Before we begin, lets lay down some background for the purposes of context.
I walked into the SteppinOut office for the first time on the 12th of October & what’s the first thing I hear – “We’re doing a pub crawl where we’re giving out beers at Rs.5 each”. Naturally the beer aficionado in me was excited; excited to know of such an event and even more excited to be actually working on the marketing and organization of such a crawl.
The days absolutely flew by when we got into the fundamentals of the organizational & marketing details: Talking to the venues, coordinating with Kingfisher, planning our campaign over the next week and everything else that goes into organizing an event for 400 plus people. Our posts went absolutely viral on all mediums of social media. It was one of the few times that 40 + notifications on Facebook didn’t mean Candy Crush & Farmville invites but comments and shares from the people of Bangalore and 70 emails a day meant 70 pre registrations and not offers on shoes, bags and life insurance.
We ended up closing pre registrations to all our venues 30 hours prior to the scheduled start of the crawl. The day of the crawl began with the usual jitters – “What if our pre registrations don’t show up and our numbers are low” and the contrary thought “What if too many people show up as walk ins & we run out of beer halfway through?”
The SteppinOut team arrived at our first venue Hoppipola Church Street raring to go and armed with enough marketing material and wristbands for a small country. The biggest surprise we received here was that there was a line of people waiting to register and sign up an hour before the crawl even began. This gave us our first problem; Our registration desk was in the cellar and there was already a crowd waiting (Well it is only natural that people were excited. It is Rs.5 a beer after all!). We did naturally have individual tasks and duties for the course of the day laid out but I’ve never seen a well laid plan go out the window that quickly. Within minutes the team was scrambling to deal with the crowd: From helping users download the app, to completing the registration process, to the process of actually availing the beers at the bar, the SteppinOut yellow shirts were everywhere making sure we didn’t have a single disgruntled user.
We arrived at The Lost Caravan at about 3:45 PM and now that we had some idea of what we were going to go through, setting up the registration process was as easy and smooth as moving a hot knife through butter. Sounds easy enough right? Let this be a lesson: There will always be problems and it’s up to the team to collectively pull through and sort them out. Our problem here – The WiFi chose that very moment to malfunction, leaving us with no network for the users to download and check in on the SteppinOut App. Our solution: Multiple mobile hotspots! I haven’t seen that many people voluntarily give up their entire 3G packages in my lifetime. Armed with 5 phones and data packages from every cell provider in Bangalore, we began to handle the registration process and sending customers towards the bar where a colleague was handling the cash and the beers. People learn from experience and that was very clearly evident from the body language of the team. Refreshed by a cold beer that I bought at the bar (Full price mind you! The 5 Rs. beers were just for our guests; we have a moral code you know)
The Hard Rock Cafe – Our last venue for the day & the one where we expected the most number of guests. Were we nervous? Yeah we were. Were we tired? Sure we were but the energy and adrenaline that comes with seeing all our efforts come to fruition carried us through the rest of the way. Operationally, the only problem we faced here was that one person at the bar was just not enough & I too took over a tap of my own and along with a colleague we blitzed through the remainder of the queue. Surprisingly enough, even though the numbers were large, people were patient; smiles were exchanged, jokes told and through it all the beer kept flowing and the spirits were high. Crew and guests alike people were grooving and singing along to the music. This is when we realized that this is what we worked so hard for: It wasn’t just the cheap beer: The organization, the crowd, the buzz and environment created – This is what we wanted SteppinOut to be associated with. This is what we want to be known for. We make access affordable, we make access easy and we make access fun.
It’s been two weeks now and I still haven’t stopped hearing about the day from friends and acquaintances alike. It was a huge Steppin stone for us (pardon the pun). We went BIG and we created a ton of memories; not all of which are currently blurry due to the after-party drinking. Thank you Bangalore! You guys were awesome & we promise you: You will be hearing from us very very soon. You didn’t really think we were going to stop at JUST ONE did you?
– Sushen Kakkar
Here’s how the #GoodTimes went: