Gamika De Silva - How Branding Relates
We asked him about branding and how it relates to the relevant industry
What can you tell us about your organization?
Since its establishment in 1989, Seylan Bank has been known as a pioneer in the industry. We were game changers when we went against the tide and placed a firm focus on innovation. Because of this, over the last 30 years, Seylan has grown significantly. Our customers place their trust in us because we truly are a bank with a heart; our service is what wins the hearts of the customers. Because of this, customers have stood by us even during challenging times. As of now, we are looking at expanding our footprint in terms of our network and digitization. We are also very strong in the SME sector and the personal loans category. Our portfolio in terms of cards has also been growing at a fast pace.
What does branding mean to you?
Branding to me is more than just a logo or a theme of colors. In fact, it is all about the feelings and experience that are triggered in the minds of a consumer which are directly related to a positive association.
What specific challenges are associated with branding in this industry?
We face both internal and external challenges. Internally, ensuring that the science and the art of branding work in harmony after crunching the numbers is essential. A brand concept should be articulated into a business concept. As a brand cannot be built overnight, consistent messaging which is inline with the brand promise has to be established. This is a process that often takes time. Externally, we face a lot of clutter in the market. With so many financial institutions in Sri Lanka that more or less provide the same services, we are constantly trying to find new ways to differentiate our brand promise in a way which will add value to customer. We cannot do this without understanding what the customer really wants.
How does one innovate when it comes to branding?
I would like to stress that innovation does not need to come from technology as people often misread this. However, technology certainly is an area where one can innovate, but we have found that the greatest way of innovation in terms of branding is through communication. For an example, our extremely successful Dekken Dennam campaign for personal loans was a prime example of this. The campaign itself directly tells the customer how fast they may get a loan. We quadrupled in terms of sales and saw an unprecedented growth in our personal loan portfolio. Once you challenge your current process and approach to branding, innovation will follow naturally.