INTERVIEWS

‘It’s important to involve users in the content creation process’

They say the best creative talent is available outside the large agencies. Here’s a startup that confirms that statement. SoLoMo Media is helping brands like Yahoo!, Videocon Mobile Phones, Gaana, Times Internet, Snapdeal, Action Shoes, Dr Lal Pathlabs and others to understand the digital platform and form communities among their users. It has done some creative campaigns, such as Father’s Day campaign for Videocon Mobile phones and Yahoo! Flickr Rides – both of which were highly successful.

Rohit Awasthi, Co-founder, Media & Marketing, SoLoMo Media talks about the advantage that a startup has over a large advertising firm. He also tells Digital Creed what type of content appeals to millennials – and how to catch their attention.

Q. What was the motivation and inspiration for starting your agency? How did you come up with this unique name SoLoMo – Sauce of Social, Location, Mobile?

Solomo_logoRohit: We help brands bring their users together and form communities for common interest and purpose. And of course, lots of fun. That is why we say SoLoMo Salsa, the sauce of Social, Location and Mobile, served to you with ideas.

I used to work at Snapdeal and earlier with hoppr, which is now part of Hike. So when I was on the brand side, I was critical of agencies. The data revenue of Reliance Communications was Rs 7,000 crore, two and a half years ago. And they predicted that data revenue would touch Rs 40,000 crore in three years. That got me thinking.

When so much content was going to be consumed, and much of it on hand-held devices, I wondered what else that content might be, beyond watching movies, listening to music and social networking.

So I could see that there was a need for a lot of content to be produced for people. And secondly, I see that the brands take a lot of time to understand social platforms; they try to adapt their communication and marketing strategy which is prevalent in traditional marketing channels (print, radio) for digital. But digital is different.

There was scope for an agency to come in and make that change. So we started Solomo Media in 2012 with the belief of disrupting the traditional agency model and helping brands get on-board quickly on Digital Media, with excellent understanding of right kind of content marketing for the appropriate social platforms.

We want to be one of the top companies helping the brands on digital platforms.

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Q. Among the three areas, where do you have a stronger play? Don’t you think Mobility is a hot area right now?

Rohit: When we started off (in 2012) we also wanted to work on mobile, but over a period of time we realised that our strengths lie in social media and marketing. We are conversant with the technology behind these platforms. We might not develop mobile apps for brands. But I would like to create content that is marketable and viral, and which adapts to the different devices.

We want to make content that can relate to the brands, and content that is consumed by users.

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Q. There is a lot of unregulated content on social media. How do you pick up and aggregate the key messages that relate to the brand? What role does Analytics play here?

Rohit: We believe that unregulated content will be a driving force for brands to connect with people they care about. I learned a great deal about communities and online when I worked for PagalGuy.com. And I saw that content created by users is more viral than content created by the brand. A customer’s perception of the brand and how he/she engages with the brand is really important than design, colours and fancy logos.

So when we work with brands, we involve users in the content creation process. When you talk to the consumers you do get a lot of ideas.

Picture2Q. What advantage does a startup creative firm have over a large advertising company that has been in the business for years?

Rohit: We work on a turnaround time of four hours. Traditional agencies take a week even for a small assignment. A player who has a strong play in digital knows that topical content works well. A smaller firm can also deliver quickly, on demand.

We have a digital background and our processes are client friendly, which make our work easier. Unlike a traditional firm, we don’t have a dedicated account manager, copywriter, and client servicing person. So by having a smaller team with one person wearing several hats, we minimise information loss, and communication lapses between people in the team. It is also a more collaborative team. This enables us to have a quicker turnaround time and faster decision making.

We know that there is a constraint of mindspace. We hardly have a few seconds to read something on our Twitter feed or Facebook timeline. I have half a second to grab someone’s attention.

Secondly, unless I have very strong loyalty programs, it would be a waste of time and money to coax people to be loyal. Millennials will go with the best option available and they may decide on a number of factors that include price, ease of use, convenience etc.

So we try to get mindshare by creating content that is emotional and humorous. This kind of content works well with millennials.

But don’t expect them to be loyal. They will also be very vocal about your brand. That’s an opportunity as well as a risk.

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PROFILE

Rohit_A_croppedRohit Awasthi, Co–founder, Media & Marketing

A communication expert, with more than 11 years of experience in social media, online communities, product management & marketing. He’s worked as a creator with many of India’s leading online portals like PagalGuy, Shaadi, hoppr & Snapdeal.

A graduate from NIT Calicut in 2003, he worked at leadership positions for various portals, which are leaders in their own space. Starting from Patni computers, he took a jump in the startup space in 2005, when he joined PaGaLGuY.com as its first employee. Since then, he has worked for Shaadi.com, Snapdeal andHoppr(now Hike).

He started Solomo Media in 2012 with the belief of disrupting the traditional agency model and helping brands get on-board quickly on Digital Media, with excellent understanding of right kind of content marketing for the appropriate social platforms.

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Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira has over two decades of journalism experience. He is the former Editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines in India. You can write to Brian at: brian9p@gmail.com Twitter: @brian9p Linkedin: https://in.linkedin.com/in/pereirabrian

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