Anne-Marie Dias is an energetic and enthusiastic individual who possesses high levels of working ethics and is an achievement-oriented leader. She carries out her responsibilities as a mother of two, as well as at Shangri-La Hotels Lanka (Pvt) Ltd in the capacity of Head of Marketing and Communications for One Galle Face.
“My career began in the challenging Property industry as a Management Trainee at Premier Pacific International. Being a fresher to the corporate world, my foundation was laid by my superiors who moulded me into the industry and the corporate world by enlightening me with a 360-degree understanding that paved the way for whom I have become today.
“Following a seven-year tenure at Premier Pacific, I then joined Sinha Holdings, a real estate company affiliated to Sanken Lanka for a short stint of two years. Thereon, I made a career shift to the dynamic Leisure industry by joining Serendib Leisure Management Ltd, the hospitality arm of Hemas Holdings. My career at Serendib lasted for a period of nine long years, overlooking the Marketing and Communications of four hotels, before I finally joined Shangri-La Hotels Lanka.”
Marketing Communications can help a business beyond just attracting customers. It helps companies to connect their brands with people, places, experiences, events, and emotions. It can even enable companies to showcase how a product works, its use cases, why it is used, who benefits from using them, and its value to the target audience.
According to Anne-Marie, the effectiveness of marcom activities of the mall can be judged through two main indicators:
– Footfall to the mall: By monitoring the footfall to the mall thoroughly and observe the trends against the activities that are being conducted on a weekly basis.
– Income generated by the tenants: We conduct various concentrated promotions which gives the tenants the opportunity to increase their revenue. Effectiveness of these activities are being measured by assessing the income generated by our tenants that would indicate the success or the misses of the activities. This would assist in modification or innovations we need for the future campaigns.
Anne-Marie further elaborated on the challenges the industry had to face in the past couple of years with the easter attack concerning the security of the public and the current challenge with health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Attracting customers to the mall has been a constant obstacle. “The situation intensified after the obstacles that we have been facing since the year 2019. The events had a negative impact on our economy that made a ripple effect on disposable income which affected the buying behaviour of the people. People are concerned about their spending and focus more on essentials rather than spending on “feel good” items. A majority of the society has curtailed their needs and wants and now spend only on the essentials. This drastic change in the buying behaviour has resulted adversely making it a never-ending challenge to attract the right crowd who has the buying power.
One Galle Face Mall seems to have taken down the challenge very well as they celebrated this season in grandeur. Many shop-goers were attracted to the mall with increasing numbers by day.
“All credit is due to the marcom team as they have been working tirelessly around the clock. We have a great set of young and enthusiastic individuals with a creative mindset. This year we had a completely different theme for Christmas as we had a Christmas Mill instead of a traditional Christmas Tree which became the talk of the town. We had many promotions running along with a great radio channel to host in the mall which became a sensation.”
Online media is a predominant tool in Marketing Communications as people are now more engaged on the internet. She continued: “This has also created an ideal platform to showcase our activities in a cost-effective platform. Using online media enables greater control of our campaigns since we operate with different types of products and services which attracts all tiers of the society. Through this we have the option in target marketing our campaigns to the primary groups that we are directing at. Therefore, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that online media is the way forward in this day and age.”
Furthermore, speaking about Influencer Marketing, Anne-Marie stated that it is a growing trend in the country as Sri Lankans are keen in getting to know the latest products and services available in the market and the events to be a part of.
“The influencers bring out these new and fashionable places to the surface and create a hype about it to the point that “you have to try it out”, if you are to ride the wave and keep up with the current trends. They also give you an honest opinion and an actual image about their experience, giving the viewer on what to expect when visiting places or trying out new products,” she added.
In conclusion, Anne-Marie mentioned that there is a huge potential for international malls in the country as our society is getting more exposed. However, the mall operators should keep in mind to attract quality brands by maintaining high standards and studying the trends of customers to actively engage in promotions and activities to increase footfall.
“Although there is great potential, we have a long way to go. The mall operators should consider introducing international brands whilst making it more accessible to the locals and also have a balance between homegrown and international brands which will assist in bringing out the local talent as well.”