Roshan Abbas | Speechless

”Both Rachit’s work ethic and his work are things I value. He has helped us at Kommune India and me personally on Speechless: The Book and Workshop tremendously.”

ROSHAN ABBAS MD, VMLY&R Commerce Encompass & Founder, Kommune

About the client

For many of us in India, Roshan Abbas needs no introduction. He’s been a popular media personality – a beloved radio and television host through the 90s and 2000s. One of India’s finest orators and storytellers, Roshan Abbas is an actor; TV & radio host; producer; creative director; film & theatre director; author; and public speaking coach.

Since the early 2000s, however, Roshan has become a leading entrepreneur and angel investor in the creative landscape. Roshan founded and led Encompass (now VMLY&R Commerce Encompass) as Managing Director into becoming India’s largest, most awarded experiential marketing agency. He was also an initial investor in and continues to be a mentor-partner at The Glitch. Both ventures have been acquired by WPP.

First contact

After working with the Kommune team and selling out tickets for their event ‘Mehfil’, Kommune’s co-founder Roshan Abbas approached us with two objectives.

  • 1. Make his book Speechless – a 2018 Bloomsbury title that he co-wrote with Siddharth Bannerjee, Former Director at Facebook India – an Amazon bestseller.A result of the five decades of collective experience of its authors, the book is a compilation of their learnings, tips and tricks for anyone who wants to become a master of effective communication.
  • 2. To generate leads for high-ticket corporate workshops on brand storytelling that Roshan conducts with some of India’s biggest companies


Since it had already been a year since the book’s release, we would have to become creative in the way we marketed the book. We wanted to establish Roshan’s identity as a speaker, champion of performance arts and an entrepreneur among audiences that were unfamiliar with his endeavours of the last two decades, beyond his radio & TV hosting days.

Our goal was to achieve the Bestseller spot on Amazon in as many categories as possible. We also wanted to create leads for Roshan’s corporate workshops.

  • The first step was to create a personal branding website for Roshan Abbas, as a necessary personal branding exercise for him to be able to position himself in his current avatar. It would also allow us a platform to showcase his workshops on communication.
  • Since we would not have access to the Amazon page (the listing was handled by the publishing house), we also decided to create a website for the book for us to be able to track the performance of our social media ads.
  • We also planned to analyse the Amazon listing and create a checklist of recommendations for the Bloomsbury team handling the page to carry out on the page.
  • Finally, we planned a two-phase social media ad campaign. Phase 1 would help us identify the best platforms for conversion, as well as earmark certain pieces of content as the top-performing ads. In Phase 2 we would put our resources into pushing the content that performed the best in Phase 1 to get the most bang for buck.


Through our marketing efforts we were able to rank the book as a BestSeller on a number of categories on Amazon, including a #1 rank in the Business Communication category.

Roshan’s website

We wanted to establish Roshan as a performer and master communicator, right at the outset. Having a montage video of him at events communicated this simply and effectively without us having to resort to too many words.
As a public personality there are many sources online that have created their impression of him, but here via a video we shot and edited, and a detailed write-up we have tried to give Roshan a platform to tell his own story.
Both the book and his two workshops on Storytelling and Effective Communication, respectively are profiled on the website.

As per due process, we created two design options for the client to choose from and went into development once he was happy with the designs and all the features we had planned for the WordPress website.

Speechless website

This website was a necessary step for us to be able to gauge our ad performance. As mentioned, we did not have access to the Amazon page which meant that we had no way to track user journey beyond ad click-throughs. However, having this page allowed us to track user journey a little longer and gave us a platform to collect data value for retargeting ads.

Our focus was to create a simple website that gave anyone interested in the book a glimpse of what it was about as well as more information about its two co-authors.

Amazon listing

Despite the fact that we did not have backend access to the Amazon listing, we did a thorough hygiene check and created a list of recommendations for the publishing team. We felt this was necessary to help the book gain a higher ranking.

  • One of the key recommendations we had was to target the relevant categories, but also those that were not too crowded.
  • Some of these included looking outside of Amazon’s auto-selected categories, which could often turn out to be too competitive, or irrelevant to how the author wanted their book marketed.
  • We culled out an exhaustive list of categories that were relevant to the title and would give it a better chance at making the bestseller lists.
  • We also created a list of keywords for the publishing house managing the listing to update on the backend.


Organic marketing

To make the most out of Siddharth and Roshan’s social and professional networks, we planned an organic launch calendar for the websites.

