By Mannat Shrestha
“Every source of knowledge is experience” and with more than 27 years of experience working with different creative agencies, Harshawardhan Shahani truly understands the heart and soul of advertising and branding.
On June 16, Shahani, CEO and Founder of V-Chitra Advertising Agency, held a boot camp, ‘Art of Copywriting’ in the capital. The workshop was aimed at old, new and aspiring copywriters, managers, art directors, digital content writers or anyone who wanted to master the art of copywriting. Eight companies participated in the event: CG Foods Nepal, ACT 360, Nepal Tourism Board, Siddhartha Bank, Business 360, KTM Live, Home Loans, Dreams Merchant and Nepal Coders.
While covering the fundamentals of copyediting, Shahani also delved into various aspects of advertising and marketing sharing anecdotes from his life to help participants comprehend the stakes for a creative learner, writer, and designer. The narration of his life’s journey, struggles and lessons compounded with his wit brought the session alive and made it interactive.
Shahani did not hold back from commenting on the dire state of advertising and branding in Nepal.
The ad guru shared his years of gyan in less than eight hours.He talked about idea generation, translating ideas into a brand, creating a brand, understanding consumer’s needs and the importance of developing a creative brief.
“If you have ten ideas but don’t note it down, there is no point. Also, somehow if you execute your idea but don’t sell it, then again your ideas are worth zero,” he said, citing the example of Otto Frederick Rohwedder. Shahani stated that the American inventor and engineer who created the first automatic bread-slicing machine was so indulged in perfecting his product and idea, he was not able to actually sell it.
“Expressing your brand is not just about your logo. It’s about translating your “why” into “how your brand looks and sounds like”. Even if the world laughs at you, if you are convinced your idea is good, you need to keep going,” he stated.
He also underlined the need for ideas to evolve with time. What might catch the eye of the consumers now might not be equally appealing in the future. He asserted that in a world with too many choices and too little time, consumers will just ignore the product if it is not remarkable.
“In an environment where people don’t care about you, how do you break the barrier? You target the right audience,” Shahani revealed.
While concluding the first session he shared the importance of developing a good brief.”A good brief contributes to getting everyone on the same page. It is important that right from the janitor to the CEO, everyone understands what the brand is and follows the same values,” he shared.
In the second session Shahani began with the basics of copywriting. He then revealed the tips and tricks of translating features into brand benefits, using the right words and creating designs. In this session, Shahani used more presentation than words to explain his points. He displayed more than 50 different all-time hit advertisements that reflect the importance of design and use the correct words.
The workshop concluded with the end of the third session which introduced interesting team exercises and presentations.
“As a newbie in the marketing and copywriting world, when someone with 27 years’ experience does a workshop, it is always going to be babaal. The workshop was a snapshot of his journey in the field and he really knows his stuff. Apart from his witty slides and jokes and ‘Rocket Singh’ breaks, one thing I took home was the necessity to understand consumer insights in today’s digital world. Without this, there is no hope for a brand to reach their target customers. The learnings from the workshop will definitely help us to write better copy for our clients. In addition, it has helped us understand the formula of writing a better copy”.
“Overall it was a good event. We knew most of the things mentioned during the workshop but somehow never implemented them. What I enjoyed the most was the journey of Harshwardan Shahani’s, the videos and image he presented.”
Founder, KTM Live
“It was a fruitful and meaningful workshop. I think we should practice it in our day to day life as marketing professionals. As a client I learnt how to make a good brief, whereas as a professional, I learnt how to create a good copy.
Lal Babu Prasad
Asst GM, CG Foods