Poor and hungry cannot afford to wait,
World Bank President says
The following is a statement on the global food crisis made
today by World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick after a
meeting in Berne, Switzerland of the United Nations System Chief
Executives Board for Coordination:
The next few weeks are critical for addressing the food crisis.
For 2 billion people, high food prices are now a matter of daily
struggle, sacrifice and for too many, even survival. We estimate
that already some 100 million people may have been pushed into
poverty as a result of high prices over the last 2 years.
This is not a natural disaster. Make no mistake, there is
nothing natural about this. But for millions of people it is a
Donors must act now to support the WFP’s call for some $750
million to meet emergency needs. Roughly $475 million has been
pledged, but pledges won’t feed hungry mouths. Donors must put
their money on the table, and give WFP maximum flexibility with
a minimum of earmarking to target the most urgent needs.
This crisis is not over once emergency needs are addressed, as
critical as those are. Though we have seen wheat prices fall
over the last few days, rice and corn prices are likely to
remain high and wheat relatively so. The international community
needs to commit to working together to respond with policy
initiatives, so that this year’s crisis doesn’t become a
generation’s fact of life. Already hunger and malnutrition are
the underlying causes of death of over 3.5 million children
every year, robbing the future potential of many millions more.
Many donors, governments and international agencies have plans
Over the last days, we have seen pledges of financial support.
The key now is to work together so that we can have an
integrated international response.
So, I thank the Secretary General for convening this session of
UN Chief Executives to help organise the UN response.
Ministers from over 150 countries have endorsed a New Deal for
Global Food Policy. We must turn these words into action.
As we discussed here in Berne, a New Deal must embrace a short,
medium and long-term response: support for safety nets such as
school feeding, food for work, and conditional cash transfer
programs; increased agricultural production; a better
understanding of the impact of biofuels and action on the trade
front to reduce distorting subsidies, and trade barriers.
The World Bank Group will work with the UN agencies represented
here to identify countries most in need so that, with others, we
can provide concessional financing and other support. We are
already working closely with the IMF and regional development
banks, to integrate our work.
At the World Bank Group, we are exploring with our Board the
creation of a rapid financing facility for grant support to
especially fragile, poor countries and quicker, more flexible
financing for others. To address supply issues, we are doubling
our lending for agriculture in Africa over the next year to $800
We are urging countries not to use export bans. These controls
encourage hoarding, drive up prices and hurt the poorest people
around the world who are struggling to feed themselves.
Ukraine set a good example last week by lifting restrictions on
exports of grains. This had an immediate effect by lowering
prices in the markets. Others can do the same.
As we co-ordinate action, we must bring in the private sector
These are all critical issues for international action that must
be fleshed out in the coming weeks so that millions do not find
themselves in this same position next year.
But first and foremost donors must act now to meet the emergency
and raise the $750 million for the WFP. The world can afford
this. The poor and hungry cannot.
Is ‘Experiential Marketing’ the future of
By Asanga Ranasinghe
In today’s market more and more companies are realising that’
providing memorable experiences’ is good business. Consumers
expect value to be delivered through experiences, and they are
willing to pay for it. This is why the term ‘experiential
marketing’ is fast gaining popularity; and a lot of articles and
books are being written about it; and agencies are promoting it,
as an area of expertise.
The reasons given for this growing interest in experiential
• The capabilities of face to face communication to improve
sales and create an emotional experience.
• Consumers’ avoidance of the ‘noise’ from traditional media,
e.g. advertising, direct mail. It is not so easy, to ignore
someone in person.
• The need for companies to stand out from the crowd and be
noticed in commodity markets, people remember and talk about
experiences to others.
• Increasingly, virtual companies needing to create a physical
• The requirement to create relationships and engage with
customers, in order to build advocacy, a valuable intangible
• To demonstrate more targeted value to customers, as
competition increases, experiences go a step beyond product and
• The ‘hype’ around customer experience and a vague
understanding that, customers/consumers want experiences.
At the same time, there are some marketers who dismiss or
misunderstand experiential marketing, by labelling it, as
another form of product promotion, with entertainment, thrown on
What marketers need to understand is that, experiential
marketing is not a specific marketing tool. It’s an idea. A
mindset. A focus on creating fresh connections between brands
and consumers, out in the world, where things happen;
connections in the form of experiences; those that are
personally relevant, memorable, interactive and emotional,
connections that lead to increased sales and brand loyalty.
As a marketing methodology, experiential marketing aims to move
beyond the traditional ‘features-and-benefits’ marketing, cast
to a wide audience, that includes not only those who may benefit
from a brand or product, but also those who would not benefit at
all. (As a result of traditional marketing, people avoid
messages, whenever possible and by any means). In contrast,
experiential marketing, presents an experience, that people
choose to attend to and participate in, after identifying the
relevance of a brand or product, to their needs. Experiential
marketing is the difference between telling people about
features or benefits within the confines of the thirty-second TV
spot and letting them experience it, and get their own ‘a-ha!’
