SLIM Brand Excellence is the ideal and the only platform for brand custodians to evaluate themselves while recognising their efforts, say Asanga Ranasinghe, Head of the Panel of Judges SLIME BE 2011 and Thushara Perera, President, SLIM in a joint interview. Following are excerpts:
Q: As President of SLIM, what is your objective in holding SLIM Brand Excellence?
A: Firstly, SLIM wants to encourage a marketing driven culture in Sri Lanka. The brand evaluation process was designed by Prof. Uditha Liyanage in partnership with SLIM, to encourage local brand custodians to follow a rigorous process in planning and assessing the performance of their brands.
Q: Wouldn’t you say that an awards programme of such immense proportions could deter smaller and less significant brands from entering, since they may feel they don’t have the market presence to compete with more established brands?
A: Not at all. In fact, small and medium sized companies with annual revenue below Rs. 100 millionaire are encouraged to enter and there are special categories for recognising them in the awards programme.
By entering an awards process of this calibre such companies can establish a marketing driven culture within their organisations.
Q: Does brand building contribute to the economic development of the nation?
A: Yes, definitely. This is the long-term focus of this programme. Building brands does contribute towards national development efforts as a whole, because strong and unique brands with clear value propositions that differentiate them are given the opportunity of competing in the global arena, with the added impetus of SLIM BE recognition that enables them to stand out against their competitors.
Q: SLIM has held many awards programmes since the institute’s inception, so what, in your opinion, is unique about SLIM Brand Excellence?
A: SLIM BE is the most prestigious marketing award in Sri Lanka today, and the only platform that evaluates the efforts of the brand builders as well. So, entering this awards programme goes beyond just the winning of an award.
Going through the SLIM BE evaluation process fine-tunes the brand custodian’s skills in the brand planning process.
This evaluation helps brand custodians adjust and improve on their strategies. Custodians deploy much thinking and efforts in making their brands a success. So this forum is dedicated to these unsung heroes of brands; the brand managers and marketing managers.
Q: Could you give us an overview of the judging process?
A: We have a very stringent judging process that ensures the accolades are given to brands that are truly trailblazers in the industry, and we carefully evaluate the branding strategies that form the basis of a well conceived marketing mix.
The evaluation criteria in the judging process covers every important aspect of brand management of the four components in the evaluation criteria – Brand intent, brand content , brand process and brand performance, brand intent, content and process which depict the strategies implemented, will contribute to 50% of the score whilst the balance is for the performance of the brand. Since companies invest heavily in their brands a favourable ROI (Return on Investment) is expected in the evaluation process.
Having strong brands give a company definite competitive advantage and this approach emphasises the fact that the winning brands must have strategies that show results.
Q: How important is SLIM BE to brand managers?
A: SLIM BE is the only awards programme in Sri Lanka that considers the excellent work done by brand managers.
By entering this programme, brand managers will not only get personal satisfaction through being recognised and rewarded for their work, but it also gives them an added edge in their career development because SLIM BE follows a well defined evaluation process that they could themselves use to gauge exactly where their own brands stand, which will enable them to assess areas that need improvement.