5 Local Coupon Sites For Deals And Discounts Galore

Digitized coupons are making a huge splash in Pakistan. While the scorching heat deters shoppers from browsing summer sales, e-commerce has become every shopaholics dream. Now add to that the opportunity to purchase deals and coupons at low prices; it is every consumer’s lucky day.

The growing market for online coupon sites has caused a multitude of local Groupon clone sites to emerge year after year. Some of them are:

  1. Grabit – June 1, 2011
  2. DealToday.pk – May 1, 2012
  3. HappyDeals.pk – Jul 23, 2012
  4. Groupado – Nov 13, 2012
  5. Dealon.com – February 5, 2013

This gives consumers the benefit of comparing prices on various coupon sites before decide on their purchase.

Business are considered trustworthy when consumers can easily find company details on their website. Major traffic on websites can cause hang ups and delays, which is not profitable for discount sites. This is why it’s essential for an online business to have an efficient, well-maintained website, so both the site and the business can run smoothly. Quick browsing and user friendliness are critical to a coupon site’s reputation.

After going on to all five coupon sites, it is pleasing to note that all websites are running without any hang ups. One is able to purchase a voucher that is immediately confirmed via e-mail and a phone call. However, the websites usually look one and the same.

DealToday.pk, Grabit and HappyDeals.pk lean towards a cool blue theme with featured or recent deals displayed on the homepage:

Dealon.com has gone with a striking red theme for their website to perhaps set them apart, while Groupado’s website welcomes customers with an attractive orange theme:

HappyDeal.pk is Lahore-based and has a Facebook following over 400,000 fans, while Karachi-based DealToday.pk has over 600,000 fans. Some of these sites cater to only one city while some have expanded into multiple cities in Pakistan.

As a general rule, since these sites grow organically due to word or mouth, they tend to establish customer loyalty. The sites are recommended by satisfied customers who have tried out their deals. Here are some positive comments on Facebook from some of the coupon sites:

The sites mentioned above, as well as many others, do not have an online payment solution. Purchasing a deal is means confirming the order online, after which there is a physical delivery of the voucher. The method of payment is cash on delivery. The whole process seems quick but it has resulted in delays and mismanagement of deals and funds. This leads to unsatisfied customers. Here are some comments about it:

Online coupon sites are going strong in Pakistan. They’re convenient, user friendly and open 24 hours a day. Some of the deals on offer on these sites feature discounts that can often be hard to believe. Buyers not only save on the price tag but also on fuel costs and time, all from the comfort of their homes. What’s not to love?

10 Memorable Hosts Of The Lux Style Awards

The last 11 years have seen eleven annual Lux Style Awards. These awards have come to be associated with glamorous events combining the fashion, film, television, music and, thanks to the sheer amount of branding that surrounds them, advertising industries.

Widely considered a prestigious hosting gig, emceeing the Lux Style Awards has become a coveted job. From Zia Mohyeddin to Ahmed Ali Butt, who rocked last year’s show with wise cracks, all the hosts have given their best to Lux Style Awards.

From 2002 to 2012, the Luxies have seen glamorous stars, top models and talk show hosts showcasing their skills at the prestigious awards ceremony. Here’s a look back at the most memorable LSA hosts:

1. Zia Mohyeddin
The first LSA held in 2002 was hosted by Zia Mohyeddin, a Pakistani actor, narrator, producer, director and television broadcaster who has appeared in both Pakistan and British cinema throughout his career. No one can match the hosting skills of this legend and he stands on top of all the LSA hosts.

2. Moin Akhter
Worldwide comedy icon Moeen Akhter’s name is synonymous with laughter. He hosted the second Lux Style Awards in 2003, and is still remembered for his spoof on the fashion industry.

3. Nadia Jameel
A thespian and actress par excellence, Nadia Jamil’s skills are not limited to dramas and stage. There is a lot more to her than acting, which she proved at the Lux Style Awards 2004 held in Dubai.