Marketers should not assume that, sending instant messages to
cell phones, is experiential marketing. Even a TV or print ad,
no matter how sensory, is not experiential marketing, either.
Similarly, although hard to accept, even great websites are not
truly experiential, not that interactive marketing, advertising
and other forms of communicating with consumers aren’t valuable
in the marketing mix. Of course they are! But, experiential
marketing is to bring the brand ‘face to face’ with the
consumer; to demonstrate brand values and build consumer
expectation.It is this face to face demonstration, that makes it
so impact. Experiential marketing strives to forge deeper
emotional connection, with the target consumer, by using
relevant multi-sensory stimulation.
A great example of experiential marketing is, what Dove body
products has in its long running campaign for real beauty,
challenging the stereotypical model of female beauty. This has
included building an online sharing community, emotive
photography, brand space road shows, in store sampling and using
real women in its advertising.
Tom Peters says it well, in his new book ‘Re-Imagine’; Despite
the fact that, experiences will be the essence of life in the
New Economy, “ most companies trying to pull this ‘experience
thing’ off will fail miserably. They won’t get it. This
‘experience thing’ is extremist. Not a dab of ‘delight’ here.
Nor a pinch of ‘amusement’ there. But an entirely different way
Experiential marketing is a developing ‘scientific art’, growing
out of the mature field of the marketing industry, to meet new
consumer needs, in consumer engagement. There is, as yet, no
such thing, as ‘best practice theory’, instead it’s a case of
learning from ‘best practice examples’. At the CIM Annual
Conference 2008, Sri Lankan marketers will be able to get into
the den of experiential marketing, through great case studies,
that will enable them to get up to about the occurrences, in
this evolving, and exciting hour of brand building. There is a
lot to learn!! Faster the better!!
The conference will comprise four conceptual presentations and
eight case study presentations, ranging from modern trade,
fashion retailing to telecommunications, services retailing and
to hospitality trade and entertainment, catering to a wide range
of industry interests.
(The writer, Mr. Asanga Ranasinghe is a Chartered Marketer, by
profession and is the Head of Corporate Integration of The
Chartered Institute of Marketing, Sri Lanka Region. He is also
the Customer Development Director of Unilever Sri Lanka Ltd).
CEO Forum will focus on what CEOs want from HR
The IPM CEO Forum which is an integral part of the HR National
Conference on June 3rd, will focus on the theme ‘People Drive
Business.’ The Business Leader’s Forum this year will be
facilitated by Dinesh Weerakkody CEO Cornucopia Lanka Ltd and
comprises; Amitha Goonarathne MD Commercial Bank of Ceylon,
Murali Prakash CEO Browns Group, Dushan Soza CEO WNS Global
Services and Peter Spirig CEO Holcim Lanka Ltd. The forum will
focus on what CEOs want from HR, if HR is to get an imperative
place at the strategic table, what are the issues that should be
at the top of the agenda and how the contemporary HR executives
The discussion will therefore center on whether people drive
business or whether the right people drive the business and also
who are these right people and how do you find and retain them?
Today, the number one priority for HR is attracting, retaining
and growing talent both now and in the next several years? How
are companies facing up to these challenges? Successful
companies let go of people who cannot scale the learning curve
and reward those great performers. Jack Welch was famous for
letting go of the bottom 10% of performers in the company every
year in order to foster renewal and constantly revitalise
The CEOs will discuss how they manage poor performers in their
companies? Employment Value Proposition (EVP) is what an
employee gets working for a particular company. Rewards for
Managing an EVP effectively are huge, increasing a company’s
pool of potential workers by 20% and the commitment of its
employees four fold. Companies with well-managed EVPs get away
with paying less than 10% than those with badly managed EVPs.
The CEOs will talk about how they put together an EVP to attract
and retain key people. HR initiatives have now gone beyond just
the work environment. Constantly HR needs to develop innovative
people practices to keep employees motivated, and connected to
work and their organisations. The 3 CEOs will share some of
their people practices that help to make employees feel valued
in their companies.
If employee engagement was once little more than a theoretical
concept, that time is long gone. Not only can we now define it
clearly and measure its existence and intensity, but we can also
demonstrate the value to an organisation in concrete terms. The
CEOs will talk about what drives employee engagement in their
business? How they measure employee engagement and relate
employee engagement to the bottom-line. The CEOs will talk about
how important Work Life Balance is and how they have
institutionalised it in their organisations?
