The MarCom Collective recently made an appeal to clients on behalf of marketing communication industry, requesting them to refrain from calling for pitches and competitive quotations with concepts and to continue to work with their existing partners until the current situation eases for all. The proposed timeframe is 18 months, commencing from 1st July 2021.
In the event a pitch is unavoidable, the Collective has proposed a series of steps for Companies to consider. 1. Decide on an agency based on credentials submissions 2. The proposed minimum limit that defines a project as large enough to be called for a pitch should yield a net ad spend that exceeds Rs 10 million per annum in respect of creative production for ad agencies, a spend of Rs. 5 million per event in respect of event companies, a spend of Rs. 25 million per annum in respect of digital companies, a spend of Rs. 100 million in respect of media independent companies. In addition, it proposes that clients evaluate credentials of all suitable agencies but limit the final selection to 3 agencies/companies only for pitch submissions. Lastly, it proposes that clients consider paying a minimum fee of 150,000 for the pitch work presented by the two unsuccessful bidders. In the case of event companies and outdoor companies it requests clients to ask for cost proposals only.
The Collective stated that, at present the marketing communications industry is under tremendous pressure as a result of the ongoing pandemic and many agencies have had to take drastic measures in order to survive. The added burden of a pitch and uncertainty associated with it, only increases the pressure they face. This request comes because of the significant increase in pitches being called for by clients which are considered arbitrary in nature.
Commenting on the appeal that is being made to clients, Roshan Wijeyaratne – President, MarCom Collective and President, Event Management Association of Sri Lanka said, “The marketing communications industry has been quite challenged due to the prevailing global health and financial crisis. We believe that it is important for us to join hands and use our time and talent productively and not wastefully. The marketing communications industry thrives on relationships, as such we are confident that by working together in partnership over the next 18 months, will only enable companies to recoup some of the losses that have been incurred during the past 15 months. Pitches cost money and time, which Agencies, Event companies Media independents, Printing companies, Research and Outdoor Advertising companies can ill afford.”
”As a member of the IAA, which represents clients, media, and advertising agencies, I believe the request being made is timely. It is only fitting for us to come together as members of the business community and be mindful of the current situation and lend our support in ways that we can. Engaging and remaining with our current partners we feel is reasonable, as it can only strengthen and build the working relationship when facing such a challenging time.” said, Tharaka Ranwala – First Vice President, MarCom Collective and President, International Advertising Association (IAA) – Sri Lanka Chapter.
Sugiban Sathiayamoorthy – Second Vice President, MarCom Collective and President, Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies, Sri Lanka (4As) stated, “Members of the 4As have raised heightened concern over the significant increase in arbitrary pitches being called for during this time. A huge investment in time and money are incurred by agencies for pitches and the expected business either does not yield the promised revenue, at times not awarded at all or the business is awarded on a predetermined decision leaving a wealth of brand and category knowledge with clients who haven’t paid any money for it. This practice challenges ethical business norms even under normal circumstances but has become an increasingly alarming trend during pandemic times. If clients are compelled to call for a pitch for their business, I hope clients will respect agencies and at least pay for their efforts through the proposed pitch fee.”
The MarCom Collective is an industry body comprising of nine associations representing the advertising and marketing communications sectors as well as businesses and professionals associated with them, that came together following the crippling impact of COVID-19. The Collective continues to engage with its members and other stakeholders to bring to light the diverse issues faced by the sectors and how they could work together to address them in a post COVID-19 business environment.
‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘
By Steve A. Morrell
Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.
Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.
“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.
“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.
“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.
“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.
“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.
“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”
Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses
Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.
In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.
As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.
Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka
Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.
“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.
Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.
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