4. Shaan, Aamina Haq and Iman Ali
Shaan Shahid is an actor, writer and director, but his strengths are not limited to these skills. He has hosted LSA ceremonies in 2005 and 2008 and is the first male Lollywood star to pilot the high-profile awards show.

Top models Aamina Haq and Iman Ali also made it to LSA hosts’ list in 2005 as Shaan’s co-hosts.

5. Moammar Rana and Reema Khan
The actor who took Lollywood by storm with his first movie ‘Deewane Tere Pyar K’ made his first appearance at the LSA as an MC in 2007, along with the local film icon Reema Khan.

6. Ali Azmat
The singing sensation Ali Azmat, who performed at the LSA in 2006 found his way back to the stage in 2007 as a host. Ali Azmat also hosted segments at LSA 2008 along side Shaan Shahid.

8. Fawad Khan
Singer and actor, Fawad Khan made his first official entry to LSA as a host in 2008.

9. BNN
The 10th Lux Style Awards brought the laughter kings, BNN to the stage. The BNN boys received huge applause from the audience and the media for doing full justice for keeping the audience engaged throughout the event.

10. Ahmed Ali Butt
Actor, rapper and keyboardist, Ahmed Ali Butt stole the show at the 11th Lux Style Awards with his hilarious jokes and brilliant re-enactment of Akon’s ‘Smack That’.

This year, the awards office has once again asked Butt to host the show for the second year running.

Brand Collaborations: Why Nando’s + Uth Oye! = Success

Brand collaborations, also called brand partnerships, are one of the many tactics through which you can market your brand.

Brand collaborations are much needed these days due to increased awareness regarding the complexity within the diverse segments of the market.

These days brand managers are smart enough to use as many cost effective communication channels as possible. This helps brands achieve synergy. It also satisfies the concept of ‘holistic marketing’, which states that due to rapid globalization and the dynamic nature of the market, it is essential to consider the complexities of a business in depth. The concept of traditional marketing is fading away, as are traditional channels of advertising.

Brand collaboration can act as a breath of fresh air for your brand but only if it is communicated wisely. Big brands with huge marketing budgets also risk a failed collaboration if it is not channelized properly. Through effective brand collaborations, you can enhance your brand’s identity and if done right, it can have a long term positive effect on the brand’s health.

Martin Lindstrom’s book ‘Brand Sense’ claims that more than 90% of brand collaboration fail because of 3 simple mistakes:
1. The two collaborating brands do not share equal value.
2. Strategy is too complicated to be understood by the consumers.
3. There is no similarity between the brands.

Additionally, if two competing brands collaborate it is likely to be unsuccessful due to a conflict of interests. The collaboration can do wonders if the managers of the two brands have organized it effectively and their brand identities correspond to each other.

NANDO’S AND UTH OYE!

Yesterday, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were flooded with a creative graphic announcing a collaboration between Nando’s Pakistan and t-shirt brand Uth Oye!. The collaboration aims to promote a Nando’s event while making Uth Oye! the restaurant’s lifetime merchandise partner.

Both these brands are so different, operating completely different businesses. What is the factor that holds them together?

The answer is segmentation. There are 4 types of segmentation: geographic, behavioral, demographic and psychographic. The target markets of these two brands compliment each other in terms of their segmentation. Both brands are targeting similar socio-economic classes with consumers of similar mind sets. Both brands are outstanding, cause-oriented product developers that are growing rapidly and franchising worldwide.

Uth Oye! has designed t-shirts for Nando’s with branding around their Peri Peri line. The tees will be sold at the comedy shows that Nando’s is organizing in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. They will also be availble on the Uth Oye! website as well as their retail outlet.

The impact it will have on consumers has the potential to be huge. The two brands would be perceived relevant by the consumers and the feelings for one will automatically shared by the other. Consumers can see the exclusivity of the two brands coming together.

If done properly, there is always a reason to collaborate and it can be very valuable in terms of publicity.

About the author: Farah J. Shahid is responsible for managing international cosmetics brands and is currently a media representative at Renaissance Pakistan, a local NGO.

