Corporate Affairs Manager, Daraz Nepal
Pratik Aryal, Corporate Affairs Manager at Daraz Nepal, has over 13 years of experience in event management, advertising and sales. He has launched multiple brands and worked on many notable campaigns. Aryal is also the founder of a public relations company called Eighty-one Entertainment (81e) that manages political and non-political election campaigns. He is a founding member of a business consulting firm called 88 Collective that specialises in data-based business consultation.
Aryal likes to desribe himself as a storyteller, problem-solver, an analyst and a huge fan of Manchester United.
In this edition of Business 360, Aryal talks about his pick of different brands and shares some insights on branding and marketing.
Frequent shopping apps that you use
I may sound biased but I am a frequent shopper at Daraz app. It is not exactly an app dedicated to fashion but I like the fact that it is a marketplace where I have the option to choose between multiple sellers and products.
Favourite shopping destination
I am not a regular shopper but I usually end up at Labim Mall or City Centre for my clothing needs. I buy my daily groceries from a local Salesberry store close to my home.
Your favourite vehicle
My favourite vehicle of all time is the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series. I have had a love affair with this monster since my early childhood. My father worked at Nepal Telecom for 30 years and for the longest time was assigned this particular four-wheeler. I have been trying to get my hands on one in good condition for a long time. If anyone is willing to sell, please feel free to reach out.
Within Nepal I love the East; my favourite would be Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. It is one of the best hidden destinations which has not been commercialised yet.
Gadgets you use
I am a tech enthusiast and prefer simple user-friendly devices. I carry two average phones from Oppo and Xiomi and use an Acer (i5) laptop. As I mentioned earlier, I am a value maximiser rather than a brand follower when it comes to gadgets for my personal use. But at work a customised gaming PC for graphic designing, fully functional Thronmax studio is my preference to deliver quality output.
Most innovative startup in Nepal
Green Road Waste Management by Bimal and Sanjeev Bastola that promotes plastic road technology involving mixing shredded plastic with hot gravel and adding it to molten asphalt would be my pick for innovative startup. The combination of shredded plastic with hot gravel and adding it to molten asphalt enhances the road’s ability to carry weight as well as its life. The plastic road technology comes as an answer to the nagging problem of waste plastic disposal. Studies show that plastic roads do not develop defects such as potholes, rutting, ravelling or edge flaws, even after four years.
Nepali companies whose PR strategies are worth appreciating
Being a tobacco company public persona that Surya Nepal has garnered over the years is admirable. From their corporate social responsibility ventures to regular sponsorship in flagship events like Jazzmandu and golf tournaments, I believe they have created a positive image in the market.
Thoughts on online marketing
It is the future and here to stay but most Nepali companies have not made full use of it. The power of data driven advertising is lacking but has huge potential. With recent data showing 60% of Nepali population has smartphones using social media it is going to be the new battlefield for mind share.
Daraz is launching
A new vertical with refurbished mobile phones. This gives our customers the assurance of Daraz when purchasing second-hand phones from the market.
A company whose brand strategy is spot on
Even though it is low involvement, brands from Perfetti Van Melle like Mentos and Happydent have got a spot-on on brand strategy.
A book on branding or marketing that you would recommend
I believe ‘Principles of Marketing’ by Philip Kotler is the bible every marketing professional should read. If I had to choose my all-time favourite memoire of branding it would be ‘Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles’ by Ambi Parameswaran.
What does your choice in brands say about you
I do not care much about brands.
Is expensive necessarily better?
When you are born and raised in a developing country like Nepal, we are raised to believe expensive is good but we are innately value seekers. We get copies of copies in the market (my personal favourite is a Rolex dipped in water on the streets of New Road sold at Rs 500). A blue-collar worker on the streets of Kathmandu will be wearing a Gucci or Supreme t-shirt with no idea what the original will cost. As a consumer if you are getting value for the cost you pay, you should be doing good is my philosophy.
A brand guru you look up to
Ogilvy would definitely be the ultimate guru but my personal favourite would be Piyush Pandey. If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s, almost every memorable advertisement to come out of India was by Piyush Pandey. ‘Pandemonium’ is a must read for every advertiser to get a deep insight on how the man thought and lived his life.
Three things to remember when choosing a brand
Judge a book by its cover, in most cases the first impression is the last.
Always do your research, reviews are useful but can be very biased. Therefore, choose your source of information correctly.
Practicality and your ability to pay should be a top priority to maximise satisfaction rather than the price tag.
A branding strategy you recall having gone all wrong
There was a noodle called Miho (Me-hoe) that was launched with a big fanfare and massive advertisement spending but it failed in the market mainly due to its distribution issues and unique taste alien to Nepali market at that point. I saw a problem in the name itself. Even though it ran with your tongue the simple meaning of pronunciation was just wrong.
My favourite brand association gone wrong will have to be Sunny Leone’s association with Xing vodka. The research showed that sex sells in the alcohol and cigarette category so they decided to sign the biggest sex symbol at the time in South Asia. But she was simply too big for the product; the customers never associated Sunny with an average Nepali vodka brand and the brand failed miserably within a few years of its launch.