Roshani Fernando, President – Market Research Society of Sri Lanka (seated, second from left) and Arjuna Herath, Senior Partner and Head of Advisory, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka and Maldives signing the MoU in the presence of representatives from MarCom Collective and Ernst & Young Sri Lanka. Seated from left – Tharaka Ranwala, President – International Advertising Association (IAA), Sri Lankan Chapter; Roshani Fernando, President – Market Research Society of Sri Lanka; Arjuna Herath, Senior Partner and Head of Advisory, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka and Maldives; and Delan Silva, President – Sri Lanka Association of Printers (SLAP). Standing from left – Sugibun Sathiyamoorthi, President - Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As), Sri Lankan Chapter; Laksiri Wickramage, Secretary - Sri Lanka Broadcasters Guild; Santhush Weeraman, President – Video and Film Production Association (VARPA); Roshan Wijeyaratne, President – Event Management Association of Sri Lanka; Rodney Fernando, Manager – Business Advisory Services, Ernst & Young; Shabiya Ali Ahlam representing the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka
The MarCom Collective has commissioned Ernst and Young Sri Lanka (EYSL) to undertake a comprehensive study on the country’s marketing communications industry and its contribution to the Sri Lankan economy.
The Collective is a group of associations, businesses and professionals from the marketing and advertising industry that came together following the crippling impact of COVID-19.
The sector comprises of a diverse range of businesses connected to marketing communications including advertising, market research, event productions, photography, video & audio productions, media planning, digital, public relations, outdoor advertising, tele/broadcast media (TV, print, radio and on-line media), activations and printing &packaging.
Following the lockdown, The MarCom Collective conducted an initial survey of all businesses connected to advertising and promotions and received responses from 659 organisations from across 12 sectors. The Collective believes that this sample could be underrepresented and only accounts for about 50-60 percent.
Post this survey, it commissioned EYSL to gain deeper understanding of the industry which is in urgent need of recovery and critical to the country’s economic revival.
The Collective seeks to ascertain the value of the industry in terms of revenue generated and employment offered.Benchmarking the industry against other key industries to value its contribution to the local economy, it will also shed light on the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the sector.The added perspective offered by this study will help the industry better engage with key stakeholders including the government.
“We started our financial year with the Easter Sunday bombings and ended the year with COVID-19. The last quarter of 2019 / 20 saw an average decline as much as 50 percent of revenue over the same quarter of the previous year.The prospects for the forthcoming financial year are also uncertain with a new world to contend with.
“With bulk of our costs being fixed in nature, we have little leeway to manage, unless we all decide to downsize our operations, which would be detrimental to the economy and also lead to other social issues. We want to avoid this, as the MARCOM industry has a pivotal role to play in stimulating demand, towards reviving our economy,” said Roshani Fernando, President – Market Research Society of Sri Lanka and Partner – Quantum Consumer Solutions.
Following the 8-week deep dive, EYSL will work alongside The MarCom Collective to develop a roadmap to strengthen the industry and identify areas in which it can support the government’s efforts to rebuild the economy.
“In reaction to the current climate, consumers’ values are shifting with strong motivations to protect family, employees, customers, and the community. To get the economy moving we need to galvanize demand around these changing consumer values and motivations. In this context the Marketing and Communication industry has a pivotal role to play in steering society and the commercial world from the ‘now’ to the ‘new normal’ and ‘beyond.’ We are excited about the prospect of providing the required impetus by partnering the MarCom Collective to conduct a comprehensive study on the sector and to develop a roadmap for the revival of the industry,” said Arjuna Herath, Senior Partner and Head of Advisory, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Being cognizant of the fiscal burden faced by the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Collective has consciously chosen to avoid seeking financial assistance. Instead, it seeks to showcase the added impetus the industry brings to the economy which it sees as grossly underestimated. The MarCom Collective seeks partnership with the government on easing fiscal policy related to advertising investment that will stimulate the overall industry and thereby the economy. It believes the industry’s continuity is largely dependent on practical policy reforms that will be of mutual benefit to both the government and the industry.