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The Many Hues of IILM

“East is East and West is West, And the Twain shall never meet.” This was what Rudyard Kipling had once said to highlight the difference between cultures and how they could never actually mix. The melting pot, that is IILM, runs contrary to what Kipling had said. In the world of IILM, one can see the seamless mixture of students from all over India. There are students from as far as Tamil Nadu in the South, Assam from the North East, the far reaches of Rajasthan, and the depths of Himachal.
Life at IILM is all about celebrating the customs of other cultures. Students participate with undiminished enthusiasm no matter what the festival – Onam or Baisakhi. The campus is abuzz with activity whenever a festival takes place. The capacity utilization of the auditorium is always high. There is a constant clamour to celebrate and share. The mess conjures up recipes of a distant land and the students revel in party and fun.
A typical class in IILM can be daunting at times because of the multitude of accents that descend on the unsuspecting mind. The southern drawl is interspersed with the distinct Bengali lisp. The ubiquitous Bhojpuri and the North Indian pun. However, in the midst of all this, it emerges a language so clear that a student never lacks clarity or flair. Even the teachers at IILM are a mixed lot. They are drawn from the vast reservoir of India. The Statistics class is the domain of “Majumdar sir” – where complex numbers get converted into simple solutions. The Economics class is the sole preserve of “Nair sir” – where the propensity to teach is anything but marginal. The Accountancy class is dominated by “Prof. Malarizvi” madam whose penchant for perfection leaves students in a daze. Walking down the corridor of the IILM classrooms can thus, be quite an education – different subjects and distinct personalities in charge of them.

The infrastructure of IILM GSM also breeds the unison for culture. The large green lush landscaped campus which runs over 27 plus provides students after class hours to play, mind storm, and debate on various contextual topics. Its a home away from home, kind of living in a prime suburban neighbourhood that one can dream of –amidst open spaces that encompass lawns, gardens and a driveway. The cafeteria at IILM is a big potpourri. The smattering of English or the whisper of Telugu – and many such wafts of conversation float lightly in the air. The food is quite eclectic too. It can be standard North Indian fare but equally South Indian as well. The different accents, expectations, and experiences converge into a larger whole. It is like the painting of a masterpiece. Different colours, hues and fragrances get mixed but come out as one. Truly – the world of IILM, is nothing but a masterpiece. A painting that has been made with love and care ….that seeks the world with glee.

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Authors Ishu Balia & Prof Anirudh Chakrabarty

Nurturing Brand Communities

Humans, since time immemorial, have believed in the idea of community. Evolutionarily, early men lived together in caves in groups; from the hunting of wild to staying in groups helped them protect themselves from the attacks in the night. Even today, on one side the families are becoming smaller and nuclear, people still sought out for approvals from families and friends in any important decision making, be it a marriage proposal to style to buying anything expensive, everything in us is borrowed and is further, lent.

This article is about how brands can shape, nurture, and mature indispensable communities, the kind of communities that offer worth impossible to capture anywhere else.

Any indispensable brand community are built on four pillars

  1. Members motivations for valuable contribution
  2. Define what engagement you want to create for your prospects
  3. The balance between what as a brand we want to achieve versus what members in the community want
  4. Make it easy for people to communicate with you. Communication = community

Member’s motivations for valuable contribution

What’s interesting about humans is that they cannot do without society and cannot do with society. We need our own space and despise the interference of others but we also need people to comfort us, care for us, talk and work with us and socialize with us. Even while making any decision or coming to a conclusion, we take into consideration the viewpoint of others. No matter how small or big the decision is, we have a reference group that we get in touch with and who influence our choices.

The reference group can be brand advocates, consumers who are motivated enough by the initial purchases that they ascended in the consumer journey to buy more or brands spokesperson themselves. The best place to start a brand community is by using company customer database and ranking them on their purchases. A consumer who had been buying for long and has been spending more can be taken as the master communicator in the community. A brand needs to be trying to turn members into allies by supporting them through their consumer journey of awareness, first purchase, engage, excite, repeat purchases, advocate, and promote. The best communities get their members to advocate, lead, learn, provide insights, educate others, support, and stand up for the brand when it is hit by negative commentaries.

