A writer of his own success story in the Event Industry: an interview with The Event Konsultants' founder, JaerajSurve
When they are done right, in one shot, events become more than celebrations and business. Events are personal, often subjective to a character that creates an environment to cultivate manifold touch points and lasting impressions for attendees. Cognizant to this certitude, an event planner's mind is always full of copious brainwaves- from marketing campaigns to run, venues to book, and sponsors to secure. No detail can go untouched in events, in particular with the corporate events. A brand should travel all the way through the ingredients of an event, from locale down to the cuisine. While the figures of event players are amplifying, there has yet to be a modern solution to an archaic problem- to streamline planning and execution and solidify brand message. Being a part of the event management industry for the past 14 years, JaerajSurve beheld first-hand, the challenges confronted by Advertising & Event Management Agencies during an event. Flabbergasted, Jaeraj urged himself a question, "What services will an Advertising & Event Agency need to provide to deal with these challenges?" and the only answer that jumped sharply was – to establish a complete event production house with in-house fabrication and equipment to match the rates currently enjoyed by agencies. Jaeraj saw a gap in the market to revolutionize the current wave of the event management industry. And the vision metamorphosed into The Event Konsultants in November 2017.
Today, The Event Konsultants has established itself as a fully-integrated Event Production house, homing Graphic and 3D designers for complete creative support to all its clients. The team holds expertise in building events by mixing clients' ideas with their state of the art gear and unparalleled dexterity. They figure everything out-from light design, audio requirement, stage and stall design production drawings to the actual running of the event.
While everyone who launches a startup in the event industry manages to keep it commercially sound, only a few become an inspiration for others and that's why Startup City magazine interviewed JaerajSurve, a successful entrepreneur and an industry veteran who has disrupted the conventional event industry.
What competitive advantage does The Event Konsultants enjoy?
The Event Konsultants is in line with the future outlook of the industry where most agencies would prefer outsourcing their event operations work to an Event Production House that takes care of everything from planning to execution. We have proven to be a far more cost-effective option for agencies as they get the expedient vendor rates without embodying their in-house operation team. Our team takes care of all-inclusive operations and it's one of the factors why agencies practicing outside Mumbai associate with us. It's just the tip of the iceberg. We are completely devoted to being an end-to-end partner and not just vendors, which means that we consult and advise our clients if we feel there is an inch for improvement. And finally, we take over the "stressful work" of managing factory production and technical planning to deliver the perfect end result. We host a sound client retention rate in line with the quality delivered and transparency. We sign an NDA with our clients to assure that we won't work with their brands directly.
Quite honestly, let me stick my neck out here and say that we hardly have any competitors as the industry is flooded with Event Agencies & Vendors for individual services and an Event Production House isa fairly new category to this industry. There are only a handful of such Event Production Houses that provide end-to-end design to execution services with in-house fabrication & equipment. This end-to-end value delivery is what makes us stand out in the industry.
How has the company maintained its momentum?
We all know that this industry works mainly on references. Most of our work, too, has come in through client referrals and word of mouth. In such a short span, we have already created a long clientele, which indicates our advancing momentum. The concept of an Event Production House is fresh in India; therefore we are still in the thought seeding phase. Once the industry warms up to the idea, there'll be even faster growth for us.
How do you keep up-to-date with industry trends?
The event industry is brimming with innovation and new technology. It's really important for me to stay updated with the newest trends. I take a regular walk across many local and international event-related social media handles. Also, I actively search for certain hashtags to see what's new in the country and what event production houses abroad are cooking that we need to catch up.
What is your most favorite event genre to work on and why?
I love working at corporate events. It's where I see an openness to experiment with technology and innovative designs as the agencies are always suggesting new ideas to the brands to stand out from the competition. Also, compared to other types of events, attendees are more aware of the entire experience of a corporate event. For example, in a concert, attendees are more focused on the artist. No attendee will ever remember the stage design or the engagement activities at such an event. All they'll say is, "What a performance by the artist!" On the other hand, attendees in a corporate event are able to appreciate various facets of the event. This end-user appreciation stands as a motivation for me.
What strategies do you use for dealing with event stress?
Event stress is a part and parcel of this industry. While we can't eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it. A skilled team to identify challenges beforehand and mitigate them, and well structured backup plans to ensure that the show goes on no matter what, are two of the most important strategies to restrain event stress. Once we are done with an exhausting event, I make sure that the team spends some time outside the office to relax and bond, so that they are fresh and prepared for the next event.
How has been your journey as a leader?
My first job in the event industry bestowed on me a lot of experience in every department in an event management company. I gained the expertise, courage and confidence needed to manage complete event operations. Post that, I headed two agencies, where I learnt to understand clients and employee expectations in a much better way. In my total 14 years of the professional stint, I learnt that teaching and learning is a double arrowed experience i.e. you must learn from those you teach. I have never worn my cap as a traditional boss because I don't believe in hierarchy. Even in The Event Konsultants, we are simply one operations team with different tasks delegated to us. I always ask myself, "What would I have expected from my boss?" and act accordingly. As a leader, I don't believe in giving instructions. Instead, I believe in creating an environment where my team can grow and flourish.
The future: What's next for the company and how well equipped are you?
The entire concept of an Event Production House is new to the event management industry. Event Production Houses will be a new service category for the next generation event management industry and we will enjoy a first-mover advantage as the concept catches on.
What is the best advice you would give to someone who is thinking about going into event management?
My advice is simple – if you want to be in this field, you have to be tremendously hard working. A lot of people enter this industry thanks to the allure of the glamour, glitter and celebrities. What they don't see is the grit and perseverance that goes behind the creation of all that glitz. Be prepared to work for long hours and work hard; that's the only way to succeed in the event management industry
After completing his Civil Engineering, Jaeraj found himself dabbling in, and thoroughly enjoying, the event management space. Thus started a 14-year long journey in events, where Jaeraj worked his way from the bottom, learning the nitty-gritty of event management, to eventually starting his own Event Production House, a relatively new concept in India.