SLIM Digis 2018 awards ceremony celebrates Sri Lanka’s finest digital marketing work, innovation and talent, while recognizing the region’s growing influence on the global digital industry. This is the first time the national marketing body has stepped in to recognize and appreciate Sri Lanka’s digital marketing leadership.
Below are excerpts of an interview with Project Chairman SLIM Digis 2018 and Executive Committee Member at SLIM Nuwan Gamage who explains the evolving digital marketing landscape and how SLIM Digis identifies its growth.
Q: How do you see SLIM Digis in the Sri Lankan Digital Marketing Industry? Where is the perfect fit?
A: It is evident that the need for digital marketing in the Sri Lankan digital marketing sector has been increasing over these preceding years. Over 34 per cent of the Sri Lankan population has access to the internet, 30 per cent are active social media users and we have a 137 per cent mobile connection, which in all, amounts to 28.71million users.
There are approximately 5.7 million mobile social media users all over thecountry. The use of internet and social media has extended from the urban to the rural areas as well. It is a fact that the Millenaries and Generation Z are the majority of the said users, as they are the new generation and represent a key factor of innovation.
As a result of this digital boom in the market, companies are allocating considerable budgets towards digital marketing. Both Digital and Creative agencies are coming up with interactive methods of luring the public into familiarizing themselves with their brands.
The aim of SLIM is to facilitate and uplift the marketing fraternity of Sri Lanka. As the sector is rapidly converting rapidly into digital marketing entirely, we realized that now would be the perfect time to host an awards show that will rightly recognize the efforts that Sri Lankan brands are making towards their conversion into the digital marketing era.
Q: As the Inaugural Project Chairman, what were the challenges you faced during the planning stages of the journey?
A: We devised the plan for SLIM Digis roughly three years ago. The main challenge we faced in the preliminary stages was the creation of the Blueprint. The initial committee creating the Blueprint comprised professionals who had done an excellent job in its design. But we soon understood that such a Blueprint would result in the discouragement of many brand innovations since the concept was a considerably advanced one. Nonetheless, a second attempt was carried out with an expert panel comprising ThilanWijeyesekara, Imal Fonseka, IrfanAhamed, Shehan Selvanayagam and Chamith Buthgamuwa, which conjured up an exceptionally easier and more conveniently suitable Blueprint.
Additionally, I am extremely grateful to the President of SLIM, Pradeep Edward and the Vice President, Roshan Fernando, for giving me a free hand in the execution of these plans. Moreover, the judging panel should also be acknowledged for the perseverance and expertise dedicated towards our cause which resulted in the reduction of several niggling intricacies.
Q: How did the preparation and the process of selecting the judges go?
A: It should be understood that the crucial part of an awards show is finding the right set of professionals fit to give recognition to emerging Digital excellence. It is especially difficult as this is the first time that such an event is being hosted in the country. Also, it was important that we find a set of professionals who have sufficient understanding on the modern trends and methods of Digital Marketing. Therefore, we had to be very selective. The expertise and support of Imal Fonseka, Head of Jury, was extremely encouraging as he is a remarkably experienced judge who has represented Head of Jury in many National Level Events and as a panelist of the Global Effie panel. Along with his assistance and the encouragement of a number of other individuals, we handpicked a proficient judging panel suitable to give rightful brand recognition at the SLIM Digis.
Q: How has the participation been? How many companies have applied so far?
A: We received more than 85 entries, including most of Sri Lanka’s Top Brands and Digital Marketing agencies. It is an astounding encouragement, given that this is the first time such an event is being hosted in the country.
Q: How will the final show be and what are the future plans for SLIM Digis?
A: We anticipate that the final awards show will be different and simplified compared to others of its kind. A number of reputed advertising and digital agencies have been invited to grace the inaugural event. It is also expected that the show will take on a prestigious and lavish format. The journey so far has been an unqualified success.
The future of SLIM Digis is an extremely promising one. Currently, we have received two international applications and we anticipate that we will receive more in the future. We anticipate adding more new categories to next year’s event and also expect to invite the SAARC countries and plan to franchise the event in other nations, which promises to be a better experience for the public.
I would also like to thank all the Members of Blue Print Committee, Panel of Jury, Digis Organizing Committee and SLIM Event Team for the support given and our sponsors and partners Lanka Sathosa, DFCC Bank, LexDuco, PR Partner PR Wire, Production Partner Dimension, Lifestyle Partner Pulse, Event Partners Sign Tech and Ninehearts, Official Business Magazine Partner LMD, Creative Partner JWT, Digital Media Media Partner Loops, Digital and Outdoor Advertising Partner Richardson for making the inaugural SLIM Digis 2018 a great success.