SLIM as the national body for marketing in Sri Lanka has concluded another very successful year with Pradeep Edward as the President of 2018/2019. Below are excerpts of an interview with Pradeep Edward on the success of the year 2018:
Q: You took over the Presidency in April 2018 and masterfully steered it to a grand conclusion this year. What made this year significant?
World class conferences and events. This brought a lot of recognition to SLIM and to the country, since we were able to add great value to the marketing fraternity through them. All the events were sold out. And with the reviews received, no doubt – all of them were a resounding success.
Q: How has SLIM’s overall performance been?
Outstanding. Our performance was endorsed by several accolades received during the year which were a result of adhering to best practices. SLIM competed in the Annual Report Competition organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CASL) for the first time in its history and won a Gold in the ‘Not for Profit’ Organisations in the Non-Governmental Organisations category. Additionally, the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) conferred SLIM with a certificate of Merit for the Annual Report submitted under the same category. Also, SLIM was adjudged runners-up in the Education category at the 15th National Business Excellence Awards 2018, organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL).
Q: Did SLIM manage to garner international recognition as well?
Absolutely. Two International Standards Organisation (ISO) certifications were awarded to the institute. One was under the category Learning Service Providers (LSPs) providing non formal education and training services for which the certification was ISO 29990:2010. This pushed SLIM to become one of the first educational institutes to receive this certification. The other was awarded for SLIM’s management systems viz. ISO 9001:2015 quality standard and displays the institute’s ability to consistently provide products and services to the marketing fraternity of Sri Lanka that meet their expectations while adhering to the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. These are two aspects of the progress of SLIM that makes me proud and humble at the same time.
Q: You spoke about international conferences and events. Can you elaborate?
Indeed. I think the ‘John Mattone’ workshop tops the list as he is the number one coach on intelligent leadership and was of course the coach of none other than the Apple’s founder Steve Jobs himself. We hosted two events with him. One was the CEO Breakfast Forum and the other, a Knowledge Forum.
Q: Was the corporate sector targeted in any of SLIM’s initiatives?
Yes. The SLIM Marketer’s quiz which has become an annual event is solely targeted at corporates. This year it was titled ‘The Battle of the brain champs’.
Q: Did SLIM carry out any CSR projects?
CSR is highly valued at SLIM. Under SLIM Gamata Marketing, Fish Bonanza Phase II was organised at the SLIM’s Matara branch in collaboration with the University of Ruhuna and INDECOS. We undertook another initiative called SMILE and hosted it for the second consecutive year last year, aimed at underprivileged children at the Sanhinda Children’s Home in Padukka. It truly did bring a host of smiles to their faces.
Q: BrandWeek 2018. Could you elaborate on the objective of it and its significance to Brand Excellence?
It was initiated to zoom more focus on the prongs of branding – brand intent, brand content, brand strategy, brand research and brand communication. The objective of it was to create a platform where brands could be challenged to more effective conceptualisation and to apply experiences and solutions that would push their brands to better visibility in the market.
Q: Was the objective met?
Absolutely. It was a resounding success, and we will be organising this event annually, in line with SLIM Brand Excellence.
Q: On the academic perspective, what are the significant milestones during your year of presidency?
A: Well, the untiring efforts of the CEO and staff of SLIM resulted in us establishing affiliations with 21 new accredited study centres across the island which makes marketing more accessible to aspiring students through Marketing in Sinhala (MIS), Marketing in Tamil (MIT) and Preliminary Certificate in Marketing (PCM).
Q: Any additions to the educational product portfolio?
Of course. We commenced new courses – ‘Certificate in Services Marketing’ (CSM) and ‘Certificate in Entrepreneurial Marketing’ (CEM) in both Colombo and Kandy. The Southern region lays claim to the new ‘Certificate in Digital Marketing’ which imparts knowledge on planning, organising, leading, controlling and decision-making within the digital sphere. This is the topic of the future. And we wish the youth of today to push their careers forward and become entrepreneurs through this certification and the knowledge it conveys.
Q: PCM is one of SLIM’s oldest courses. What is its growth over the years, especially during 2018?
Phenomenal. I am happy to say that 2018 has brought the greatest number of enrolments which amounted to more than 2500 spread across the island. On the other end of the scale, PGDIP – The Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing which is a benchmark in marketing in Sri Lanka on par with CIM, recorded a staggering 1,450 students from Colombo, Kandy and Matara. This displays the trust students have in the institute and its ability to help aspiring marketers to reach their career goals.
Q: How is SLIM perceived globally?
As the leader in imparting marketing education in Sri Lanka. This fact was endorsed yet again when the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF) appointed several members and past members of the SLIM Council to key positions on its board at their AGM held in China. Rohan Somawansa, one of our Past Presidents, became the President of the AMF for 2018/2020 while Past President, Ruwan Liyanagamage and I were appointed as Secretaries General. I must say that this was through tough competition from among powerful member countries. This ratifies the fact that though Sri Lanka is a tiny island, it holds much sway in the region.
Q: Wrapping it up, what are your thoughts and wishes for SLIM for the future?
I wish SLIM the very best in all its endeavours. Not only that, I wish that it will grow from strength to strength while adding more products and services to its portfolio already imparting valuable knowledge, education and first-hand experiences to marketing professionals through workshops and trainings. The new facility that SLIM is in the process of constructing will bring all the arms of SLIM under one roof and be better equipped to offer a greater service to the marketing fraternity of Sri Lanka.