working in the events sector. How have DF Concerts innovated to make it through or indeed challenge the crisis?

It’s been a very difficult time for our industry and we are still extremely concerned that without a vaccine, we will be unable to operate as before. There is a real need for Government support. We have innovated by trying a variety of things from a marketing perspective and using this time to build new audiences with the likes of the Drive In concerts (despite the fact they were cancelled due to local lockdowns – we still worked very hard to try and make them happen! I truly believe you have to have the courage to fail!) and are also looking at various options for taking the livestream model a few steps further – which is exciting!  In terms of marketing, we worked incredibly hard to retain and ended up actually growing our audience, despite the fact the industry is at a standstill – my team are amazingly creative and hardworking and I’m really proud that we’ve managed to buck a trend with creative thought and ongoing action. We have constantly created new content, engaged fans and continue to do good sales for shows that will hopefully take place next year. A difficult thing to achieve when the industry is at a standstill!

You’re on the board of Scottish Women Inventing Music (SWIM).  What do you think is key to increasing the visibility of women in the music industry and what could we as marketers learn from this?

I think the key priority is to change the infrastructure of the industry and remove the (many) barriers for women. At the point of higher education, the figures of men and women with an interest in music led careers is approximately 50/50, thereafter that figure falls off the edge of a cliff for women. For starters, publishers and record labels need to take a long, hard look at the talent they are signing and make sure they are being representative, because the figures are quite frankly terrifying. Vick Bain has done some phenomenal research on the subject, which everyone involved in the industry should read. Change 100% needs to come from the ground up in order to be lasting. It’s not enough just to tick an equality box and move on – it needs to be everlasting and systematic. As marketeers, we can learn to listen to our audiences and learn from them. Gen Z and millennials in particular, have a lot to teach us about equality being at the core of their buying power.

Why is innovation so important in marketing and how do you encourage your team and colleagues to innovate?

It is incredibly important because as marketeers we are constantly responding to ever changing customer demand. We now live in a world where customers have a variety of options and therefore we need to tailor products and campaigns effectively to land successfully. Creative thought is my favourite part of being a marketeer and when one of my team has an inspirational idea, I believe it is my job to remove any barriers and help them deliver it, with all the initial excitement they had upon having the idea, intact when it is delivered. Marketing can sometimes become stagnant and without the courage to fail, you will never achieve those real ‘wow’ moments and ideas. The ones that keep you hooked! The world of marketing is also every changing so you need to keep up with new innovations and tech. I am obsessed with the latest developments from the world of VR and content creation and as a business, we try to work with young talent so we can learn from them and grow together. My dad always used to say “reach for the stars, fall in the clouds” and this is my mantra. Creativity makes the world go around and keeps it interesting. Never be scared to try an idea that you know in your gut could be amazing. It’s my job to nurture and encourage that creative talent.

Where do you personally seek your inspiration from? (books, podcasts, people)

I’m an avid reader, film buff and podcast enthusiast! Mo Gawdat (who wrote Solve for Happy) is my current life inspo and I’m a massive fan of Ryan Holiday’s writing too. Podcast wise I have devoured every episode of Elizabeth Day’s ‘How To Fail’ and Mo Gawdat’s Slo Mo in lockdown - and have really enjoyed some of the ‘How I Built This’ and ‘Fearless’ with Charles Day episodes from a marketing perspective. Without sounding like a right arse, I’m constantly inspired by people in my life too. My friends and family as well as my team are amazing!

Join Aarti Joshi at our next Inspiring Minds event on September 24

Twitter: @AartiJ