Ujaya Shakya
Feb 05, 2018

View from Nepal: Size does not matter

In a monthly column about advertising in Nepal, the author looks at advertising trends in the Himalayan nation

View from Nepal: Size does not matter
In the ever-changing media landscape, this might not come as a surprise. Especially, when every brand and every advertiser is hunting for a bigger chunk of the pie. Because at the end of the day, every brand wants to be on top of the recall and grab a lion’s share in the minds of its consumers. 
With the birth of start-ups, we have been witnessing new brands springing up every single day. Even for them, survival is the key. In fact, most of these start-ups and homegrown brands find it extremely difficult to break-even. No wonder, they’re facing the challenges of surviving in the highly competitive markets. And it’s imperative for them to do disruptive works to survive through this tough phase. 
But how does one survive in this merciless competition? By being a me-too? By walking on the done path? DEFINITELY NO. It calls for something more radical. It needs someone to stir the pot. 
Innovation and “being brave” is the key. In this already cluttered market, disruption and ‘doing it differently’ is the need of the hour. In Nepal, of late, we’ve been seeing this. Brands, which are still evolving on the brand evolution scale, are doing things differently in the way they communicate. This has not just put them in the limelight, but also helped them connect with their audience in a refreshing manner. 
Talking of connecting, it’s important that brands keep innovating, and find newer ways of connecting with their audience. Try and involve the audience, through innovative communication. One case in point is a travel agency based in Kathmandu – www.planmytrip.com.np  
This travel agency has come up with some refreshing pieces of communication that have not only broken the clutter but have also engaged the audience. It has gone beyond just promoting holiday packages and destinations. The brand has taken initiatives in the ‘green’ zone, by doing communication that promotes eco-friendliness. 
Kathmandu is a city that plays hosts to many tourists from the world over. In recent times, we’ve seen the importance of nature friendly goods and messaging on the rise. And this connects well with the tourists, especially from the west. Plan My Trip has taken this in cognizance, and strategically come up with innovative communication that has appealed to their audience. 
For example, it created the ‘Recycle Poster’.  A unique poster that was put across cafes in Kathmandu, which was made from old newspapers. The text was printed on these old newspapers and was put up as posters. Thus, making a strong point that the brand not only supports nature but also believes in disruptive communication. These posters were well received by the audience. 
Also to make their website famous, the Plan My Trip devised unique ‘Posterlogues’, a combination of a poster and a catalogue. Usually, a catalogue takes up many pages to print. This poster was turned into a catalogue by simply putting up an asterisk in the headline and then sharing the URL of the brand below. An innovative way to not just save paper but also drive traffic to their website. 
They also did a print campaign that brought to light the very core insight of travelling. Travel changes the way we think. It opens our mind and is a life altering experience. The campaign showcases three iconic people whose lives have changed after they travelled. The ads titled Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Che Guevara have encapsulated this idea beautifully though this print campaign. It shows how Mohandas Gandhi was inspired after he travelled to South Africa and this changed the way he looked at things and life. And thus, became Mahatma. Similarly, it was with Mother Teresa and Che Guevara. Their travels opened their minds and changed their vision. 
Similarly with Internet uses booming in the country, other homegrown brands such as Worldlink and Classic Tech, who are reputed ISP based in Nepal, have also been doing some clutter-breaking works that has been grabbing eyeballs. They have been refreshing in their approach through their recent works. The proposition of Worldlink has been to deliver faster Internet speed. This has been captured in their ad that shows a truly hair-raising experience of the youngsters.
Similarly, Classic Tech has shown its proposition through a funny ad, using a celebrity comedian. These ads have broken the clutter in an otherwise very informative drab ad scenario in the category. These works have helped the brands to be in the top of the tree as far as recalls are concern. There are many examples of homegrown brands in Nepal today that are now creating ripples in the world of communication and marketing through their sheer belief in disruptive work. 
(Ujaya Shakya is the founder and managing director of Outreach Group based in Kathmandu and the author of ‘Brandsutra’.) 


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