Great Management Apps for Small Business Owners

 

In today’s time we all have different goals or resolutions as individuals. If it is to read more, think less or finally taking some time off. Apart from personal aspirations, we might have some for our businesses too. And we probably wish to get things faster, better and more efficient. Small business owners sometimes need to do many things by themselves, and it can be hard to manage. The good part is that now there are a bunch of applications and tools designed to help these small businesses. These apps can be operated by anyone with a motive of easy to use, affordable, no-commitment plans, good customer service, and good returns.

We provide you with a list of such best small business applications for 2021. The categories defined by us for these apps are ones necessary for business as per functions. Let us have a look at these applications.

QuickBooks

When it is a talk about money, depending on one’s business models, there can be a lot of paperwork. Managing and tracking money can be a tall order, but fortunately, you have QuickBooks. It is the most popular accounting software on the market as it efficiently manages your business needs irrespective of the size of the business. QuickBooks can track expenses, create and send forms (such as quotes, invoices, statements, etc.). It makes you understand where the cash flow stands and helps you with tax as well. A cloud-based software which offers numerous integrations.

Alternative to QuickBooks: FreshBooks, Wave, Sage business cloud accounting.

Gusto

Formerly known as ZenPayroll, easy to understand by name, is an HR app you might consider for full-service payroll. It makes the payroll process more accessible than ever before. It takes care of all onboarding paperwork, managing payroll and benefits, file payroll taxes, trackside days and vacation time and more.

Alternative to Gusto: Toggl, Teamdeck

Trello

It can be termed an app for project management or team & task management that helps keep track of tasks. It makes it easier for teams to collaborate by creating individual tasks or various for team members to complete. Within each step, one can assign due dates, tag others, create a checklist, and upload documents. It offers different integrations such as EverNote, Slack and even Google drive.

Alternative to Trello: Asara, Basecamp, Airtable

Square

It does not matter where you sell; if you need an all-in-one payment system, Square is your choice. You have likely heard of it as this POS provider which has changed the world of small business apps. It is an excellent affordable, and accessible set-up option that has improved the credit & debit card transactions with an easy option to build a custom solution also for each business. Square is best for low-volume merchants that work in low-risk industries.

Alternative to Square: PayPal, QuickBooks, Lightspeed, Shopify

SOS

Inventory tracking is an integral part of any business. SOS inventory is designed to make inventory tracking, order management and manufacturing easier. The best part is that this app can sync easily with QuickBooks and Shopify. One can easily manage inventory in more than one business location by tracking your item and hence giving different attributes to differentiate.

Alternative to SOS: Delivered, Sortly

Salesforce

It perhaps is one of the most prominent and most widely used CRM software on the market. Many small and big businesses use it worldwide, but the smaller businesses use lightning essentials, a basic edition of the same app. So this platform allows you to track and manage customer profiles across departments, make personalized marketing plans, respond to customer issues, and so much more.

Alternative to Salesforce: Spendgo, Belly, Nimble

We have listed the most famous and preferred small business apps above, and we know the usage of any of these will make your workday better. After all, there is basically an app for everything.

COLLEGE FEES, NO LONGER A BURDEN DURING PANDEMIC

Living in the age of competition makes everyone choose the best. While choosing the best, we also need to protect our financial pockets, especially during the pandemic when it is in the most vulnerable situation. During this time getting admission, for a professional course like Law in a good college will scar the pockets a little more. A college that caters to this need of the people is the need of the hour. To fulfil this need, IILM takes a step forward and offers numerous scholarships. It offers specific scholarships to meritorious students who have obtained good results in CLAT or LSAT. A scholarship of 20% is awarded if a student scores 100 and above in CLAT, and a scholarship of 30% is awarded if a score of 455 and above is obtained in LSAT. In addition to this IILM, understands payment of fees in one go will be difficult during this time, therefore relaxes the payment of fees for the Law programmes, including BA LLB and BBA LLB. The Registration fees, which most candidates see as a huge burden on their pockets, is relaxed from Rs. 90000 to Rs. 25000, and the fee payment of the first year is divided into three instalments. These steps are taken to ensure that higher education is not compromised during the pandemic.

