Project Chairman Ahamed Aroos discusses SLIM Brand Excellence 2019

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2019 was launched at a press conference held on 20 June. For the past 17 years the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards have served as a platform upon which brands, marketers, brand custodians and entrepreneurs gain recognition and entrée into the international market. 

Following last year’s revamp, this year’s SLIM Brand Excellence Project Chairman Ahamed Aroos, discussed his plans for the program this year and the means by which he and his team intend to continue the event’s success.  

Discussing the theme of this year’s SLIM Brand Excellence and its inspiration, Aroos said, “This year’s theme, ‘Catapult Your Brand Beyond,’ is an interesting one, and is based on the concept that the Sri Lankan consumers’ and marketers’ mindsets are somewhat challenged by the many macro factors currently affecting market conditions. These challenges, which are faced by many corporates, pose the question of the exact role of marketers when it comes to addressing these issues. We thought the best course of action was for organisations and marketers to push brands beyond their comfort zones by breaking boundaries. 

“As we know brand positioning based on the brand’s country of origin is at the center of attention in the international market. It is evident that global brands constitute of critical intangible assets for businesses and the economies of their countries of origin. Through this year’s Brand Excellence theme, we’re trying to convey the message to all the marketers out there to take on any challenge as an opportunity to ‘Catapult Your Brand Beyond’ what you ever thought was possible. Beyond your boundaries and comfort zones, making use of the robust Brand Excellence platform.”

“Last year we undertook a complete revamp of the program, beginning with the Blueprint, to reflect modern thinking. New categories were also introduced and there was an increase in focus on the SME sector. The entire identity of Brand Excellence (BE) was changed with a modern twist according to an ancient Sri Lankan concept – ‘Sakwala Chakraya,’ teleporting Sri Lanka to the world. Taking up the same message this year, we are emphasising the importance of taking Sri Lankan brands global through our campaign theme. As the national body of marketing, the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) takes pride in supporting such endeavors through the Brand Excellence platform for 2019 as well,” stated the Project Chairman when asked about his plans to continue the aim of the previous year’s revamp. 

Speaking of the initiative he and his team have taken to ensure that this year’s event stands out from those of the previous years, Aroos explained that like all the other years SLIM has worked on taking this program status even higher by introducing new elements to make the Brand Excellence platform a value adding one to the fraternity. 

The committee has focused on introducing a more comprehensive judging panel this year, under the leadership of Seylan Bank PLC Deputy General Manager of Retail Banking Tilan Wijesekera. The jury will comprise an eminent panel made up of well-rounded professionals who will judge the brands and their performances. In addition to the specialties from advertising, market research and corporate marketers, this year too SLIM Brand Excellence will be focusing on brand marketers with special financial acumen and to top it up entrepreneurial marketers who have built some of the best Sri Lankan global brands. 

The committee is also working in partnership with many other organisations and institutions in order to promote more SME and export brand participation. Many Brand Excellence winners will be sharing their experiences via multiple awareness forums in order to promote the benefits and values that can be harnessed for brands through this platform this year.

On the sectors that will receive specific attention at this year’s awards campaign, Aroos had this to say: “As mentioned earlier, in line with the mandate of SLIM, as the national body of marketing in the country we always aspire to promote and facilitate the country’s SME sector to make use of our national event platforms to transform their brands and marketing thinking. In line with SLIM’s focus on this year as a ‘Year of Transformation’ we will also put special emphasis on homegrown local brands and export brands in order to serve as a ladder, guiding deserving brands, brand custodians and entrepreneurs into the national spotlight and eventually the global sphere. 

“We believe that driving value through SME branding will have a significant contribution towards our national economy. Knowing the importance of building export brands to uplift the Sri Lankan economy, we need to ensure that we overcome the gap caused by targeted export promotional support, which focuses only on a few enterprises and markets due to limited resources. The insufficiently focused and coordinated promotion of Sri Lankan brands and enterprise support in trade promotion activities curtails the development of sustainable demand for Sri Lankan products. Hence, the platform focuses on promoting more export brands to be a part of the platform to receive its benefits.”

Aroos went on to state that he was very pleased with the immense progress made on this year’s program. Entries are now being called for the program and all brands in the country, especially the brands in the highlighted categories of SME, local and export brands are urged to step forward to make use of this unique brand platform, which is the country’s only national event that recognises the achievements of brands and brand marketers. A series of workshops targeting SME brands will be conducted within the next few weeks in many parts of the island in order to promote and create awareness about this endeavour. 

When questioned about the kind of response he and his team anticipated from the industry Aroos replied: “We have always seen a very positive response to the call of SLIM, in building great brands together with SLIM Brand Excellence and this year too we anticipate a very positive response amidst the challenging market context. The media is our main strength when it comes to taking this message to the larger stakeholders out there, and the new member participation at the workshops also gives us the indication of the interest this program has been able to create among the larger corporate world. These early indications have been a boost to our confidence and we are looking forward to receiving the same response in regard to the number of entries and the excitement built until the final awards night.”