Hooking 'em for life

8 min read
05 Jan 2018
8 min read
2104 words
Branding campaigns are not merely about selling products to customers, but about building a loyal customer base

In both Nepal and India, one of the first names that comes to the mind when consumers think of adhesives is Fevicol. A binding agent manufactured by Pidilite Industries Limited, Fevicol is a product that has stood the test of time--58 years to be exact--and remains, to this day, a leader in the adhesives market. It has managed to retain this position over the years through a very effective branding campaign. Their humorous campaign was designed in such a way that it immediately appealed to the masses, and not just their target customers (carpenters and woodworkers). The campaign has been hailed by numerous experts in the advertising sector here as a prime example of branding done right.

In Nepal too, many companies have made attempts to create branding campaigns that leave similar lasting impacts on the Nepali consumers. And today, more and more Nepali companies are deviating from the traditional ways of campaigning (i.e, focusing solely on their products/ services) to more unconventional ways of campaigning (i.e, using aspirational and thematic campaigns that highlight the virtue of the company or the products or services.) These newer forms of campaigns also utilise various media platforms, from traditional mass media (TV, radio and print) to social media platforms. Regardless of which approach a company may choose, the end goal has been the same: building a loyal customer base.

What is a brand?

There has been a long-standing misconception among customers that a brand comprises only the logo that a company uses to identify itself and its products. For most, these symbols are all that companies bank on to effectively establish their brand. However, a 'brand' means so much more; a brand encompasses more than just products and logos of said products. "Your brand is the differentiating value that helps your product stand out from other similar products in the market. It is what people know and recognise you by," explains Arvind Ranjit, CEO of Business Advantage. "Symbols and products are produced in factories, but the brand is produced in the minds of the people." Indeed, a brand is the abstract value that consumers associate with a company and its offerings--and it's this perception of the brand that influences their purchasing decisions.

Many people also erroneously think that branding and marketing are the same. They are not. And one of the key differences between the two has to do with lifespan. A marketing campaign has a relatively short lifespan and normally revolves around a series of short-lived schemes and promotions. Such campaigns are normally undertaken by companies to achieve a short-term sales boost. Branding, on the other hand, is a more long-term approach, and the goal of branding is to create a certain perception about the companies in the minds of the people. A branding campaign seeks to build loyalty among customers--and this cannot be achieved instantaneously.

Arvind Ranjit

These two aspects often clash with each other when a company decides to take a major decision about its products. Coca Cola's disastrous 'new Coke' campaign is one such example. The beverage company took a major--in hindsight, unneeded--risk when they reformulated their old offering as the 'new Coke', the unofficial name of the drink, in April 1985. Their marketing approach involved promoting the new drink as the improved version of their famous beverage. What the company hadn't anticipated were the protests that ensued across the US after the change was implemented. People had already formed an emotional bond with the brand, and they didn't want any changes made to it. 'New Coke' was rejected outright, and Coca Cola announced its return to the old Coke, in August 1985.

Brand campaigns

To establish a brand's presence in a market like Nepal, it is important for a company to communicate the tangible and intangible values that it offers its customers, values that no other company offers. A brand campaign is a series of brand promotions that utilises different media platforms to communicate those values to the masses. The point of such a campaign is to neither provide a short-term scheme to its customers, nor to replicate the successful campaigns of other similar companies. In fact, the goal is to embed the brand in people's minds so that when they wish to make a purchase, the brand comes to their mind, almost unconsciously. In simple terms, these campaigns serve as a medium for companies to help them gain a secure foothold for their brand.

Satish Singh

Challenges while creating a campaign

Despite campaigns being of utmost importance for companies looking to build their brands, embarking on such an expedition is not without its difficulties. One of the challenges to do with executing brand campaigns is that they entail long and slow processes that do not yield immediate measurable results. They neither create a sudden awareness among consumers nor do they provide an immediate sales boost. Therefore, companies often hesitate to invest in brand campaigns.  

A challenge that persists in brand campaigns, especially in Nepal, is the lack of creativity. Even though a number of companies are adopting unconventional branding methods in their campaigns, many still continue to adopt the traditional approach. 'The companies prefer to use the same repetitive formula that they always have, rather than take creative risks,' explains Anil Banskota, Client Service Director at Thompsons Nepal. In addition, the agencies who create such campaigns for companies are also faced with a shortage of a capable workforce. 'Nobody goes to college with plans to work in the advertising sector. Very few people are aware that one can actually make a career in advertising,' says Banskota. 'The sector faces a severe crunch of qualified, skilled personnel who are willing to push the creative envelope.'

