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 publisher.online 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.
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?
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. www.newspublisher.online 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 www.newspublisher.online 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.
The Boss Up Story
Boss Up isn’t merely a brand name. It’s a manifestation of resilience and inner power in the form of a branding and social media marketing agency. Hafsa Killru, the Founder of Boss Up has a personal story and determination to ‘boss up’ that propelled her to launch her own venture to empower entrepreneurship, especially among small businesses.
The environment one grows up in has a remarkable effect on a young child’s mind. Watching two strong women in the family redefine the role of feminine power, a young Hafsa grew up ambitious too. Although brimming with the desire to create a change, her childhood was fraught with challenges that plague many children today – bullying. She was subject to severe bullying since the tender age of 10 at her places of education, which affected both her mental and physical health.
“I never fit in anywhere. I was never welcome among the cliques. But I didn’t let it affect my confidence. Keeping my circle small helped me stay focused on my studies. I’d spend this time alone in school libraries, often reading encyclopedias,” says Hafsa. “The bullying worsened in my teenage years. I was lonely but it worked out in my favour because I was never, and still not, someone who worries about ‘what will others say’ — a key obstacle in many people’s lives. Not having many friends meant I was not under peer pressure. This allowed me to be my authentic self.”
Hafsa’s writing career began quite unexpectedly when she was 17. Not only is she a content writer but also a poet who writes evocatively about mental health, healing and empowerment. But this didn’t come by easily either.
During her higher studies, those she considered to be her friends tried to crush her growth mindset, which eventually took a toll on her. It was only when she managed to remove herself from such environments did she become more self-aware and regain her confidence, thanks to the solitude it brought into her life.Yet again, a new set of obstacles awaited her in her early 20s. In 2019, she was turned down by over 20 companies within three months alone, which led to deep frustration and self-doubt. Although she had freelancing opportunities, the lockdown only added to her troubles.
But that’s when something clicked into place – an idea so obvious, so big and so right for her that Hafsa knew it was what all these adversities were pushing her towards. She realised the lockdown was putting undue pressure on businesses and it needed a solution. Especially small businesses were struggling to go online and create a sustainable brand, and that too at an affordable rate. How could they compete with incumbent brands with massive budgets and breakthrough technologies? She sought to give them the edge they needed and thus, Boss Up was born in October 2020.
“Inviting change, taking charge of the situation and choosing to do something on my own has to be, although scary, the most liberating decision I have ever made,” admits Hafsa. “The lockdown wasn’t the time for businesses to go silent. They needed business and marketing solutions that would help them overcome the situation.”
In today’s contemporary business world, a business of any size will only be running a losing race if it hasn’t developed a strong social media presence or a clear brand strategy. Hence, Boss Up ensures equal opportunities are given to entrepreneurs from all walks of life.
One and a half years into the business, Boss up is now global with its wings spread across countries like the UK, Canada, Dubai, Qatar, the Maldives and Australia, and is backed by a strong team of young and passionate minds.
Boss Up’s primary goal is to uplift entrepreneurs. The brand is also a strong advocate for inner power, confidence and resilience — the three main driving forces of ambition. It intends to help people who hail from struggling backgrounds; the ones who are inundated with a lack of support, seek self-sufficiency and are hungry to design a unique identity for themselves.The brand also strives to treat everyone at work with compassion and empathy whilst leading with kindness as it is crucial to reform work cultures that are hazardous to oneself.
Reach out to HAfsa via Instagram @hafsa_killru @bossup_srilanka or email email@example.com.
The Switch of Trend in Fashion After the Pandemic 2022
There has been an immense change in the Industry of Fashion after the pandemic struck us all hard. Currently, the trends of fashion have also taken a big turn towards affordable fashion trending styles and outfits. The Fashion boom has grown to become steadily slow for the seasonal styles and basic needs of clothing as well.
The current scenario of fashion life is always at a peak, and even after the Covid-19 pandemic, we have still seen slow growth in the need for fashion. There are of course certain aspects that have affected the industry and declined surplus. However, fashion and clothing have become a BASIC need for humans across the globe.
From shopping high-end couture to higher brand apparel, the trend has shifted to move on to sustainable clothing and organic clothing pieces. For example, we have become more aware of locally produced clothing brands and organic fabrics of our country. Made in India clothing and brands are emerging at a higher graph.Let’s take a look at the Current Change in Fashion Trends due to Pandemic 2022
Sustainable Outfits After the Pandemic
This is something most have been finding a basic need in clothing. Spending over and over again on the same kinds of clothing has and will reduce in the future. Buying clothing and fashion pieces that last for longer is the key to saving more than before. Buying pieces like basic Tees, Pants which may be styled over and over again is what the trend is shifting towards.
Budget Range of Fashion Brands are Accepted higher
Since the ban of Rowme and Shein-like brands and online websites in India, other national brands have started to make affordable fashion pieces for their customers. Styles and trends of fashion in the budget are what the people will be looking out for since the economic growth of people has dropped. Investing in fashion will never end until there will be a supply, the only difference is the budget range brands have a huge change of acceptance now since the pandemic.
