10 Questions with Rohit Awasthi, Co-Founder of Solomo Media
Welcome to our series of ’10 Questions with’ some of the most eminent thought leaders within the Marketing, Communications & PR industry. We have Rohit Awasthi, Co-founder of a media agency ‘Solomo Media’. Rohit has more than 13 years of experience in Social Media, online communities, product management and marketing. He is also a guest speaker at our free upcoming webinar on ‘Understanding Influence Networks and how to identify and work with the right influencers’.
1.Tell us about you and your professional journey
After graduating from NIT Calicut in 2003, I worked as a Software Engineer for 2 years but found my calling in Digital Media when I joined Pagalguy.com as its first employee. The 5 years I spent there were one of the most enriching times of life, where I worked alongside the smartest people I have known. In 2011, I joined Snapdeal as its Head of Social Media and got an opportunity to work at scale in a fast growing company. Post that I worked in a similar role at Hoppr (now Hike) for a while and started Solomo Media in 2012.
2.What inspired you to take the entrepreneurial route?
More than few reasons i.e.
a. We started in the 2G times. We could foresee that people will be consuming lot more data in the coming years. Brands are usually slow in leveraging the upcoming trends in Digital and a different kind of approach is required for each platform. That is where we wanted Solomo Media to be.
b. When I was on the brand side, I felt that most of the agencies do not have the Digital DNA. Many campaigns were anchored around ATL/BTL and the Social Media teams were either working in silos or the last ones to know. We looked at making brands Digital first, with quicker turnaround times couples with great ideas and terrific execution.
c. As someone who has been inspired by books like Maverick, Human Resource Champions and Delivering Happiness, company culture is something which is really close to my heart. Hence, our most important goal is to build a company where common sense rules over hierarchy, mediocrity is unacceptable and excellence is rewarded.
3.What has been your biggest breakthrough and toughest challenge?
My partner and I have been part of the Startups/Digital Industry for a long time before we started. Any breakthrough is a result of hard work over years and when we started, we just did not get wishes from our network, but also referrals from them, who believed that we have been doing great work for years and will do the same in our new journey.
Our toughest challenge is finding, recruiting and grooming talented folks. In the last 4 years, we have learned, instituted programs and activities which help us identify and reward the exceptional performers. This is a challenge which can only be solved with insistent efforts in the right direction, one day at a time
4.How do you differentiate yourself from other agency services?
Differentiating ourselves is a daily challenge in fast changing Social Media or Digital space. Following are the few things which we believe differentiates us –
a.Trust – A relationship between a client and agency starts with trust. Always ensure that the client trusts you with ideas, timelines and costing.
b. Long -term approach – Digital budgets are only going to increase. Be the best advisors to clients and do not look at the short-term gains of monies. Even if it means lots of discussions.
c. Turnaround Time – Fast, Frictionless, Frugal. Our processes are designed so that we can deliver ideas or changes quickly, with as less friction as possible without incurring a huge cost of change at the client’s end
5. What is your favourite thing to do outside of work?
Playing with my Golden Retriever, Kaiser. He is also our Chief Happiness Officer and spends his day in office premises.
6.If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?
Elon Musk. It will be amazing and phenomenal to see the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur who does not hesitate to put all his earnings into futuristic ideas but also intends to make things better for humanity.
7.What is your top tip for creating a successful social media marketing strategy?
People pay for Content, Brands pay for Marketing. The best Content Marketing is the one where everyone wins.
8.What is your favourite marketing blog?
9.What trends should we look out for when it comes to digital and social within India?
As far as Digital is concerned, I see a lot of convergence amongst different channels. Persistent Content streams (SEO, Blogs, Static Content) and Real Time Content streams (Social Media, updates, Listening tools, Ads, Customer Care) will not be spread across multiple agencies or teams. There is so much “juice” and knowledge which is being shared between different streams that it does not make sense for them to work in silos. The Brands or Agencies that create frameworks to quickly exchange knowledge and execute rapidly will be the winners.
Unfortunately, we are reaching the end of Social Media. Unlike 2011-13, when we could build apps or experiences that integrated social connections, interesting content and exponential benefit for users and brands, today the Social Media platforms have evolved to become publishing platforms. I just see more usage of different content formats (videos, gifs, cinemagraphs) delivered in new ways i.e. Stories, Facebook Live etc.
- What’s the best professional advice you have been given?
Win the case, not the argument.
To know more on how companies can leverage Influencer Networks and work with Influencers.Register for our free online webinar with Rohit Awasthi.