Top 5 Pakistani Women Who Have Scaled New Heights

Amidst the doom and gloom, and not to mention the constant darkness courtesy of load shedding, pervading the Pakistani atmosphere, there is always some news or the other that gives one us something to cheer about and instills a feeling of pride and belief that there is still hope for us.

Kudos to Pakistani women for their courage and resilience to overcome insurmountable odds and bring glory and fame to the nation. Although, there are many women in Pakistan who are real achievers, for the sake of brevity I shall endeavor to highlight the latest news breakers.

1. Samina Baig
Samina Baig probably feels like she’s on top of the world and rightfully so for she has just scaled the pristine heights of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at the young age of 21. She is the only Pakistani woman to have ever achieved this feat.

Hailing from the remote village of Gojal in Gilgit-Baltistan, Samina and her brother Mirza Ali Baig (who accompanied her on her ascent but abandoned the climb at 8600m ostensibly to allow her to complete the feat) have been mountain climbers from a young age. Samina has been scaling peaks since the age of four.

Unfortunately the government of Pakistan did not sponsor her. Instead, the New Zealand government helped in financing the expedition, although now the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the Pakistan Tourism Development Authority have honored her and recommended her for the pride of performance award.

2. Ayesha Farooq
She soars the skies, comfortable  and completely at ease in the cockpit of an F-7 PG  fighter aircraft  as she mans the controls, weaving through Pakistan’s air corridors, ever alert and vigilant while guarding the nation’s horizons.

She is Ayesha Farooq, 26, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot qualified to fly a fighter jet. She is among 19 women enrolled in the Pakistan Air Force, and the first of five who has qualified as a fighter pilot. The other four have yet to qualify for the final test.

This is indeed a rare feat and a major stride in women’s empowerment. Ayesha has ventured in what was exclusive a male domain but with the changing times she overcame all odds, including opposition from her own family members to be where she is now.  Hats off to Flt Lt Ayesha Farooq.

3. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
She has given face to the faceless women of Pakistan who have been brutalized and scarred for life by acid throwing male tormentors. A filmmaker, producer and director, she won an academy award for jointly producing the documentary, ‘Saving Face’. The short term documentary follows the plight of women who are victims  of acid attacks and shows a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has helped in reconstructing their faces.

The documentary vividly highlights the injustice and maltreatment meted out to Pakistani women, particularly in the rural areas of the country. Though there were many detractors who blamed Ms Obaid-Chinoy for shaming the country y exposing its ills, in general her noble efforts to focus on a major problem in this part of the world was duly and widely appreciated.

4. Arfa Karim
Alas, she is no more with us having lost the battle of life at the tender age of 16. Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa can best be described as an IT genius. She was the youngest Microsoft certified professional 2004-2006 having excelled in the field of IT technology.

She won many awards in a short life such as the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology and the Salaam Pakistan youth award both in 2005, as well as the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

She represented Pakistan in several international forums and had she lived, she surely would have brought greater honour, glory and fame for herself and Pakistan and in particular to Pakistani women. May her soul rest in peace.

5. Malala Yousufzai
She has become a beacon of hope for children’s education particularly of girls throughout the world. Malala Yusufzai is the young student activist who defied the wrath of the Taliban, chronicling their nefarious activities in her native Swat as a blogger for the BBC.

A strong advocate of female education, she and her brave friends continued their education despite the harsh edict of militants opposing their efforts. She was shot in the head by militants but miraculously survived and was sent to England for treatment.  She has since become a global icon and the pride and hope of women’s education. She may well go on to win the Noble Peace prize.

Kudos and salutations to these and many other glorious women of Pakistan.

How Not To Win Facebook Contests

Ever participate in a Facebook contest? Or two or three, or every one that you came across? You are not alone. With the number of Facebook users increasing by the minute, Facebook pages for different brands regularly hold various contests to attract traffic. These contests promise giveaways that many won’t otherwise purchase. Hence the craze.

