COVID has been the Chief Transformation or Digital Officer for the world: Pooja Jauhari

In today's edition of e4m Creative Zone, Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch, talks about new ways of working that have cropped up post COVID, campaign created for Netflix amidst lockdown and more

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Jul 29, 2020 8:16 AM  | 5 min read

The COVID-19 global lockdown has not just confined us to our homes but thrown at us challenges of various dimensions. From the ad industry’s perspective, organising and shooting an advertising campaign in these conditions proved to be the big test. However, despite these challenges, our creative leaders have continued to conceptualise work that inspires. In our series e4m Creative Zone, we get to know how Creative heads have been surpassing the COVID hurdles.
In today's edition of e4m Creative Zone, we have power girl Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch. Someone who, as part of her role as CEO, has spearheaded Glitch’s vision to work with ambitious businesses like Netflix, Unilever, LinkedIn, Diageo to name a few, and created a gender inclusive organisation that boasts a 50:50 ratio to men and women across levels, including leadership. In conversation with e4m, Jauhari speaks of the new formats and ways of working that have cropped up post COVID, the campaign created for Netflix amidst lockdown and more. She contends that acquisition costs will go down as more and more clients are finding newer ways to talk to their vast array of hyper connected consumers and admits that digital natives are leading the way.

Edited excerpts below:

How has lockdown changed life for agencies like yours?
In my view, we’ve taken decisions, found opportunities and rejigged our entire way of working. Something we would have waited a few more years to do, to be honest. For eg: I know for sure we will not be working in an office space at more than 50-60% capacity for the foreseeable future. The balance will work remotely on rotation. We’ve found opportunities to expand our offering by adding one or two senior resources but built a whole new work stream. After the initial shock of lockdown fades away, I believe we would realise that we are working more optimally. That’s the endeavour.

Take us through any campaign done by the agency during lockdown and how did it all come together?
The Netflix home stories are famous examples. A set of content series, all shot remotely by our fabulous creative and production teams. Actors, directors, producers all in different locations were connected just via the internet and they produced some stellar work. Something we would not have thought was achievable.

How have your clients responded to the situation? Are clients ready to spend now or are still tightening their purse-strings? What is the general mood like?
All clients reacted differently. Some pressed the pedal and most were cautious. We however rejigged our standing as well. For us, our clients and people are most central, so each helped the other. Management focused on our people and our people on our clients. We all needed additional support.
Clients are opening up. As we come to terms with the endlessness of this situation, clients, brands and customers are all craving a level of normalcy. That’s helping restart spending and consumption. Acquisition costs will go down as more and more clients are finding newer ways to talk to their vast array of hyper connected consumers. Digital natives are leading the way.
Mood is cautious but positive. The talk of vaccines and cures are becoming louder so that is definitely helping.

The crisis has brought in a great deal of upheaval in the way agencies are working now. Where do you see the silver lining or the green shots of opportunity in all this?
We have the greatest opportunity to rejig the bad reputation of the 'agency life'. We are actively working on the balance of office and remote working for all our employees once lockdown lifts.This will allow talent to have life and professional experiences at the same time. Imagine working out of an Airbnb by the beach a few times a year.
We can be far more cost efficient. By reducing burdens and sluggish costs like rent and travel. We could transfer that on acquiring new talent, change pay structures, offer higher bonuses, real hard working training. The opportunities are endless. I’m hopeful.
We can acquire talent from any part of the country/world without the worry of relocation.
It encourages collaborations. Our multiple locations have never spoken as much as they have since lockdown. Talent from different locations pitching in across the board.
We take away the notions that online meetings are inefficient. The number of memes on online meetings that have otherwise needed constant travel is proof.

What would be your message to brands and agencies on creating work that can cut off through the clutter rather than being it?
The rules don’t change. If it’s authentic, smart and simple. It most often works. Experiment with different platforms, never a better time to invest in Martech and omnichannel marketing.
COVID has been the Chief Transformation or Digital Officer for the world. We’ve just leaped 10 years ahead. Let’s make it count.

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