Rahul Chauhan – Head of Strategy
Posted November 10, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Being the head of strategy for one of the world's oldest and largest advertising and public relations companies, Publicis Groupe, put Rahul in charge of creating winning media strategies to achieve clients’ business objectives.
Rahul has over 10 years of experience leading media and marketing strategies for huge corporations like Suncorp Group, BMW and Energy Australia (just to name a few). Take a walk in his shoes and see how he came to be where he is today…
What did you study and what are the steps you took to be where you are today?
Whilst I’m currently studying my Executive MBA, I believe the steps taken in my career to get where I am were impacted by the opportunities that I said “no” to, rather than simply those I said “yes” to.
Being focused and clear about the choices that will create meaningful impact in the long term, are far more important than simply choosing options which provide short-term gain.
As our life expectancy increases, our working lives will push into our 70’s – accordingly, it is crucial to think about the paths which will yield a sustained career – from relationships to industries to skill sets.
What inspired this career path?
The people I have met, in addition to my natural interest in how media influences human behaviour and our relationships with brands.
What was your first job?
Hospitality – clearing tables.
Explain a little bit more about what you do and a typical day at work
My role involves defining and creating media strategies which directly impact a clients’ desired business objectives. This broadly encompasses…
1. Understanding the key challenges impacting a client’s brand
2. Defining the role that media can play to overcome the challenge
3. Outlining the target consumer that media must reach (who will engage with the brand to positively influence the desired business objective)
4. Leveraging insights to build a communications strategy and ecosystem centred influencing the consumer to take an action(s).
A typical day at work can involve anything from sitting with clients to discuss ‘what’s keeping them up at night’; to conducting qualitative and quantitative research; to working closely with publishers and media owners on innovation and audience targeting; to upskilling staff with global insights and findings; to leading ideation sessions in for our client’s brands.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
It’s hard to identify one single interesting thing, however everyday I’m fortunate to work with intelligent, interesting and driven people who continue to ask questions, in order to push and challenge each other and themselves. On average, we spend at least 40 hours a week at work which is often more time spent with our colleagues than our families. So if our co-workers aren’t interesting and one of the reasons we’re enthusiastic to get out of bed then something is wrong and must be changed.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
Best part – solving problems and understanding the “why” of how consumers behave.
Worst part – meetings with no solid agenda or outcome.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Tip 1: Money is an outcome of hard work and happiness is an outcome of perspective.
Tip 2: If you don’t like what you’re doing, change it – project to your deathbed and if you were going to regret doing something, then make sure you do it.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting going down this career path?
Upward management is just as important as managing your own direct reports.
Name a career highlight
Winning a client in the first week of starting a new role, and retaining a client on the last week of finishing an old role – commitment to an outcome is key to a sustained career and a reputation.
What’s next for you?
Cultivating a pathway which allows me to work in Portugal by December 2019.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself…
I own a black pug who sits and watches Dirty Dancing on repeat, every single weekday.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.