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Peeling back the glamour: innovation and hard work at the heart of SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards


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The most awaited awards program among marketers and brand custodians, as it reveals the true place of a brand/organisation, is mere weeks away. 

At the approach of the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards, SLIM President Karthik Elangovan and Project Chairperson Lakshitha Wijesinghe give us a glimpse into the innovation, influence and inspiration behind one of the most renowned awards in Sri Lanka.

Speaking about the thought behind the initiation of the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards, SLIM President Karthik Elangovan explained that the idea came from a need to get a non-biased view of a brand’s imprint on the minds of the consumers. “Despite there being many panel-judged award ceremonies, none of these check the preference of the people.”

“The selection of the winners in most awards in Sri Lanka is based on either a selection criterion or the judgment of a panel of judges. People’s Awards is the only award where the winners are selected based on island-wide research. More importantly the Nielsen Company carries out the research, which is one of the largest and most recognised research companies in the world. This greatly improves the credibility of the selection process,” added Project Chairperson Lakshitha Wijesinghe, emphasising on what made the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards stand out from among the many other industry awards.

When asked if the initial objective of the award had been achieved, Elangovan stated: “It has been more than a decade now, and organisations as well as the consumers value the true choice of the people. The award helps companies to improve their performance and get an insight into their brand’s bearing in the market, which helps them in their future strategies. From a consumer’s point of view, it helps the general population get an idea of the most preferred brands among the general public, since association by nature is a key component of a human psyche when making purchase decisions. These are the two key objectives, which are imperative for People’s Awards recipients and this has been elevated over the years to greater levels with the commercialisation of the awards and the acceptance of both the participating organisations and the consumers.”

Regarding the contributions of the People’s Awards to the marketing fraternity, Elangovan stated that one such area that had enjoyed the positive influence of the awards was the quality of service. Products that are placed in the market by organisations need to improve if they are to stand out in the mind of the consumer. So continuous improvements have happened in order to compete for these awards, and thus industries have improved areas such as product quality, offerings, channels and communication. The awards also enable brand custodians and marketers to understand the consumer’s requirements and strategise accordingly in order to make their brand more appealing to their customers. 

Questioned about the criteria by which the winners are chosen and how different it is from an evaluation by a panel of judges, Wijesinghe explained that the winners of the People’s Awards are selected based on Sri Lankans’ top-of-mind recall, identified through an island-wide research program. The People’s Award tag line, ‘The True Voice of Sri Lanka’, clearly projects the essence of the selection criteria. Therefore, this award evaluates the last mile of the brand effort, whether it has been successful in winning the people’s hearts and minds. There is no better testament for the success of a brand than the endorsement of the general public. In contrast, evaluation by a panel of judges takes in to account the judgment of the panel, which is based on a particular criterion. When it is necessary to scrutinise something in detail that requires an in-depth understanding of the respective subject matter, evaluation by a judging panel is suitable. 

According to Wijesinghe, public opinion is a crucial element in order to ensure the success of a brand. The success of the brand completely depends on how it is perceived by the public, which includes both its current consumers and non-consumers. The public owns this perception, not the brands. A brand custodian might want to project a particular image of their brand, but its success depends on whether or not the public perceives it in the same way. Every brand manager wants his or her brand to be more loved by the public than any other brand. The People’s Awards put their brands to a test in that aspect. 

Of the benefits offered to a brand by the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards, Wijesinghe said, “Like I mentioned previously, there is no better testament to the success of the brand than the endorsement of the general public. The People’s Awards confirms that the winning brand is the most popular brand in its category amongst Sri Lankans. Since the research is carried out by the leading research agency Nielsen, an award is valid anywhere in the world. Winning an award will further drive awareness and usage. We humans always love to be associated with the best and the most popular.”

He also added that the popularity of the brand tells the market about the superior quality of the product/service, which improves the consumer’s confidence in the brand, making it easier and faster for the consumer to traverse through the buying process. 


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