We are a modern partner to ambitious brands: Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch

GroupM acquired eight-year-old digitally-led creative agency The Glitch six months ago

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Published: Aug 3, 2018 8:59 AM  | 6 min read

Earlier this year, one of India’s leading media agency networks GroupM, acquired an eight-year-old creative agency, The Glitch. The acquisition made heads turn as it was the media arm of WPP that acquired the creative agency, not just one of the various creative arms of the holding group.

Pooja Jauhari joined The Glitch in 2014 after lobbying with the founders Rohit Raj and Varun Duggirala and rose up the ranks to become the CEO of the agency in two years. Two years since her elevation, Jauhari and the co-founders have built one of the most successful and sought-after creative digital agencies in India today.

In an interview with exchange4media, Jauhari shares The Glitch’s simple and no-nonsense promise to brands: We are a modern partner to ambitious brands. “We have just about gotten started!,” she declares. Jauhari helps us understand what makes the GroupM-The Glitch partnership the perfect marriage.

Jauhari also tells e4m all about how the young and vibrant team at The Glitch is settling into the acquisition which is now six months old, and more… Edited Excerpts:

To start off, tell us what has changed at The Glitch since the acquisition?

A lot has changed for the good. We are now settling into the acquisition-- we have found our ways of working together. There is something that works here at The Glitch and GroupM has not tried to change that; they have only tried to make it better. And that is the biggest positive of the acquisition. In the meetings we have with GroupM, they tell us that they love what we do for clients and love the success that we have seen. They just want to help take the stress off our head - which is basically our backend. They are helping us streamline our backend and they are letting the frontend of the business run the way it is.

We are now working on integrating a lot of the services that GroupM has into what we offer. We can now go to clients with a very holistic view on end-to-end creative solutions.

There must be some freedom that you had as an independent agency, but had to let go off after the acquisition...

The good of our agility is not being touched, which is fantastic. There are certain other things where, as part of a bigger organisation, we now need to be more cautious. These are aspects like legal or finance but not anything that would change how we work with the client.

Many agencies that have been acquired changed names, but you are still The Glitch.

A change of name is not something that is on the table right now. That was not even a point of discussion during the acquisition talks. The Glitch stands for something and that’s something we do not want to change.

How did you choose the perfect partner for the acquisition?

First, we did our background research. We looked at our peers who had done acquisitions before us. A lot of marriages have not worked out. That’s possibly because expectations have not lined up.

We were very clear about what we wanted from an acquisition. We were a profitable company before we got acquired, we were growing and we would have continued to grow even if we had not been acquired. But we wanted to grow faster and add skill sets that we did not have. We wanted to give clients more, and not leave our home. Which is why we partnered with someone who would give us exactly what we wanted -- add to our skill sets while we add to theirs. We give a holistic offering to clients and we are not cannibalising each other’s offerings.

There is a notion that the founders move on after an acquisition, what are your thoughts on that?

I think the founders, Rohit and Varun, have never been more involved!

We are all committed to not just the immediate future following the acquisition but also what we can build together.

The Glitch has a very young team working on some of the leading Indian and international brands. Comment.

The guys we have are the ones who have a pulse on what’s happening in the world today. That is what our clients need. Clients need their brand story to be communicated to an audience that has absolutely no patience. We have to find that sweet spot with the kind of people that they would otherwise want to talk to.

You have launched a content division, The Flux. How do you approach clients with content marketing?

When we talk to clients, we tell them content is everything. Content is the image you shoot to put up on social media, a series you produce or tie up with.

Our content studio is very different from the others. We have taken all our skill sets of being an agency, being at the centre of brand planning and our expertise as content creators and have found that sweet spot. We say that we are a Tinder for brands and content. Content has shied away thinking ‘will the brand ruin my content?’ and brands feel ‘hey, I want more of my brand in that content.’ We build brands and tie-up or work with content where the brand is right at the center of it all as we create great stories.

How do you plan this content?

Today it is no long about content, but context. The question now is ‘what are people talking about and what is the context we can play with.’ What we have built therefore is a planning team that is extremely strong and has a pulse on what is happening in the world.

We have changed the way planning is done. We do spend a lot of time on the traditional way of planning - understanding consumer behaviour in the market. But given where we are today, talking to consumers multiple times a day, we do planning on the go. That is evolved planning.

What are the new areas where you are going to build capabilities next?

It’s not what we want to build on next, but what we can do better. Last year has been about centralising all our data learnings and that is something we are focussing on getting sharper.

Besides this, we are working on our content division which is huge and our planning division which is getting stronger. Our e-commerce practice, which we started three years ago, has now reached an end-to-end kind of stage where we do everything for our clients on e-commerce.

If you look at the work we do, a client essentially does not have to go to any other agency for anything creative - be it traditional or digital. Which is why we say we are a modern partner to ambitious brands.

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