Nuwan Gamage, Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Arinma Holdings and Honorary Vice President of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing has over 19 years of expertise in the infrastructure development, cosmetics, beauty, fashion, and education industries in areas such as strategic marketing, brand management, digital marketing, international marketing, corporate communication and sustainability. Nuwan holds an MBA and a postgraduate diploma in marketing from the University of Sri Jaywardanapura, and is currently reading for his Ph.D. at the University of Colombo. Nuwan held many senior positions in Marketing in reputed beauty & cosmetics brands in Sri Lanka and has hands-on experience in promoting Sri Lankan brands in North America and Asia Pacific regions.
He also served as an Honorary Vice President of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, The National Body for Marketing, and holds various honorary roles such as Secretary, Executive Committee Member and founder project chair of SLIM Digis, the national digital marketing awards in the country.
Born and bred in the little village of Morawaka in the Matara District, where he completed both his primary and secondary education, Nuwan came from humble beginnings. He traveled to the dynamic city of Colombo in hopes of pursuing his further education and finding a job because he was unable to enroll at a university at the time. He recalls that throughout his high school years, he was particularly interested in the section of “Marketing” in the subject of Business Studies. As a result of this ambition, he landed his first job at an advertising agency.
Given the number of stakeholders, Nuwan emphasizes the need for digital communication, what a company is doing and what trends are being followed. Previously, there were few possibilities, such as PR articles, magazine advertisements, and so on, but with digital disruption, there are now a plethora of ways to communicate about a firm.
Simply, digital communication involves an organization’s online communication efforts. Most organizations today use different online platforms from their social media pages to the website from mobile chat on blogs—to connect with current and prospective customers, employees, and other stakeholders. They need skillful digital communication professionals who have a keen understanding of how to leverage this convergence of technology and messaging to their advantage.
Specifically, as a result of Digital Disruption, the communication medium has shifted to a design-driven state. In terms of technology, any digital platform can be used for better visual communication. Another important aspect is corporate reporting, which is becoming increasingly important as the globe moves toward a more sustainable endeavor. These are the new trends that have emerged as a result of Digital Disruption. He further emphasizes that those who thrive in digital communication tend to be highly adaptable. As priorities in this discipline often shift quickly and require commitment to lifelong learning, it is necessary to be passionate about storytelling, have deeper understanding of the people, the processes, and channels of communication.
Questioning how he intends to revolutionize the education industry in the post-pandemic new normal, Nuwan says that he primarily wants to focus on education along the lines of marketing. When it comes to marketing education, many people have learned to study online due to the ongoing pandemic, and he believes online education plays a significant role in the education business, particularly in marketing. This is because the majority of individuals have now switched from traditional education to education on-demand, automated marketing, and Marketing Technology (MarTech), as data-driven marketing will be a future focus of marketing education.
When asked what advice he would provide to the next generation as a professional marketer, Nuwan answers that the current generation isn’t as young as it once was. There is a significant change in the consumer journey in Generation Z and Generation Alpha, and in the coming years, marketing will be significantly automated, technologically advanced and data-driven, with only the creative side remaining as a residual to marketers. This is because AI and Machine Learning will take some time to progress to the point where they will be able to perform creative tasks on par with humans. As a result, any aspect such as creative thinking, conceptual design, and creative imagination will remain intact and will be in high demand in the future. Most of the other marketing functions, however, will be automated.
Finally, when discussing Nuwan’s thoughts on Sri Lanka’s ability to construct a resilient nation in the face of global competition, he says that as a nation we have to invest more to promote entrepreneurship, startup initiatives, export culture and digital innovation. Both the public and private sector have to merge and universities should encourage more research and innovation while the private sector provides venture capital to commercialize those concepts.