Brandfest in Nepal – A Recap On What Went Down in Kathmandu

Brandfest is a franchise that has become popular in the advertising and marketing industry in Nepal over the past five years. It is a perfect platform for international speakers to share their valuable knowledge and expertise with the key audiences in Nepal.

With country poised for international growth, an event like Brandfest plays the integral role of a catalyst.

Brandfest is pivotal from Nepal’s standpoint. Nepal played host to some of the most reputed and acclaimed international speakers for two days – 7th & 8th December this year.


This year, Brandfest’s theme was: “Brands in the Future”. It focused on how brands shape people and markets alike and how the best brands create a love affair with their most cherished consumers, making them special.

But staying in your comfort zone can easily fall flat tomorrow.

The gathering with others in the industry gave me an opportunity to delve in the minds of these knowledgeable speakers, know their thought processes and learn. This year as well, like previous years, we had a star-studded line-up of speakers who mesmerized the audiences with their professional prowess and talent sharing experiences.

The first speaker of the day one was Neil George, author of the unique book, made in comic book style, “Building the Perfect Beast”.


The gathering with others in the industry gave me an opportunity to delve in the minds of these knowledgeable speakers, know their thought processes and learn.

He spoke about how the world is converging into a single world, where despite the differences in culture and geography, people have come to share a mutual interest towards everything sharing his Time Square moments. Sharing his six main aspects in which customer tastes and preferences have started to converge; citing examples of teenager’s affinity towards tattoo, music and sports.

Ashraf Bin Taj, President of Marketing Society of Bangladesh, challenged the existing marketing theories, which no longer hold importance in this changing global marketing scenario. He showcased few beautiful heart-warming films from Bangladesh portraying the horrors of domestic violence through an ad. He highlighted the importance of human touch in branding and spoke about keeping our human values intact all the while embracing technology.

Ramesh Narayan, Vice President of IAA, gave an enthralling presentation on how certain advertising campaigns in India spoke to the common people highlighting social issues. Another speaker Steve Owens, founder of ‘I Am So Creative’, emphasized on the importance of maintaining authenticity and simplicity in an increasingly impatient world. He gave rebranding examples of big brands who are opting for cleaner and simpler logos.

Day two started with Marc Israel who has come all the way from Mauritius. He spoke about Artificial Intelligence and its influence on branding and advertising. He began with an interesting prospect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) possibly taking over the most revered of human skills and emotions like creativity and empathy.

Annicia Manyaapelo, Founder and Creative Director, Nich Luxury Africa, evoked quite engaging reactions where attendees discussed whether luxury branding was really just a European domain. She spoke about how most luxury brands are increasingly shifting focus to exotic cultures. And mentioned that luxury is not just how expensive something is; it is anything that gives a special value or experience to the consumer.

Kainaz Karmakar and Harshad Rajadhyaksha, the celebrated award-winning creative director duo from Ogilvy Mumbai showcased a unique case study of “Savlon Healthy Hand Chalk Sticks Campaign”. The duo emphasized on keeping thoughts creatively different and considering ideas, irrespective of how bizarre or insane it may sound. They also distributed their unique chalks to the participants. They said, “Children are the most difficult target for any brand and you cannot afford to be boring with them.”

And of course, building up more on a learning from the client and agency relationship and sharing few stories from his recently published book Sponge, Ambi Parameswaran, popularly known as Ambi and well-known brand strategist and founder of shared his experiences of learnings from his clients.

He said, “If we re-evaluate the client-agency relationship as that of mutual learning and growing, we may end up having a ‘win-win’ relationship with all our customers.” He shared six stories from his book ‘Sponge’.

Knowledge has no alternative. Of course, knowledge is power. Brandfest is a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise. It was an educative immersive experience for not just me, but I am sure for all those who participated in this two-day event. There were many new learnings, refreshing ideas and new perspectives that were shared by the speakers at Brandfest Kathmandu which has enlighten all of us to prepare for the future.

Nine speakers from UK, France, South Africa, Bangladesh and India enthralled the audiences with their captivating presentations. The title sponsor for the event is Asian Paints and organized by The Himalayan Times. Outreach Nepal is the creative partner for Brandfest for last 5 years. Other sponsors were Daraz online shopping & Absolut.

Picture of Ujaya Shakya

Ujaya Shakya

Ujaya Shakya is the managing director of Outreach Nepal and the author of ‘Brandsutra’

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