09 Oct 2017
5 min read
A shoe brand known for decades for its durability and quality, Goldstar has in recent years come to be known for its style too. Goldstar’s factory in Shankha Park is one of the biggest in Kathmandu, and employs over 3,000 employees. With another factory in Balaju and its own manufacturing unit in India, Goldstar keeps growing its production capacity. Today, the brand has authorised resellers in Australia, Malaysia, India and counting. The company, founded by the late Noor Pratap JB Rana, is now run by his competent scions.
In this interview with VMAG’s Monica Puri, Vidushi Rana, Director of Marketing and Branding of Kiran Shoes Manufacturers, talks about how the brand is still growing and adapting to the changing needs of the market while keeping the Goldstar ethos intact.
About the company
Our factory at Shankha Park was first established by the founders of Hathichap Chappal. The idea was to mass produce cheap but good-quality shoes that everyone could afford. After all, Nepal has always been a price-conscious market. My father-in-law, the late Noor Pratap JB Rana, was a visionary, and he chose equipment and technology that delivered quality that would be hard to replicate by competitors. The technology made it possible to produce quality products at low prices. Today, Goldstar has set a benchmark in the footwear industry that other brands strive to meet.
The products’ USP
It’s amazing how my predecessors never had to market our products; it was the shoes’ quality, the durability and the affordability that made the difference. We’ve only recently started focusing on marketing, and on promoting the brand with more vigour. And we’ve evolved to having our own design cell under the R&D department, made up of people who’re focused on coming up with innovative shoe designs. We’re now trying to promote Goldstar not only as an affordable product, but also as affordable fashion wear.
Recent changes in product ranges
Change is the need of the hour. Times are changing and so are people’s preferences. And in these challenging and competitive times—where people have access to every trend update in the world—if you want to retain customers, you have to think ahead and introduce better products. So, we’re now aiming to capture the shoe market with a completely new array of designs. The classic Goldstar shoes will stay the same, but we are also introducing variants that fit the needs of various consumer groups: ladies, kids, teenagers, sportspersons, athletes, and more. Our recent addition, the G-10 series, is part of our premium shoe segment, and is available at a price that’s slightly higher than other Goldstar shoes. It’s still reasonable, though.
The necessary change
Even though the brand was doing extremely well earlier, our consumers wanted change; they wanted to wear Goldstar shoes with bolder, more fashionable designs. We’re very active on our social media platforms, getting suggestions and feedback, and our surveys have shown that the people want more variety in the designs. And if any company wants to grow, catering to customers’ needs is a must.
People know that our shoes are durable and affordable, but would they want to wear them? That was the ultimate question for us. There are many who feel embarrassed about wearing cheap and mass-produced products, but have no qualms about wearing a fake pair of Nike or Adidas shoes. Though that mindset still prevails in Nepal, there are now consumers who are more conscious regarding what they are wearing and where it comes from, and take pride in using products that are manufactured in their own country.
How important a role has the marketing strategy played on creating a new brand value?
As unbelievable as this may sound, the company’s marketing department was formed less than a year ago. And for the first time in our company’s history, we’re coming up with a television commercial. Goldstar’s marketing game has always been based on word of mouth referrals. But despite its popularity, the product wasn’t easily available for consumers. Such a situation results in a loss of potential customers, as it is natural for them to choose other brands when ours is not available. Instead of simply focusing on sales volume, the marketing department will now work towards creating a stronger brand image in the market. We first started with the outlets of Bhatbhateni Superstore, adopting the store-within-a-store model. We applied the same concept in all the branches of Gorkha Department, a superstore that’s as popular as Bhatbhateni in east Nepal. Our first retail store recently opened in Civil Mall, and our franchise store opened in Jamal, and we’re planning to open at least 40 Goldstar franchise showrooms across the country.
Market shifts and marketing shifts
This is a very exciting phase for Goldstar because we’re now venturing into other segments of the market. It’s only recently that Goldstar has started trending in urban areas.
Most of the earlier sales happened in the Tarai belt or in rural areas, and that negatively impacted our brand image. To overcome that, we’ve resorted to influencer marketing rather than traditional marketing methods, and it has helped us better communicate who we are, to people. We’re marking our presence through music videos, movies, and national events across the country. This way, we hope to tap into markets beyond the Valley. In the short period during which we’ve implemented our new strategies, Goldstar has become a product that’s no longer for a specific group; everyone from youngsters and senior citizens to average salarymen and celebrities have become our brand ambassadors.