Performance marketing ads

Creating Marketable Content

  • We picked fun tidbits from the book for Roshan and Siddharth to use as fodder for videos. We edited these into 15-second snippets. These were used as Instagram Story Ads as well and Instream Skippable Ads on Facebook.
  • We also created 1 20-second video (‘a showreel’ of sorts) for Roshan Abbas. It was a montage of clips from Ted Talks, interviews, speeches etc. that we used to target cold audiences and inform them about Roshan as an authority on public speaking.
  • We also used quotes from the book to create static ads. These gave audiences a glimpse into the content of the book itself.
  • We also created testimonial based ads that worked great as retargeting tools.



Marketing & Advertising

  • We segmented our target audiences and created dedicated Facebook & Instagram ad funnels for them. Some of the retargeting strategies included redirecting the user to other content available online of Roshan that would create an interest in them.
  • We created a database of potential audiences from our first phase of ads. This included those that had visited the landing page, signed up on a form, attended Roshan’s workshops, and more.



  • These were accompanied by interest-based ads for relevant audiences in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.
  • In our second phase we capitalized on our learnings from phase 1 and promoted the top performing videos to newer audiences. We also used the top-performing content on LinkedIn and YouTube.


We reached out to Rachit and the TSBP team in September 2020, and started working with them from October. They took on a very vague brief from us and under promised, but delivered more than we expected. The TSBP team has been integral to our goals of increasing brand awareness and sales leads through performance marketing. One of the easiest and most comfortable agency partners we've ever worked with, they've worked with us like an extended team and we'd highly recommend their services to any business (Small/Medium/Large) looking to add some extra pedal to the metal.

Renju Kurien - Brand Manager, Moonshine

Getting started

A year down the line, at the peak of the pandemic, the brand got in touch with us with a goal to increase sales and awareness via online platforms. We were, of course, delighted to associate with Moonshine – a brand we had long admired – and excited by the challenge of figuring out workarounds for India’s strict laws against advertising alcoholic beverages.

What we did

To help meet the brand’s goals, we ran targeted ads to increase brand awareness, which resulted in significant online as well as offline sales in both established and new locations.
In the very first month of our association, we managed to double Moonshine’s online sales with 10x ROAS. We matched and exceeded the brand’s previous month’s results within the first 10 days at half the ad spend. We also reduced CPAs by 40% to achieve an ROAS of 7 for online deliveries.

Challenges and opportunities

It was an interesting time to be marketing an alcohol brand, given that state governments across the country had, till recently, forced liquor shops to shut, and restricted operation of bars and restaurants. Several states had just made it legal to deliver alcohol to consumers’ homes, and that's the opportunity Moonshine was hoping to make the most of.
We’ve continued to enjoy a rewarding association with Moonshine over the past couple of pandemic years against a landscape of an evolving alcobev industry, shifting consumer habits, and intermittent government prohibitions on bars and restaurants and the sale of alcohol.

Spoken Fest

In 2019 and 2020, The Small Business Project promoted three editions of Kommune’s Spoken Fest – Asia's Largest Spoken Word Festival – achieving an attendance of more than 10,000 at each event.


The Small Business Project was associated with Kommune – an organisation that showcases the best of performing arts through poets, storytellers, and musicians – long before we actually worked on its flagship event Spoken Fest – Asia's Largest Spoken Word Festival.


Setting the stage

Our first association with Kommune was through Beatmap, promoting their curated house party experiences across Indian cities – starting in December 2017. Because of our success with Beatmap, the Kommune team entrusted us with online marketing for Mehfil, a three-hour long event in celebration of Hindustani and Urdu poetry, music, and storytelling in April 2018. 

Following the success of Mehfil, Kommune founder Roshan Abbas tasked us with achieving Amazon bestseller status for his book Speechless, which we went on to bag across several relevant Amazon book categories. We continued to associate with Kommune in various capacities, including marketing several of their smaller events and workshops. 


A successful debut

It was later in 2018 that Amishi Patel, who was festival coordinator for Spoken Fest at that time, got in touch with us for the promotion of Spoken 2019, to be held in January 2020 in Mumbai. Amishi felt that we’d be a good fit for the job given our familiarity and experience with Kommune’s audience and past event data. 

We worked closely with the Kommune team, running paid campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google. This included managing some 50 paid ad collaborations with various artists across platforms. Together we achieved a footfall of 10,000 at the event. 

It had been an exciting journey, and we were delighted to be asked to work on online promotions for the next two editions of Spoken Fest, to be held in Delhi and Mumbai. 