An Ideal Law School

The question that most frequently crosses our mind while selecting a college to pursue our higher education in law is what we need and what they offer? An ideal Law college should be a paradise land offering a mock of the entire life ahead of every budding lawyer. It is paramount to understand that a lawyer is not only the one who practices the law. Instead, a lawyer is expected to preach its values and propagate them in society. This brings us to the foremost value every budding lawyer searches for in a law school, the quality of being able to be good. Law school should focus on the speaking abilities of every law student, even of the ones sitting in the corner of the class. To polish this skill, law school should regularly engage their students in moot court competitions, panel discussions, debates, and classroom interactions. The use of these practices makes the students confident to face the world with much ease.

The second virtue a law college should offer is the opportunity to let the young minds speak, write and publish. An ideal law school is the one that pushes all its students to contribute towards the law journals of the college and also help them build up their research skills to enable them to publish their works in other journals. The next essential trait a law student looks for in a law college is its ability to offer internships and placement opportunities. Law school should also focus on co-curricular activities apart from the regular law classes, which will ensure the student’s overall growth. For the overall growth of students, the students should be able to stay in touch with their teachers even beyond the classroom and college years. The professors and mentors should establish healthy relations with the students or a system that offers continuous mentoring of the students by following some unique mentor-mentee system. In addition to this, any law school that follows the Socratic method of teaching will raise the more analytical and intellectual lawyers. That involves complete participation of the student in the learning process, whereby he gets the freedom to ask questions and the confidence to raise his voice.

So an ideal law school should follow a student-centric approach, keeping in mind that a law student is not made a lawyer only by reading the books, instead what he experiences throughout the law school. A student becomes a lawyer with all the experiences he/she shares with his/her fellow students and mentors at the law school.

Personality Traits in Mahabharata and the Ocean Model

Introduction:

While going about our usual day we interact with people, judge their personality as to how they are different from us and at times compromise  with the changing facets of their personalities without even thinking. We unknowingly almost like an automatic response form opinion about people depending on their overt behavioural responses.

Why we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment aWhy we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment and the people we live with. Like when we notice someone at a party surrounded by a large group of people, obviously the centre of attention, chatting and laughing; we may conclude that person is an extrovert.

So, how do we understand personality?

While studying personality we assume that personality characteristics are relatively stable over time and that traits show stability across situations. For example, someone who is described as an extrovert may be very outgoing and chatty at a party but less so in a conference. In both situations, they are likely to be more sociable than an introvert person. We also assume that personality traits influence behaviour. The person is outgoing and chatty because they are an extrovert.

At IILM, we offer courses in personality to undergraduate courses to help them discover themselves as well as understand our basic individual differences.

Personality and its spectrum

Cattell (1965) defined personality as being the characteristics of the individual that allows prediction of how they will behave in a given situation. Psychologists increasingly agree that five super traits may adequately describe the structure of personality.

Costa and McCrae (1992), who measured personality with their OCEAN model represents a continuum along which individuals can be explained in terms of their traits.  For a better understanding of these traits, the following is my explanation of how characters and their personalities were depicted from Mahabharat.

Characters from Mahabharat to explain OCEAN Model:

At IILM the curriculum is an interesting blend of science and mythology. I will explain how we teach traits to our Psychology students with the help of characters from Mahabharat.

OPENNESS – This factor refers to the individual having an openness to new experiences and an active imagination.

Karna was seen to be high on this scale as throughout the epic he justified his never-say-die attitude and courageously confronted all the odds of his destiny. His character in Mahabharata has everlasting fame because he teaches how can one present himself better than the destiny and accomplish everything with shatterproof determination. Bhima was seen low on this scale as he was conventionally oriented towards a particular goal that is of being the mightiest warrior.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS– This factor describes our degree of self-discipline and control. Yudhishthira was high on this scale; was hard-working, organized, goal-driven whereas Shakuni was seen to be low on this scale as he is the person who poisoned the mind of his explosive nephew Duryodhana and fuelled-up the destructive war of Mahabharata, thus becoming the cause of the destruction of the Kauravas.

