Rohantha Athukorala

Clear national strategy results in strong brands

Views - 236 Wednesday, 10 October 2018 00:00

Last week the Daily FT-Colombo MBA Alumni Association staged the first-ever pre-Budget Forum dedicated to women entrepreneurs and professionals. If one were to conceptualise the presented proposals, they hinged on two points. The first was the overa


Teacher Ma, an example to today’s world

Views - 388 Wednesday, 3 October 2018 00:00

Recently, I was on route to Sri Lanka from India and was killing time at the Kochin airport when I got my hands on the autobiography of the owner of the world’s top brand, Alibaba. The founder’s actual name was Ma apparently and he had started b


Modi celebrates birthday whilst making India strong – Lesson for SL

Views - 270 Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00

The Indian Prime Minister celebrated his birthday earlier this week in the backdrop of India growing at a blistering performance of 7.1%. The January-March quarter saw the highest GDP growth in the last seven quarters with India becoming the sixth la


The private sector speaks, Mr. Prime Minister!

Views - 1234 Tuesday, 4 September 2018 00:00

In the recent past there have been many views about Sri Lanka’s performance. From the Railway strike to students of higher education and recently the fishermen community are some of the indications that there are deeper issues in the system that ne


Economic woes the motivator for FTAs

Views - 332 Tuesday, 28 August 2018 00:00

We have seen in the recent past the heat on the FTA with Singapore that was signed around nine months back. Whilst there can be merits to this argument, we have to keep in mind that when a country is struggling at 3% GDP growth and a debt stock that


Sri Lankan consumer sinking ?

Views - 927 Wednesday, 15 August 2018 00:10

Globally we see that when an economy gets challenged at the corporate end, it has a ripple effect on the consumer, leading to protests, strikes and agitation. The latter is often termed by politicians as having linkage to


President Kolinda turning around brand Croatia

Views - 626 Monday, 6 August 2018 00:00

Even though France won one of the most popular sporting events globally, the FIFA World Cup 2018, the media highlight was Croatian President Kolinda Kitarovic and how the country was led to its first-ever World Cup final by a refugee, Luka Modric.


Top Cola brand crashing globally; lesson for Sri Lanka

Views - 3381 Friday, 20 July 2018 00:00

We have heard the age old adage, if a brand is not in line to the trends of a customer, they will cease to exist over time.


Has Sri Lanka been beaten by Myanmar?

Views - 2765 Thursday, 12 July 2018 00:00

We have heard that the great Lee Kwan Yu wanted Singapore to be like Sri Lanka way back in the sixties. Today, Singapore is a $ 349 billion economy whilst we are at just a quarter of that value at around $ 85 billion.  Then we consider ourselves to


Gaddafi leadership style and ‘disruptive model’ for business

Views - 788 Thursday, 5 July 2018 00:00

In this era of ‘disruption’, sometimes it’s important to pick people who work against the grain and develop an output that is not seen in the world. Whilst many of us were against this leadership style of Gaddafi, given the global economic fall


Sri Lanka Cricket not helping battered brand Sri Lanka

Views - 670 Thursday, 28 June 2018 00:00

As you may be aware, brand Sri Lanka is under attack with growth dropping to a single digit since 2016 which has been tainted by ‘Governance’ and the drive down of the economic activity that has reached 3.1% in GDP as of Q12018. Governance If we


Strong trade agreements need 30-50 consultations

Views - 290 Wednesday, 20 June 2018 00:00

Coming from a multinational working background, I strongly support free trade given that open competition tends to sharpen


IPL: Start-up to $ 5.3 b in 10 years – Lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 587 Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:00

The world of marketing has intrigued me not because I have spent most my life in this profession and managed powerful global brands like Dettol, but I have got the opportunity to lead categories like Ceylon Tea when I served the Sri Lanka Tea Board f


After 9 years: War lessons for GOSL in 2018

Views - 276 Friday, 1 June 2018 00:00

We saw the agitation by certain quarters once again on 18 May wanting to commemorate war heroes from one side


Sri Lankan consumer in trouble?

