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Wise Wednesday with Rajesh Srivastava

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Rajesh Srivastava

An engineer turned marketing fanatic

Rajesh Srivastava has had one heck of a professional journey. After finishing his engineering at IIT Kanpur, he went to IIM Bangalore – “I thought I would be a bad engineer. So I decided to do what the world is doing. I joined the MBA program.”

Post his MBA, he joined the alcoholic beverage industry, which is very unlike his personality. This shy marketing enthusiast, who disliked partying, has helped create the finest and most popular alcoholic drinks. With 16 years of experience in popularizing brands like McDowell Signature, Royal Challenge, Bagpiper, and Blue Riband Duet and entertaining millions of people, he won many marketing awards. His wife said, “It’s easy to sell alcohol, you should compete with the best in the world.” He quit the beverage industry and joined the FMCG sector. After working in the marketing sector for over three decades, Rajesh Srivastava felt like he knew it all.

Dismantling old routes 

Rajesh firmly believes that – life is meant to surprise you. He joined IIM Indore as teaching faculty.

When I got into teaching, I realized how little I knew. I was hopelessly underprepared.

– Rajesh Srivastava

That’s when it struck him, ‘it is important to understand, not just know.’ While teaching brand management at IIM Indore, he realized that the case studies taught were outdated and uninteresting to the students. So, he introduced new age case studies of companies like Tesla, Starbucks, Twitter, etc., which he made by himself. Making the case studies made him realize that new-age companies are using new ways to become global brands.

But there was no complication with all these ‘new rules. Therefore, he took it upon himself to present his understanding, and that is how his book ‘NEW RULES OF BUSINESS’ came into existence.

New Rules of Business

When people asked Rajesh, ‘you dislike partying, how can you sell alcohol’? And when he moved to FMCG, ‘how can you sell a comparatively boring commodity like salt?’ He said that his job isn’t to sell alcohol or salt. His job is to understand his customers and create a product people will love. Even when he wrote articles, he used to write for himself and have people relate to his thinking like it.

Similarly, when he started teaching, he said, “I became a student and thought what I, as a student, would like to learn and know in the particular course. ”

When he came up with brands/ products, he had such enthusiasm that he wanted the world to use them. You don’t think about money or valuation but how you can make the customer happy.

My students were my customers and I sold my knowledge to them so that they fell hopelessly in love with it right and the same thing.

– Rajesh Srivastava

A conversation with Rajesh

Rajesh says his book, The New Rules of Business, is an outcome of his conversation with himself. After reading the book, his students felt they were attending his class.

It took him 3o years to understand how outdated old marketing ways are, and three more to know the new ones. He wanted the book to be what others want to hear, so he became the reader when he wrote it. He believes that the book is a conversation with him.

Having to repeat the content of this course for five years was like a multivitamin pill for him. Plus, his students always made him learn, re-learn and unlearn concepts.

Benefiting the generations to come

When asked by the marketing head of IIM Indore how you have so much enthusiasm to teach throughout the day, he said,” I have only ten years to live, so if I can pass this knowledge through them, I’ll live for another 50 years.”

This book essentially is written by him with the firm belief that his wisdom or experience is captured there so that people can benefit from it and people will make a good career, create value products, and create stronger families making India superior.

Industry 4.0

Companies till now did not produce green collar jobs. With the new industrial revolution, Rajesh thinks that ‘ every person has to think, reflect and act.’ He has picked out ten skills required for every individual to adapt to industry 4.0. New jobs will be created, and old ones will be reshaped, but these ten skills can help you adjust and be ready. You can read about these in his new book, “The ten new life-changing skills.

Black swan event

This motto is “Anticipate black swan events and be prepared.” You cannot start digging a well when you get thirsty. Be a crow and put pebbles in a nearly empty jar.

You need to be a learner for life. That’s what Mr. Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, told Rajesh Srivastava. Therefore, Mr. Rajesh is always in the company of people who are better than him so he can keep learning. A famous civil servant told him of India – ‘Live in the moment.

As a humble learner, Mr. Srivastava learned a lot from his son when writing his books.

“Don’t listen with the intent of answering back listen with the intent of understanding.”

– Rajesh Srivastava

He feels inspired by his wife, children, students, parents, teachers, and every entity around him. Every time he does corporate training, his mother asks him,” Are they happy with what you did for them ?” He says that he needs to work extra hard for replying ‘YES’ to his mother’s question.

Catch up the Wise Wednesday with Rajesh Srivastava

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