My brand detox

In the West we are constantly bombarded with brands and marketing messages. I recently had the rare opportunity, that one only really gets now when travelling, to have a brand detox.

Delhi airport

En route to Nepal I had the experience of 8 hours in transit at Delhi airport.

my brand detox - Delhi airportI was surprised to see just how westernised it had become, competing with other international hubs. Walking through the concourse it was filled with familiar brands – Chanel, Dior, Dixon’s travel, WHSmith, the Body Shop, Starbucks to name a few.

We were looking for somewhere to relax and get a coffee and my natural instinct was to head to Starbucks. Why? Well because of the power of the Starbucks brand. It made me feel safe in a foreign airport and for me it stood for familiarity and consistency.


Pokhara – My brand detox

my brand detox - Bright DispositionOnwards to Nepal where I spent ten days in Pokhara with mainly local people visiting churches, orphanages, street projects and staying in the grounds of a missionary leprosy hospital. Perhaps it was my lack of understanding of the Nepalese language or the poverty there but there seemed a distinct lack of branding. I had an inspirational ten days free from Western consumerism, branding and marketing and have to say I felt better for my brand detox.

I was surrounded by people who didn’t have proper healthcare and couldn’t afford to educate their children. Suddenly branding wasn’t a priority and labels didn’t seem to matter.


Branding starts to creep in

my brand detoxAs soon as I went back to Pokhara Airport the bombardment started again. On the back of my boarding pass was an advert for Ruslan drinking water. The advertising told me Ruslan was ‘happy water for fun people.’ There was a screen in the airport advertising Nivea skincare and hair transplants.



my brand detox - KatmanduBack in Kathmandu brands are starting to creep in with Nescafé, Pepsi and Coke appearing on every corner. A friend who is studying business in Kathmandu tells me Unilever are starting to recruit marketing graduates to work in the Nepalese market. The Western malaise of you will be happier and more popular if you use certain products has begun to creep in.

I asked myself does branding really matter at all when there are people in the world with yellow tap water and abandoned children living on the streets in Nepal?


Does it all really matter?

Living in a capitalist world we all have to keep a sense of perspective. It can be hard to reconcile the dread of Monday morning sales and trading meetings with a sense of purpose.

However, actually we all have money, power and influence in our respective roles to help to alleviate poverty and sickness in the world particularly if we’re working for big companies.


A Corporate Social Responsibility policy matters

Meaningful brands research by Havas’ discovered that 74% of brands could disappear tomorrow and no one would care or notice. What is also interesting is that the most successful brands in the world are ‘meaningful brands’, who are engaged in high levels of CSR.


Now is the time to create a CSR strategy

If your business doesn’t have a CSR strategy, then now is your opportunity to create one. People buy into brands because they believe in their values and want to feel good. Buying into a brand with a strong CSR policy will make them feel even better about how they are spending their money and using your products!

Lots of good can come out of using the power of your brand to establish corporate partnerships with charities both in the UK and abroad. This can give a financial reward to both the charity and the brand.

Let’s use the power of capitalism and the western engine of consumerism to alleviate poverty and do some good in the world.





About the Author: Alex Wiltshire

Retail Analyst, Shopaholic and Managing Director of Bright Disposition Ltd.

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