‘Brand building, important to remain competitive’ | Sunday Observer

‘Brand building, important to remain competitive’

Diluni Jayasekera (on right) receives her award.
Diluni Jayasekera (on right) receives her award.

Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurs to facilitate the country’s forward march in terms of socio-economic development.

Young entrepreneur Diluni Jayasekera who has excelled in her chosen field, has made many strides in her career of over half a decade. Among her achievements were an international award - the ‘Pioneering Woman Leader’ award, at the sixth World Women Leadership Congress and Awards ceremony in Mumbai, India, in February.

“This is an international recognition, and I personally consider this as an achievement because it also highlights the company which I am involved with. This is a major boost for my career. As a company, we are involved in brand-building and our efforts are further encouraged by this award,” Jayasekera said in an interview with Business Observer.

However, she said that pumping money alone into advertising will not help, and brand building is important to remain competitive.

“We are in the process of improving our digital arm, as we want to deliver results. We are known as a boutique agency and prefer to be called by that name. We offer specialised, customised service and are not interested in creating a mass client base but quality service delivery,” she said.

Excerpts:

Q. What does winning this award mean to you?

A. Personally, it means that I am on the right track and following my heart does work, that doing what I love, what I am passionate about... it works. Professionally, it means, along with my team, I can keep creating positive change, and grow.

Having put my heart and soul into my work at Brand Centrical, and to know that I have been rewarded by those in the Business Women’s Network, means the world to me. It can be a very demanding role at times and to know that my hard work has been recognised by those outside of the business, in an international platform, is very flattering.

Q. What motivates you?

A. My business partner, Wimukthi Galahitiyawa and I, were in the advertising industry and with time and exposure, we realised that Sri Lankan businesses were more focused on selling services or products through short-lived advertising, which is communicating availability of the products or services. As a result, in Sri Lanka, we only have good hoardings or TV commercials - but no good brands with value.

Merely focusing on advertising results not only in business stagnating, but we also stagnate as a country as well. That’s why we wanted to introduce branding in Sri Lanka and help businesses in the country go forward.

Having started five years ago, with three people and one client in a small place, but with high hopes and positive vision, today, we are a fully functioning agency with 40 clients which include top corporates of the country. Over the years, we transformed business and received commendation and as a result built a loyal client base without any promotional work. This is the motivation to keep doing what I love.

Q. What is your next target?

A. Two years into the business, an internal digital arm was formed to provide a 360 degree solution to our growing clientele.

It soon started to attract new clients due to the business oriented digital solutions provided by our company as compared to the traditional digital firms which only focused on technical know-how.

The realisation of the potential of the company in combining, business intelligence with digital solutions, was understood when the first business software was developed from scratch, by the digital department of Brand Centrical.

Since then, the company has identified areas where software solutions can be applied to achieve greater results in business for the clients, and it was market-tested with multiple successful software solutions.

As I am more into marketing intelligence within the company, my aim is to provide innovative digital solutions for businesses to be more effective and successful.

Q. How do you hope to achieve this target?

A. A strategic business plan has been developed for this new expansion over the past couple of months. Thereafter, its important for me to set goals for direction and focus, and help me to stay motivated till the targets are achieved.

It’s also important to celebrate successes each step of the way. After all, this is about the journey as much as the destination.

Q. What can people do to make the country better?

A. To have discipline. Discipline is a concept everyone is aware of, but few truly understand. Most Sri Lankans lack discipline and I believe that is the main reason why we, as a country, progress at a slow pace. For personal and professional growth, this quality is a must. The most successful people in life apply discipline on a daily basis. Discipline brings stability and structure into a person’s life. It shows a person to be responsible and respectful.

The observance of well-defined rules is the basis of society. If there were no discipline, people would do whatever they want and make mistakes, without any consideration for others. It encourages good human behaviour to create a better society and make it a more enjoyable place for everyone. If every Sri Lankan understood this principle it would transform our country into a better place.

Q. Is it hard to be a career woman in your field?

A. It’s hard to be a career woman in any field. Not only in Sri Lanka but also in developed countries as well. This is a global issue that women face. Most men wouldn’t want to accept this, but it is so, We survive in a male- dominant world!

Today, the percentage of working women has grown significantly compared to what it used to be. Women have gradually evolved from being limited to the kitchen, to running their own companies. However, when women start to climb the ladder and realise our place is no longer subservient to men, and that we should stand beside them and achieve the same career milestones as them, instead of being beneath them, that’s when it becomes difficult for us. I have experienced this in my career. Despite your qualifications your gender becomes an obstacle.

Therefore, it’s important to believe in yourselves and try as hard as you can to be the best, in everything you do no matter what obstacles you might encounter, staying positive and being confident will make you overcome any hurdle.

Also, as women, we should always support other women. After all, we are all in this together and together we could accomplish the unimaginable.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you can give girls who aspire to be more like you?

A. Draw inspiration from success stories of people, but write your own story. Everyone’s story is different. Trying to be more like someone will not work for you. Your story is different, write the best version of it.

Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?

A. I always try to be better and to do better each passing day. Personally, I want to be the best version of myself in five years time and make a positive impact on society.

Professionally, there is a lot planned for the coming years. I am excited to achieve each goal along with my team to uplift our country to global standards and empower women. 

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