Ujaya Shakya
Jun 13, 2014

Dispatch from Nepal: Grow young in order to last forever

Marketing to young people is evben more critical ion Nepal, where 70 per cent of the population is below 35 years of age.

Ujaya Shakya
Ujaya Shakya

As per the government census of 2011, Nepal is predominantly a youthful country with almost 55 per cent of the population below 25 years and 70 per cent below 35 years. Unlike many developed economies, isn’t it a youthful market? In this context, most marketers who want to dominate their category in this country should always first look to capture these younger audiences and create a brand image that will appeal and stay relevant to them.

Youth, for that matter, is also the most sought-after demographic grouping across the globe, and the only way brands can connect with this segment is if they come across themselves as bring young and vibrant. Moreover, older generations also want to feel youthful. So in many cases by appealing to youth, there is also a high probability that the “young at heart” will also connect with your brand and its messages.

Taking consideration of the above facts and figures and other psychographic analyses of the audiences, it is always less risky for brands to create campaigns for Nepal with the umbrella idea of “grow young”. The main reason is an opportunity to connect with larger audiences when your brand is appealing to youth stories.

There are many such successful brands in the Nepalese market, which have created larger appeal when they have a youthful positioning strategy. One good example is Ncell, which came much later than the earlier market leader Nepal Telecom. Ncell initiated full-fledged marketing efforts in appealing to the youth demographic and managed to outdo the leading telecom brand in no time. Nepal Telecom, by comparison, is confused and lacks a clear positioning strategy despite its larger infrastructure and national appeal.

Another big success story is multinational FMCG brand Close-up, which has always positioned itself across the globe for the youth market—even though such household products are usually purchased by women. Close-up is synonymous with ‘Freshness’ and obtaining a confident smile to get close to someone you love. This youthful positioning has worked well for them in Nepal, making  as well making the Unilever brand the category leader in the country, unlike the subcontinent, which is still dominated by Colgate brands.

We have advised brands in Nepal to always try their best to remain youthful and contemporary at all times, and in most cases it has helped them a lot.

But there is always a danger of getting trapped in a time warp and becoming irrelevant to your audiences if you cannot reinvent yourself to appeal to these audiences at the right time. Once a vibrant brand grows old, it cannot easily update to the new mindset of its audience, which is always looking out for innovative and new approaches.

Look around and you will always find many such brands that got trapped in a time warp. Brighter toothpaste, Hati Chhap chappal (footwear), Gogo detergent and Dolma watches used to be the most popular brands in their category. Similarly there are many such brands in the sub-continent and across the globe that started to become irrelevant for their audiences because they could not innovate themselves. “Grow young” in the timely manner is the mantra for every marketer to tread into. So it has become a big challenge for brand custodians to always look for opportunities which will help to make the brands look, feel and sense young all the time and regenerate the product lifecycle with the changing demographic status of the country. 

The importance and challenge to stay young and fresh is further compounded by the fact that marketers from fields as diverse as automobiles to apparel to mobile phones have young audiences at the heart of their campaigns. The reason being the fact that younger people are always open to new ideas, have relatively high disposable income in the present economy, and in most cases they are also the key influencers in many areas, even if they aren’t the ultimate buyers, or users of that product.

The best thing is that the young audiences have the willingness to experiment and ultimately, they are the trendsetters for many new categories. Therefore, we advocate every brand that gets associated with this market to constantly 'grow young' in order to last forever. 

Ujaya Shakya is managing director of Outreach Nepal

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