Home / Marketing/ Sarva Colombo spearheads cult branding

Sarva Colombo spearheads cult branding

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 6 August 2018 00:00

  • Sarva Colombo Chief Strategy Officer Sharmila Cassim conducts presentation for the local marcom community

Sarva Colombo recently concluded its recent Inspiration Session on ‘Cult Branding – The key to growth in tough economic times’ for clients, friends and members of the marcom community. The session was led by Sharmila Cassim, the Chief Strategy Officer of Sarva Colombo, and used global and local case studies to demonstrate the principles of cult branding. The talk shed light on how cult branding can help the ultimate form of brand loyalty – cult-like devotion amongst their consumers.

When economic times are tough and the level of competition is intense, many marketers resort to price cuts and promotions. This is detrimental for your brand as well as your brand value in the long run. This is why cult branding is crucial for Sri Lanka at this point in time, if brands expect to experience growth in tough economic times both now and well into the future. A former Head of Marketing for CIC Paints, Project Manager for ICI Paints, Asia Pacific and a key player in the market dominance of a range of Homecare products at Reckitt Benckiser Lanka, Sharmila holds an MBA from the Postgraduate Institute of Management. She has also worked on the transformation of one of the world’s leading companies and has been responsible for introducing the strategic marketing management process and structure into Sri Lanka’s market leader in decorative paints. 

 With over 20 years of experience in Brand Management, Strategic Marketing Consulting and Business Process Transformation, Sharmila delved into what it takes to become a cult brand. According to the principles of cult branding as demonstrated by Sharmila, the seven rules that can help a brand inspire fierce loyalty and devotion in its consumers are the golden rules of differentiation, courage, fun, listening, tribal imperative, openness and freedom. Each of these rules were elaborated on and supported by case studies of international cult brands such as Amazon, Starbucks and Harley Davidson. Sharmila noted, “The rules of tribal imperative, openness and freedom are particularly important as they require aspiring cult brands to understand and cater to the higher level needs of consumers. In order to accomplish this, at Sarva Colombo, we have sought the help of organisational/behavioural psychologist Rozaine Cooray, to help develop strategies that take the psyche of consumers into account.”

Speaking on cult branding in relation to an organisation’s employees, Sharmila demonstrated the importance of internal communication and culture transformation to make “micro ambassadors” of employees, using Lululemon Athletica as an example; a point that was reiterated by Managing Director Chrishantha Jayasinghe in relation to Sarva Colombo’s own culture transformation. 

“Internal communication becomes more and more important every day as we are in the age of ‘Micro Ambassadors’,” he explained, “Where your people are going to be a key touchpoint in delivering your brand values. That’s where Rozaine’s skill in behavioural psychology becomes invaluable.”

In addition to Sharmila Cassim coming on board as Chief Strategy Officer and Rozaine Cooray as Behavioural/Organisational Psychologist, the other recent additions to Sarva’s team include Naresh Abeysekara, Financial Strategist; Dharshana Senerath, Director – Brands; and Imesh Goonewardene, Chief Operating Officer. The strategic expansion of Sarva Colombo’s team will serve to enhance the agency’s position as a 720-degree total growth solutions provider.

Sarva Inspiration Sessions are knowledge sharing forums that take place quarterly. Here, notable business personalities and leading authorities in diverse fields are invited to share their experience and insight with others in the corporate sphere. The seminars are open to all and feature presentations and Q&A sessions.

Sarva Colombo, which recently celebrated its thirteenth anniversary, is reputed for effective growth-driven communications through strategies and insights based on research, many of which are conceptualised in Sinhala and Tamil. The agency continues to deliver exceptional results for high calibre brands in the banking and non-banking financial sector, and in the educational, telecommunications, medical, automobile and FMCG industries, respectively. Backed by a passionate and talented team, Sarva Colombo maintains that effective advertising is the only advertising worth paying for. 

Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Reaping relevant results: Reflections on ‘Mind before Action’

Monday, 17 December 2018

The recent political turbulence that shattered the prestige edifices of governance proved several fundamental points. For me, one such is the need to have holistic thinking with emphasis on far reaching implications before taking a crucial decision.

The quality of some justice

Monday, 17 December 2018

We must, if we are rational beings and not mindless beasts, treat the herd instinct with due vigour. In the week before the Incarnation of the Son of God, a Son of the Soil seems fit for Crucifixion. The UNP’s sleek bloodhounds, some crossover SLFP

JVP’s task ahead

Monday, 17 December 2018

Ranil Wickremesinghe has reclaimed his Prime Ministership, not because he deserved it but because of President Sirisena’s impulsive irrationality driven by hunger for power and because of a determined commitment by JVP, TNA and Muslim parliamentari

If the new regime fails to uphold democratic good governance, society will bark loud and bite

Monday, 17 December 2018

Let the leaders of the new regime clearly realise that the civil society and citizen voters are watching with eyes open, ears attentive, and minds alert, and the body ready to spring into mindful strategic action to establish whether the much hard-fo

Columnists More