Emerging Talent – The Need of the HourEmerging Talent –

In the process of “Nepalisation” which has now become the agenda for most global brands, we need talents who understand Nepali consumers at its core

Ujaya Shakya

Two decades ago, when I started my career in advertising, the creative and media requirements were simple for most global brands operating in Nepal. In the case of creative requirements, it was largely adapted for Nepali audiences with language dubbing. And for media, these brands always enjoyed 50 percent spillover mileage from foreign channels. Of course, there were a few tactical and below-the-line (BTL) campaigns, specific to the Nepali market, that were largely sales driven so a strategic viewpoint wasn’t a prerequisite.

With the introduction of the Clean Feed Policy, global brands cannot take leverage of both dubbed advertisement and spillover mileage from foreign channels. They now need to produce ad campaigns specific for Nepali audiences and have to plan their media activities without taking advantage of spillover mileages. While all these looks nice and appealing, giving benefit to the local creative and media industry, we also need to understand that these requirements need specialized talents to be able to take leverage of these new requirements.

The HR requirements in the past were largely around creative execution, media operation and relationship management. But with these new changes, we now have elaborated requirements of skills in terms of consumer insights, strategic inputs, media planning, behavior science, storytelling, multi-media content development, public relations, media relations, MIS, data-driven knowledge, analytics, deployment tracking system and many more. This means new doors of opportunity have opened for talents to be part of the marketing ecosystem.

Besides the policy, there are already radical changes in terms of consumer mindsets and media touchpoints which require new-age marketers to possess a wider range of skills to ensure they bring more marketing efficacy to the business. Two years of pandemic also helped to make the consumer more comfortable with the digital ecosystem by changing their behaviors in terms of how they entertain, engage and interact.

In the process of “Nepalisation” which has now become the agenda for most global brands, we need talents who understand Nepali consumers at its core – not just as a target audience with basic demographic understanding but their culture, society and aspiration as being Nepali in different settings – Urban vs Rural, Mountain vs Hill vs Terai. And the binding factor as a true Nepali despite all these differences. The strategic planner works as an extended partner with the client brand team in crafting a creative brief, so the mandate is clearly defined with a sharp objective for each campaign from the consumer perspective. With the help of the right creative team who have storytelling skills in the Nepali context, we can bring true meaning to a Nepali consumer.

Since we now need to generate media efficacy with media activities in Nepali media alone for these global brands, we need talents who understand Nepali media at its core – not just in terms of their mass popularity but detail analysis in terms of their genre, content, audience profile, measurement and engagement at demographic, geographic and socio-economic classification. The media planner is able to work with the client media manager to devise the most effective media plans which help meet business KPIs (key performance indicators) with minimum media wastage. Also, introduce media innovations to create more impact for the campaigns. Additionally, the team structure makes sure the media deployments are properly executed as per the approved media plans.

Digital becoming key consumer touchpoints, we not only need content creators who understand the digital ecosystem but also digital media planners who can bring more efficacy by introducing industry best practices in terms of analytics and measurement. Not just digital experts who understand the mainstream social media ecosystem but also experts who are able to aggregate the right audiences for brands from many other digital platforms that are gaining popularity in the coming days including gaming, OTTs (over-the-top) and different other mobile apps that are becoming part of our daily life.

With public relations becoming more prominent, we need PR talents who can independently work on public relations activities along with the client team in terms of campaign development, strategic messaging, crisis communication, media relationship, and stakeholder relationship. These are specialized talents that need a proper PR agency structure. In most markets including India, there are specialized PR agencies who work with the client team to provide these services so there is a whole new opportunity towards introducing such services with the right talents in Nepal.

Today we are generating consumer data through many marketing activities including e-commerce, digital marketing, off-line BTL activities, loyalty programs and many more which need to be simplified to bring more marketing efficacy in our planning. So proper MIS system to keep track of not just our own data but also competitor activities to cross-check trends by months and years will help to understand the pattern. This again calls for specialized talents who understand data-driven marketing approaches.

With a progressive marketing ecosystem, there are many new talents and experts who are required to be a part of the team to bring more efficacy to the process. As consumer aspiration are increasing with their wider exposure and the brand ambition to be an integral part of their life, the talent requirements for the marketing industry is also evolving faster to take care of these new requirements. We as an industry need to be more open-minded to welcome and introduce such new talents to our team.

Shakya is the founder and Managing Director of Outreach Nepal and the author of Brandsutra. 

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