Entertainment

A brand is like a baby, it needs nurturing

- ALISHA SIJAPATI

Jan 8, 2018-

Mahesh Jaju started out his career at a garment factory 35 years ago. But after working in the factory for a couple of years, at the age of 22, Jaju co-founded the Kabra Group that associated with soaps and packaging. There on, his stock steadily rose, and eventually he founded Asian Thai Foods—the company behind popular products such as Rum Pum and 2 PM noodles. Since 2012, Jaju has been involved with the Asian Biscuits and Confectionaries which produces the Goodlife biscuits. In this interview with The Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Jaju talks about the keys to retaining a company’s brand image and the importance of taking your products to online platforms. Excerpts:

Rumpum, 2 PM Noodles and now Goodlife biscuits have created well-known brands in the market. But having created a brand, how did your companies maintain its image?

First off, if it wasn’t for our team, our products would have not have succeeded like they did. At Goodlife, for instance, we have a large branding and marketing team who are constantly ensuring that we maintain our image in the market, while also coming up with new innovative ideas to take that image further. Our team is spread all across the country and our target customers are not only in the urban areas, but we reach out to each and every consumer, however remote their settlements maybe. As a result, our products are doing well even in rural areas where transportation is still quite a big problem. If you want your products to become a brand and a household name, you need to go beyond what others think is possible. You have to reach out to as many people as it is possible and always stay visible in the market.

What is your organisation’s marketing strategies?

We obviously have created a strong team and a large network of retailers all over the country. But beyond that, we focus on the quality and packaging of the products. For any sector that produces consumer goods, especially in the food and beverage sector, packaging and presentation is paramount. If your product quality and your presentation is average or below average you will struggle in the market, regardless of how aggressive and skilled your marketing team is.

Once a brand loses its reputation, how hard is it to regain the trust of the customers?

When your brand is already profitable and is respected by the consumers, the expectation level increases many folds. When the expectation reaches this level, the scrutiny also increases—even a little mistake results in hefty, oftentimes irrecoverable, loss of image. So, when you believe that your brand has started losing its reputation, you need to quickly re-work on the quality of your product, introduce new marketing strategies and promote your brand extensively and make your presence visible everywhere. Oftentimes, even this isn’t enough to salvage what has been lost. Therefore, when you are managing a popular brand that is held in high-esteem, it is absolutely crucial that you set up proper procedures and quality checks that ensure that the brand image is never compromised. Like they say, ‘prevention is always better than cure.’

In the same vein, in this digital age, how important is to brand your products online?

We are in 2018 now, and this is the most exciting period in terms of marketing and branding. Our organisation has always believed in being visible. If you are visible and attractive to the consumers, even if it is out of curiosity, people will purchase your product. Today, everybody is active on social media and that is where the eyes of the customers are. And that is where we believe the market is moving towards. There are brands that are already moving to digital platforms, and I think that in a decade’s times that is where most of the marketing resources will be spent on. So, I think it is absolutely crucial that brands start to jump across that digital divide. It might not reap dividends in the short term, but you will be building a strong foundation for the long term. Digital platforms and social media are the future of marketing and branding.

What is your take on brand ambassadors?

Having well-known faces front your products can have a huge impact, even though it might seem like a traditional form of marketing. For instance, when we launched 2 PM Noodles, we had Nepali celebrities such as Rajesh Hamal, Nikhil Uprety and Niruta Singh branding our product. Because we introduced such big brand ambassadors, the product quickly caught the imagination of the consumers. When you have famous brand ambassadors, it can instantly boost the consumer’s trust in the product. This can be a big plus, particularly if you are just starting out in the market. But in order to be able to rope in famous faces, you have to have a product that they are willing to lend their names to.

What are your top tips on maintaining a product’s brand image?

To maintain its brand’s image, the company needs to ensure the quality of its products. Before jumping to the production of a product, you need to do thorough research and have an extensive feasibility test. You should only move forward when you understand the market and what the niche for your product is going to be. You should only move towards branding once your quality of the product is ensured. Brand is like a baby, the results come only when nurture them.

Published: 08-01-2018 09:11

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