Many renowned business schools are creating such communities in the form of clubs. For example, the IILM Graduate School of Management has over 30 offline traditional and online communities. From traditional clubs like sports and cultural clubs to more modern new age clubs like movies, digital marketing, economics, HR, and simulation clubs that connect with the students beyond classroom hours to make them learn class concepts through real-time practice and engage them more meaningfully.

Do visit IILM Graduate School of Management Facebook page (https://bit.ly/2Ywev2N) and site(http://www.iilmgsm.ac.in/) to know more about the communities inside the campus.

Define what engagement you want to create for your prospects

Every community has its own innate needs for engagement. Be it a small non-formal what’s app community of school friends or formal brand or consumer-driven social network sites like Facebook or LinkedIn communities. The innate needs of each community are so distinctive that brand engagement in each of these communities needs to be planned accordingly. Many of these consumer communities are an easy escape from the mundane impact of culture and society to follow one’s individual preferences and brands need to find these distinctive needs and position themselves strongly there. For example, in the climactic scene of the popular 2010 film, Sex and the City, the protagonist Carrie Bradshaw and her group of friends find themselves surrounded by many middle-eastern women who have kept themselves covered but they reveal they love New York and the fashion. They show their latest wardrobe which is the latest Spring Collection but keep this just among themselves as this won’t be accepted in their community. But again, these women have this close-knit community of theirs where their preferences and choices survive amongst themselves. Imagine brands like Victoria Secret, Rent the Runway, Rebag and MM.LaFleur could have got these middle-eastern women in their communities.

The balance between what as a brand we want to achieve versus what members in the community want

In 2009, the HBR published the famous story of the Harley Davidson Owners group. In the early 1980s, the besieged motorcycle company built a powerful network of Harley Davidson owners across America. This turned the company from the rim of insolvency into a company worth $7.8 bn.

Many times community members divulge into jokes and irrelevant issues over valuable content. Such communities fall from the ladder of valuable contributions and they find it very hard to climb back. Brands need to understand that the communities need to be driven towards a common purpose: The purpose of brand building, introducing new products or addressing issues.

So companies must try to find the following regularly.

  • How many community members are advocating and attracting new consumers
  • Are members buying more as a result of the community
  • Are members generating useful product ideas
  • Is the community solving other members product-driven issues
  • Is the sales increasing because of the advocates in the community
  • What is the ROI on driving such communities

Make it easy for people to communicate with you. Communication= community

Studies show consumers value human-like communication from brands.  Research shows that 57% of consumers have increased brand loyalty for the brand that shows humanistic behaviour (Andrew,2018).

Communication is the basis of all that a brand does, which means you need to make it easy for your followers to talk to you. At the same time, how a brand communicates on each networking channel needs to be different. The way you communicate on Facebook will evoke a different response if you tried the same method on Twitter. So it is important for brands that they are present in the desired network community sites where their segment audience is. Right from question stickers to stories all add up to drive a thriving community.

Though day by day we are turning inwards and maybe, introspecting ourselves, still we are by nature social and we like to have a sense of belongingness. Honestly, we wouldn’t even have realized it till now and now, there’s no better time than this when isolation from the community has started to look like a challenge and have started instilling  fear in us: fear of oblivion

References

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/11/20/study-shows-consumers-value-human-communication-brands

Authors:

Dr Sumanjit Dass

( Asst. Professor Marketing)

IILM Graduate School of Management, Greater Noida

Ms Medha Ghosh

(Management student of IILM GSM, PGDM Batch 2019-21)

 

 

 

Mankind 4.0

Humans are ever-evolving- This phenomenon is triggered by their needs and wants that are required to be fulfilled for survival; well sometimes for luxury too. Every kind of change that takes place in the world develops mankind in certain ways that makes them a little more capable. There are no limits to what humans can do, but it is only discovered when they face a crisis. This is the perfect time to move up the ladder of maturity and once again prove that nothing is superior to humans and nothing can end this mankind’s reign on earth.

What happened so far?