Views - 863 Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:00

When Sri Lanka voted in a new government in January 2015, none of us in the private sector thought that we will be faced with today’s tough reality after three years. Whilst many of us are yet positive and optimistic, we must also be practical and


Central Bank to drive compliance of property developers

Views - 1245 Wednesday, 25 April 2018 00:00

Way back in 2009, the country’s economy was just $ 30 billion dollars and as at today, Sri Lanka is almost at three times the value touching $ 85 billion


Move from politics to district development

Views - 201 Tuesday, 3 April 2018 00:00

Last week I was invited to speak to the senior management team of an eminent bank in Sri Lanka on the topic ‘What Sri Lanka must do’. Rather than getting into the rhetoric of Sri Lanka, I thought of focusing on a sample district and then doing a


Googling Sri Lanka today

Views - 539 Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:00

The other day I received a call from Germany from the Sri Lankan Tourism team attending the premier tourism exhibition ITB. The objective of the call was whether I could support the task of implementing the ‘destination marketing campaign’ for Sr


Strong brands can sustain shocks!

Views - 239 Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

The recent media highlighted the impact of communal violence on the tourism industry. The press conference earlier this week threw out a number as high as 10% whilst the actual cancellation was around 500 room nights around the Kandy vicinity was rep


Life without Facebook

Views - 429 Wednesday, 14 March 2018 00:00

Recent media over the weekend has been highlighting the blockage of Facebook and social media networks.


Sri Lanka cannot have another terror backlash 

Views - 264 Thursday, 8 March 2018 00:00

The recent incidents in Ampara, Teldeniya and Digana and the declaration of a state of emergency for 10 days across the country was very disturbing to me personally given that I was part of the larger team that fought the ruthless terrorist organisat


Sri Lankan consumer under pressure

Views - 425 Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka is grappling to understand how to structure the Government to run the country, the reality is thWhilst Sri Lanka


Why did voter behaviour change on 10 Feb?

Views - 1592 Tuesday, 13 February 2018 00:00

What Sri Lanka saw on 10 February, 2018 will go down in history as a show of the ‘power of a Sri Lankan voter’. A typical Sri Lankan may look submissive, quiet, and gentle but they are decisive and are change agents. We saw this on 15 January, 2


SL must reach ASEAN via Singapore FTA

Views - 243 Thursday, 8 February 2018 00:00

Whilst the Share of Voice (SOV) is currently focused on the local elections, the fact of the matter is that Sri Lanka is at a crossroads to pay almost a $ 10 billion debt in the next three years. With our income sources not very competitive, with exp


10 Federer lessons for Sri Lankan sportsmen

Views - 279 Thursday, 1 February 2018 00:00

Last Sunday when Roger Federer won the 2018 Australian Open, it sure shocked the world as all the top players were eliminated earlier in the championship 2 sets all and going into the 5th set speculation was rife whether a 37-year-old could pull it t


Sri Lanka Tourism lives on the edge

Views - 321 Wednesday, 24 January 2018 00:00

One of Sri Lanka’s focused industries which has attracted dollar investments and share of voice globally in the last three years is the tourism sector. Essentially private sector-driven, the industry has crossed the $ 4 billion mark and attracted o


Marketing and war are similar; who will win on 10 February?

Views - 424 Wednesday, 17 January 2018 00:00

If we watch any media channel today, the focus is on the 10 February elections in Sri Lanka. For the first time we see how


IPL brand crosses $ 5.3 b; pickups for Sri Lanka’s Global Rankings

Views - 857 Wednesday, 10 January 2018 00:00

When an economy is growing at around 4% and the size of the economy is around $ 80 billion, the consumer is challenged when it comes to purchasing power. Inflation in November is at 8.4%


Sri Lanka’s No. 1 brand BOC dented by bond scam?

Views - 836 Wednesday, 3 January 2018 00:00

The highest share of voice(SOV) event of Sri Lanka in 2017 was undoubtedly the alleged bond scam of the Central Bank. Via TV, radio


Politics move to the village, will it work?

Views - 240 Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00

Whilst the economic challenges remain in Sri Lanka stemming from exports to foreign remittances, from tourism to FDIs in the backdrop of a sluggish economy growing at 3.4%, we now move to the political battle at the village level.


Today's Columnists

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Thursday, 18 October 2018

“I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories. Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to B


Depreciating rupee: Avoiding a money-go-round

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sri Lanka’s excessive reliance on foreign capital to finance investment under favourable external financial conditions is now leading to disruptions, as those conditions change in a decisive interest rate tightening phase in the United States. As U


Responsible water stewardship in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Unlike many of our regional neighbours, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant water table. However, many companies do not feel the full value of this precious resource due to the limited regulation and monitoring of fresh water extraction for busines


Economy in disarray, banks flourishing; can this be true?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

It is earlier reported that the growth in bank credit accelerated in August despite the tight credit and money conditions and rising non-performing loans in the banking sector. It is further reported that the year-on-year (YoY) growth in credit accel


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