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Digital marketing new norm says fiona



by Zanita Careem

Over a decade’s worth of experience handling advertising, public relations and marketing within the FMCG, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Telecommunications industries and now her own Corporate Communications Agency, News Publisher – Fiona Nanayakkara has become one of the most sought after communications professionals, of her time. News is the first and only press release distribution system in Sri Lanka, the company creates content for a variety of industries and work with companies who abide by the triple bottom line and use platforms such as mainstream media, social media and online to reach relevant audiences. In 2019 Fiona was also awarded the Most Influential Content Marketer at the World Marketing Congress.

Armed with an MBA from the University of Buckinghamshire (UK) and a wit that knows no-bounds, Nanayakkara authored the first a self-help manual, providing coping methods to overcome workplace harassment, while maneuvering the Sri Lankan corporate minefield.

What were your observations on the dependence of brands on PR agencies?

Heavily dependent. Brands will always have to depend on Advertising and Public relations agencies as mainstream media management takes years of expertise.

For example;

Social media strategy can be developed by someone who has an understanding of the brand, the target audience and basics of the social media platforms and content. The numerous hours spent on social media, has enabled them to know where they want to be seen by whom and how?

In other words brands know if their customers watch videos/images on instagram/facebook.

However PR strategy should be in line with not just the brand but also with the knowledge of media and its viewers. What most PR people don’t understand is that we work for two key stakeholders –

Our clients who we support with messaging, presentation and media networks.

Media who we support with well written, news-worthy content which is applicable to their readers ( a mass audience)

Senior Marketers would always hire a PR agency because they are aware of what we bring to the table. With companies going to flatter structures everyday to reduce cost and increase efficiency, brands are more dependent on PR agencies, because in-house services are now outsourced.

Also older brands are aware that PR should be managed strategically, as we talk to the national media for their brand.

Can most small businesses afford a PR agency?

Unfortunately no!

In the current industry context, companies need a significant budget to appear in the newspaper, TV or Radio. Marketing services are expensive. While PR and advertising remains expensive, SMEs & Entrepreneurs are being creative with more affordable communication tools to attract customers – which is the end goal.

Yes it’s nice to have media presence but sustenance is key, therefore brands just opt for digital marketing solutions. Bigger brands are also now moving towards digital marketing as targeting is much easier online.

This is why News Publisher has made publicity affordable. empowers the customer to decide on the specific services they absolutely need agency services from and just work with us on that. Big brands hire news publisher because the quality is not compromised yet within budget, Entrepreneurs hire because the over all cost is 50% lesser than the industry rate as at News Publisher we are obliged to provide news worthy content to readers, listeners & viewers via mainstream media.

Many brands are increasingly repositioning themselves to suit the market sentiment. Do you think now PR agencies will have a more active role to play?

Yes, and the reason is; PR agencies usually handle a wide range of companies differing from size, location to industry. We spin news for a living!

Example: a company wants to say they donated half a million for the pandemic recovery, we say the company values in caring for the community they operate in.

PR agencies add more value to the news, the brand originally wants to say, make it reader friendly so media editor’s relationship is not compromised. A good PR Agency can also give you direction on your stakeholder related investments for the betterment of the brand.

PR has to be mastered over a certain period of time (approx. over a decade) to be good at it. Brands will require that level of expertise when repositioning themselves.

In your view, what are a few trends in the PR agency industry?

Working from home option enabled for majority of the supply chain. PR agencies work with writers, translators, graphic designers, online marketers and web-developers who work better from home. The timely service is an ongoing challenge, however if and when necessary systems are in place to adhere to client deadlines to deliver high quality services on time. This has enabled us to obtain industry expertise services for clients.

Boutique PR agencies is another trend around the world.

Boutique PR firms don’t have excess layers of management, which empowers employees to take on elevated levels of responsibility and enables clients to have their needs met faster.

Less quantity = more quality. Small, locally owned boutique PR agencies offer a network of specialists from all corners of the professional world who love what they do, and do it well, especially when they have the same goal to achieve.