EXTRAVERSION – This factor is a measure of the individual’s sociability, energetic, optimistic, friendly and assertive.

Krishna was high on this scale as he attempted to navigate negotiations between the Pandavas and Kurus before the Kurukshetra war even happened. He convinced Balarama to not partake in the war itself. He even tried to get Karna to fight for the Pandavas as well. Sahadeva was shown to be low on extroversion, even though as the wisest of all the Pandava brothers he mostly kept to himself reading Vedas, spoke less and followed mostly what his elder brothers decided upon him.

AGREEABLENESS – This factor relates to the characteristics of social interaction. Individuals with high scores are trusting, helpful, soft-hearted and sympathetic.

Bhishma was high on this scale as his peerless statesmanship to be the mediator between the Kauravas and Pandavas and other impeccable characteristics still inspire his ardent followers across the world. Dronacharya was low on this scale as he discriminated against Karna and Eklavya on the basis of their caste. He did not voice out any objection in the court during Draupadi’s assault.

NEUROTICISM – This factor measures an individual’s emotional stability and personal adjustment. Duryodhana is seen to be high on this scale as he is motivated by greed, jealously, and a desire for retribution. Yudhishthira was low on this scale as he is calm, even-tempered, secure and happy.

Is there a situational difference when we portray our personality?

Psychologists explain this by segregating personality into a private and public persona. Private being the ‘real’ inner person, while public is the way that the individual presents themselves to the outside world. We may be confident and outgoing in some situations and less sure of ourselves and more retiring in other situations. A case where a shy reserved person joins an organisation but eventually becomes an arrogant and stubborn boss. This fits the explanation of how our personalities differ situationally.

Conclusion:

As much as individuals behave differently in different situations, our behavioural reactions can be clubbed into traits as similar reactions across age and cultures. To conclude, we can say that each one us is uniquely different yet distinctively similar as well.

 

“Personality is a mask we believe in”

Dr White

 

Relevance of Soft Skills for Personality Development among Students

INTRODUCTION: Soft skill, sometimes known as “people skills” are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interaction with others, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills or technical or occupational skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type or task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable. There are two broad classifications of soft skills viz. personal attributes and interpersonal attributes.

Soft skills broken down under personal attributes comprise of the following:

  1. Optimism
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Responsibility
  4. A sense of humor
  5. Integrity
  6. Time management
  7. Motivation
  8. Creativity

Soft skills under interpersonal abilities are as follows:

  1. Empathy
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication
  4. Good manners and etiquette
  5. Sociability
  6. The ability to teach
  7. Problem solving

It is often said that hard skills will get an interview but one needs soft skills to get and keep going with the job. In the initial years of one’s career, individuals need technical abilities or occupational skills may be important to get an assignment one seeks. However, when it comes to growing in an organization, it is the personality trait that matters. And this would apply more aptly in a setting where several people with similar technical expertise will compete for a position or a promotion.

Training of soft skills in our country becomes all the more relevant where the education system does not always delve into coordinated personality development. There is a lot of contradiction and argument in the industry as to whether it is possible to enhance soft skills through different modes of training and workshops especially when we already know that the person has lived with those traits all their lives. The answer to this question seems harsh although real. A student who wants to do well in his career and does not really have a choice, a reorientation of lifestyle and personal priorities becomes essential.

The concept of soft skill is not a recent concept, instead, it is a concept discussed since ancient times. Our Vedas and Upanishads enunciate how Vedantic prescriptions cab be an effective instrument for the personal transformation that automatically enhances soft skills necessary for growth.

A desire in a young professional to create a strong positive impression about the self in intellectual and social circles is paramount. Soft skills for university students should come with the intention of an all round development of their personality and not only focus on academics but train them professionally also. Inculcation of soft skills among students would ensure greater success for them across all the spheres of life. Today’s organizations and companies look for individuals who are flexible to adapt to the organization’s culture and are apt enough to establish meaningful interactions with people around.

