Depicting from dust to gold; a memoir of Elpitiya’s incredible transformation
Elpitiya Plantations, a member of the Aitken Spence Group, is Sri Lanka’s leading plantations company with a diverse portfolio of projects exceeding the role of a traditional plantations company. We undertook the challenge of telling their extraordinary journey from rising up from the bottom to being the most valuable company in just 20 years, all laid out in a coffee table book.
Dr Rohan Fernando, Managing Director of Elpitiya Plantations says “The Mooniak team was able to capture the essence of our company, the importance of our journey and tell our story in a compelling and unique way. They did an excellent job including important opinions and stories from stakeholders, and they executed it within a tight timeframe.”
We walked into Elpitiya Plantations headquarters on AE towers for the first time in August 2017. After a cup of tea and a chat, we discussed a project. They wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company and launch a coffee table book at the celebrational event. All this while there was a vibe in the air that we could sense. The meeting was attended by mid and top management and as usual, as it is with any other client or project, we heard the key words “unique” and “something no one has seen before” and as always, we were cautious about taking in what our client says about the project.
We are good at telling stories and making them stick. But when you have a truly unique story it becomes more challenging, as you are trying your best to to do justice to it.
Elpitiya Plantations was celebrating its 20th anniversary and its extraordinary story going from the bottom of the stack to the top which meant the coffee table book had to tell the story of the company whilst simultaneously showcasing the exciting future that lies ahead for the brand.
The biggest challenge? The deadline was really tight. We had only 5 weeks to conduct the stakeholder interviews, photoshoots at estates around the island and deliver the final printed books.
Existing annual reports and financial records gave us a clear idea of the financials and management, and we also used over 40 individual interviews as the core of the process, touched all layers of the company and its workforce of over 6000, from estate employees, top management up to the chairman, shareholders and external stakeholders. Close collaboration with the staff helped manage the tight deadline. The interviews were amazing, inspiring and channeled the energy and trust that made the company.
Concept was important as we were trying to capture a story that was clearly too big to be told with facts. The key points of the Elpitiya plantations’ history were taken as the critical plot points to weave the story. A light storytelling style was followed while secondary facts and information was brought in as notes and through certain image captions. The tone of the written content was informal, emotional and poetic while the mood shifted between dramatic and moving.
The client wanted to integrate the actual photographs and show the properties and sometime the imagery was highly manipulated to fit in with the flow of the story. The terrain lines and the expanding landscape was introduced to tie in the visuals together
Special thanks to Neeshada Perera from Elpitiya Plantations, Menuka Denipitiya and the staff at the Aitken Spence printing. The printing by Aitken Spence. Papers Jupiter Papers