VMLY&R India’s Anil K Nair and The Glitch’s Pooja Jauhari take us behind the scenes leading to the integration of the agencies and the nature of the new duo in town.
“This love story is more than 3.5 years old. We spent time together at various forums and WPP events in the past. The time was not right then, but is right now,” says Anil K Nair-CEO, VMLY&R India on the VMLY&R The Glitch integration.
In early November 2020, The Glitch became a part of the nearly $1 bn global VMLY&R network. The two agencies will continue to operate as distinct brands and organizational structures even as they start working together.
We get talking to Anil K Nair-CEO, VMLY&R India, and Pooja Jauhari-CEO, The Glitch as the duo narrates the tale of their not-so-newly found fondness for both the agency’s work values and ethics.
How it all Began?
“The founders (Varun Duggirala and Rohit Raj, Co-Founders The Glitch) and I have always admired VMLY&R, more for the kind of people they are, the way they conduct their business, and the warmth within their network,” shares Pooja Jauhari-CEO, The Glitch.
She further divulges that the agency teams have been speaking and meeting each other across common WPP forums for years and always spoke about coming together one day. “That “one day” arrived and we couldn’t be happier about it, Jauhari says.
“We describe ourselves as a gender blind, inclusive, and progressive high-performance workspace. VMLY&R speaks the same language.” – Pooja Jauhari
When there are two companies that share values, culture, and ambition the way The Glitch and VMLY&R do, it’s very natural to think of coming together, believes Anil K Nair, CEO, VMLY&R. “Any integration success is eventually about people and the leadership teams having amazing chemistry,” he quips.
Parameters of Evaluation before Integration
For VMLY&R, any evaluation is about whether the entity or agency enables it to take a quantum leap in the direction that it is going. Nair elaborates, “We harness creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. When we evaluate an agency or entity, we look at how the coming together of VMLY&R & that particular entity will enable us to become even stronger in helping our clients connect with their consumers at an emotional level.”
Jauhari asserts that the parameter was just one – to continue to build an agency group that was the sharpest partner to clients, communities, and the people in this hyper-connected world.
The Glitch has been part of WPP since 2018. “So the learning curve is already over. We get into VMLY&R as an experienced network agency ready to jump directly into hard-working alignments for our people and our clients. We are truly a modern partner now.” Jauhari highlights.
On the transition from an independent agency to an integrated one, she comments that changes will be the availability of great opportunities to upskill, to collaborate, and expand at speed. The Glitch will now add a sophisticated data, e-commerce, big brand thinking practice to its arsenal of culture-shaping content, digital-focused creative, gen Z focused strategic, and innovation-focused technology practice.
Even as the two agencies continue to operate as independent stand-alone brands, this integration will strengthen both. Nair opines, “By coming together, we’re adding new weaponry to our arsenal and building something bigger, better, and stronger for our clients, and are excited to start cross-pollinating strengths and capabilities across agencies.”
The key goal through the integration is “business better than usual,” so they are stronger for their clients. He shares that the employees are excited to learn and grow – to be even more distinctive in what they bring to the clients.
Also Read: The Glitch joins VMLY&R’s Global Network
The Integration Strategy
Since the agencies will continue to operate distinct brands and organizations, including leadership structures within the individual agencies, they have got capability workshops & social events planned so the teams can get to know each other to make sure they can learn from each other very quickly.
The teams at VMLY&R have also expedited the IT process to make sure The Glitch has access to the suite of tools available to the VMLY&R network. Nair informs, “We are creating global connectivity for our new friends that will enable them to have access to the best resources that they need from anywhere in the network.”
How do you see The Glitch creating an edge in the cluttered digital space post this integration, any expectations? Nair answered, “The Glitch is gender blind, inclusive and progressive. This gives them an edge even beyond their skill because their values cut through all the work they produce. They have strong expertise in agile content creation, storytelling, and social, and when combined with our own capabilities in brand experience, data-driven marketing, technology, and strategic & consumer insights, we know we can impact culture, drive change for the better, and help our clients grow their businesses.”
Independent v/s Functioning Under an Umbrella
Given the competition and cut through an agency, being a part of a bigger network is the only way to survive? To which Jauhari was quick to reply, “I don’t see this as a survival plan. We were thriving! Growing rapidly, expanding our client bases, and attracting great talent. Our only and only plan was, how do we stay true to our ambition and keep evolving to be modern creative partners. Being part of VMLY&R gives us that. Ammunition to keep charging ahead.”
She also thinks that agencies big and small need to stay true to that and as long as they do that, there is space for everyone.
When quizzed about the pros and cons of being an independent agency v/s being a part of the network or getting integrated to form a bigger network, Jauhari states that she would have answered this question, very differently 3 years ago before getting into WPP.
“Today I respect this network for its ability to encourage the agencies they acquire to thrive. I’ve seen how the force of this network comes together to support and nurture it’s newer agencies. So like any relationship and marriage, you have to find the right partner to succeed.”
“The sky is the limit with The Glitch as part of us. Their entrepreneurial, enthusiastic spirit and passion for their clients mirrors ours, and together, we are ready to take on India (and the world!)” Nair signs off.