Relevance of soft skills among students:

  1. For creating a healthy and productive work environment: We have to develop interpersonal skills like listening and writing that can ensure the flow of smooth and accurate instructions and information. This can guarantee a cooperative work environment with minimum levels of manageable conflicts.
  2. Efficiency in dealing with challenges: Hard skills help you with technical knowledge and skill building whereas soft skills as they include communication skills, etiquette and leadership skills make your adjustment better at the workplace. They make an individual capable enough to deal with challenges and problems at the workplace.
  3. For overall personality development: All round personality development can only be guaranteed if both the hard and soft skills go hand in hand. Thus as mentioned earlier, hard skills are not enough to bring the best in you and ensure success. Pairing technical expertise with the process involved in the implementation of the technical expertise would lead to over all personality building and growth.
  4. Demand of today’s time:  In today’s time, the strength of an individual is assessed on both the hard and soft skill parameters.  The one who lacks soft skills would not be able to compete with the demands of today’s time. Thus there should be a strong focus of the course curriculum on building and strengthening of personality by inculcating soft skills.

Conclusion: All round personality development of individuals should emphasize on the mastering of soft skills. At IILM University, there is a lot of stress on developing soft skills as a part of the course structure.  There are diverse facilities initiated by the University to delve upon such skills. Some of these facilities are:

  1. IILM center for Emotional Intelligence: This is one of the centers that cater to provide an idea as to the significance of emotional intelligence in our lives. How relevant this is for ensuring the future success of individuals and how can we make ourselves happy and satisfied thus adding quality to our lives.
  2. Course curriculum: The courses offered by IILM University just do not focus on the academic growth and learning of the students. Rather it also tends to inculcate applications based learning that can be implemented and utilized when our students enter the professional world.

We offer papers like communications skills, emotional intelligence inter group relations personality growth and development that gives them an idea about the corporate setup. These courses, apart from adding on to their knowledge reservoir add on to the other aspects required for personality development example a course on communication skills makes them apt to use the power of communication during meaningful interactions. It helps them lay their point of view much more comprehensively thus ensuring them success whether it is about cracking an interview or cracking a good deal at the workplace. Similarly, the course on emotional intelligence tends to tap competencies like self-regulation, nurturing relationships etc. that helps accomplish higher order goals that one can set in life, a course on inter group relations also tends to make them understand the relevance of dynamic interactions between two or more individuals or big groups. It makes them understand the complexities of group functioning thus avoiding conflicts and ensuring teamwork while personality growth and development, make them explore, introspect and evaluate their personality strengths and virtues. It gives them an accurate understanding of themselves thus making them understand their potentialities and abilities. Thus, the emphasis on soft skills development among the student lot is the need of the hour.

References:

Govind Singh Kushwaha, Role of Soft Skill and Personality Development, Research Gate, February 2012

Barbara Cimatti, Definition, Development, Assessment of Soft Skills and their role for the Quality of Organizations and Enterprises, International Journal for Quality Research 10(1) 97–130, 2016

Barun K. Mitra, Personality Development and Soft Skills, Oxford University Press

Personality Development Video, The Economic Times and The TIMES Multimedia, 2009.

TIME magazine, Vol. 172, No. 2, 2008.

The Beautiful Road Ahead – IILM, School of Management

Just out of school, a student enters a life, less cocooned, more puzzling, and challenging full of promises and heartbreaks. Parents also anxiously want their children to be on the right track of a steady career growth that promises a secure future. Wise decisions taken at this stage by the student and parents about the choice of course and institution will ensure good learning and focused career growth that is both rewarding and fulfilling. A beautiful road ahead is possible if one plans and decides well. Who wants a rickety ride in the graduation years?

In the market that is full of enticing offers and promises for a beautiful road ahead in education right after school, IILM, a top-ranking institute, is a name of trust running the helm of top-class education for decades. It has a unique reputation of welcome and warm ambiance with student-centric education that is in line with the demands of the market. One can see the wonderful reviews of students and parents on the internet about the quality education being offered in echelons of IILM. IILM has three imposing campuses in Delhi NCR, namely in Lodhi Road, Gurugram, and Greater Noida. IILM University, in Gurugram, offers several graduate and undergraduate courses in Management, Law, Psychology, Design, etc. apart from its rigorous Ph.D. program in different streams. All the departments boast of high-profile faculty and management, having an illustrious experience in their fields.

