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Wednesday, 19 January 2011






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La Niña can cost Lanka one percent of GDP

Marketeers must have GOSL policy on their radar :

Marketing professional Rohantha Athukorala addressing the marketing fraternity of the country at the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) said that just like brands are being tracked in the market place for share and penetration, marketeers must monitor how government policy is being rolled out in the country so that marketing opportunities can be identified early for brand activation programming.

Rohantha Athukorala

Athukorala highlighted the recent Sri Lanka Designer Festival that was staged by way of a private-public partnership where weavers from Maruthumunai 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 be tagged the “Peace Collection” brand name which will give an identity and a premium price at consumer level.

This pilot project will now be expanded to rest of the country in different product categories and marketeers must track such developments so that these households can be targeted for brands to be purchased with the increasing household income”, he said.

Commenting on the recent floods that has destroyed livelihoods and homes in the Eastern province, he said the La Nina phenomenon will not only affect the East but across the country including the tea industry fruits, vegetables and the output of paddy which in effect will shave off one percent of GDP.

But he re-iterated that even in 2005, this same sentiments were at play but Sri Lanka rebounded and ended the year at a commanding level that certainly explains the resiliency of the nation.

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 learning’s 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 moneys invested. Apparently the 1992 flood costed the country 1.03 percent GDP and the 1978 cyclone 3.78 percent of GDP.

During the presentation titled ‘Marketing opportunities from budget 2011’ the speaker shared some insights marketing opportunities that will unfold in the near future. A top highlight was the 1 million economic units that will come into play based on a household entity, which will be crafted on the lines of the Maruthumunai weavers project. Athukorala said this will open up a new income source to each household and with it comes branding and marketing opportunities that marketeers can latch onto.

He also emphasized the double deduction leverage that moneys invested on R&D in the company P&L as well as the 75 percent accruing of advertising as an expenditure that is ideally savings that can be ploughed back to brand marketing.

Athukorala who is a Board Director of the Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, the Export Development Board and the Tea Board said that marketeers must track the 200 common service centers that is sprouting in different parts of the country which are new opportunities for sampling brands while the emerging non tariff barriers being removed in India can be utilized by marketeers of tea into countries such as 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.

Finally the speaker said that knowing the line Ministry Secretary and key Government officials was key to the future organizational success in post war Sri Lanka.

“If this relationship is not built between marketeers and the public sector the ultimate loser will be the brands we manage” he said.

SLIM President Rohan Somawansa said due to the strong hands on experience of working in the private and public sector there were many pick ups to companies.

Project Chairman Ruwan Liyanagamage said it was the highest membership puller that SLIM has experienced in the recent past but said more such interesting and useful programs will be presented in the future.


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