2020 is the year that escalated the revenues of the News Industry and Media Houses. A series of events have been taking place globally which have had a large impact, rather a very negative impact be it to people, biodiversity, climate, or economic growth. The Australian bushfire, Delhi communal riots, coronavirus pandemic are just a few examples to site. The effects of the pandemic have been the most massive so far, so huge that the world has come to a standstill. Lives have been lost exponentially and so have the hopes of people of going back to normal ever again. There is going to be the start of a new normal soon after there is some control over this situation. The pandemic has had far-reaching consequences on human behavior and there have been unforeseen innovations and development taking place concerning a new lifestyle.

It is the beginning of a new era with changes influencing healthcare, consumption, values, society, education, politics, finance, economy, and so on. Such humanitarian revolutions had been taking place from time to time with the genesis of civilization. Firstly, it was the discovery of fire, secondly, the rise of agriculture and thirdly, the industrial revolution. Perhaps a technology revolution is on its way because that’s the only way to keep things going in this crisis. Just when the world was moving towards technology adoption at a very rapid pace, the Covid19 pandemic has fuelled this phenomenon.

Re-shaping industry and economy

All the sectors that are likely to be dominant from now on are healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, education, and social welfare. There will be a significant influence of technology either in the form of virtual reality or artificial intelligence, in all these sectors. The new economy will be technology-driven. Disruptive innovation is going to be a focus point. Social welfare also will gain significance. All of it will be facilitated by public-private partnerships which can lead to socio-economic development. The need for the hour is to focus on all these areas so that the world is ready to face such a pandemic again without severe loss. Otherwise, the economic depression cycle will continue for a prolonged duration. The cycle goes on like this- business exists for profit and no production leads to no sales and hence no profits. The capability to employ becomes less. So, companies only hold on to very essential employees to meet demand when the economy picks up. Subsequently, people lose jobs or have the fear of losing jobs and buy less, consume less. So demand goes down and profit automatically goes down. It is evident that revenues are falling and both consumption and production are going down paving a path towards economic recession. However, post the pandemic, the countries with a zero growth rate will be looked upon as an attractive business hub as compared to the countries with a negative growth rate which is going to be common after this catastrophe.

Life comes first

Many of the best paying jobs only facilitate the exchange to make money and serve the no wider purpose to society. This leaves us with huge consulting firms, the advertising industry, and the financial sector. Health care and social care never got the limelight as they were considered “unattractive”. Looks like in the present-day people are realizing that there’s more than making money to survive. A much wider approach to life needs to be followed. Life should be valued more than anything else. Nobody anticipated that a microorganism can devastate the most evolved and developed organism on earth; the humans. This is a signal that the next phase of evolution has arrived where we need to reconsider our way of life. The priorities need to be altered and a more vigilant human needs to take shape.

A transition in lifestyle

Post the 1918 Influenza pandemic, many lifestyles, and hygiene etiquettes were being followed that were never imagined about earlier, yet are a part of our daily routine in the present day. Similarly, there will be some concrete transitions now. Just to cite an example, as social distancing is so essential, multistory buildings might become history. Too many people jammed in one apartment is undesirable. We need more open spaces with better ventilation. Filtration and neutralization of air and water will become mandatory. The home will be the new office for jobs that don’t essentially require movement and physical interaction. Work will be digitized to the farthest extent. The internet will be more accessible and the blood of information flow. Traditional jobs will be replaced by robots. Education delivery will become blended and rich. Globalization will move towards localization. Countries will try to be self-sufficient by having an entire supply chain within the country borders. Country borders might be closed except for extremely essential exchanges and international trade will be redefined. Social welfare, poverty reduction, education, and employment will be prime concerns. In addition to this, people will value their jobs, focus on productivity. Family life will be back, eating nutritious home food with the family together, interacting, bonding, all of it which was somewhere lost in the mechanical life will revive. The scarce resources will be better utilized for needs first and then wants.

Life on earth is precious and with every passing day, facing challenges and changes, mankind has always learned to adjust and endure. With this optimism, we can hope that with time we will evolve to a stronger, more sensible, and responsible being and harmoniously share the planet with our fellow beings. We need to make some quick lifestyle changes and inculcate healthy habits. With our efforts, we can have a better and happier ending to the year 2020 and have a successful decade ahead.

Please comment and share your views on how the Human Race will evolve in 2020.

By Manisha Kar                                                                      Dr. Anjali Jindal

IGSM/PGDM Student                                                 Assistant Professor (OB & HR)