An Interview with Roshan Abbas - RJ , Anchor and Investment Partner at The Glitch

Rakesh Kumar
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Roshan Abbas

There are some people who live just one life, and then there are some who live multiple lives in a lifetime. Roshan Abbas is one such person. A Radio Jockey, an anchor, an actor, founder of an events management company and investment partner at a digital agency - The Glitch.

One wonders how a person can don so many hats and still find success.

In this interview, Roshan Abbas shares with you his journey and his views about the social media industry.

The world has moved from radio to TV to social media now for the consumption of entertaining content. As someone who has been in the media industry for so long, how do you view this evolution?

I describe this evolution differently, we have moved from the portable magic multiplier of opinion that was radio to the community or family viewing screen which was the Tv and now to a personal viewing screen which is often the mobile or tablet we use. From broadcast to narrowcasting, we now live in a world where we can tailormake our content.

My feelings are ambivalent as of now. While appointment viewing on Tv made for family viewing and community building, the personal screen makes it a Me focussed world.

However the social web is far more democratic and free. Yet its a democracy of one.

While many say 'Content is King' there are many instances where content alone has failed to fuel a brand's outreach. What do you suggest a brand should do when it produces great content but is still failing?

Producing great content is not the answer alone. Getting it to people is equally important. So its about content and context. Finding the consumers consumption pattern is important.

Also all this does not need money specifically. One can find multiple free channels of delivery and advocates and ambassadors who will willingly share your content if it is meaningful.

Its important to find some lighthouses to spread the message. A Social media strategy needs to evolve around all screens.

How is the content for social media different from that of other traditional communication channels?

Well for one attention spans on social are even shorter. So it needs to grab you. The 5 second skip button is your biggest enemy. Also the consumption is so much that the digestion is very little.

While this forces content creators to be gimmicky, there are some who buck the trend. At the end the content must be engaging.

From a radio/TV host and Managing Director of an events company to the investor partner in a digital marketing agency. What made you make this move?

Well at my heart I am a creator of content. Radio and Tv were mediums to broadcast the content and I worked to understand the nuances of the medium. But you keep looking for bigger audiences. Events and Experiential marketing were a further extension of engaging people.

Cinema was the next leap and I shall continue to try and make it there. While my generation consumed Radio and TV, this generation consumes most of their content on the web or mobile.

Once again as a communicator it’s a new medium, one I have been involved in from the beginning personally. In Glitch I found the perfect partners and the ideal vehicle to fulfill my digital dreams. Varun and Rohit bring both a creative edge and a flair for execution and we gel well together. Which is most important in any partnership.

It has been several months since you joined The Glitch as an investor partner. How has your journey been till now?

You’ve got to see the work to believe it. From the Barfi Youtube campaign to MTV Nano drive, From Diesel turns two to Axe Shower gel, Glitch is unique in its ideas and executions.

We’ve picked up a whole new bunch of clients and taken on a lot of new talent. The offering has expanded from content and cool apps to a lot more strategy and social as well.

In an age where people are voicing in favor of in-house social media teams, how relevant is an agency to the social media ecosystem?

While I do feel that one cannot outsource one’s voice one can also not have an untrained vocie try and speak to the public at large. So the solution is of trained manpower which understands social media analytics, the tools needed, the tone of voice and the audience at large.

These specialists should work with the brand custodians who can be inhouse. This kind of partnership works best for me. In India many clients pay lip service to social media and if its just a tick off on the list it will never be successful.

However if you use an agency that works as a listening post, which then recommends a startegy and engages with the audience it can be extremely beneficial.

As a celebrity with a great presence on Twitter, what would you suggest to those who want to build their personal brand through social media?

Social media is like entering a crowded room and trying to have a conversation with a set of people in the room. Who get noticed in the room? Those who engage, entertain, educate. Firstly one must have a point of view.

One must listen for feedback. And must be responsive. I try and be honest and truthful. And am not afraid to express my point of view. People like lighthouses that burn bright not fence sitters who hemm and haww.

Engagement is now passe. Business owners are now questioning the ROI of social media. How does one determine the ROI of his/her social media activities?

The eternal question of return on investment plagues all mediums. But surprisingly I find Digital to be the one place where this is most easily accomplished. Brand must set out clear objectives. Are they looking for awareness, trial, recommendations etc.

Most clients are bewildered by the new landscape of the digital world. But at the end its just one more medium for your ideas and it can be used to one’s advantage. But if all you want is a page, a feed, a site and more follows or fans then you might as well not have a social strategy.

In the next 5 years, how do you see the world of social media evolving into?

Well I feel at some stage all this virtual world stuff will make us so insular that people will crave physical interactions. In fact I saw a quote on Maria Popova’s site by Anais Nin

We believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people… This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us.

So I see a perceptible shift where a mix of real and virtual will coexist. In fact the virtual world should facilitate real interactions and vice versa. Live digitally but feel physically!

Key takeaways from the interview:

  1. We now live in a world where we can tailormake our content.
  2. Finding the consumers consumption pattern is important.
  3. One must listen for feedback. And must be responsive.
  4. Overuse of virtual world will make people crave for physical interactions.
The Glitch Social Media ROI Engagement Roshan Abbas barfi mtv nano