Online service delivery. Given the recent events and social distancing protocol it’s important that PR people are able to deliver services online. Apart from events, press meet ups and strategy meetings (to name a few) majority of the publicity process can be online.

Briefs are given by clients in writing, written and emailed for approval, published and followed up via and invoice and publicity report submitted via email. News Publisher caters to not just multi-national organization but also to SMEs and start-ups.

The reason News Publisher stepped into this new market was to cost- enable good stories to appear in the newspaper and also opens us up to a wide range of industry knowledge. Even though PR is a B2B service, with the rising of number of entrepreneurs investing in PR we had to adapt to a B2C service process such as an online payment gateway to digitize the customer cycle.

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SOS Wonder Village at One Galle Face Mall



SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka, in partnership with One Galle Face Mall Colombo, presented the SOS Wonder Village event, an initiative aimed at raising funds and awareness for the well-being of children in need.

The SOS Wonder Village took place at the Level 4 Playscape at One Galle Face Mall Colombo, recently

The SOS Wonder Village event at One Galle Face promises a day of fun, learning, and philanthropy. By participating, attendees will not only enjoy exciting activities but also contribute to the betterment of children’s lives.

The SOS Wonder Village event features an array of engaging activities for attendees of all ages. Visitors can enjoy free painting sessions for children, youth, and adults, and a variety of indoor games. Exciting prizes await competition winners. Participants will also be able to sponsor a child under the care of SOS Childrens’ Village by pledging a monthly or yearly donation which would be utilized for the child’s educational and living expenses. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about child safeguarding and enjoy children’s videos, cartoons, and songs.

Commenting on the project, Mr.Divakar Ratnadurai, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka said, “At SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka, our mission is to provide a loving family environment for children without parental care or at risk of losing it. Through the SOS Wonder Village event, we hope to not only raise funds but also increase awareness about the importance of child safeguarding and the support needed for these vulnerable children.”

SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka has been actively engaged in providing a stable, family-like environment for children for 42 years, operating 06 Children’s Villages and caring for over 800 children. The organization is dedicated to extending assistance to more than 3700 children at risk of losing their parents through the Direct Family Empowerment Programme.

Sharing his thoughts on this partnership, Mr. Sid Solanki, Centre Director, One Galle Face stated, “We are delighted to partner with SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka for this fun-filled yet meaningful event. One Galle Face and the Shangri-La Group is committed to our belief of “Do Good” and we look to support – initiatives that positively impact our community, through advocacy and positive action. We believe the SOS Wonder Village is uniquely positioned to enhance the quality of life and provide much needed access to education and other opportunities to many children in need.”

SOS Village Sri Lanka invites everyone to participate in the SOS Wonder Village and contribute in making a meaningful impact, spreading joy to those who need it most, creating a brighter future for every child.

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Nyne Hotels: Redefining Hospitality with an All-Encompassing Sensory Experience



by Zanita Careem

Nayantara Fonseka, a successful entrepreneur, designer and interior decorator, affectionately known as Taru, has unveiled Nyne Hotels, creating a benchmark in hospitality. Having a keen eye for design and detailing,

she has turned her hotels into spaces where guests indulged in an experience, luxury and comfort throughout their stay. Her collection of luxury boutique hotels, has sophisticated interiors, decorative themes and immaculate service. An art collector, design afficionado and a creative power house, no doubt she claimed that she in the pioneer of boutique hotels in Sri Lanka that are architecturally unique.

Nayantara has introduced a fresh perspective to the world of hospitality. This visionary entrepreneur have re-define luxury, weaving her unique stories and experiences into the fabric of her properties. Why the change of name? She replied, it is now time to move on Nyne hotels is my new passion, she told the Sunday Island at the launch of Nyne. . With plans to open three more properties in Bentota 2024. Nyne hotels will be a brand that focuses on providing a holistic sensory experience for guests.