First up was the Delhi edition in December 2019. Phase one of our ad strategy involved introducing the festival to different audiences, while also testing different creatives and messaging routes. Phase two was conversion-focused, with an artist-first approach. Spoken Delhi also featured multiple workshops, such as Ankur Tewari’s songwriting. We marketed and targeted for each workshop individually to gain traction. The event was a roaring success, seeing attendance of some 15,000 people.

The Mumbai 2020 edition was scheduled for January 2020, about a month later. December can be a challenging month for digital campaigns, with increased digital costs and changing user behavior. However, with our diligent ad monitoring, we were able to optimise the budget for maximum impact. We made the most of our experience with existing audiences, sentiment analysis, and creative messaging to maximise our outreach and conversion for the Mumbai edition. Our hard work paid off when over 15,000 people attended Spoken Fest 2020 in Mumbai. 

Vir Das

''I have been raving about you and Harshith to Rosh(an) and Rohit. Would rehire in a heartbeat, and will definitely be recommending you to others. You guys have been absolute professionals. You should be really proud of the heart you bring and what you’ve built.''

RAKSHITACOO, Weirdass Comedy Requirements

About the client

Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Vir Das doesn’t need a long introduction, so we will keep it short! As an actor he’s known for movies like Delhi Belly (2011), Go Goa Gone (2013), and set to star in a Judd Apatow film next. As a comedian, he’s performed at over 100 stand-up comedy shows, eight TV shows and six comedy specials (One of which we were involved with in a not-insignificant way!). He’s supported by his team at Weirdass Comedy, who we collaborated with closely on our project.

First contact

In July 2020, his team at Weirdass Comedy reached out for help with marketing his comedy special ‘Inside Out’. A novelty concept borne out of the lockdown, it consisted of close to 30 paid online shows wherein he would interact directly with the audience. All proceeds from the series of shows were to be donated towards Covid-relief work.

At the time we were approached, the show was only going to be live for 10 days. And the Netflix special it is now known as was not in the offing.

Target for the campaign 

15,000 purchases at ₹30 each within a ₹3 Lakh budget



Pre-Launch: 15 days 

Post-Launch (during which the campaign was live): 10 days

Extended Campaign: 6 days



Total number of ticket sales: 11,281

Total amount raised: INR 35 Lakhs of which 60% was through our paid marketing campaigns

The success of the campaign and the show itself helped it get picked up by Netflix and released as a Netflix film Vir Das: Outside In the same year in December.


We worked closely with the team at Weirdass Company, consulting them on the infrastructure that they were going to build. 

  • Originally, they planned to tie up with a ticketing partner but we advised against it as relying on our own infrastructure would grant us more flexibility with targeting and data analytics, and hence, bring us far better results. 
  • We helped the team construct a landing page to direct traffic from the ads we would be running. 
  • We planned to run ads on these platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google and Reddit. 
  • We guided the Weirdass team on the various ad messaging routes based on the types of audiences that we planned to target. As part of the campaign, we created an Instagram filter that had Vir asking people what they were looking forward to doing after the lockdown.  
  • Over the course of the campaign, we constantly monitored the ads with lots of audience listening to tweak and optimise them for maximum results. 
  • Our target age group in terms of users and sales were between 18 and 34. This age group comprised over 70% of website visitors and led to around 80% of the total sales.
  • Around 21% of the total visitors returned to the website to make the final purchase, which accounted for around 78% of the total sales.


Increased Flipkart Sales for Colorbar

Through intensive keyword research and competitor analysis, we boosted Colorbar’s Flipkart sales by 161% with a 5x increase in ROI 5x and an ROAS of 6.2.

Executive director at Modi Enterprises Samir Modi first got in touch with our co-founder Rachit Hegde in June 2021. He was looking for a performance marketing team to help increase Flipkart sales for his company Colorbar, India’s third largest beauty brand with presence in 100+ exclusive stores and 1200+ multi brand outlets.The brief was to redirect sales on the platform from resellers to the company itself.


Intensive research and change of strategy

At the time, Colorbar had been running Product Listing Ads (PLA), which primarily help a brand list their product higher when a user searches within the category. The Small Business Project (TSBP) team started working on the brand’s Flipkart sales in October 2021. We conducted intensive keyword research and competitor analysis to create Product Contextual Ads (PCA) for each category, with a special focus on Colorbar’s bestseller categories. These ads allowed us to showcase the brand’s vast product range to customers who had a high intention to purchase, using strategic competitor, brand, and product-based keywords.


The outcome

During the first month of TSBP’s association with Colorbar, ROAS stood at 1.5. Over time, our team was able to raise ROAS to 6.2 and arrive at 5X improvement in ROI. In all, there was a 161% increase in units sold from October 2021 till March 2022.

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