Hasrath Munasinghe - The Evolution in Branding
evolution in branding in the banking sector
What can you tell us about your organization?
Commercial Bank is the largest private bank in Sri Lanka and it certainly stands as a benchmark to others in the industry. Before we became the most awarded and respected bank in the country, our roots were cultivated in 1920 with the formation of Eastern Bank. It has been a century since then and we have set standards, created an identity and put many unsurpassable trends in motion within this time. We have maintained our identity while introducing various new products and services for the benefit of the public. Of course, we would not have stood the test of time without our focus on technology, which is driven by a team of highly motivated, dynamic individuals.
What does branding mean to you?
As a career marketer, branding is everything to me. It is an aura, a sense of bonding and an affection, all in one. People have their own preferred brands and there isn’t a tangible reason behind this; unknown to a consumer, a soft drink may be a favorite not for its taste but purely for the branding and image associated with the product. At its core, a branding is something that is intangible; it cannot be quantified but the value behind it is priceless.
What specific challenges are associated with branding in this industry?
Banks have only payed attention to branding quite recently. This due to the fact that a decade ago, the playing field started getting very competitive; rates were one and the same and atm networks and branches among all players began to spread out evenly. In order to be different, branding is the key element. So, the challenge lies in how to differentiate yourself in a highly competitive market where all players offer more or less the same proposition to consumers.
How does one innovate when it comes to branding?
Innovation is the way forward. Some brands that failed to innovate have now died out even though when at their prime, they were unsurpassable. Innovation can come from all aspects of business operations, even at core product levels. One can divert from your core product and offer something completely new with the trust that your established brand image will make the product a success. Consumers too have become very demanding and their requirements change frequently. Because of this, evolution in the form of innovation is now becoming commonplace across all industries.