AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Leadership, Membership

National Marketing Summit 2023: Where Marketing Met Fun!

Imagine spending your Saturday surrounded by enthusiastic marketers, engaging in thought-provoking discussions, and participating in exciting activities – that’s exactly what I experienced at the National Marketing Summit 2023 organized by AIESEC in Sri Lanka. Held on the 27th of May at the prestigious Unilever Sri Lanka headquarters, this summit was not only a fantastic learning experience but also a whole lot of fun.


The Member Committee Elects of AIESEC in Sri Lanka had designed an icebreaker session like no other to set the energetic tone for the summit. The questions were incredibly creative (kudos to the elects), sparking laughter among all of us delegates. We discovered interesting quirks about each other and instantly felt connected as fellow marketers.


The summit had an incredible lineup of facilitators who shared their expertise and left a lasting impact on us. Mr. Tilosh Karunanayake, the Vice President for Brand, AIESEC in Sri Lanka, delved into the realm of brand marketing. Introducing the first-ever multi-language brand guideline precisely for AIESEC in Sri Lanka and remarking announcements of the marketing policy booklet, which approaches, were some highlights of his sessions. His insights on enhancing AIESEC brand presence among the local youth audience were enlightening, and the practical tips on following brand guidelines added a valuable dimension to our knowledge. 


Mr. Ayesh Rajapaksha, the Vice President for Digital Experience, AIESEC in Sri Lanka, captivated our attention with his session on marketing in the business-to-customer context. We learned the importance of crafting captivating product marketing strategies and engaging with customers in meaningful ways to enhance the sales of our products.


Equally charming was Mr. Thivanka Seneviratne, the Vice President for Business to Business, AIESEC in Sri Lanka, who shed light on the delicacies of marketing in the business-to-business landscape. His perspicuity in strengthening relationships with our valuable partners was priceless and left us eager to implement his suggestions.


One of the highlights of the summit was a fun and interactive activity that brought out our creativity. We were divided into groups and given popular tagline based brand strategies to work with. Our mission was to create a creative TikTok video using that strategies. The room buzzed with energy as we brainstormed ideas, collaborated, and put our video-making skills to the test. And that’s how we found out just how good of Oscar worthy actors some of us were. It was a fantastic opportunity to bond with fellow marketers, share laughs, and witness the incredible creativity within the room. The summit also included separate sessions on live streaming and videography, undoubtedly valuable areas of expertise in today’s marketing landscape. Although I couldn’t personally attend these sessions, I’m confident they provided valuable knowledge and practical skills to those who participated. 


The organizers ensured that our physical and mental energies remained high throughout the day. Between sessions, we were treated to delicious refreshments that tantalized our taste buds. The vibrant atmosphere created a sense of excitement and harmony, as everyone shared stories, exchanged ideas, and built connections that would last beyond the summit.



Mr. Shamil Akbar, Manager of Internal Communications & EA to Chairperson at Unilever Sri Lanka, led a thought-provoking session on Integrated Marketing during the National Marketing Summit. The session fostered a friendly and open discussion, allowing us to gain valuable insights from an industry expert. Through Mr. Shamil’s expertise, we delved into the purpose, logic, and synergy behind Integrated Marketing, gaining a fresh perspective on how this approach can unify and amplify a brand’s presence.


As the summit drew to a close, Mr. Ayesh Rajapaksha took the stage once again, this time to share his personal journey as an AIESECer and a marketer. His story was not only inspiring but also a testament to the power of perseverance and self-belief. We left the summit feeling motivated and ready to take our marketing endeavors to new heights, armed with the confidence to embrace challenges and trust in our abilities.


The National Marketing Summit 2023 was an extraordinary event filled with learning, connections, and unforgettable experiences. From the engaging icebreaker session to the jives to the insightful facilitators and the informative sessions, every moment was a source of inspiration and fun. The friendships formed and the knowledge gained will undoubtedly shape our journeys as marketers. My heartfelt thanks go to AIESEC in Sri Lanka, Unilever Sri Lanka, and all those involved in making this summit a resounding success. And last but not least, thank you to Maheshi Yatipansalawa, Vice President of Business Development AIESEC in Sri Lanka and Commission, who raised brilliant partners like Unilever. Here’s to the thrill of marketing and the incredible adventures that lie ahead!


By Manthi Gamage

Head of Journaling – Brand


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Power of Hashtags

The hashtag symbol was first used as a grouping symbol in 1988. People recognized it as an unimportant symbol that showed up on an old typewriter or a telephone keypad. But in 2007, things started to change for this little sign when Chris Messina posted a tweet in 2017.

“how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

Chris Messina's tweet that caused the revolution

Twitter immediately rejected this idea at first. But then, Tweeps used the hashtag for the San Diego Fire (#SandiegoFire) and many other trending topics. As a result, Twitter introduced the hashtag as a search tool in 2009. Instagram used it since the first day the app launched in 2010. Facebook grasped the culture in 2013. Soon, many other social media platforms and websites started to embrace the hashtag slowly.

Hashtag Activism 

Who knew such a trivial symbol could significantly impact world peace, women rights, racial issues, and our own lives? Hashtags have influenced people across the world to raise their voices for and against global concerns and social issues. They brought activism to its peak through movements such as the #BlackLivesMatter, #HeForShe, #MeToo, #lovewins, #ProtectOurWinters, #ClimateChangeIsReal and more campaigns. Today, this has become a significant way of demanding justice, awareness and even fundraising. They have proven to have an impact on policy changes, organizational decision making and global politics. 

Even in Sri Lanka, this trend has propagated like wildfire. Social media platforms have become a powerful weapon of “cancelling” specific incidents and people who fuel stereotypes, injustice and violence. For example, #EndPoliceBrutality, #JusticeForThariq, #JusticeForHishalini, #StopForcedCremations became popular hashtags recently. As a result, Sri Lankan social media users try to dig deep into social, political, and environmental issues. 

Hashtag Marketing 

The hashtag is also an effective strategy in digital marketing and branding. Companies use hashtags as an inducement to attract customers and to grow their online presence. They create hashtags by adding words, acronyms and phrases that are related to the brand. Hashtags can also be something that their customers may find inspiring. Relevant and trending hashtags play a significant role in promoting companies. For example, the brand AIESEC promotes its brand name through attractive hashtag phrases. Some of them are, #LiveTheExperience, #LeadInnovateIvolve, #BeTheChange, #Youth4GG and #GlobalVolunteer. These are not only memorable, but also they support the purpose of the brand #AIESEC.

Social media influencers use hashtags to market products, brands and even themselves. Instagram influencers use hashtags to stimulate their audience. As a result, they can boost the promotion of products and increase their followers. Some hashtags used by influencers are #instagood, #instadaily, #instafood and #instamood.

Hashtag Lifestyle

Apart from hashtag activism and hashtag marketing, ordinary social media users also use hashtags daily. We come across hundreds of hashtags as we scroll through social media. As a result, they have become a natural part of our daily routine. Hashtags help recommend what we want to check online. They could suggest Instagram profiles, social media challenges, entertaining profiles or products and services that match your preferences. Social media users create and use hashtags when they post their pictures or tweet their thoughts. They use hashtags such as #travel, #fitness, #photography, #vsco, #lol, #holiday and #sunset to keep up with the trend.

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