Rohantha Athukorala

Managing a brand in today’s economy

Views - 1325 Tuesday, 4 February 2014 00:01

Controversies and scandals has cost IPL brand $ 1 billion I have always seen that sports been a great teacher for business. One of the best pick-ups that I have seen was the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the lessons for brand marketing. A bra


Marketing a political candidate in Sri Lanka

Views - 3189 Tuesday, 28 January 2014 00:01

The weekend media was highlighting the changing dynamics of the local political arena with many actresses coming into the fray for the upcoming local election. To be honest, personally I feel it’s an interesting dimension purely from a marketing pe


Companies heading the right way?

Views - 1427 Tuesday, 21 January 2014 00:01

Recently, I was at a ‘Strategy & Marketing’ program in Cambridge, UK. The core of the program was for each of individual to do a piece of original work on some of the organisations we work on; be it in our home country or overseas. After many


Balanced business leadership in 2014

Views - 1423 Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:01

Last week I had a task of making a presentation to a chamber on balanced business leadership in 2014 and I based my argument on ‘Brand value vs asset value’ building. It was an interesting challenge given that the more I researched, the more comp


Jan. to June advertising spend Rs. 34 b in 2013

Views - 2206 Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:01

We hear often that Sri Lanka’s economy is growing at 7% plus but many institutions are talking of difficult trading conditions. The other day I was invited by a Rotary Club to address their monthly meeting and I was wondering about addressing this


Importance of an MBA in a political economy

Views - 1814 Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00

Last week I was invited to address the MBA batch of a top university in Sri Lanka on the subject ‘Markets and Strategy’. The first thought that came to my mind is how useful an MBA is in today’s world, when there is a political economy at play,


Can SAARC facilitate SL’s hub agenda?

Views - 1729 Tuesday, 10 December 2013 00:00

On 8 December we celebrated the 28th anniversary of the SAARC Charter. If one goes back to the original document that was signed, SAARC meant a collective commitment and greater meaning to the region where it will drive economic growth in the South A


Going back to basics

Views - 1492 Tuesday, 3 December 2013 00:43

Last week I was invited by the University of Jayewardenepura for their ‘Career Day 2013’ and I was wondering what my message would be, given that today’s youngsters want to fast track their career and drive the best cars in town and be seen in


Should development banks be more aggressive?

Views - 13059 Tuesday, 26 November 2013 00:01

In the last few days there was media hype on why development banks like NDB need a guarantee from the Treasury to cover one’s exchange risks when one wants to raise funding such as the said $ 250 million that was specified in the 2013 Budget. DFCC


Brand Japan lost $ 679 b in just one year

Views - 985 Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:01

As Sri Lanka is moving out of the CHOGM fever, the question asked by many is, what was the ROI that Sri Lanka made from the event? The Commonwealth Business Forum Secretariat is very clear that it only works as a platform for businessmen in the worl


Marketing a brand without advertising

Views - 2880 Tuesday, 12 November 2013 00:01

With the development of the country in the 1970s, its consumption patterns changed from self-sufficient to exchange economy where the rural lifestyle of milking cows for liquid milk consumption moved to packeted milk powder, in order to adjust with t


How politics kills economic development

Views - 1103 Tuesday, 5 November 2013 00:02

In the recent past the Maldives has been in the news for the political turmoil that has been unfolding, with elections annulled and re-polling being opposed by different parties. Whilst the realities can be different to perception created, the fact o


FTA with China?

Views - 1345 Tuesday, 29 October 2013 00:30

In the recent past we have seen the media hype over the proposed FTA with China on the sidelines of CHOGM. This development is key given that Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh were at just $ 2 b in exports way back in 1990 but today Bangladesh as sur


Chinese lesson for SL on hosting CHOGM

Views - 1491 Tuesday, 22 October 2013 00:17

If we were to drive around Colombo, the one thing that we see is the beautification of the city taking place in view of CHOGM that is to be staged in Sri Lanka shortly. The thoughts that crossed my mind was how China stages the Beijing Olympics in th


CHOGM must highlight Sri Lanka’s wildlife

Views - 1935 Tuesday, 15 October 2013 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka has registered over a million tourists visiting the country, we see the leading wildlife park attracting the highest number of foreign visitors. SLTD reports that in 2011 there were almost 99,000 foreign visitors and 217,000 local v


Is poverty or governance the cause of terrorism?

Views - 1275 Tuesday, 8 October 2013 00:00

Given the recent developments we see in Sri Lanka, it’s opportune to revisit the debate on whether it was poverty or governance that caused terrorism in Sri Lanka and what key strategies we need to develop to ensure that we do have a repeat of this


Launch SL financial hub at CHOGM?

Views - 1520 Tuesday, 1 October 2013 00:26

I still remember how one of the financial industry stalwarts mentioning at a Bankers’ Association conference that the idea of the financial hub in Sri Lanka had been in the system for over 20 years, but had not been made a reality. Given that CHOGM


Drive a new positioning for Sri Lanka at CHOGM

Views - 1298 Tuesday, 24 September 2013 00:00

Tourism has now become one of the world’s largest foreign exchange earners with the industry set to cross the one trillion dollar mark and visitor numbers crossing one billion globally. This growth has been ignited with the launch of e-commerce, wh


Does terrorism actually affect tourist arrivals?

