Escalate

All about ideas

Apr 24, 2017-

Ujaya Shakya chanced upon the advertising industry 16 years ago when he started out as a trainee for the account manager at J Walter Thompson Nepal.

Shakya then began to further immerse himself in the sector by creating ad schemes for his family’s import/export business thereafter.

Now the vice-president of the Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN) and the head of his own ad agency, Outreach Nepal, Shakya is also the author of the book Brandsutra, a compilation of his published articles of advertising and brands.

In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Shakya talks about brand management and how the ad industry is evolving. Excerpts: 

In what ways is the advertising industry evolving?

The advertising industry is growing every year. Advertising is no longer merely limited to generating TVC’s and getting ads on print; that is now considered the traditional form of advertisement.

Over the years, advertising has gone beyond just traditional mediums and a lot of innovative ideas have been introduced.

There are many forms of advertisements today, whether it is through social media or hosting large activation campaigns.

When I was a fresher in the sector, there were quite a few industries that didn’t believe in advertising themselves, for instance, the banking and education sectors.

These sectors didn’t believe that advertisement was necessary at the time. If you look at it now, the banking and education sectors are some of the most aggressive advertisers today.

That gives you an idea of how much the industry has evolved of late. 

Despite the evolving mediums of advertising, having a celebrity or a household name vouch for products is still considered valuable. 

Celebrities have become an integral part of branding. Today, almost all brands aspire to get celebrities on board. Celebrities give consumers the first attention of the product.

If you are in an introductory phase, it makes a lot of sense to bring in a well-known household name because it does provide your product or service an upshot. 

If a celebrity comes on board to promote a product then the product will come to be associated with the celebrity, which can be a win-win for both the product and the celebrity.

If you can match your product with a celebrity that fits the image you are trying to get out there in the market, it is definitely a scheme worth pursuing.

That is why the method has been a mainstay of advertising for so long.

As a marketer, what kind of challenges do you face in terms of creativity and meeting a client’s expectations?

Clients come to us for marketing problems. Oftentimes, they discuss marketing objectives, building strategies, increasing awareness and the use of the brand. After that, we come up with ideas—we call it big ideas.

We study the category of the industry we are working on, which includes purchase patterns and the suitable target audience.

A lot of team work goes into helping a business grow. We try to produce the best results according to the consumers’ taste and desire. 

In today’s highly competitive market, how important is to maintain your own 

personal brand?

It is utterly important to maintain your personal brand in today’s day and age. For example, every boutique owner tries to maintain a brand image of their own as a designer.

A perfect example would be Prabal Gurung, who is a brand in himself—an international brand and an icon.

Like him, all celebrities, be it national or international, constantly try to maintain their brand.

But brand image is not just for celebrities, all working professionals have a brand, whether they are consciously projecting it or not.  

How challenging then is it to maintain a brand?

Maintaining a brand, whether it is of a product or an individual, is a tough job. Every decision should be taken carefully. You have to be persistent on delivering a certain kind of image.

For instance, if a celebrity gets it wrong in the public eye, they might have a difficult time recreating the same image again. You have to consistently deliver right things at the right time.

What are the key things a brand manager must keep in mind before promoting their brand?

Foremost, every brand manager needs to understand their target audience and who they want to reach out to.

If you are a new brand, your objectives can be vastly different in comparison to the established ones. As for existing products, they need to determinedly maintain their image in the market. 

What are the qualities a brand manager must acquire?

I barely care about education—education only gives a certain kind of platform; the rest you have to do it on your own.

A brand manager needs to be well updated and have the zeal to adapt according to changing times.

They need to work according to the changes in the consumers’ thoughts and patterns.

At the end of the day, in an industry like ours, a company is for the consumers and without them we might as well not try at all.

What are some of the dos and don’ts of advertising?

From my experience, I try to make sure that I understand the objective of the brand.  Understanding the objective of creating an ad and its target audience is absolutely crucial.

I also believe that the idea behind ads should be out of the box. If a company wishes to stand out, it has to be different. Your ad has to make business sense; otherwise, it’s just an art that is hung on a wall.

Lastly, you should not fall in love with your own idea. There are millions of ideas and your idea is not the only solution.

You have led many different teams in your career, how essential is teamwork?

The advertising industry is all about team work. Our industry is an amalgamation of creativity and business.

You cannot just leave it all to the creative people; that way, all will go haywire. To balance and understand the business objectives is what the advertising industry is all about.

We are like a football team, each of us have our own responsibilities and duties and contribution to the overall objective.

What are your management mantras?

In my kind of business, you need to work in a team. Overall, I have been in this industry for 16 years.

Our business works only because of ideas and they can be very subjective. Every idea that we come up with has to come with proper rationale and ultimately, we have to be really good at convincing people. 

 

What advice do you have for those who aspire to join the advertising industry?

Advertising is an idea driven business. We need people with new ideas. It is not mandatory that they have to come from arts or business backgrounds.

Advertising is an open field for people from any background. It is all about ideas and there are a lot of opportunities for all.

Published: 24-04-2017 09:04

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