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Sri Lankan brands warned to be vigilant of social media threats
26 May, 2011 18:10:40
By Riyad Riffai
May 26, 2011 (LBO) – Due to the growth of social media and the internet Sri Lankan firms have to be increasingly vigilant to safeguard the reputation of their brands among today's well informed consumers, a senior executive said.

Brands build bonds with end users to ensure they continually consume their products.

Brand specialist say one way communication from brands to consumers is rapidly changing due to developments in Information Communication Technology (ICT).

"These companies are not communicating but I'm still getting information about them and that’s the environment in which we are operating today," Sachi Thomas, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline operations in Sri Lanka said.

"So your reputation becomes increasingly important."

Sachi Thomas was a panellist at the 35th LBR-LBO CEO Forum on 'Building Brands and Changing Lives: CEO's Role' attended by several hundred senior corporate executives in Colombo.

The forum was sponsored by fixed line operator Sri Lankan Telecom.

Thomas said consumers are now talking to other consumers about their experiences with particular products or brands which manufacturers lack control to contain.

The recent explosion in social media like Face Book, Flickr, My Space, Twitter and blogs on various subjects make the brand custodian's job much harder.

"This notion about a beautifully focused brand and finely crafted message only lives in conference rooms; out there in newsrooms there is chaos," Thomas said.

"Your brand's strength and reputation will increasingly depend on what comes down when you Google."

He said websites like are increasingly posing a challenge to the leisure industry. Reviews left by former customers on tripadvisor website range from food, hotels to car rental companies that travelers increasingly depend on before making the booking.

"I would rather rely on another person who has visited the site than going through the brochure of that hotel, Thomas said.

"The brochure of that hotel is always going to show me lovely pictures, great ambience but they are not going to talk to me about how they messed up my room, the hot water doesn’t work and all that nitty-gritty which is only going to be communicated by people who you can trust."

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