Entrepreneur Prioritizes Community to Attain and Share Success in Nepal’s Growing Advertising Industry

One entrepreneur has become a local advertising guru by achieving success in the industry from a young age, when the sector was just budding in Nepal.

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Entrepreneur Prioritizes Community to Attain and Share Success in Nepal’s Growing Advertising Industry

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Located in a bustling neighborhood of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, the office of Prisma Advertising features a dozen posters on its walls – framed advertisements it has created for Coca-Cola Co., Samsung Electronics Co., Anchor White Toothpaste, national dailies and others.

In an upstairs office, 43-year-old Ranjit Acharya, founder, CEO and owner of the private company, is engaged in a discussion with his team of nearly 50 employees.

Acharya’s name is popular among young Nepalese entrepreneurs for his unique success in the advertising business. His agency has produced 365 advertisements across various forms of media in the last 22 years, he says. Of these, he has himself designed 106 advertisements, with an emphasis on connecting with the local consumer.

“We try to convince the Nepalese clients to make advertisements with local themes and concepts,” he says.

It was by accident that Acharya, now considered an advertising guru, stumbled upon this sector in 1991. Since his college days, he had had a desire to work in the audio-visual sector, but he had not had any idea about how or where to begin, he says. Then at age 21, he got an opportunity to create an advertisement thanks to a client of his brother’s medicine shop, where Acharya worked in his spare time.

“I came across a market promoter of the Glucose Powder company of India who asked me to devise an advertisement for one of their products,” he says. “The assignment was both crushing and challenging without a good cameraman, a shooting studio and an experienced editor. With great effort and determination, I could manage to perform the task.”

Nepal Television, the only television broadcasting agency at the time, aired Acharya’s first advertisement on its channels, he says. It was so popular with the audience that the product ran out of stock. The company had to stop the advertisement for a few months so that it could relaunch the product in the market.

Soon after this first feat, Acharya registered his own advertising company, he says.

“Due to my young age, the officials did not believe that I could make advertisement[s].”

But they eventually let him register Prisma Advertising.

“I started the office in a single rented room in 1991,” he says.

During that period, Acharya found it difficult to pay even 3,000 rupees ($30) in monthly rent for the office, he says. Today, Prisma Advertising pays 75,000 rupees ($750) in monthly rent for its office in Kathmandu.

“I got myself involved wholeheartedly in the advertisement business and invested the earnings accordingly to make my company grow fast enough,” he says.

Acharya’s agency has worked on the promotion of multinational companies such as Coca-Cola Co., Western Union, DHL and Ncell Pvt. Ltd., a private mobile network in Nepal with coverage of 90 percent of the national population that is part of a European telecommunication company.

Prisma Advertising has won more than 30 local and international awards for its work, Acharya says. The Advertising Association of Nepal, an umbrella organization of advertising agencies and other media-related professional organizations in Nepal, granted it the Best Agency of the Year Award for four consecutive years from 2007 to 2010; the Best Television Commercial Award for three consecutive years from 2008 to 2010; and the Best Campaign of the Year Award for 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Prisma Advertising has found success in a growing field. When Acharya established it in 1991, there were just 12 advertising agencies in Kathmandu, he says. Now, it is among the nearly 200 agencies registered with the Advertising Association of Nepal.

There also were only three government media outlets – Nepal Television, Radio Nepal and Gorkhapatra daily newspaper – to feature advertisements when Acharya established his agency in 1991, he says. There were no privately owned media outlets.

But the Nepalese media has expanded by leaps and bounds since then, Acharya says. Social media and cable channels have exposed people in developing countries, such as Nepal, to brands.

Prisma Advertising has garnered success in this domain because it finds ways to directly connect consumers with the brands it designs advertisements for, Acharya says.

“We try to understand the psychology and preferences of the Nepalese consumers and try to provide quality service with an open mind,” he says.

The agency has an annual turnover of 140 million rupees (nearly $1.4 million), Acharya says.

Guna Shrestha previously worked with Acharya at Prisma Advertising. Today, he is the marketing manager of Kantipur Publications Pvt. Ltd., a media company that publishes newspapers and magazines and operates television and radio stations in Nepal.

“Acharya is one of the young Nepalese achievers,” he says. “He has been trusted by even the multinational companies and honored with top awards on account of his creative thinking and concepts.”

Surendra Sigdel, the marketing manager of K.L. Dugar Group, a group of companies that manufactures and imports goods for Nepalese consumers, says that Acharya’s agency has been producing advertisements for the group for the past 11 years.

“He makes advertisement[s] with long-term vision,” Sigdel says in a telephone interview. “His advertisements resul[t] into good sales and creat[e] impact on [the] public.”

Acharya’s agency is working on the promotion and marketing of 15 brands in the company’s portfolio, Sigdel says.

“He is [a] youth with a vision,” he says. “We have to respect his creative idea[s].”

But Prisma Advertising does not create all its advertisements for financial profit, Acharya says. He has also made it a priority to design pro bono campaigns for social causes.

“Three years ago, Nepal Red Cross Society faced [a] serious blood supply crisis requiring 2,000 pints of blood immediately,” he says as one example. “With prompt advertisement through broadcasts and posters, 1,600 pints of blood were collected.”

Prisma Advertising is developing its next social awareness campaign in partnership with the Tilganga Institute of Opthamology, Acharya says. The agency approached the facility with the concept of doing a pro bono campaign featuring creative advertisements to encourage people to donate their eyes after death as an act of piety. In Nepal, 17,000 residents are visually impaired and are waiting for eye donations, according to figures the institute has provided for the campaign.

“Instead of giving out money, to help others with what I have learned and with my creative ideas equals more than the financial help, as per my experience,” Acharya says.

Acharya also serves on the board of advisers for Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation, a nonprofit organization working for civil, political and economic freedom in Nepal. Its campaign coordinator, Dilip Gurung, says Acharya sometimes uses his expertise to assist with the organization’s advertising campaigns.

“Acharya is considered in Nepal to be the brand guru, popular expert in the advertisement field,” Gurung says in a telephone interview. “His advertisements are meant to sell products and services as well as to create social identities through catchy jingles and phrases with [a] flair of innovativeness and creativity.”

Acharya also offers his expertise to adults and young people through public workshops and trainings on topics beyond advertising that apply to a variety of sectors.

One training, called “Success Mantra,” focuses on personality development, Acharya says. Another offers guidance in change management, called “Change Can Create Magic.” These programs are popular with senior-level managers, doctors and companies’ board members.

Acharya offers these trainings to young people as well, Gurung says.

“He has also been a motivator and trainer for the youths by organizing special workshops and training sessions on personality development and change management,” Gurung says. “He shares his knowledge and skills with others wholeheartedly.”

Acharya is also intent on continuing to develop his own knowledge and skills. Each day is a 12-hour workday, he says. Small things inspire him daily to attempt new things.

“With every proble[m] comes an opportunity,” he says. “One has to learn to find it out.”

GPJ translated this article from Nepali.