Breaking Barriers: The Power of Representation in Business

Ken Lerona of Cornelius Magnate
Ken Lerona shares insights on the importance of embracing one’s roots, leveraging diverse experiences, and advocating for representation

Representation in the corporate world is more than just a buzzword; it is a fundamental aspect of shaping business strategies and connecting with customers on a deeper level. It is also about ensuring that diverse voices are heard and reflected in every aspect of business and marketing, from product development to storytelling.

For Ken Lerona, a ‘probinsyano’ and a seasoned public relations and marketing practitioner, “representation is the key,” highlighting the importance of diverse voices in shaping the marketing landscape.

Growing up in Alimodian, Iloilo, Lerona’s early experiences in a provincial environment laid the groundwork for his understanding of community dynamics and business. His transition to corporate life in Metro Manila initially posed challenges, but Lerona soon recognized the advantage of his provincial background, fostering a unique connection with local markets.

Reflecting on his upbringing, Lerona recalls, “my experiences in Iloilo profoundly shaped my perspective. I literally grew up in the public market, surrounded by vendors and customers from different walks of life. It was there that I learned the value of community and the importance of understanding diverse viewpoints.”

Championing Authentic Representation

Lerona says, probinsyanos like him bring authenticity on the table. For instance, his diverse tenure across industries, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), retail and leisure, telecommunications, real estate, digital platforms, logistics technology, and consumer finance technology, underscored the value of his provincial perspective in shaping effective marketing strategies.

“My provincial background gave me an edge in understanding the needs and nuances of local markets. This insight proved invaluable in crafting targeted and resonant campaigns,” he notes.

Through his advocacy for hyperlocalization and storytelling beyond data, Lerona emphasizes the importance of recognizing and amplifying diverse voices in marketing narratives. “True representation goes beyond statistics and demographics,” he explains. “It’s about authentically reflecting the diverse human experiences. Imagine if you can speak to the Ilocanos, the Kapampangans, the Ilonggos, the Cebuanos, the Chavacanos, and the Tausug and Maranaos; you go straight to their hearts.”

As a previous leader in organizations like the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) and the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, Lerona championed representation and diversity, recognizing their pivotal role in shaping inclusive marketing conversations. “Diverse perspectives lead to richer, more authentic storytelling. By embracing inclusivity, we not only elevate marginalized voices but also create more meaningful connections with our audience,” he says.

Embracing One’s Roots, Leveraging Diverse Experiences

Looking ahead, Lerona envisions a future where technology enhances human experiences while preserving cultural roots. He emphasizes the need to uplift humanity amidst technological advancements. “In the age of artificial intelligence, it is crucial that we embrace our humanity and cultural heritage. Technology should serve to enhance, not diminish, our connection to each other and our shared narratives,” he asserts.

As a believer of lifelong learning, Ken Lerona took the Executive Program in Digital Leadership at the Singapore Management University to keep abreast with the fast-paced development of technology. He also completed programs in Futures Thinking as well as Corporate Innovation Systems Strategy and Design at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). He recently earned a certificate in Facilitating Adult Learning from the Ateneo de Manila University Center for Organizational Research and Development.

He is currently completing a Master in Innovation and Business at the Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at AIM.

Ken Lerona’s journey represents the power of embracing one’s roots, leveraging diverse experiences, and advocating for representation in marketing and public relations. His story serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability needed to break barriers and foster inclusivity in the evolving marketing landscape.

Lerona recently founded Cornelius Magnate Engagement and Consulting, a strategy advisory firm focused on training, innovation, and reputational risk management. He brings his years of diverse experience to clients based in the National Capital Region and key cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

With each engagement, Lerona reinforces the idea that true progress in marketing and business comes from understanding and representing the multifaceted perspectives of diverse communities. “By embracing representation, we not only honor the richness of human experiences but also pave the way for a more inclusive and empathetic future in marketing,” he asserts.

About Nonoy Taclino

Nonoy Taclino is a pioneer blogger and social media manager in Iloilo, with 15 years of experience under his belt.

View all posts by Nonoy Taclino →

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