How can businesses help people? Can they care for the planet too? Is this even possible in the 21st century? There is still hope — in tropical Malaysia, you’ll find a plantation-turned-beverage company that strives to address these questions and more with every fruit juice they sell.
Brotani places sustainability front and centre of its business. All the waste produced from processing the bottled juices are collected to be turned into compost for organic fertilisers. Their homegrown MD2 pineapple crowns are then reused to grow more trees for the next batch of fruit juice.
But that’s not all that makes them unique — the brand is also known for its out-of-the-box marketing tactics. The man behind the ideas? Aizat Long Abd Halim, who turns 27 this year. Although he knew from the start that nine-to-five is not for him, Aizat (as he prefers to be called) dabbled in computer science and engineering before shifting his sights to marketing.
“I feel that marketing is an integral part of a business. If it’s done right, it could boost your brand or business so you can gain a competitive advantage over your competitors. I’ve learned a lot of valuable knowledge over the years which I am currently applying to my current business,” Aizat shared, referring to his decision to study marketing at the University of Kent.
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Going to the city where dreams are made of
Growing up, Aizat was enamoured by New York. When the opportunity to study there came about, he snapped it. “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ And I believe that is completely true,” he says. “Today, the city is considered a centre for the best technological, scientific, financial, legal, and medical minds in the world.”
It was during his MBA in Marketing stint at Adelphi University that the Malaysian deepened his knowledge and expanded his worldview. “The thing that I enjoyed most being an international student is the opportunity to make friends with both locals and internationals,” he says. “I was able to make life-long friends and network, which can lead to more career opportunities.”
Had Aizat not studied abroad for both his bachelor’s and master’s degree, he would not have had the vision that led to Brotani’s popularity and growth. As the sole owner of the business, Aizat is supported and surrounded by the right people but it was the international exposure at Adelphi University that shaped him into the marketing expert he needed to be to bring Brotani to greater heights.
Towards a healthier Malaysia, one juice at a time
Aizat’s advice for would-be entrepreneurs is to never give up: “You need to do your in-depth market research of the industry that you are planning to venture in. Learn the trends and demands of the product or service that you want to offer. Don’t forget to dive into the numbers either. Ideally, get yourself a mentor to guide you through the process.”
Don’t be afraid of long hours too. “Just keep going. You’ll make mistakes along the way but look at it as motivation instead of just giving up when things go wrong,” he says. “I’ve made many mistakes along the way and I wouldn’t change it even if I could. I feel that these mistakes taught me a lot of valuable lessons as a result. These mistakes made me a better entrepreneur.”
Brotani, famous for its Pina Lima juice, is now hurtling towards a major upscale from e-commerce to physical stores. Plans are in place to open up their very first pop-up juice bar, says Aizat. “We are also looking to bring in new flavours to increase our product range. In terms of branding, we are planning to do more collaborations with both local and international brands to widen our audience reach.”