“Stay Relevant”: Jaideep Mahajan, Co-Founder & CMO, SVISH

Amidst a pandemic that caught everyone off guard, Jaideep Mahajan, began his entrepreneurial journey with launch of SVISH, which claims to be the first made-in-India range of sanitisation products. The year 2020 forced everybody in this world to relook at life. Work from home became the new mantra. Sanitise and disinfect became the new keywords.

For Mr Mahajan, who has spent 22 years of his life in advertising, an adversity like COVID-19 provided an opportunity to start anew as an entrepreneur. Mr Mahajan was on a sabbatical and had recently relocated to Canada with his family. On a two-week holiday to Delhi, he got caught in the lockdown. Bored and alone, he counted the days when borders would open up. But then boredom became the mother of creativity, and a new business idea cropped up in his mind.

As Mr Mahajan went from day to day, dodging the virus with various sanitisers and disinfectants, he realised that if one had to apply something to one’s skin 10 to 12 times a day, it needed to be more personalised, eco-friendly and something that would satisfy one’s taste for aesthetics. The market was flooded with sanitisers, but they were either too oily or too sticky or too smelly. Not to mention the not-too-impressive packaging.

The advertising experience in him got him to spot an opportunity in these tough times. Getting together with a bunch of like-minded people, Mr Mahajan co-founded SVISH, which is based out of Gurugram, Haryana. His eye for design and his innate respect for the environment helped him conceptualise, craft and market a brand of sanitisers that is not only gentle and appealing to the skin but also the environment. The design and packaging of SVISH bear his signature class and genius.

Before, COVID-19 and before SVISH happened, Mr Mahajan was the national creative head of Rediffusion, India’s prominent, independent ad agency. He has also worked with reputed advertising companies, such as Leo Burnett, McCann Worldgroup, Lintas, JWT and Contract Advertising, to name a few.

In his career spanning over two decades, Mr Mahajan has represented several brands – such as Bharti Airtel, Tata Sons, Tata Trust, Taj Hotels, Volvo Cars, Panasonic, Pizza Hut, Amway, Four Square, Moods, Sony and many more iconic brands. His calibre for out-of-the-box thinking has also won him numerous awards at top advertising conventions.

No wonder, Mr Mahajan has taken on the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) at SVISH. He has put in all his experience and expertise of advertising to build the new brand as a leading, sanitiser of the country. In an engaging conversation with Sharmila Chand, Mr Mahajan speaks about his management principles and practices that have helped him excel in his career.

Five management mantras according to you

* Put in your best and encourage others to do the same.

* Do the right things at the right time.

* Teamwork wins. Collaboration is the key.

* People first, especially in these times

* Mistakes are lessons you needed to learn.

Do you play any game which helps you in your work? 

I play a few games online to take my mind off work, but nothing too strategic. It helps me relax. The Google Chrome Dino game when you are offline is so simple and yet so addictive.

Please share with us the turning point in your life related to your career.

I would have to say that working with late Yasmin Ahmed during my stint at Leo Burnett Kuala Lumpur was a turning point in my life. She taught me that it was okay to be yourself and that authenticity leads to the best form of creativity. If you don’t feel it, don’t do it.

What is the secret of your success?

There is no secret as such. You work hard, keep your focus, be consistent and hope to lead to something positive.

What is your philosophy of work?

I am a practical man. I don’t compromise, and I don’t cut corners. Work is worship for me.

Is there any particular person you admire who has inspired you?

Once again, it is Yasmin Ahmad. She was brilliant and was very grounded. Her work had the power to move the audience emotionally because whatever she created was from the heart.

What is the best advice you got?

There are too many. Right from my parents who taught me the value of money to my kid who thinks that I should be cool with the GenZ memes if I want to stay relevant, there have been some excellent advisers in my life.

Who is your sounding board?

My wife is my biggest critic and also my ardent supporter.

Are there any favourite books?

I am not much of a reader. I am a visual person, and I learn by keeping my eyes open to the world around me.

What is your fitness regime? How do you keep yourself fit?

I am careful about my health, but I like to keep it simple. I try to eat as clean and healthy as possible, and I try not to miss my morning walks.

Lastly, what are your five mantras for success in business?

* Do not bullshit.

* Show up every time.

* Communicate clearly.

* Follow your gut.

* Stay relevant.

What message would you like to give to youngsters?

There is no shortcut to success.

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