Then does it make sense to outsource certain HR functions and
invest in e-HR services? The CEOs will share some of their
experiences and frustrations around this subject. Most
traditional HR performance metrics like employee turnover rates
and total training hours provided, don’t predict organisational
performance. What are some of the tools that can be used to show
which investments in people are driving company performance?
Finally, the CEOs will focus on the knowledge, skills and
ability HR professionals need to be indispensable in the new
world of work. The session will end with a Q&A. According to the
organisers the CEO forum this year will provide an unique
opportunity for HR professionals to get an understanding of what
the CEO challenges present to HR; will it be an unprecedented
opportunity for HR, or a no win situation?
“Managing risks on fluctuations in interest
and exchange rates”
Sri Lanka has been
experiencing chronic high interest rates and frequent exchange
rate fluctuations and this has become a hotly debated topic in
both business and academic circles.
High inflation in Sri Lanka has pushed interest rates upward
causing a sharp increase in the cost of borrowing for
businesses. This increase in interest rates and fluctuations of
the same have forced companies to re-look at their capital
structure and cash flow management. Similarly, exchange rate
fluctuations also cause revenues and profits of companies
(mainly importers, exporters and banks) to fluctuate greatly and
this makes business planning difficult for such companies. In
addition to this, the global demand is contracting due to the
credit crisis and the recessionary situation in the west,
impacting on the bottom line of companies. All these factors
make cost management increasingly important, not only to remain
competitive but also to survive in such a turbulent environment.
The interest and exchange related risks however could
effectively be managed by using hedging instruments such as
derivatives and other financial techniques. World over,
companies effectively use hedging instruments such as
derivatives and other financial techniques to effectively
mitigate such risks and prevent surprise losses. Main types of
derivatives include futures, options forwards and swaps.
Essentially, these instruments are used to insure against
uncertainty by fixing the price/quantity of an underlying
commodity for a future date. In the case of interest and
exchange rates, the underlying commodity is money and the
parties to the hedging contract agree on the interest
rate/exchange rate for a future date at the time of entering in
to the contract. Management of interest and exchange rate risks
using such instruments prevent companies from experiencing
surprise losses (unfavourable movement in rates).
Effective management of the capital structure using debt and
equity and short/long-term debt also becomes important when the
cost of borrowing increases. High interest rates increase cost
of capital and could lead to cash flow problems for companies
that have not looked at scenarios and planned for it.
Although there is much debate on the negative effects of
interest and exchange rate fluctuations in Sri Lanka, little
emphasis has been given to managing these unfavourable
fluctuations. Thus, the CCC training seminar on ‘managing risks
on fluctuations in interest and exchange rates’ is timely and
useful and would educate the private sector on how these risks
could be managed effectively. The Chamber has invited
Specialists on the subject with practical knowledge to share
their understanding and expertise with the audience at this
seminar. The panel would be chaired by Mr. Ronnie Peiris, Group
Finance Director, John Keells Holdings and presentations would
be made by Mr. W. A. Wijewardena, Deputy Governor, Central Bank
of Sri Lanka on ‘Basic Economics behind Interest and Exchange
Rate Fluctuation,’ Mr. Amal Sanderatne, CEO, Frontier Research
on ‘Sri Lankan Economy – A Brief Outline,’ Mr. Ajith
Devasurendra, Managing Director/CEO, Taprobane Group on
‘Managing Interest Rates and Related Risks,’ Mr Trevine
Jayasekera, Finance Director, Brandix Lanka on ‘Effective
Structuring of Capital,’ and Mr. Mangala Boyagoda, Managing
Director, Lanka Wealth Management (Pvt.) Ltd on ‘Managing Forex
Flows and Reserves.’
The Seminar will be held on Friday, May 9, 2008 from 8.30 a.m. –
12.30 p.m. at the Ground Floor Auditorium of The Ceylon Chamber
Michael Morrison at SLID/CIM
‘Power Breakfast’ forum
The Sri Lanka
Institute of Directors (SLID) has joined hands with The
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Sri Lanka Region in
organising the next ‘Power Breakfast’ which is scheduled for May
7, from 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. at the Lower Crystal Ballroom,
Taj Samudra Hotel. The keynote speaker at the forum will be
Michael Morrison, who will address the audience on ‘The Power of
Emotional Branding; in driving consistent, competitive and
profitable market growth.’ The forum is meant for company
Directors, CEOs and strategic level managers.
The forum will impart to the audience, strategies that can
enhance brand perception; capture the imagination of existing
and potential customers; strategies that can change the
perception of time, influence buyer behaviour, thinking and
decision-making with some valuable insights into case studies of
some international brands.
