With 28 years in the corporate sector, 22 of which have been in a managerial capacity, Nemantha Abeysinghe, the General Manager at Nippon Paint Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, boasts experience from a number of various industries including FMCG, which entailed taking Sri Lankan products to the U.S, Europe, Australia and Japan, Construction and Hardware, and Shipping and Tourism. Nemantha described his exposure to many foreign markets as the most educational period in his career. 

Speaking of his strengths in terms of industry knowledge and how he utilizes these in his role as General Manager, Nemantha said, “My exposure to different market perspectives have enabled me to see a holistic picture when formulating strategies to manage the business, which includes harvesting the best out of individuals and focusing their strengths toward one focal point. This has proven to be tremendously successful in terms of encircling the competition and gaining market share to become the number one player in the paint market.”

On the topic of the latest trends in Need Analysis and how the Sri Lankan Marketing sector adapted thus far, the expert marketer explained, “Consumers have evolved over the years to become more sophisticated, demanding more complex solutions. This was partially triggered by the developments in architectural designs and foreign influence. Today, consumers have more access to global trends in the finishes market and are demanding world class solutions in beautifying their living spaces. We must admit the fact that over the past decade the living standards as well as the buying power of the Sri Lankan consumer have increased. Thus, further propelling the complexity and the sophistication of their preferences to higher levels. Not to forget that all the above have contributed to create a green, sustainable and socially responsible customer. Today, marketers are faced with both challenges and opportunities. I personally believe that all challenges are opportunities – therefore, I see a market full of opportunities. I see companies coming up everywhere with different value propositions to capture the consumer preference. Companies today, think more about creating greener and more sustainable offerings when it comes to their products and services. In marketing communication, we see that most of the successful companies strive towards positive publicity rather than mere advertisements.

This has given way to a new era of societal marketing concepts, where consumers are no longer interested in only value for money, but also go further to concern themselves with environmental sustainability, ethics and society as a whole.”

When questioned as to how Nippon caters to the prevailing sustainability trends, Nemantha replied, “Nippon Paint has responded to these changes by learning the customers’ current and future needs. Nippon Paint is the first company to introduce the Singaporean green label certified products to the Sri Lankan premium market. This enabled Nippon Paint to become a dominant player in the high-rise building market. Here, Nippon Paint introduced a range of novel products such as Solar Reflect, which brings down the interior temperature by 5 C thus, saving millions of moneys in energy cost, Dura Seal, a silicon based paint suitable for coastal areas, which has a water phobic self-washing feature that enables coastal hotel buildings to maintain their fresh look for years, thus saving repainting costs.

In the interior market, Nippon holds the patent for Anti-microbial and Air-purifying coating systems, which are certified by many international certification bodies and locally by reputed government establishments such as the ITI and MRI. This paint can eliminate ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ (which includes symptoms such as headaches, migraine, endless flu and colds, asthma and other respiratory issues caused by unhealthy interior environments in buildings) that is affecting millions of individuals in Sri Lanka without them really knowing.”   

“Since 2016, Nippon Paint has been able to lead the market year after year, widening the leading gap vis-à-vis competition”, said the General Manager of Nippon’s current status in the local market.

Expressing his views on the primary steps in a Marketing Strategy when introducing a new product to the market, Nemantha stated, “As you know, there are many steps advocated by various Marketing Gurus when it comes to introducing a new product to the market, but I like to keep it to simple – for me it’s GMM; Make the Gap, Make the Means and Make the Money.”