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Nation branding way out – SLIM

The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) says that nation branding will be the solution for the prevailing economic crisis.SLIM President Nuwan Gamage addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday said that the country could face the challenges of the economic crisis by paving the way for a knowledge-driven economy.

Gamage said that Sri Lanka, following the recent economic crisis, has dropped from 68 to 74 in the Brand Finance index. The SLIM has plans to lead the nation’s efforts towards economic prosperity, and its mission to establish marketing as the driving force that enhances business and national value. “Aligning with SLIM’s vision and mission, we are focusing on a five-pillar strategic approach. The five pillars are future-proof education, entrepreneurial marketing, sustainable marketing, digital marketing ecosystems, national-level research, and advocacy.

Gamage said that the Dominican Republic and Bhutan had recorded rapid developments in a short period of time through nation branding. “We have many strengths which are unique to this country and we must promote those to our advantage. Our approach should be two-fold. We need strong short-term and long-term plans to ensure economic stability. In the short term, we need to look at the way our debts are structured. For that, we need to ensure political stability. Secondly, we need to develop a strong economic policy framework for the country – this should focus on entrepreneurship development. Micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) are the lifeblood of any economy, but the MSME sector in the country has totally collapsed. We need to establish this immediately and have a strategy in place to promote them for more exports, aspiring to establish an export-oriented economy.

Next, we should have a strong foreign policy. One sector we can focus on developing is the tourism sector. Furthermore, we ought to develop a one-window policy for FDIs with a specific focus on assembling and semi-knockdown operations, while fully utilising our harbours, opting for fuel bunkering as a service hub for global shipping lines, and paying special attention to alternative energy, LNG, solar, and wind. Even exploring our natural resources, such as fuel deposits in Mannar basin is vital. Further, restructuring loss-making public enterprises or privatising some are plausible options.

We believe in the need to build and promote Sri Lanka to the rest of the world as a place people and businesses can not only visit, but also invest in and live in peacefully. It is a crucial part of revitalising Sri Lanka’s economy and enhancing the country’s reputation on a global scale.

President of SLIM Nation Branding project Kavi Rajapaksa said that nation branding could help the country to recover fast from its present crisis. “We have many talented marketeers who could join the SLIM’s effort to rebrand Sri Lanka. We see that many members of our talented younger generation are now looking for avenues to migrate. We need to develop trust and confidence for them to live here and contribute to our motherland, because if not, the next big crisis faced by our country in the future will be a severe lack of skilled professionals,” she said.

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