Rajeev Jain, Rashi Entertainment Reveals his Strategies During the Pandemic, Predictions & More!

Industry Watch | June 12, 2020 | Interview

Rajeev Jain Rashi Entertainment

There is no denying that the Indian Event & Wedding Industry is currently suffering immensely because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment believes that the Indian Wedding industry will soon witness a significant rise in business once the pandemic is over. Rajeev Jain is one of the most dynamic and well-regarded entrepreneurs in the events industry and the backbone of many industry initiatives. An established event management agency, Rashi Entertainment is flourishing under his visionary leadership and has branches across India.
 
In conversation with EVENTFAQS, Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment gives insights on his strategies during the pandemic, his predictions, collaborations, and more!

These are challenging times for every industry. What are the specific challenges to the event industry and what do you think industry responses could be?

The COVID pandemic has shaken up the entire world. Every country in the world, including the leading nations, has been reeling from the impact. Every business is affected. The most affected are businesses that deal face to face with people and offer the human touch. Ours is one of those.

The fallout of this is evident all around – a few lakh have been rendered jobless, companies are facing shut down thanks to liquidity crunch, the entire support system and supply chain which directly or indirectly employs millions is facing a crisis. This includes artists, companies providing sound, light, décor, staging infrastructure, craftsmen, are facing terrible times. For employers and company owners providing continued employment and disbursing regular salaries has become a huge challenge.

The size, scope, viability, and economic contribution of the event industry before the COVID crisis hit in the organized corporate events sector Rs 10000 Cr. as per the EY report on the media and entertainment industry. The wedding industry, exhibition, and sports sector combined with the corporate events sector placed the industry clearly at Rs 40000 cr. The sector was poised for significant growth and was set to contribute to the country’s growth, entrepreneurial success stories, employment opportunities, and skills development.

Now, there is no magic bullet or immediate solution however, I do believe that the events sector with ‘touch and feel’ at the heart of the human experience will bounce back. I would safely guess that by February 2021, the tide will have turned. Right now ‘Survival’ is the name of the game and it is my opinion we should focus our efforts on sustenance and reorganization to build viable enterprises.

Every industry is looking for support. How important do you think Government support is to the event industry and how could the Govt. extend its support?

Event industry comprises some very dynamic and enterprising minds, they are ‘Atmanirbhar’ by nature but placing the industry in the right context vis-à-vis the Government positioning it in the corridors of power would work wonders for it. But unfortunately, we are neither recognized nor an organized sector and do not currently have the visibility, voice, and heft that we should have in the Governmental ear.

I read the “Atmanirbhar’ presentation – and I understand that the Hon. Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has stated that “All tenders below Rs 200 Cr. will be executed by Indian Companies Only”. This is a good decision and will definitely increase our economic power – we will be able to compete on a level playing field.

Now, further to her statement, I have a humble wish list, first that not only below 200 Cr event projects should be given to Indian companies but 100% Government Events should be done by Indian Agencies only and second that the Central Govt. should allow allocate resources to State Govts. annually to conduct events for public awareness and welfare – and these should be executed locally.

There are bleak predictions about every industry. Look into your crystal ball and tell us what the future holds for the experiential and wedding industries?

I have spent more than two decades in this industry and what I have learned is that “The Show Must Go On”. There is no denying that the Indian Experiential & Wedding Industry is currently suffering the impact and agencies are struggling to stay afloat; but, I believe our industry will enjoy a revival soon. New SOPs will emerge and with creativity, innovation, and technology our industry will create new engagement models that will help us brave our way through the pandemic and come out swinging soon.

Domestic destinations will be the most sought after for large weddings as international markets will be shunned – this will provide event companies more opportunities and several corporate event companies will also begin to use their expertise for wedding design, planning, and management. Of course, the profit margins will be reduced, but celebrations and weddings will sustain our industry until the corporate spenders are back.

As an individual, you always believe in Profits. Please explain the same.

Yes, I look for profit in everything I do, for everyone and everything I associate with. I believe everyone – especially the small and medium-sized agencies should ‘Profit’. Sometimes, internal competitions amongst the agencies for the same pitches leads to exploitation and price gouging. I believe that my conception of ‘Profit’ can mean a ‘win-win’ for all.

In my view, if the top 2-3 agencies of India can come together for a collaborative pitch, not only will they survive, they will also thrive and their value offering to the end client will be better and more holistic. This model can be applied across agencies and across pitches, instead of a bitter money/profit competition in which they negotiate against each other, there can be collaboration and a ‘win-win’ for all.

Collaboration is our answer for survival as well as progress. I realized that this is a strong statement and it may seem hopelessly idealistic, but I will make it in any case – because I believe in it and speak from the heart. Perhaps the industry association could focus on this.

What is your take on Small & Medium-Sized Agencies?

For me, the small and medium-sized agencies are the backbone of the industry. This industry comprises 90% small and mid-size agencies and in straight forward words, YES they are the ones who are actually the bulwark of our industry. During this time of uncertainty, we have to find ways and means to support the small and medium agencies. If they survive, our industry will prosper and grow

We need to take the help of our Government for direct benefits and should pillory them to ensure subsidies, interest-free loans, tax rebates, etc. We must ask for special prices and offers from Hotels, Caterers, & Banquets, technical supply chain in order to make business opportunities viable and profitable for all. This is the time to create a collaborative ecosystem to harness the power of the small agencies and more important to help them survive today so that they can become industry leaders tomorrow.

In the last 3-4 years, we have seen Rajeev Jain as a Collaborator. Do you think collaboration can help the entire industry?

These days, of course! 'When My Company Becomes Your Company, It Becomes Our Industry'. Collaborations Create Companions, Create Commerce, Create Success. My journey would have been impossible without collaborations and companions. And with these, Rashi is today a premier events agency.

We all have our own strengths, some have creativity, some have thoughts, some have finance, some have operations, others have the technical knowledge or negotiation skills, but together we have the power to survive and together we have the power to achieve. It is all about generating revenues for each other with each other’s strengths.

Can you please share your strategies with the industry on how to manage funds?

It is just the traditional way of concentrating on the basics and managing the bottom line. Topline is a luxury- sometimes an illusion; the bottom line is the true reality. I always believe in planning whether it is work, events, meetings, or funds.

In my opinion, everyone should arrange their table beautifully and I have planned my life accordingly since day one. Out of Rs. 10; 50 % I spend on my expenditures, 25% investment for more return in the future, 25% pure savings in the bank. Loans, Borrowing, Financing…Such words are not in my dictionary and that is my strength. 

Virtual Events are the new in-thing. Will this virtual concept help the industry to grow?

Of course, everything helps. Technology like it does for everything will help here too. Humans like meeting other humans, they like the physical ‘experience’, that’s why our business is called ‘experiential’  that’s why it can never go out of fashion.

10,000 fans in a stadium can cheer the music of a popular artist, swinging with the beats, will you get the same experience in front of a screen with a fizzy drink and popcorn? Technology has its own place, it is a great value addition – but it can never substitute the ‘real thing’.

Don’t worry, keep the faith – the ‘real thing’ will be back. Yes, with all safety measures in place. Yes, with some changes but, the real thing will be back! Even if it is small in the beginning, we need to execute our events with maximum sanitization and build confidence. With every passing day, the audience numbers will increase and the economy will open up slowly.

In conversation with EVENTFAQS, Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment gives insights on his strategies during the pandemic, his predictions, collaborations, and more!

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