Karan Datta, Chief Business Officer of Axis AMC speaks about MF Idol - the exciting and highly differentiated IFA engagement initiative that seeks to draw out the singer in you or in your family. For those who really care about nurturing a latent singing talent, this is a great platform – for others, it promises to be loads of fun! With Axis now embarking on “hatke” engagement initiatives like MF Idol, we wonder what’s up their sleeve next – MF IPL?
WF: Congratulations on the launch of MFIdol – it is certainly a very different and exciting form of IFA engagement. Can you take us through the genesis of the idea and its roll out plan?
Karan: We try to engage with the IFA community in various ways which are related to business. We do training programs, we have initiatives focused on products, economy, fund manager interactions and education trips.
So we thought, "What if we engage with them beyond business?" That got us to looking at avenues where we can do something different and engage with them where they will also be able to come off their regular work that they do. So we thought about something that will bind everyone together, that is unique, something the industry hasn't seen. That is how MF Idol was born for the IFA community, something on the lines of popular talent hunts that we have seen on television. There is a latent talent in each IFA and MF Idol gives that opportunity to IFAs to bring it out. Music is something which binds everyone together and there is a singer in each one of us. We thought that it will be a great platform to give IFAs to display their talent and skills and have some fun at the end of the day.
WF: How will IFAs get to participate in this initiative? Do they send in an audio clip to a panel?
Karan: There will be couple of rounds. First we encourage everyone to sign up in a closed Facebook group. We have put this initiative together with a partner that is specialist in music. They have put together a jury that comprises accomplished singers who have done well in life and achieved success in some of the other popular talent hunts.
The first round will be the online round where IFAs across the country can just upload a simple video entry by singing a song in whichever language they are comfortable with. Once the entries are received online, the jury will go through and shortlist the entries.
The second round will be semi-finals where the jury will travel to different regions. There are 4 regions and the jury will spend a couple of days with the IFAs. At this time, the jury will groom the participants and spend time with them in terms of the nuances of singing. The semi-finals will be held over the weekend. So on Saturday, the jury will spend time with them and Sunday is when the semi-finals happen at the four locations.
Post the semifinals, the grand finale will be held in Mumbai where we will invite IFAs, industry leaders. We have the opportunity of getting Shaan, one of the singing sensations in India who will preside over the function and decide the winner. The winner will get an opportunity to sing a song with the singer in his own studio and the whole experience will be recorded. MF Idol has the potential to make a real hero out of the participants. The future opportunities are endless.
WF: Sounds exciting! Is this open only for IFAs or for family members as well?
Karan: We have kept this for IFAs and immediate family, which is spouse and children. So if the IFA feels their spouse or child has the talent and wants to exhibit it, they too can participate as we have kept it open. Overall, this initiative is for IFA and the family.
WF: What are the timelines?
Karan: Overall, it is a two and half to three month engagement. We kick started this initiative during our annual Xtraordinaires event at Jaipur where a celebrity singer unveiled the program. We are giving about 45 days for the word to spread across the country so that we get maximum participation. We have given IFAs time till the end of April to upload their entries. Post which the subsequent rounds will happen, and the grand finale will be held sometime towards the end of May or beginning of June.
WF: How has been the response so far?
Karan: The response has been overwhelming. Many IFAs have appreciated the effort. Some of the IFAs felt that while this is a great initiative, it is too professional. We are seeking to reassure them this is meant for amateurs and therefore, everyone should participate. It is about participating and exhibiting your talent. Everyone has a singer in them and we are all bathroom singers. Time to get out of the bathroom! It is basically an opportunity to have fun. The response has been great. Lot of people have subscribed to our group and have even uploaded their entries. Lot more people will do so in the next few days.
WF: Looks like MFIdol will set the base for many more offbeat IFA engagements from the innovative Axis MF team. What’s next – MF IPL?
Karan: Good point! Yes, we do strive to find ways in which we can have a more holistic engagement with our IFAs – one that goes beyond just work, work and work. We are open to ideas and suggestions. We will endeavour to create different programs and platforms for IFAs to exhibit their talent beyond work and also learn and exchange ideas, get inspiration – and above all, just have some fun!
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