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As a company, we're all about normalizing and not cause-vertising: Pooja Jauhari, The Glitch
Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The GlitchThe Glitch
When Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch got candid with us

As a company, we're all about normalizing and not cause-vertising: Pooja Jauhari, The Glitch

When Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch got candid with us
  • The Glitch was recently consolidated into the nearly $1 billion global VMLY&R network.
  • We speak to Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch on what the recent consolidation will mean for the agency, how it fared during this difficult year, its recent account wins and her vision for the agency.
When Varun Duggirala and Rohit Raj founded The Glitch, a digitally-led creative agency, in 2009, the idea was to create an organization that would help clients come up with smart solutions, therefore fix the glitch they were facing in communicating with their consumers (the agency had been founded around the 2009 recession and both Duggirala and Raj had been told it was the worst time to start the agency). Eleven years down the line, considering how far the agency has already come, in hindsight, it was perhaps the best time to start the agency.

Today, The Glitch is one of the edgiest agencies out there, with an impressive roster of clients. The agency has made a name for itself by way of the differentiated work it is able to put out for its clients.

Back in 2018, WPP identified the potential in the independent agency and made it a part of its ecosystem and since then, the agency has only moved upwards. Recently, WPP also consolidated this young, edgy agency with VMLY&R.

We recently caught up with Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch to understand what the recent consolidation will mean for the agency, how it fared during this difficult year, its account wins and her vision for the agency.

Play iconA circle surrounding a triangle pointing right. It indicates, "this type of media can be played."Pooja Jauhari, CEO, The Glitch shares some invaluable leadership mantras

The Glitch’s 2020 journey

Over the last few years, the Glitch has been witnessing healthy growth. It has also been churning out great content and campaigns. The agency has been working on many beauty brands under HUL, it is also the agency behind all the content Netflix puts out. They also handle LinkedIn and the premium portfolio of Diageo.

Despite the year being challenging for most businesses, The Glitch had some impressive client wins. “Our focus this year was on tech businesses and we have succeeded in adding some wonderful brands to our portfolio. We worked on some projects for Facebook and won the accounts for Triller, Octro Inc and Microsoft,” shared Jauhari.

While she said she would be lying if she said 2020 wasn’t challenging, the agency had fared well, against all odds. “At the start of the lockdown, we were all seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But very quickly, that light disappeared because of all the uncertainty. However, I have great respect for the people that I work with - both my colleagues and clients, because I saw leadership at every level. And while the year was tough and the first few months were very difficult, we bounced back very quickly. We've had great business wins. All our top clients continue to stay with us. We've played an active role in helping them through this darkness, and there truly is camaraderie and partnership. We aren't yet back to where I would have liked us to be but bounced back we have!,” said Jauhari.

While not sharing revenue figures for the year, Jauhari also said that there had been a dip in the initial months, but they're now on an upward swing. “And should the trajectory of the last few months continue, we should be in a very good place next year,” she added.

The VMLY&R consolidation

About a month back, The Glitch became a part of the nearly $1 billion global VMLY&R network. While talks between the two agencies were on for over three years, it finally came to fruition in November this year. Both the agencies will continue to operate as separate, individual brands.

On what the consolidation would entail and the synergies that the two agencies share, Jauhari said, “Over the years, one feedback our clients kept giving us was that they love our organization for our people, our sound culture and our agility. Our creative and business strategies have truly succeeded in solving real-life problems for our clients. We truly believe The Glitch is a modern partner to our clients. And to be able to continue being a modern partner, we needed to add data and technology to our fold as well. And that was one of the key reasons VMLY&R was so attractive to us.”

“We share a lot of synergies with them. There’s always been a lot of camaraderie. As a network at large, they’re very entrepreneurial. And, when I talk about Glitch, we're all about being gender-blind, diverse, progressive, and we're high performance as a workspace. We happen to be an advertising agency. And that's the kind of language VMLY&R speaks as well, which is why, people and culture-wise it was such a great fit,” she added.

The vision for Glitch

This year threw unforeseen challenges to organizations across the world. And most have come up with learnings that will help them navigate the uncertain future.

On what were a few things that the pandemic taught the agency, Jauhari said, “We would be really foolish if we didn’t learn anything from this experience. One of the obvious thing we have pondered over is, can our industry actually bring about work-life balance, and can that balance come from spending a few days in office and then working remotely for a certain amount of time? So, we will try and bring about a remote working culture in our organization. Secondly, the experience also showed us efficiencies in the way we conduct our businesses, the kind of travel one should do or where to spend our money. For instance, I would rather spend money on our people than on massive office spaces. But the most important factor for me has been focusing on mental health, both for myself and my colleagues. And this is not something that your HR team should do. It's something that every person in the organization needs to imbibe and it starts with leaders. I often tell my colleagues that building mental strength is like building muscle strength, it needs practice. And, we have to focus on proactive mental health rather than reactive mental health. And that to me is a big change in the way I operate as a person and its also something I would do for my organization as we move forward.”

On what is that one thing that she feels she has done right and is proud of as a leader, she said, “The one thing I'm truly proud of is our collective belief in being an organization that's gender-blind, truly inclusive, and highly progressive, and I don't mean inclusivity and being progressive only in the form of gender, but in the form of opinion, background and the kind of work we put out. As a company, we're all about normalizing and not cause-vertising. I would hate it if Glitch ever put out a piece of work that cause-vertised something rather than normalizing. For example, when we talk about same sex love, our focus is not on the same sex, it’s on the love. When we feature a transgender model in a beauty film, we don't highlight the model, we rather highlight beautiful skin, the beautiful people, a way of being. When we talk about men washing dishes, we just normalize it because we are in 2020, and its obviously normal. And that’s our key agenda and mission as an agency, which I'm very proud of.”