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Word of mouth: The best marketing tool

  • strictly business

Jun 11, 2018-Beginning his career as a branch manager of an education consultancy firm, Suman Shrestha has been a part of various educational institutions for the past 15 years. Shrestha has been with The British College since its inception in 2012—initially as the Marketing and PR Manager tasked with building a brand image of the institution.

He currently serves as the Head of Marketing and Communications at the college. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Shrestha gives his top tips on branding and marketing. Excerpts:

When British College was launched, students were provided with iPads. How important a strategy was this from a marketing point of view?

In 2012, iPad had just arrived in the market and many students were still not familiar with gadgets as they are today. Now, everybody depends on gadgets, whether that is a laptop or a smartphone. For us, I think we tapped into the trend at the right time by starting the iPad campaign. The idea was interesting as an iPad is a student-friendly gadget: It has many in-built applications that help students further enhance their knowledge base. As we are affiliated to international universities, it was important that we offered our students the same kind of experiences that they would have received in the home institute and making them familiar with such academic gadgets helped students with accessing e-books, completing their assignments online and conducting research. Hence, it was a unanimous decision and we instantly started our marketing campaign. This campaign was a win-win situation for both the students and for the institution, as it really boosted the brand name of the college. It was a risky strategy but it to worked well in reaching out more the students. The iPad campaign is now a part of our success story.

The culture of internships and working while studying is still evolving in Nepal. How do you value these in the overall development of a student?

At British College, we offer students both academic and professional courses. As our students receive an international degree, the educators at British College ensure that everything is at par with international standards. To enter the corporate world, it is essential that students have some sort of working experience and internship is the stepping stone into that world. Apart from partnering with local organisations for internship programmes, our students are also given an option to do an internship abroad. As we want to offer the same level of exposure as our partner institutes, we do want our students to have a global reach which in turn enriches their educative experience. 

In the education sector where so many institutions are competing for the same pool of students, what does it take to stay visible in the market?

It goes without saying that in order to be visible in the market, it is important have your brand presence in as many places as possible. Brands are not created overnight, it takes years of hard work, consistency and perseverance. Also, advertisement is only one part of the branding process. One of the most undervalued strategy is word of mouth. If it wasn’t for students and teachers acting as perpetual brand ambassadors, no amount of advertisement would have made the difference. You always have to deliver what you promise. Initially, anybody will be sceptical about trusting a new business.  We at the College, for instance, have maintained our brand value with our superior and consistent quality of education.  This can be a takeaway for any other business model.

What are some of your top branding tips?

I believe that you need to look at your product from a third person’s point of view because when you are working on a product by yourself, you will naturally be biased towards what its value and appeal is. But by looking at it from a different perspective, you can change your mindset altogether. You need to be authentic, consistent, determined and focused. Lastly, you need to deliver what you promise. You need to build trust among people; that is the only foolproof formula for creating a strong brand value.

What advice do you have for graduates who want to go into the management sector?

Nepal has a lot of opportunities for those who aspire to begin something new and innovative. If you grab the opportunity, anything is possible. Confidence is the mark of a successful person.

Published: 11-06-2018 08:21

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