Entrenched in the local market

Multinational corporate brands have been selected from MNCs that are majority owned and part of the multinational network. This excludes businesses that only have a presence in Sri Lanka and limited global reach, or those operating under licences or franchises.

Singer (Sri Lanka) was held by a Canadian investment firm and is now owned locally by Hayleys, which means that it has dropped out of the multinational corporate brands list for the first time.

Multinational corporate brands are managed by their headquarters or regional offices. There is often little or no influence that the Sri Lankan management can exert to impact brand decisions, which are taken by corporate headquarters.


Multinational corporations’ historical strength in the context of local marketing has been their single formula one brand strategy across the world, which provides scale and cost advantages.

On the other hand, local companies have limited scale but products that are more relevant through formulations that have been adapted to suit local customers and even regional tastes.

Consumer preference has taken a decisive turn where locally made (and often, natural or fresher products) are preferred over mass-produced and single formula global brands. MNCs are sensitive to this trend.
Given the dominance that Unilever Sri Lanka brands have across a variety of product categories, it comes as no surprise that it leads the multinational corporate brands pecking order. This year, it has even grabbed the Most Loved Brands accolade with Sunlight as well as fourth place with Marmite.

The other leading MNCs on the list this year include Dialog Axiata, Nestlé Lanka, Fonterra Brands Lanka and Toyota Lanka (in this order), all of whom have highly familiar products that Sri Lankan consumers love.

Nestlé Lanka’s brands also feature high on the Most Loved Brands listing with Milo at No. 12 and Nestomalt on 15th place.

Surprisingly, Reckitt Benckiser (Lanka) is ranked No. 18 even though it boasts highly recognised consumer brands; it’s missing a beat here, it would seem. Meanwhile, Dettol comes in at No. 2 in the Most Loved Brands rankings while Harpic is in fifth place.

Unilever Sri Lanka, Reckitt Benckiser (Lanka), Nestlé Lanka and Fonterra Brands Lanka products are so well integrated into consumers’ lifestyles that they’ve become an essential part of the daily lives of Sri Lankans.