Rohit Raj teamed with Varun Duggirala in 2009 to set up a digital agency. It was a time when the recession was pinching marketers' spending power. The duo named their agency The Glitch to position themselves as solution providers. 14 years after scaling up The Glitch as one of India's hottest creative shops, Raj has decided to step down. In a conversation with Storyboard18, he says one of the reasons why has decided to move is because he thinks the agency now has a great team in place who is making him redundant. "If I want to move forward in life and do something else, somebody else has to be able to do what I have done," he adds. Raj has plans to work closely with fintech startups. He talks with us about his advertising journey, new opportunities for agencies and more.
Why did you decide to move on?
People often think that leaders are irreplaceable. But, a good leader is someone who makes themselves redundant. If I want to move forward in life and do something else, somebody else has to be able to do what I have done. We scaled the way we wanted and then WPP acquired us in 2018. As we spent our time understanding, navigating, and fuelling the system. We understood that it was time for us to chase new problems and see if we could add better innovative solutions to them. In the last five years, one thing on our to-do was to put this company in an accelerated mode and to find the right people who could take charge and do better than what we do. We have got a great team at The Glitch who make me redundant. So, it is easier for me to step out.
So what’s next for you?
When we started The Glitch, Varun and I had zero experience of running an agency. We had never worked in an agency before. We identified problems in the agency ecosystem and decided to solve them. Similarly, when I founded Chtrbox, it was a similar journey because I was not a techie.
In the last few years, I have worked with a lot of fintech startups and identified a bunch of new problems. A lot of them are interested to know about our acquisition journey. I want to work closely with fintech startups and help them scale during their acquisition phase.
The nature of digital marketing has changed by leaps and bounds. What according to you are opportunities for agencies like The Glitch?
When we started out, digital was the new kid on the block. This evolved in a few years with digital taking a front seat and multiple platforms coming up for brands to talk to and build their customer base. I feel we are now at the brink of the next change where the dependencies on platforms will be reduced and focus will move to the solutions they will provide. At The Glitch, we have spoken at length about this opportunity and already began the groundwork to prepare for this. CX teams have taken the lead to help build customer success and this opportunity is going to be a big success driver.
According to you, how did the WPP acquisition change the brand image of the agency?
When we started out, we evolved to become an independent creative agency. There are ways how an independent agency functions. There are ways in which large network agencies function. It is very easy when it is a team of 10 people running the company. It is slightly difficult if it is a team consisting of 100 to 200 people. But, how to run a company that has 4,000 people on board?
We found a method to our madness. And, WPP brought a sense of structure and calmness to the ecosystem. Now there is a process in place, which in a lot of ways is helpful to us.
It is not just the vision of the founders or the CEOs, but it is largely the vision of the people too who have been democratised. That is where WPP has come in from and really helped us. They brought in newer learning, and they brought in global leadership thoughts.
Do you have a message for newbie entrepreneurs, especially those who are in the marketing business?
Nothing teaches you better than entrepreneurship. Go ahead, startup, and learn on the go. The key piece of advice is, to learn fast. Make mistakes, learn from them, but learn fast. Entrepreneurship is not a TikTok trend. What is very important is to bring a key differentiator.