afaqs!

Rahul Jauhari: Always down-to-earth

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 10, 2015
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Jauhari has had long stints with each of the agencies he has been with, most recently heading the creative team and Everest. Now, with an increased mandate of looking after the Rediffusion Group, he plans to be patient and let his work do the talking.

Humility is a rare virtue in advertising. That's why the first thing that strikes one about Rahul Jauhari, the newly appointed chief creative officer of Rediffusion Y&R Group India, is his humble demeanour.

Rahul Jauhari

Jauhari will be heading creative work across the group - from Rediffusion Y&R to Everest Brand Solutions, where he was serving as the national creative director. He will also oversee work at Rediffusion Digital, direct marketing agency Wunderman, Sudler & Hennessey and public relations division Rediffusion Communications.

He has been with Everest for four years and, prior to that, in an earlier stint, he has worked at Rediffusion for eight years. For him, people matter the most. "It's important to get people motivated. An agency is about its people. My first strategy is to get the right bunch of people and get them motivated enough. Second is to let the clients know the power of our people. You should have immense clarity at the top, and this I have been lucky with," says Jauhari.

While his interactions with Everest will decrease marginally, the two agencies will continue to have their separate and distinct identities. Everest, Jauhari says, has a strong team and can survive with or in spite of him. Making himself redundant, he says, is the best strategy.

Though Everest is smaller compared to Rediff, he says both have their own little souls. "We want to get some synergies flowing, because they both have slightly different approaches," he explains, adding that Everest is the David and Rediff the Goliath.

What is most challenging to him is consistently maintaining a creative reputation. "If people are motivated, good work will come out and that creates reputation," he says, adding that he hopes to bring the zing back into the agency.

Rooted

Jauhari calls himself a 'fairly rooted guy' and his ideas reflect his persona. He believes that the industry must work towards great ideas for clients, which can be seen on the streets, and only then by the jury.

As the new CCO, Jauhari does not feel any pressure to create an impression. Having grown up in the agency, he "feels right at home." That said, the new role mandates him to make a lot of client calls and meet-ups, and has him travelling across the country at odd hours.

However, the birder and nature enthusiast does not feel that the hours aren't really 'odd'. He has often had to wake up at 4 am to catch just one glimpse of a bird. "It is very important for a person to have many passions. I think a person who does just one thing is a boring person. You have to be a specialist in many things, these days," he asserts.

He credits birding for making him more patient. And this is apparent from his long association with the agencies he has worked with, be it McCann Erickson, where he stayed for five years or Pickle Lintas, where he spent four.

His days at each of the agencies have imparted him "life lessons." At Rediff, he met Gullu Sen who became an inspiration for him. From Sen, he learnt strategy, though Sen himself was an art person. At the same agency he says that he learnt what it meant to be a creative leader from Chax (K S Chakravarthy). At Pickle Lintas, under Balki's leadership, he learnt how to "cut through the mess and get to the crux of an issue."

Jauhari is wary of getting carried away by success. "Advertising, as a profession, is a rotating field, with new categories clients and rockstars coming in. Each one of us must accept and appreciate that there are other people in the team who are helping us get the work done," he says.

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