Experienced marketing professional Rohantha Athukorala addressing a forum organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) last week said that just like brands are being tracked in the market place for share and penetration marketers must monitor how government policy is being rolled out in the country so that marketing opportunities can identified early for brand activation programming.
Athukorala has been an award winning marketer in the private sector highlighted the recent Sri Lanka Designer Festival that was staged by way of a private-public partnership where weavers from Marathumunai were infused with the most hip design trends by eminent product development specialists and then the end merchandise found its way into the leading department stores in the UK which highlighted the marketing discipline at its best at national level.
“Very soon these products will tag the ‘Peace Collection” brand name which will give an identity and a premium price at consumer level. This pilot project will now be rolled out to the rest of the country in different product categories and marketers must track such developments so that these households can be targeted for brands to be purchased with the increasing household income,” Rohantha said.
Commenting on the recent floods that has destroyed livelihood and homes in the Eastern Province, he said that the La Nina phenomenon will not only affect the East but across the country including the Tea industry fruits, vegetables and of course the out-put of paddy which in affect shave off 1% of GDP. “I must re-iterate that even in 2005, the same sentiments were at play but Sri Lanka re bounded and ended the year at a commanding level that sure explains the resiliency of the nation,” said Rohantha who has served Sri Lanka at national level in many post disaster environments such as the tsunami and during the war in the recent past.
But he cautioned that this time around global finding can be tight and the developmental agenda can take a rough ride but it is also an opportunity for Sri Lanka to capture the learnings from the tsunami and develop an effective implementation agenda. This can include a stronger data base management and implementation with a stronger control mechanism by using professional partners to get the best out of the monies invested. Apparently the 1992 flood cost the country 1.03% GDP and the 1978 cyclone 3.78% of GDP.
The presentation titled ‘Marketing opportunities from budget 2011’ the speaker shared some insights where marketing opportunities that will unfold in the near future. A top high light was the 1 million economic units that will come into play based on a house hold entity, which will be crafted on the lines of the Maruthumanai weavers project. Rohantha said this will open up a new income source to each household and with it would come branding and marketing opportunities that marketers can latch onto. He also emphasised the double deduction leverage that monies invested on R&D in the company P&L as well as the 75% accruing of advertising as an expenditure that is ideally savings that can be ploughed back to brand marketing.
Rohantha who is a Board Director at the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, Export Development Board and Tea Board said that marketers must track the 200 common service centres that are sprouting in different parts of the country which are new opportunities for sampling brands whilst the emerging non tariff barriers are being removed in India can be utilised by marketers of tea into countries like India. He also asked the fraternity to watch the developments of APTA agreements as once it is in place there will be duty free access to countries in the Far East including China.
Rohantha said that knowing the line Ministry Secretary and key government officials were key to the future organisational success in post war Sri Lanka. “If this relationship is not built between marketers and public sector the ultimate loser will be the brands we manage,” he added.
The President of SLIM Rohan Somawansa commented the speaker that due to the strong hands on experience of working in the private and public sector there were many pickups to companies post this evening meeting whilst the project Chairman Ruwan Liyanagamage said that it was the highest membership puller that SLIM had experienced in the recent past but said more such interesting and useful programmes would be presented in the near future.