If a new product was launched in Brunei and didn’t get mentioned on Ranoadidas.com, did it ever exist? The answer is probably, NO. If your company’s list of PR contacts does not include Ranoadidas, it’s about time you reboot your PR strategy. The undisputed marketing machine of Brunei Darussalam, slash co-winner of the Think Big business plan award, Rano Iskandar, aka Ranoadidas is one man, whose case study needs to be carefully dissected, examined and studied in the same spirit businesses are looking into the new Social Media phenomena.
Can one man’s influence over power that of the mainstream media? Ask any 17 – 25 year old for their primary source for local news today, and you would get the answer. The future is unfolding right before our eyes, thank goodness, we have a local reference point to turn to.
What makes Ranoadidas’ blog interesting is not any sophisticated theory or self help advice Rano posts up on a regular basis. What makes the blog stick is that, it is a website for the people, by the people. No other website is packed with more interesting photos and insights about Brunei’s social arena. Log on to it, you will discover pictures of someone you may know, and events that you attended the day before. For my colleagues, it is all about looking out for the next hot Pepsi girl Rano features.
The question is not whether or not Ranoadidas can be replicated? It will be like asking to manufacture another Oprah. The most pressing question in this instance, is what lessons can we draw from this young man on branding and on social media for our own business?
Half of Brunei’s population (close to 200,000 people) are connected on Facebook. What business opportunities do you see in this?
Aplenty actually. I have noticed how citizens are capitalizing the power of Facebook and they are using it as an avenue to carry out business or to promote their product. Even I use my own Fan Page to promote events occasionally. So the trend of ‘Face-booking’ will still be around for the next five years or so or even longer.
Is it the end of paid advertisement as we know it, if everyone can promote their product through Facebook or Twitter?
Interesting question. Surprisingly my loyal clients also make use of Facebook to promote their services and products but at the same time, they still advertise on my website. Perhaps, it’s the branding that also concerns them. I probably have a niche (or different) target market than to that of Facebook.
What are the trends in the Social Media arena that small businesses should brace ourselves for?
Well, I can’t think of other social media apart from blogs, Facebook and Twitter. But I have to say that the phenomena of blogging have kinda slowed down because of the popularity of Facebook. So perhaps the obvious trend is people want information very fast. Twitter and Facebook are good avenues to spread information quickly than the print media or even the radio.
Young people of Brunei seem to be avid adopter of technology. What advice do you give them?
You may be surprised that this is not only the case for young people but also for the Generation X or even older. The emergence of smart phones and tablets have changed the way people interact. Parents are now also members of Twitters and Facebook and technology has become part of our lives.
So for the young people, it has more impact. However, we must not forget the essence of the conventional method of communication. SMS and email have become part of our daily lives but we should embrace the old and new to have a balance.
Why Ranoadidas, not RanoNike or RanoGucci?
LOL… This is a long story. Perhaps to cut the story short, it all spurred up from a break up and from there, I was branded a walking icon for Adidas because all the clothes I wore then was Adidas without realizing it. And now, it has become a household name in Brunei.
You mean, you are letting Adidas get away with your free endorsement while charging Mercedes Benz and Pepsi a spot on your site?
LOL, I am a walking brand in my own right. I did not approach Adidas for any benefits or endorsement. But who knows what may happen one day!
Tell us about the Tipping Point for Ranoadidas. When did it become such a hit? And how?
I would have to say the era of the ladies football matches. I had such crazy hits because I was so engrossed with the match reports and posting pictures. So loads of the readers were very interested to know the reports.
So, what you are saying is, the key for any marketing success is to Market to Women?
Well, not necessarily but ladies football had so much hype because people always think that it is a men’s sport. It was a trend then, and I capitalized on it when it was hot!
What can one do to market his / her company website?
Marketing a website is one thing. But maintaining and keeping it updated needs a lot of commitment. Perhaps Facebook is one of the easiest (and free) way to promote one’s website.
Your media influence is often compared to the likes of the Borneo Bulletin and Brunei Times. How does it feel to be placed with such high esteem?
Well, I feel honoured. I also leveraged on their publicity at times and we all work hand in hand together. The bond with the local press is very strong and they are like indirect family to me.
What is the biggest perk being Ranoadidas?
Being your own boss! And of course the abundance of friendship I have made along the way. The test of any Great Organisation is whether or not the society will miss you, when your organisation ceases to exist. I cannot imagine the community without Ranoadidas.com. All I know is that, whenever Rano goes on a holiday, nothing seems to happen in Brunei for a brief period of time.