Overwhelming response to Brandfest ’17 on Day 1


The fourth edition of the biggest brand summit in Nepal, The Himalayan Times Brandfest 2017, began on August 11 at Soaltee Crowne Plaza as brand enthusiasts and custodians gathered under one roof to enjoy a fest that celebrates branding and discovers ways to raise the benchmark every year. The first day of the two-day event started with a welcome speech by Ravin Lama, Managing Director of The Himalayan Times. The speakers, who had sessions on the day, were introduced by Lama, as they lit the panas (traditional lamp). After the opening ceremony, Lama also introduced the Master of Ceremony, Cyrus Broacha, who made the audience roll with laughter the moment he walked up the stage.

The seating arrangements were interesting in that the cluster of tables for participants were denoted by the names of different birds like swallow, pigeon, spoonbill, parakeet, et cetera. The turnout, like in previous editions, was notable as there was an overwhelming response to the mega event. The participants were actively engaging in every session, which made it very clear that they were serious, passionate and wanted to contribute to a ‘brand revolution’ in the country.

“The audience were really interactive and upbeat. I even saw a few familiar faces,” says Broacha. “Nepal is one of my favourite countries to visit and I like how warm and friendly Nepalis are. I saw this warmth in them today too,” he adds.

The first session was conducted by Colvyn Harris wherein he interestingly spoke about staying relevant in our day-to-day life. After Harris, Michele Anne Venter-Davies and Anthony Lopez took over the dais to share their vast knowledge and experiences in the world of branding worldwide. The participants were all ears as the three speakers put forward their lively presentations along with engaging videos, case studies and innovative ideas. Every speaker tackled different issues and presented personal anecdotes and experiences to elaborate on the sophisticated ideas put across in a simple conceivable manner. Branding has created a buzz all over the world over the years and has created a substantial space for ideas to become ‘brands’.

The speakers, who have acquired diverse knowledge of branding in the global context, helped the participants decipher technical, economic and social building blocks required for engineering successful brands. The participants comprehended the expansion of branding and how it is transforming the regular course of human life at lightning speed.

The sessions were followed by a panel discussion which focussed on the value system in branding, the relevance of consumer insight and need for authenticity. Most of the participants inquired about the elements needed to build a competent brand and how social media and digital media can be employed to revamp the branding strategy by integrating present business module.

Addressing the queries put forth by the participants, Lopez shared that the complexities of present time requires brands to remain authentic and stay ahead of the game if they really want to sell their local ideas on the global platform.

Venter-Davies contributed to the discussion by stating that to add value to a brand, businesses need to think beyond the demanded obligation, utilise online platform, invest in researches and build a ‘wow’ factor for the customers. She also expressed that brand-aligned campaigns and causes are more sustainable and uplifts a brand’s image in the long run.

Meanwhile, Harris shared that brands need to operate beyond the barriers of geographical boundaries and distinguish between functional benefits and emotional bond. In his opinion, the digital revolution has changed the way information is delivered and brands need to keep a pulse on their customers.

After the panel session, one of last year’s speakers Bharat Avalani shared his stories and insights on the relevance of forming narratives in branding. He put forward a few convincing examples to support his ideas. He stated that in the past marketing was all about creating a myth, but it now centres upon stories that touch the

consumers. “Storytelling is a science and any brand can construct stories along with the products to have a long-lasting emotional impact upon the ones who follow your brand.”

“The event was excellent. I think all participants had a great time here. All the speakers were spectacular and I personally learned a lot about branding strategies and how it can be translated to the market here,” opined Budhaditya Mukherjee, Country Director and General Manager, Asian Paints.

Asian Paints is the title sponsor of The Himalayan Times Brandfest 2017, which is powered by Real active, with Qatar Airways as the airline partner, Outreach Nepal as the Creative Partner, Ginger as the Insurance Partner, and Kathmandu Beer as Co-sponsor.