Sri Lanka’s best brands will come together for the highly anticipated Brand Excellence Awards, hosted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) under the theme “Exhibit Your Masterpiece” on November 21st. The prestigious awards ceremony once again places the spotlight on the importance of branding in creating a competitive edge in the market place.We sat down with Nuwan Gamage, Executive Committee Member of SLIM, Project Chair of SLIM Brand Excellence 2017 and Head of International Markets at Dreamron Group, to find out a little bit more about the award ceremony this year.
What is the story behind this year’s theme, ‘Exhibit your Masterpiece’?
The brand is a promise from a business to their customer and this is the proposition we had put forward a few years ago and tried to promote among business entities in Sri Lanka. Today, that proposition has almost become an ideology.
Every brand custodian wants to make their brand a masterpiece similar to that of Beethoven’s music and Picasso’s art. They spend time to make sure that their brands are not only instantly recognised but also live in the hearts and minds of their target audience. So, SLIM is recognising the time and effort put in by these brand visionaries and giving them the chance to exhibit their masterpiece at the Brand Excellence Awards.
What was your main aim this year with Brand Excellence?
One of my main focuses was to bring more SMEs and online brands on board. As the national body for Marketing, SLIM wants to groom and develop the SME sector and online brands in Sri Lanka. This year we received good participation in both categories. With the influence we create through this event, we would expect more participation of SMEs and Online brands in the future.
How was the response of applicants?
According to the feedback we received, most brands have gone through a hardship in terms of revenue and market share due to the change in VAT andthe competition in the market due to new product entries.
Even with that hardship during the year of consideration, we have received asignificant number of entries which exceeded our expectations. More importantly we received many first time participants this year, which was the highest ever in last 15 years of Brand Excellence.
Are there any new trends you have identified this year?
We have noticed a significant number of applicants in an innovative brand category, which is a good sign for Sri Lanka. This means that most brands are now implementing product and process innovation to reach out to consumers and fill the need gap. Also, a few strong international brandshave entered the competition this year which again showed the recognition SLIM brand excellence has garnered over the years.
How has the entire process been so far?
We finished the last round of judging, but the final result is yet to be finalized. This year we had a well experienced and well recognized panel of judges, who gave their maximum contribution to identify the best brand masterpieces.
As project chairman, how are you going to Innovate this year with the final event?
Exhibiting Sri Lanka’s masterpiece brands should be a glamorous and prestigious event. So, I’m working hard to bring that atmosphere to the event. I invite all marketers to join with us in celebrating the brand event in Sri Lanka on 21st of November at BMICH.
Further, this year we have introduced two merit awards for SMEs and innovative brands to help motivate them and foster a culture of innovation.
What is the plan for next year’s ceremony and what is you message for the applicants?
Applying for Brand Excellence is about articulating your brand’s journey. Therefore, I would like to invite all newcomers to engage in the process and share their brand journey with us. It is a learning process and you may even gain a few key insights into your brand and consumer. And to those who took part this year, you can evaluate your brand strategy, fix any shortcomingsand apply again next year.