Entering the commercial world at a very young age (19) and winning the Best Entrepreneur award a few years later is not an easy task. Wimukthi Galahitiyawa Director and Brand Strategist at Brand Centrical which he founded in 2013, has done exactly that.
A product of Asoka Vidyalaya, Wimukthi was selected as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL)
Wimukthi went into business in 2003 and in 2011 won the award for Best Niche Market Website at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards.
In 2013, he set up Brand Centrical with his business partner Diluni who also happens to be his wife. The company does brand consultation work, research, advertising and digital marketing under the tagline ‘We bring brands to life’.
Brand Centrical’s key clients include leading companies in Sri Lanka.
“We are a branding and advertising company which provides a range of specialised services to build, re-position and market brands, and custom solutions to tackle branding and marketing challenges faced by companies,” Galahitiyawa said.
“We research into the internal environment of the company such as business process, policies, production and people and also into the market, competitors and consumers to understand the current situation of our clients,” he said.
A self-taught designer turned Creative Director and the founder of a design studio-cum-ad agency that focuses mainly on branding, Galahitiyawa said that his journey as an entrepreneur has not always been a smooth one.
“Being an entrepreneur is challenging. You may need to step out of your comfort zone, take risks and face crises. However, what’s important is, not to lose focus in the process,” he said.
He outlined the importance of brands, taking branding more seriously and how branding is a more comprehensive process than merely coming up with a logo and a tagline. According to him, branding is the process of positioning a business and portraying it in the correct light in the minds of potential consumers or target audience.
“Branding is about making an impression. It’s a 360-dgeree approach that involves making a brand appealing to a given audience as well as aligning the internal branding with the outward positioning,” Galahitiyawa said.
He said that Sri Lanka could use better young creators who are not merely educationally qualified and familiar with the software, but have the capacity to think independently and ‘out-of-the-box’.
In this regard, Galahitiyawa believed better opportunities should be given to youth in the form of internships to get hands-on experience and discover themselves and their strengths as creators.
Speaking of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, he said that his company never works towards winning awards.
“We were determined to position our company as a top establishment before applying for awards. Awards are always an encouragement and recognition is important to move forward. However, a company should not target awards with the sole purpose of winning at any cost, but provide a meaningful service to society for recognition,” Galahitiyawa said. The company carries out brand-oriented campaigns based on strategy, insight, innovation, creativity and human connections to overcome the challenges they face. The reason behind this is that people focus on the brands and not only on the features of the product.
“Since our long-term vision is for the brand, our clients are converted into partners. Our future plans include expansion and broadbasing of the company,” he said.
“We have expanded our services to Australia and hope to start operations in New Zealand in March this year. We also have expanded into digital engineering for brands through the company ‘BC Konnect’. We plan to start a vocational training facility in branding in the near future,” he said.