Views - 3669 Tuesday, 17 September 2013 00:23

New research reveals that natural disasters are a bigger concern for travellers Latest research emerging is revealing that global travellers of today are more sensitive to natural disasters like earthquakes, typhoons and floods and diseases tha


When a brand gets hit due to a business issue

Views - 1440 Tuesday, 10 September 2013 00:00

One of the highest spenders on advertising and promotions in Sri Lanka is the banking sector of Sri Lanka. Given the many issues we have seen globally and the stringent protection measures adopted in Sri Lanka, this sector has remained stable even th


Brazil as an opportunity?

Views - 1645 Tuesday, 3 September 2013 00:00

Overall market size on imports worth $ 226 b in Brazil Sri Lanka’s exports to Brazil are $ 48 million at 0.021% share. 11 Sri Lankan product sectors in the top 10 in Brazil Last week I met up with sought-after international personality Ru


SL exports making progress

Views - 7391 Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:00

40.9 to 26.8 on DCI, but growth lagging vs. regional counterparts Even though Sri Lanka recorded a negative growth of 6.09 in 2012 and in the first half 2013 we are trailing by 7.9%, the good news is that from a export market dispersion perspec


What happens when a brand falters?

Views - 7152 Tuesday, 13 August 2013 00:55

When I heard about the Fonterra debacle on DCD in Sri Lanka, from the announcement from Fonterra (New Zealand) to the 100% safe advertising campaign in Sri Lanka and the subsequent advertising ban from the Consumer Affairs Authority to today’s medi


The Apple saga on innovation

Views - 1111 Tuesday, 6 August 2013 00:00

Cutting edge innovation lowers marketing costs Sri Lanka’s R&D investment was 0.21% in 2004 but dropped to 0.11 in 2008 Private sector contribution to R&D value is only 18% The holy grail in business is innovation in today’s wor


Is SL ready for a tough 2013?

Views - 1620 Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:28

Blue chip companies like JKH down by 4% in Q2 2013 Overall exports down by 4.6% in HY 2013 Global GDP outlook slashed downward in 2013   Private sector down? Last week, we saw Sri Lanka’s premier blue chip company John Keells ann


Agriculture: The bedrock of Sri Lanka’s economy

Views - 5137 Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:00

When a sector is 33% of the economy and 2.6 million of the labour force of the country, one can just imagine the political significance even though the hype is on the service sector like tourism and the IT/BPO industry – especially in an election y


Wimbledon lessons for Sri Lankan policy makers

Views - 2842 Tuesday, 16 July 2013 01:31

Being a sports enthusiast, the last few weeks have been really entertaining, given that the time difference allows us in Sri Lanka to complete our daily routine and enjoy the sports late in the evening, be it the tri-nation cricket tournament from th


Time for a dialogue with Ceylon Tea

Views - 2597 Tuesday, 9 July 2013 00:30

It was great to see two powerful brands of Sri Lanka coming together to take Brand Sri Lanka forward with the sponsorship of Sri Lanka Cricket given that this pivotal industry provides employment to almost two million people in the total value chain


ICC pick-ups for Sri Lanka

Views - 2229 Tuesday, 2 July 2013 00:00

Given that sports give the best lessons to the world, be it the drive of the blade runner from South Africa to the come-back of Tiger Woods in the game of ,golf we see how sports tend to give the world a lesson politics or academics can teach. Let me


Balancing profit and brand building: Where is the line?

Views - 2578 Tuesday, 25 June 2013 10:17

The biggest challenge for a CEO of today is making profits in the short-term so that one can keep the share price intact, whilst for the long-term it is how one can add value to the brand and thereby build the equity of the company. The latter is im


Today's Columnists

Politicians and cricketers: Expected role, selection and performance evaluation (Part 2)

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Before commenting on the selection process, it is better to understand the ground realities and the nature of the beasts. Sri Lanka has a good theoretical education system. This system prompts students to ‘Cram-Remember-Express’ or ‘Read-Rememb


Open letter to M.A. Sumanthiran, MP

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Happy Pongal, Mr Sumanthiran! You and I are from two very different generations. In fact you belong to my uncle’s generation (sadly I don’t get along very well with my uncle). You are a child of the ’70s. I’m a child of the 90s. In a more tex


Why Gota gave me a ‘Gotler’ feeling

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Bourgeoisie venues It is no accident that presidential-candidate hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa holds his Viyathmaga meetings in bourgeoisie spots. Once, it had been Shangri-La. Last Saturday, 12 January, it had been Waters Edge. Gota’s speech offered


A lie is also a truth

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a determined contender for the presidency. His trenchant lecture to activists of the Viyathmaga forum demonstrated the man’s spiritedness and impulse to act. He is a driven man. What drives him?


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