Change of Styles worn to Work or Office Fashion after the Pandemic
Since the depression, people may have just stopped feeling happier may want to take the effort to dress like before. Styles of fashion in a simple and classy fashion will emerge largely than before. Choosing Plains or Solids overprints and pattern or neutrals over new trending colors and the print patterns is being seen for workwear fashion.
Change of Trends and Styles for Indian Festival Wear after the Pandemic
In the same way as the above point mentions, dressing special occasions will take a shift. Looking at the financial conditions currently, customers will be buying lesser for Festive wear than before. Styling the same pieces with a change of new additions of budget festive wear will be trending. Sarees and salwar suits in silks, choosing cotton, and linen kurta sets over the designer trends are to be seen this year during Indian festivals.
Choosing Budget Wedding Wear Over Designer Wedding Wear
When it comes to weddings, the cost goes to the highest for any customer. But the pandemic has changed how weddings will be taking place. The cost of weddings has declined drastically and shopping for Indian weddings has grown to choose mid-range wedding wear over high-end designer wear. Saving more during weddings, styles of lehengas, sarees, shalwar suits, or sherwanis for weddings that are in mid-range is a new trend.
From styling men’s kurta suits styles for the basic function of weddings to choosing classic or budget range sarees and suits for the bride’s ceremonies will take up a new fashion trend look. Making a choice of ONE heavy wear Lehenga and Sherwani may be what the soon-to-wed couples be looking for.Designer wear which can be restyled or reused and worn for other occasions and weddings is also a trend to grow rapidly. Saving much more for the bridal and groom’s outfit looks.
Shopping Online Increased for clothing after the Pandemic
The safer way to buy clothing has become a focus for all customers going towards online shopping. The percentage of online buyers has rapidly increased for clothes after the pandemic. From casual wear shopping online to fashion shopping for festivals and weddings, all have become much easier and more convenient for consumers.
Websites and businesses are working to grow even wider with Online Shopping. Connecting with customers personally for their shopping experiences to taking a new addition in budget clothing varieties for the customers is what’s taking place.
Online shopping has become a trend We have set an all-new trend for our customers It brings more trust and safety to customers. Shopping for wedding wear online only gets comfortable for all when sitting back home and shopping Fashion Shopping after the Pandemic via on-line shooping is what keeps all customers happier.
Captivating streetwear for today’s fashionable girls
The latest street fashion brand Girls by Dillys under the umbrella of Dilly’s was launched recently introducing trending new pieces to help girls carry the distinct personality and style to be the fashionable girl of today.
Girl by Dilly’s is a creative street fashion brand that focuses on vibrant colors, textures, and prints to bring out the youthful exuberance of today’s girls. The brand has emphasized on contrasting color combinations. The ethos of this brand is creativity and having fun. Girl by Dilly’s is dedicated to the free-spirited girls who have their own super powers and a bold attitude. Girls are encouraged to mix and create unique styles to introduce their own identity in a creative and playful way.
This brand is the new lifestyle for confident girls who love to enjoy freedom, youth and individuality. The brand has different style combinations from casual to evening wear to make the overall look fashionable and completely their own. The brand tagline ‘All about a Girl’ is a reminder to every girl that she is unique and beautiful.
To ensure glam and comfort, all Girl by Dilly’s products are crafted using quality fabrics and technical know-how. The brand offers a wide range of stylish ready-to-wear pieces, from tops, skirts, pants, shorts, dresses, rompers, jump suits, crop tops, and t-shirts. The brand has introduced batik into the collection with a fabulous finishing touch to elevate its signature styles. The brand is also introducing a comfortable t-shirt collection with inspirational slogans and line art to share a positive message with society.
Dilani Wijeyesekera – Director of Girl by Dilly’s stated, “We became aware of a notable gap in today’s market for fashionable streetwear clothing for girls. Today’s new generation of girls have a different youthful energy about them. They are fun, bold, carefree and energetic and they want the whole world to see that. Girl by Dilly’s is perfect for such girls as it helps them find their own identity through our collection of vibrant colours and creative styles that they can mix and match to come up with eye-catching outfits. Every piece of Girl by Dilly’s has the look and feel of fun and vibrancy.”
With the launch, Girl by Dilly’s is providing an introductory offer to all loyalty customers where they can avail themselves to a 15% discount on all products until 7th August 2022, both on online and at the flagship store. A selection of special giveaways has also been lined up in the coming weeks for all social media followers.
For the latest Girl by Dilly’s updates and new releases, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok using @dillyandcarlo. The latest Girl by Dilly’s collections are available at the Flagship Store on the website www.dillyandcarlo.com.
Dilly’s was established in 1987 to cater to Colombo’s desire for high-end designer wear with a local twist. As the company grew, Dilly’s introduced its second brand to the market, this time to cater to menswear. Carlo was established in 2007 and exemplified stylish men’s clothing for all ages. The brand is housing its distinct designer ranges to cater to the entire wardrobe requirement of modern men and women.
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