Anil Banskota

Nabil's Together Ahead

Nabil Bank recently launched its 'Together Ahead' campaign (in September this year). The campaign was created by Business Advantage Pvt Ltd, an advertising firm with which the bank has been associated for the past two years. The seeds for the campaign were sown when client and agency came to a mutual agreement that the bank's message to its customers did not quite align with the value of service the bank provided.

The first step that Business Advantage took was to refine the brand guidelines that the bank previously had used--in order to bring consistency in their branding. It was after refining the guidelines that the previous slogan used by the bank--"Your bank at your service"--was jettisoned, since it was perceived that a lengthy slogan did not capture the bank's intended promise of providing value to its customers through its service. "The old slogan wasn't clear in conveying what the bank wanted to. So we came up with a new slogan: 'Together Ahead'," explains Ranjit of Business Advantage. This change marked the campaign's beginning, and it was aggressively pushed through different mass-media platforms.

Apparently, the core idea behind Nabil Bank's Together Ahead campaign revolved around the mutual relationship that the bank shares with its customers; the vision also alludes to a future together, involving both bank and customer. This new branding theme diverged from the usual practice in the banking sector, wherein the banks were portrayed to have a one-sided relationship with their customers. Normally, the banks are typically presented as parental figures of their customers, assisting them in any way necessary to achieve their goals. In contrast, through its various advertisements and promotional materials, Nabil Bank and its campaign attempted to showcase that both the bank and its customers depend on one another to grow and achieve their respective short-term and long-term goals. One of the TVCs produced for the campaign features a husband-wife duo going about their daily lives. The husband surprises his wife by gifting her a scooter so that she can commute to work without hassle, and the wife surprises him by gifting him a smartphone--they are trying to make each other's lives more convenient. And that sums up the point that the campaign is trying to make; the bank's relationship with its customers is not just a business one: the relationship shared by all stakeholders is almost a familial one.

Pepsi's Drink N Drive

PepsiCo's 'Drink N Drive' campaign (launched in 2013) set an example for how branding campaigns can repurpose popular slogans (here, the well-known 'Don't drink and drive' warning) to suit the message the campaign wants to convey. It was also a timely campaign because it was rolled out when 'Ma Pa Sey', the police's zero-tolerance programme was starting to be implemented. The campaign was overseen by Thompson Nepal, a subsidiary of J Walter Thompson Worldwide, an international advertising agency. 'It was an interesting idea that really impressed PepsiCo. It was vastly different from all other campaigns,' says Thompson Nepal's Banskota.

For most people, a beverage company using the phrase "drink and drive" as its brand campaign is bound to raise eyebrows: it's an instant attention-grabber. The campaign hit home with customers who were impressed by the play of words on the usual precautionary "do not drink and drive". This was an exceptional example of how companies can build on their brand identity by embarking on a witty campaign that's executed at just the right time.
PepsiCo pushed the campaign aggressively and also launched several attendant schemes through which people could win numerous prizes and roadshows that took place in various cities across the country. 

Let's Get Loud

In September 2013, Tuborg organised the "Tuborg Stage - Let's Get Loud" event in Pokhara that attracted enthusiasts from all over the city. The event was part of a series of music concerts that was a part of the 'Tuborg Let's Get Loud' campaign. The event featured several big names of the Nepali music scene, such as 1974 AD, Mukti & the Revival, Sabin Rai and Nima Rumba performing in major cities all across the country (in Nepalgunj, Butwal, Narayanghat, Dharan, Pokhara and Kathmandu over the course of two months). 'We came up with the campaign because Tuborg's appeal among the younger generation had waned and was increasingly being perceived as a beverage preferred only by the older generation,' says Satish Singh, Creative Director at Max L'agence, the advertising firm behind all of Tuborg's branding and promotion packages.

These concerts were attempts made by the company to reposition its identity: to have Tuborg signify youth. The concerts were undoubtedly a success, seeing an average of 20,000 young music enthusiasts in attendance. It was only after this campaign that the company's famous slogan "The fun starts here" began to resonate with the consumers, since they'd proved that fun was the element that the brand was offering to people.