Nayantara Fonseka (Taru), launches Nyne Hotels, marking a new chapter in hospitality excellence and creativity. This transition isn’t merely a name change; it signifies the brand’s commitment to providing unparalleled experiences that engage with all nine senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, balance, intuition, time, and presence).

The significance of the number nine is rooted in completeness and culmination: at Nyne Hotels, it represents the pinnacle of our dedication to crafting extraordinary moments for our guests, where senses are indulged and experiences are transformative. “Our journey with Nyne Hotels is a testament to our passion for excellence and innovation in hospitality,” said Nayantara Fonseka , the founder and chairperson of Nyne Hotels. “We believe in going beyond the ordinary to create experiences that leave a lasting impression on our guests.”

Nyne Hotels isn’t just about accommodation; it’s about curating sensory journeys that revitalise the soul. From visually captivating designs to the aroma of exotic scents, from the melody of nature’s symphony to the tantalising flavours of culinary delights, Nyne Hotels invites guests on a voyage of discovery. “Our goal is to engage not just the traditional senses, but all nine senses,”. “We want our guests to experience their holiday in a way they’ve never imagined, to be fully present and immersed in the moment.”

The Nyne Hotels website serves as a portal to this sensory world, inviting guests to explore our unique offerings and tailor their experiences to their preferences. From tranquil retreats to vibrant cultural hubs, each Nyne Hotels property offers a distinct ambience that celebrates local heritage and artistry.

Nayantara Fonseka

Lake Lodge in Colombo is a contemporary green oasis, offering guests a quiet neighbourhood escape from the bustling city streets. Meanwhile, Rock Villa in Bentota embodies understated luxury, with its tropical bungalow architecture and sprawling gardens. The Muse, also in Bentota, exudes timeless style, while Leela Walauwwa in Induruwa evokes the charm of a bygone era. Landesi, which means ‘of Dutch origin’ in Sinhala, is a manor house set in the 17th-century Galle Fort, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mayur Lodge – Yala is a hidden gem nestled amidst the ‘Chena’ farming community, and offers a contemporary villa in a jungle environment, on the outskirts of the famed safari destination, Yala National Park.

“Our properties are more than just hotels; they are reflections of their destination,”. “Each property tells a story, weaving together elements of local history, culture, and art to create an authentic experience for our guests. We are proud to say that we will be adding further properties to our portfolio by the end of 2024, including three in Bentota.”

At Nyne Hotels, art is more than decoration; it’s an integral part of the guest experience. From paintings and sculptures to installations and performances, art is woven into the fabric of each property, inviting guests to engage with their surroundings in new and unexpected ways. “Being passinate about creating, I understand the power of art to evoke emotion and inspire imagination,”. “That’s why we’re committed to showcasing local talent and supporting the arts in all its forms.”

In addition to its commitment to sensory indulgence and artistic expression, Nyne Hotels is dedicated to sustainability and social responsibility. From eco-friendly practices to community engagement initiatives, Nyne Hotels strives to make a positive impact on the world around it. “As stewards of the environment and champions of local communities, we believe in leaving a legacy that extends beyond our boundries,”. “By embracing sustainability and social responsibility, we can create a brighter future for generations to come.”

As Nyne Hotels continues to expand its portfolio, with new properties set to open in the coming year, the brand remains committed to its core values of excellence, creativity, and authenticity. From secluded retreats to vibrant urban escapes, Nyne Hotels welcomes guests on a journey of discovery, teaming with opportunities to engage their senses and nourish their souls. For more information and bookings, visit

Lake Lodge – Colombo: A Contemporary Retreat in the City

Secluded from the buzzing streets of Colombo, Lake Lodge is imbued with a heritage tracing back to 1967, the country’s first registered and officially recognised ‘Guest House’, the words used back then to describe this genre. . Lake Lodge is a welcome respite from the bustling city with ten attentively composed rooms. Expect top-tier service and privacy at all times. Dining at Table by Nyne promises a unique culinary journey, with a marriage of Sri Lankan and international cuisine that attracts a loyal local and cosmopolitan fanbase of diners.

