Strategy that’s rooted in the stuff of life unlocks potential for brands, businesses and people.
Buddha Air is far and away Nepal's leading domestic airline. It has multiple firsts and innovations to its name; boasts of the country's largest fleet and network and enjoys dominant market share numbers.
This success was directly attributed to a leadership team that had invested twenty four years in building the organization. The MD and Directors had a shared understanding of organizational history and memory; shared expectations and values. These were embedded in ways of working that long-term employees intuitively understood.
But the company had tripled its workforce between 2018 - 2022, growing from 400+ to 1300+ employees. The leadership's instinctive sense of 'how things happen' was no longer being communicated organically. Culture and definitions of excellence were increasingly fragmented, defined by each team's own ethos.
Twenty four years of steady, measured growth had laid the groundwork for rapid acceleration at Buddha Air. But exponential growth can be a mixed blessing if a company isn't equipped with the right tools with which to navigate it.
Personality-driven interpretations of values and standards can do passive and active harm in any business. They are particularly hazardous in the airline industry, where consistency in communication, operations and interactions is key.
Buddha Air needed to frame a brand narrative that would be both inspiring and instructive. It needed to speak equally clearly to both the newest recruit and the longest-serving board member.
Organizations are organisms. Either by design or by default, they have a personality, memories, a backstory.
The initial stages of the project were almost archeological, designed to trace Buddha Air's origins, history and instincts by talking to people who had built the company from the ground up. These conversations gave glimpses into a profoundly employee-centric culture with a strong sense of pride and grit.
Looking outwards was as crucial as looking inwards. Conversations with seasoned flyers identified customer sentiments, blind spots and the ways in which organizational habits were hindering change.
Rigorous thematic analysis helped identify the characteristics and capacities we needed to hold on to, renew and build from scratch.
Committed Buddha Air's history and story to paper. This was the starting point for discussions about organizational culture, ways of working and strategic shifts that would need to be made to retain and reinforce market leadership
Articulated Buddha Air's purpose, values and personality for the first time in twenty five years. These brand pillars will form the basis for both new and updated customer outreach/ engagement initiatives, training programmes for everyone ranging from finance teams to flight attendants, as well as corporate communications
Most importantly, Buddha Air now has a language that articulates what was previously unsaid. This enables the company to set priorities and steer growth in ways that are equally clear to all employees.