Dulinda Perera is the Chief Executive Officer of IKON Group of Companies, a Digital Media branding entity that specializes in marketing and business communication, established in 2017. In addition to his current role, he also holds the position of Executive Director at the Ceylon Robotics and Technology Corporation (CRTC) to further serve Sri Lanka’s robotics sector along with multiple other engagements.
Dulinda, who was born into a family of four, is a proud Sri Lankan and an alumnus of the prestigious St. Joseph’s College in Colombo. Despite studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, he is now a Chartered Marketer, qualified in both CIMA and CIM. He informs us of coming across “Brand Building” over 6 years ago and has had an unmistakable fondness for the process ever since, stating “A brand always presents you with a challenge; a challenge that requires you to brainstorm, think afresh, and strategize ahead of time. A brand symbolizes the hopes, dreams, and passionate interests of your clients which eventually makes it more challenging than imagined at the onset. With all of this comes an adrenaline rush which I’ve loved every single day, for the past 6 years!”
When it comes to the crucial parts of becoming a successful entrepreneur, according to Dulinda, giving in to various perspectives and attempting to gratify stakeholders is what turns most entrepreneurs off. Whether you are an entrepreneur or not, he believes that everyone should have the ability to dream big, to boldly imagine where they want to be in life, and to keep going after it even if no one else does. He believes that if that amount of determination and enthusiasm is continually put into what one does daily, anyone can succeed. He stated, “Your ability to shut yourself from the outside world and to keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is the ONLY ability you ever need!”
When asked about the values that guide his work as CEO, Dulinda initially mentions Professional Discipline. He claims that, while he is a vivacious and cheery person, he requires a certain amount of competent dignity and nobility in all work engagements. From effortless communication to brand strategy creation, he wants his team and clients to offer the same level of dedication. He then emphasizes Empathy. Dulinda feels that empathy is what distinguishes us as humans. Simply put, he believes it is futile to have developed a corporate empire or to be the greatest at what you do if you are unwilling to grasp what your colleagues and clients are going through. He goes onto share a famous saying at IKON, “We don’t care whether you are the best in what you do. If your attitude isn’t proper, IKON is not the place for you.” Lastly, he talks about the value of Competency, stating “In our line of work, we deal with intangibles that go beyond measure. They are the dreams, desires, and hopes of our clients. Thus, we absolutely have no room for error. I always believe that our clients deserve competent individuals handling the communication of their brands. Therefore, having competency entails having a continuous drive for upgrading and updating yourself. This is something I harp on, not only for the team but for myself too.”
When questioning his ideas for the company’s future he explains that the future is dubious. The unfathomable speed with which the world is changing makes it difficult for any individual to confidently state where they want to be in five years. However, Dulinda’s current strategy is to establish IKON as an Integrated Branding Agency focusing on the Digital Ecosystem. He goes on to say that the blueprint for the same has already been started and that it appears to be reassuring thus far.
The advice he would bestow upon a young adult would be, “Do what you dream about at night. A lot of us tend to dream about a multitude of things. Yet, sadly we still see young adults being compelled to stay within a preset frame of becoming a doctor or an engineer. Well, there is certainly nothing wrong with either of that. But what we need to realize and understand is that, whatever profession you choose, you will have to wake up to it every single day. Hence, it’s a choice you have to make between complaining every single day for the rest of your life and making your career a matter of doing what you love. It’s up to us to choose wisely, for a lifetime is a long time. Do not let your insecurities get a hold of you. We, humans, love to plan, way ahead. Failing to take step 01, we sometimes try to imagine what happens when we get to step 05, and if that looks a little grey, we never start at all. No! Do take that leap of faith and have a go at it. Never fear foraying into uncharted territory if that’s what you feel like is your calling. You will figure step 05 when you come to it. If you don’t, you’ll know one road which you should not take. Either way, you would have learned something new. That’s a win, so just get on with it!”
Dulinda shares that the IKON Group of Companies today boasts a wide assortment of services within the Digital Eco Space and manages a diverse portfolio of clients across Sri Lanka, Dubai, and Australia while overlooking the diverse spectrum of services that IKON offers. According to him, the core organization concentrates on a basic component called ‘Brand Building and Value Creation.’ Further, he explains about IKON Impressions; which is a full-service digital production company committed to giving visual meaning to the stories it tells. Their impressionists use cutting-edge technology, data-driven insight, and creativity to generate appealing images ranging from short video ads to marketing collateral. He then tells us about IKON Labs, the newest and fastest-growing member of the group, which targets IT Infrastructure Development across the board, from virtual storefronts to full-stack development of custom-made software for both local and international clients.
Dulinda says that IKON was one of the first agencies in Sri Lanka to make the transition from Demographic Based Marketing (DBM) to Data-Driven Marketing, as IKON’s diversification is questioned with the advent of global technologies (DDM). He noted that while they endeavor to keep up with the world’s high-powered technology advances, they initiate by affixing their uniqueness to the satisfaction of these advancements when integrating them into customer deliverables. Furthermore, according to Dulinda, the all-embracing goal of the company’s sister businesses’ expansion was to give coherent marketing and communications experience to their respected clients. He gives an understanding that digital communication is no longer a stand-alone activity, but rather a strategic element. As a result, IKON provides its clients with the unique benefit of a one-stop-shop dedicated to meeting their digital communication needs.
When asked how the company managed to stay on track with operations during the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic, Dulinda answers that COVID-19 has had little impact on them. He discusses how, since its start, IKON has supported virtual working and teleconferencing. His team is well-versed in agile working, and the appropriate procedures and norms are in place to ensure that work is delivered on time. As a result, the pandemic hasn’t had a significant impact on their business. He does say, though, that the team has adjusted to the new normal to meet the growing need for online activities by their brands. The pandemic wreaked havoc on some traditional marketing rules, forcing firms to adapt to new digital communication standards, stating “Our amazing team at IKON, has done nothing but cater to the same.”
Dulinda has a background as a public speaker in addition to his current position. He claims that public speaking has always been a means for him to escape reality. The feel of a podium and a stage, according to Dulinda, exudes his personality and always brings out the best in him. He had the good pleasure of competing in a few competitions during his school days and even as an undergraduate, and to his satisfaction, he won the titles of “Future Minds 2014 – Champion,” “Speech Olympiad 2017 – Champion,” and “All Island Inter-University Best Speaker (AIIUBS) 2017.” It will remain a passion more than a career or a title.
Questioning his viewpoint as to why a firm should invest in digital communication, Dulinda answers that, compared to traditional ways of promotion and communication, the Digital EcoSystem remains the most dependable, generally least restricted, and least expensive mode of communication for brands. The pandemic has firmly acknowledged this fact, while also emphasizing the sense of reliance that more traditional channels of communication have created.
According to him, Digital Space rewards people for creating authentic content around a brand and placing it in the right context. One can precisely place their information in such a way that it only reaches particularly interested consumers who have a purchase intent by relying on the knowledge and guidance of devoted experts. In this manner, a person’s efforts won’t go for naught if their content is seen to customers who aren’t in their target demographic. With a properly constructed revenue process and accurate targeting, businesses can ensure that they not only capture genuine leads but also turn them into actual sales. In summary, he states, “All this applies, regardless of whether the given context is B2B or B2C.“