Escalate

Bringing the world home

- ALISHA SIJAPATI

Mar 5, 2018-Ashish P Pradhan started his corporate journey upon his return to Kathmandu from New Delhi, India, after completing his BBA.

In 2011, Pradhan joined Himalayan Brewery as a management trainee and was promoted to the post of brand officer within two years. Taking a sabbatical from professional commitment in 2013, Pradhan completed his Master’s degree in International Business. He returned to Himalayan Brewery again as its brand head. Currently, Pradhan is a director at Evolution Beverages, the official distributor of international beverages such as Asahi, Singha beer and soda and White Rhino Witbier. In this interview with The Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Pradhan talks about the challenges of establishing new brands in the market. Excerpts:

You’ve been associated with branding both local and international products in the market. What sorts of challenges are associated with promoting them?

Having worked in the beverage field for a while now, promoting both local and international products come with their own unique challenges which vary from one another. Promoting and marketing domestic beverages is equal to getting caught up in a huge stampede—the competition is tough and in a way, quite unhealthy. When there are bigger companies dominating the market, any up-and-coming small products can fall short and oftentimes go unnoticed.

That is definitely a huge challenge. Now, stepping into promoting international products, it gets a little dicey for us because we need to gain the confidence of the customers who are unaware of these brands. But taking it all into account, promoting and re-branding international products in the market is much easier than promoting domestic products.

At our organisation, none of the marketing employees are stationed at desks; everybody is in the field, working hard to promote the brand, whether it is by visiting various restaurants across the town or by meeting clients. Because people are still partial towards domestic brands than international ones, it is difficult for us to alter the mindsets. However, we are trying to change perspectives. We have been promoting our brands in metropolitan cities across the country, and because people are so well exposed globally, things are looking up for us.

As an official distributor of popular brands like Asahi, Singha and White Rhino, what different approaches have you taken to promote these beers?

At our organisation, we have our own values, missions and strategies to maintain our originality. We don’t believe in running behind the herd. It is important to be part of the traditional marketing but I think it’s time we do something different to engage the masses. Currently, three out of four people are always active on social media; we try to make our presence felt there. It is still important that you promote your brand through flexes, hoardings and print media, but it’s time we move beyond that. Asahi and Singha have been around for about a decade now and currently, we are promoting these brands more aggressively. I think to be out there, it is important to be visible and aggressive. When all the brands have something or the other interesting strategies coming up, you cannot lag behind.We also constantly focus on how we can promote our brands differently.

There is still a perception that international brands are expensive, even overpriced. What are you doing to encourage customers to make the switch?

In terms of pricing, yes international products are priced quite high due to various taxes in respective fields. So international brands have a tough time competing with domestic brands. Right now, consumers are savvy and well-informed. You have to treat them as intelligent buyers and give them a good value. We price products according to the point that the majority of that particular market will accept and is fair for consumers and for us to operate our business. We try to engage with consumers more with various activities to prefer brands so that they achieve what you call, ‘feel good factor.’

As you have been associated with branding for over a couple of years, can you mention some of the characteristics that brand manager must acquire?

A brand manager must be savvy, I would say they must also be tech-savvy. He/she must be well aware of their products. You need to treat your brand like your own baby. Grow it, nurture it and walk with it. You need to associate with the right people. Just pumping money to promote your brand is not enough. You need to own it. You need invest your time wholly. Look at Coca-Cola, they do different promotions. They are everywhere because they are constantly working towards making their brand better.

Brands are considered to be one of the primary assets of a company. How important is it for a company to maintain its brand through customer service?

While Asahi, Singha and White Rhino are well known international brands, Nepalis still need the to time to learn about these brands and their reputation. Hence, to be more acquainted with the customers we come up with various schemes, so that people come to know the brands. Also, whenever there are events where we participate, we make sure that we are welcoming and offer them complimentary drinks. I think if you put in the the time try to connect with your customers it does you good. It only brings positivity and helps spread the word.

Published: 05-03-2018 09:06

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