If you are a frequent participant of these above mentioned Facebook contests, yet still not a winner, I can tell you just what you are doing wrong. My job is managing quite a few Facebook pages for different brands, running contests often, and I get to choose the lucky winner.

Following is a list of things to do, to make sure you never ever win a Facebook contest.

1)      Have a fake profile. If you participate in a contest with a profile name of ‘Sweetie dolly’ or ‘Innocent Pari (fairy)’, trust me your chances of winning are as high as finding a real innocent pari. Some people create fake profiles just to participate in these contests. By having these contests, brands like to create publicity. We don’t want to give away a prize to an unknown person with a questionable existence.

2)      Participate in every contest you see: If you have made it your life’s mission to participate in every contest you see, well then I, as a brand manager see no interest in you. The winner for my contest needs to be someone who is not only a fan, but is a genuine fan. He is a portal to the real world. The giveaway is like a billboard which will tell people about my product. I don’t want my product drowned out by other prizes you may or may not have received participating in every contest you come across.

3)      Not having your genuine display/ cover: Just like participating in too many contests is a turn off, dedicating your display pictures and cover photos for other contests also make you an unlikely contender.

4)      Not mentioning your city on profile: Sometimes, our clients are located in few cities only and for certain reasons want winners from the same cities as well. When selecting a winner, if I choose you but cannot see your basic details, I will pass you up.

5)      Send a personal message: I take my contests seriously. If you try to butter me up by posting statuses saying how much you love the brand, or inbox me saying you want the prize for your mother, I will consider it a violation of rules (most of them exist staunchly in my head).

6)      Taking us for fools: Possibly the worst thing you can do to screw your chances of winning, is to be a wise ass. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT think you can outsmart me. I check each and every thing before I consider you eligible. I will stalk your profile, look at your cover photo, and check out your genuineness through mutual friends if any. In short I will go the extra mile before even considering you as the winner.

Once you have passed the test, I will then group you together in a list (believe me it is very small) and randomly pick a number. So if you are participating in a contest, either play by the rules, or make sure I am not managing the page.

First published on Sidra Rizvi Says on 1 April, 2013. Click here to view the original post.

About the author: She’s writing her way down, one issue at a time. Using the worst possible analogies to describe every situation, get ready to treat your eyes. She is Sidra Rizvi. To talk to her, either leave a comment, or follow her on Twitter @Sidra_Rizvi

Social Media Advice For For 21st Century Businesses

The most important first step leading to an immediate assessment of long term online strategy, image building, corporate exposure and policy development is the social media audit.

Now that Facebook has passed the one billion user mark and consumes over 16% of its users online time, this seven year old company and its counterparts need to be integrated into the corporate media strategy at all companies, regardless of their B2B or B2C stakeholder relations. It’s critical to assess the temperature of social media in your industry, and the impact its having your products and services, should you choose to capitalize and acquire new customer bases or are interested in leveraging social media to inspire loyalty and grow customer relationships.

I’ve outlined some universally accepted steps that allow for the development of a social media strategy:

1. Look at your internal functions and see the business areas that could benefit from social media engagement for sales (LinkedIn), brand awareness (Twitter), CRM (Facebook) and R&D

2. Delve deep and investigate how digital, mobile and social media will support your short and long term goals of each identified business function

3. Formulate, test and finalize the mechanics with which stakeholders are engaged on the chosen platform and the agenda

4. Pick qualitative ROI metrics for success, improvement & optimization and see how they will be measured

5. Conduct on audit on the outcomes, key learning’s and add new media for the next term

Bearing in mind that most of your employees are using social media, it is paramount to conduct regular social media audits, as they offer a company a clear understanding of those social media activities, sanctioned or not. If your company has a social media usage policy for internal stakeholders, then an audit can be used to assess compliance with that policy and assess the effectiveness of their execution and recommend ways to improve. And, on monthly or quarterly basis, audits can help optimize the effectiveness of strategies and policies.

About the author: Stafford is an Associate at BodyBeat Pvt Ltd, in the customer development & management function of BodyBeat Recreational Center in Karachi. He can be reached on Facebook.