Ajit Gunewardene – President of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts was recently invited as the Chief Guest for the CIM Chartered Marketer and Fellowship Investiture. The following is an excerpt of his Keynote Speech and presentation which focused on the branding strategy of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts
“One of the key attributes of an emerging market is the speed of change and the multiple opportunities available for innovative companies. In a context where the whole of Asia has emerged as an economic power, the marketing fraternity needs to explore the opportunities for creating world class brands from the region.
This does not necessarily mean that we need to produce the biggest brands in the world. For Sri Lanka this might anyway prove to be an arduous task. However, we have to be the best at what we do. From the Street Food vendor selling Kottu to conglomerates specializing in multiple industries – whatever you do will have to be world class! There is no longer a local sub-par standard that will be acceptable.
As marketing professionals you will have to demand this from your businesses. To add to the challenge – what is world class and acceptable today, is outdated tomorrow. Hence, you have to be innovative and be able to stay ahead of the curve. This is the new reality which you have to embrace.
Sri Lanka as an emerging economy will offer all of you significant new opportunities. With these opportunities will come new challenges. The competitive framework and the new consumer will mean that to win you will have to think differently and think globally.
You have a bigger role to play in the emerging Sri Lanka, maximizing on the market gaps to create internationally recognized brands. Well established brands will not only be healthy for the company who holds such brands but also for the country in which such brands are made in. I believe through the experience and the know-how of all the Chartered Marketers and fellows, Sri Lanka will be able to build internationally recognized brands which will have a great impact on the country’s GDP.
I take this opportunity to congratulate all of you on your achievement and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”