Escalate

Outshining the competition

- Post Report

Goldstar shoes needs little introduction. As one of the premier footwear brands in Nepal, it is ubiquitously popular across generational and social cross-sections. The brand, which is known for its quality and durability, was started by Noor Pratap Rana 40 years ago and continues to be run by his family. Vidushi Rana, the company’s director of marketing and branding, has been a key figure in Goldstar’s resurgence in the domestic market in recent years, as the company also branches out to markets in India, Australia and Malaysia, among other countries. 

In this interview with The Post, Rana talks about Goldstar’s brand value and how big brands can retain their value and their quality. Excerpts:
Goldstar shoes has been a premier brand in Nepal for decades, however, it wasn’t until very recently that the company began to aggressively promote its products in the domestic market. Why was it necessary for the company to rebrand and reinvigorate its products?
I don’t think we have had to re-brand our product per say, we just had to become a little more aggressive in reaching out to our Nepali customers. Previously, 80 percent of our products were exported to India and only 20 percent of the products were marketed locally. However, recently, we have been looking into creative ways to promoting our brand.

Also, Goldstar only had generic designs before and we wanted to get out of that shell. So, our team came up with new innovative designs that would make our brand appealing to a wide range of customers. Even though the brand was doing extremely well earlier, our consumers wanted change; they wanted to wear Goldstar shoes with bolder, more fashionable designs.

For a couple of years now, our company has come up with innovative new designs on a regular basis. The market has become very competitive and to retain the brand image of the company, we needed to remain on our toes and match customers’ expectations.

What pointers can other businesses take from Goldstar’s branding strategy?
I think it’s high time that we promote, wear and flaunt our home-made Nepali brands. For decades, we have relied on international brands or knock-off brands that are available in the market, but do not promise quality or durability. Most of these brands nearly wiped out the market, leaving no space for Nepali brands like us to thrive. However, having learnt our strengths and weaknesses, we now command a healthy share of the domestic market. Currently, we live in a world of social media and to be out there, it is important for us to reach out to customers through that medium. I think that has been one of the reasons for the recent turnaround for our brand. 

How does Goldstar tap into what its customers’ expectations are?
We live in an increasingly digital world where everything is accessible through social networks and online. Each and every feedback we generally receive is online, which has now made it easier for us to get and respond to feedback. Also, previously, we never had retail stores but now we have two retail stores and other franchise stores in the Valley. Having these stores has helped us come in direct contact with our customers. By next year, we plan to open 50 retail stores in and around Kathmandu, thereby increasing our connection with our buyers. 

Why was switching to digital marketing the right strategy for Goldstar?
We felt that the digital world was not just what was trending at the moment, but also the clarion of the future. Our experiment on social media has garnered a lot of positive responses for us and it has increased our brand image. It was through this medium that we realised how much people loved us and that it was the right time for us reach out to our customers. Also, when we started selling Goldstar through e-commerce sites, we realised that it’s the youth who are mostly attracted to the brand. Today’s youth are increasingly more receptive towards made-in-Nepal products. We have been able to tap into all of these strategies because we have shifted our focus to online platforms. 

Goldstar has a trusted brand value in the market today. What does the company do to maintain the value of its brand?
Goldstar’s unique selling points are threefold—reasonable cost, quality and durability. We know that if we compromise on any of these three assets, our brand will falter. The same is true with every other company out there—you have to be true to your core values.

Quality and consistency have been crucial to Goldstar’s success. What can other brands learn from your company’s commitment to producing durable and consistent products?
For every brand to sustain itself in the market, maintaining the quality of the product or service is essential. Branding is just like make-up—you can look good from outside, but if you fail to maintain the inner beauty (quality and consistency), your brand value will tank. In order to create a brand in the market, one cannot fail to compromise on its quality. 

What are some your top tips on marketing and branding?
To maintain your brand, you have to be constant at your game and remained focused on quality products and services.

Published: 2017-12-18 08:46:21