THE YOUNG TEAM OF LEADERS AT ATLAS AXILLIA TRANSFORMING THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE OF SRI LANKA – MARKETING DIRECTOR OF ATLAS AXILLIA, KAUSHALI KUSUMAPALA

Atlas Axillia, a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC with a heritage of over 60 years, transforming from being a local stationery company to a ‘global learning and education organization’. During the past three years, their flagship brand Atlas has won many accolades, including being nominated as a Top 5 FCMG youth brand at the Kantar People’s Choice Awards in 2021, and this year being recognized as the Local Brand of the Year (GOLD) at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards. The organization also houses the multi-generational brand – Homerun, the game-changing youth lifestyle brand – Innovate, and many other notable brands, that are supporting the company’s transformation.

For this edition, we speak to the leaders who are transforming Atlas into a  digitally-driven, socially impact-led, house of brands that are Sri Lankan made, and globally loved.

Tell us a bit about Atlas Axillia and what the company and its brands stand for.

“The organization in itself has a history of over 60 years and our flagship brand – Atlas is a household name that enjoys over 60% share within stationery. Our products such as the Sunflower Yellow pencil and the Chooty pen are loved by kids and are commonplace in any learning environment.”

During the past four years, the organization has truly transformed, as we have recognized the importance of anchoring on innovation and designs, but more importantly on driving social impact in everything we do.

We believe that everything we do, be it product innovation or brand engagements, needs to fulfil the learning potential of Sri Lanka’s next generation – our children. By creating an organizational culture that is driven to ‘democratize and provide quality learning experience’ of the learning ecosystem [children, parents & educators], we are able to create an ever-lasting impact in the brands we are creating and building.

What is the impact of having inculcated this type of culture within the organization and especially within marketing?

In the past 3 years, we have been able to grow by over 20% in market share and our brands are stronger and more resilient than ever before.

We find that educators, as well as government and non-governmental organizations that are driving the educational agendas for Sri Lanka, are ever willing to engage with us. These relationships have opened our eyes to the evolving needs of the education system and enabled us to anchor our brands on supporting the goals and initiatives in a dynamic and meaningful way.

Today, we develop school infrastructure and provide school essentials and scholarships through our Atlas Sip Savi and Light Future programs, while also conducting free online and on-ground learning programs for students and teachers alike through our Atlas Learn initiatives.

Our youth lifestyle brand – Innovate, is focused on youth entrepreneurship, career and self-development, and engages with youth organizations that are able to deliver this impact at a grassroots level.

We find that serving our consumers in a way that is meaningful for them enable us to have richer relationships, and open pathways to create legacy brands.

You spoke about the organization ‘going global’. We know of Atlas Axillia as a Sri Lankan company. What does this really mean?

Our ambitions are to not only give back to Sri Lanka by building meaningful brands but also enrich Sri Lanka’s economy by taking something that is truly ours to the rest of the world.

We have already commenced building our operations within the greater parts of South East Asia, with growing ambitions for Middle East & Africa.

We hope to and believe that we will be able to serve the learning experience of children across the globe one day.

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