Meanwhile, the discreet gallery of public and private spaces within the Lake Lodge property offers a feast for the eyes, showcasing over 50 works of art by renowned artists, including Priyantha Udagedara and Kingsley Gunatillake.

Rock Villa Pool and Dining Pavilion

Rock Villa– Bentota: Tropical Bungalow by the Sea Surrounded by three acres of frangipani and meticulous rows of coconut trees, Rock Villa’s serene sanctuary encompasses a 180-year-old Walauwwa, the name given to ancestral heritage homes. The oft-imitated welcome popsicle, our blend of fresh mint and tangy passionfruit, sets the tone for an indulgent stay where every detail matters.

Filled with Sri Lankan collectables and a palette of white, beige and pops of turquoise, Rock Villa’s sprawling property is a laid-back tropical indulgence. Laze in an unspoiled beach beyond the single-track railway line, dip in one of the azure-blue pools, meander through the cooling mangroves, enter bliss in the spa or retreat into one of nine varied, well-appointed rooms.

Artfully-plated gastronomy and antique hand-carved wooden trellises for discretion elevate your stay from start to finish. An astounding display of over 90 pieces of work by celebrated local artists grace the walls of this silent art exposition.

The Muse – Bentota:Tranquil Seclusion with Artistic Flair

Tranquil and captivating, The Muse is where generous Sri Lankan hospitality enters absolute contentment. With nine divinely comfortable rooms and breezy open-plan living, it promises picture-postcard corners for an unforgettable family staycation or a quiet hideaway for two.

In this one-of-a-kind escape, step over the single gauge railway track and stroll across the powder-soft sea sand, feel quietness amongst mangroves, dip in the aquamarine pool or deep-dive into tantalising food.

Leela Walauwwa bedroom

Leela Walauwwa– Induruwa: A Heritage Haven of Serenity

Narrow winding roads snake through dense foliage to transport you to this rural manor house dating back two centuries. Its charming heritage promises to entice with colonial architecture, secret gardens and a gazebo made for meditation or reflection. Antique four poster beds in four supremely comfortable rooms and intricately-carved furniture give you more than a hint of the splendour of its past, immaculately restored to modern comfort.

Do take the opportunity of an art class led by the Villa Guardian, a well-known artist, to release the creativity in you. You’ll find it effortless, with the numerous works of art and sculpture surrounding you.

.Mayur Lodge – Yala: A Hidden Gem Within Nature

Off the beaten track, hidden away in the rural hinterlands on the outskirts of Yala National Park, Mayur Lodge is a four-acre retreat surrounded by nature. You will enjoy frequent sightings of the abundant birdlife and foraging peacocks and peahens after whom this lodge is aptly named: Mayur means peacock in Sanskrit.

. Landesi – Galle:A Stately Retreat Steeped in History

Landesi is Sinhala for ‘of Dutch origin’. Fitting, as this manor house graces the vicinity of a fort fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This stately house was designed and built by renowned architect Ashley de Vos, a conservationist of the Galle Fort who expertly retained the classic features of the period.

Inside, art by famous local artists including Laki Senanayake and several lithographs by Donald Friend enhance this house’s unique and special character. All around outside, are the feats of the mastery of culture and history to engage with.

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When The Clock Strikes And The Wolf Howls”: Unveiled by Soul Sounds Players



In a fusion of creativity and passion, the Soul Sounds Players, under the guidance of renowned theater specialist Jerome L. De Silva, proudly present their latest theatrical endeavor, “When The Clock Strikes And The Wolf Howls.” What began as a humble course in musical theater has blossomed into an extraordinary creation that promises to captivate audiences with its depth, drama, and sheer originality.

The journey of the Soul Sounds Players commenced in October 2022 with a simple three-month course, but it soon evolved into a transformative two-year exploration of the possibilities inherent in the world of theater. Drawing from their collective imagination and ingenuity, the Players have crafted an exquisite production that defies convention and invites audiences into a world of family intrigue, mystery, and the complexities of war.

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