The keynote speaker, Michael Morrison is a visionary expert with
a rare calibre who holds a great deal of knowledge and
experience in the discipline of sensorial marketing and
experiential retailing. Morrison holds a Bachelor of Economics
and a Masters Degree in Business from the Monash University and
a Diploma in Organisational Behaviour from the University of
Swinburne. He has travelled extensively and has been a guest
speaker at a huge number of forums and conferences around the
world. His doctoral thesis is focused on the power of
experiential retailing and its influence on retail brands, store
atmosphere and the total shopping experience. He is presently
attached to the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business and
Economics at Monash University and is the Co-ordinator, Master
of Marketing (Retailing).
In its endeavour to take marketing and marketers to the
boardroom and towards the recognition of the marketing
profession as the key driver of business success, this year, The
Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka Region has
collaborated with the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors to
organise this ‘Power Breakfast’ forum. The objective of the
forum is to enlighten the top level decision makers of
corporates on the significance of strategic marketing and how it
could help organisations to enhance value created for its
customers and increase the value of organisations.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID), which was launched
under the auspices of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in April
2000, seeks to enhance the professionalism of business leaders
and tackle corporate governance issues from the top down. The
institute strives to educate, inform and assist directors in
effectively governing the companies on whose boards they serve.
SLID serves as a valuable support network and a source of advice
in resolving problems that arise in the course of a director’s
responsibilities, while creating a forum for key business
leaders to meet, fraternize and develop strong peer networks.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the world’s largest and
most prestigious professional body for marketing with over
50,000 members world-wide. The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Sri Lanka Region is the fastest growing CIM body, with nearly
1,080 members and 3,000 student members.
inaugural world conference in Sri Lanka
The Inaugural CIMA World conference has been scheduled in Sri
Lanka from 28 to 31 May, 2008. The 4-day event, which is part of
CIMA’s international events calendar is expected to attract
approximately 1200 delegates, including around 200 from CIMA’s
global membership, business and a diverse group of corporates,
business leaders and professionals.
Details of the programme were formally announced at a press
conference held in Colombo. President of the CIMA Sri Lanka
division Aruna Fernando welcomed guests and briefed the media on
the objectives of the World Conference being held in Sri Lanka.
He then went on to explain that the conference itself was unique
as it was based on a focused theme of 4 pillars highly relevant
in today’s context. The four pillars that would be deliberated
and the finding publicised is on – Peace Building, Innovation,
Global Branding and Leadership.
Suthesh Balasubramaniam, Chairman, Technical committee of the
conference elaborated on the theme of the conference - Igniting
Passion. Blazing Trails and confirmed that the conference will
feature eminent speakers who have specialised and gained world
recognition in their respective fields and emphasised that the
worldwide audience would gain insights for their future
Included in the list of speakers, explained by Balasubramaniam
were, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Gandhi Peace Prize
and Martin Luther King Award - John Hume of Northern Ireland,
Prof. Kader Asmal – Chairman: ANC National Disciplinary Council
of South Africa and former Minister of Education, David Steward
- Executive Director of the F. W. de Klerk Foundation of South
Africa, Dr. Atta-Ur-Rahman - Federal Minister/Chairman, Higher
Education Commission; Adviser to Prime Minister for Science and
Technology of Pakistan, Samina Rizwan - Oracle Corporation’s
Regional Director for SAGE (South Asia Growth Economies) West of
Pakistan, Peter Vellappan - former Secretary General of the
Asian Football Confederation Malaysia, CAO Yuanzheng – Chief
Economist of the Bank of China, Norman Lyle –Director of
Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong, Jehangir S. Pocha – Editor of
Business World India.
This summit gives the opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka as a
centre for international conferences and endorses the
capabilities and skills within the CIMA fraternity in organising
and successfully implementing a world class event. Also, the
benefits of learning from some of the today’s most influential
leaders, and witness them sharing their thoughts and views on
areas most critical to Sri Lanka as with Peace, Innovation,
Global Branding and Leadership.
There would also be other activities to consider while in Sri
Lanka. Attendees are offered several networking opportunities
ranging from informal Bowling, Golf tournaments, Gala dinners
and Theme nights to more formal forums. There would also be
opportunities to the sponsors of the conference to exhibit their
Sri Lankan products and services.
The Platinum Partner for the Summit is Sri Lanka Telecom whilst
the official airline for the conference is SriLankan Airlines.
Interested parties who want to attend this 4-day forum on the
World Conference are invited to visit the conference website –
www.cimaglobal.com/srilanka. The site offers detailed
information on the speakers and the agenda, and also allows
online registration and payment options. For its international
audience, the site also offers special rates for registered
delegates with regard to airfares (up to 10% off) on the
conference’s official carrier – SriLankan Airlines - and
preferred hotel room rates at partner hotels, the Cinnamon
Grand, Ceylon Continental Hotel, Holiday Inn, Trans Asia Hotel,
Galle Face Hotel, Galadari and the TAJ Samudra.