The School of Management

IILM University is nestled right in the heart of Gurgaon on the glistening Golf Course Road. The School of Management is one of its oldest and prestigious departments. The well-guarded campus housing the School has beautiful green manicured and well-tended gardens and lawns full of trees of mogra and pansy buds striking a contrast amidst the concrete and glass jungle of the Golf Course Road. One can see students sitting in the gardens with their laptops studying in the natural peace of nature or busy playing basketball/volleyball on the courts. Everywhere you see students, busy, happy, and secure.

The school of Management offers different undergraduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in varied streams of Management, Marketing, Human Resource, Entrepreneurship, Insurance, and Risk, etc. A well-equipped library that is regularly updated does not leave much for asking in terms of knowledge resources. The School of Management also aims and delivers 100% placements to the students in companies like Toyota, L’Oreal, HDFC Bank, Gartner, etc.

Faculty

‘No one should teach who is not in love with teaching.’ Margaret E. Sangster

Indeed, at the School of Management, the teachers are in love with their profession. The faculty is well-read and industrious in their efforts to impart impactful classroom teaching to the students. Many teachers have rich industry experience behind them and have research papers published in top research publications. The teaching sessions involve students and teachers in active, engrossing discussion of insights and wisdom. Case studies and role-plays, debates, quizzes, projects keep the students alert in the learning drill for a competitive future. Faculty is also deeply involved in continuous mentoring of students even after classroom sessions and students are active participants in organizing conferences, events, annual fairs, and social outreach programs.

Student life

‘The secret in education lies in respecting the student.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Student-centric education is the mantra at the School of Management. Students are involved everywhere, be it classroom, conferences, placements, etc. from day one at the school, the student feels part of the IILM family that builds his sense of responsibility and deliverance. The activities and clubs, like Marketing Club, Finance Club, Entrepreneurship Club, etc., keep the students busy in the learning mode. Yearly life skills training rendezvous to Jim Corbett Park help to relax the freshers and help them connect with their new friends and faculty and developing in the team spirit. Industrial visits and industry connect meetings and seminars help students gain exposure to the market they are readying up for. Students also participate in various competitions and social work programs with equal interest. long hours are also spent in the peaceful library. The hostel available for students is safe, secure, and hygienic. The management of the School is very cordial with the welfare and development of the student of topmost priority for them.

Good Decision

Choosing IILM University, School of Management is a wise decision to invest in a wonderful future in the business world. The teaching pedagogy is world-class and placements assured. Great global exposure is a value add with a number of student exchange programs and international visits. Guest lectures from the best in the industry help students get attuned to industry practices. They also become socially aware and responsible citizens. And of course, the beautiful green shaded campus is a big bonus.

The graduate years must be the best as they do involve the precious youth of a person’s life. A good institution will make focus on the future clear and be the mantle of guidance and support for the students. School of Management, IILM University, offers just that with passion and commitment. Students can get in touch with the IILM University admissions team on the university website and will be guided in the admission process and assisted with any queries. As the seats are limited in various programs offered by the School of Management, it will wise to submit applications as soon as possible.

So, for the prospects out there, make the right choice. Visit iilm.edu.in now to apply.

Surely, a beautiful road lies ahead!

A CACTUS IS REALLY JUST AN AGGRESSIVE CUCUMBER

Introduction:

As a cool cucumber can turn into a savaged looking cactus, all of us can indeed turn our calm selves to something ferocious because of anger which at times triggers violent responses. Reactions ranging from rash driving to banging doors to actually getting into a physical altercation and verbal aggression are seen most commonly with people who are apparently aggressive.

Social Psychologists cleave the concept of aggression into emotional and instrumental aggression which is to say that former results from unhappy/negative emotions (carried out in the heat of the moment like slapping in a fit of rage) whereas the latter is intended, a well-planned move (to hurt someone purposely like a bully in school or at work).

Aggression is exhibited in physical aspects – hitting, kicking to non-physical aspects like verbal (yelling), social (bad-mouthing, excluding others), racial (micro aggression), sexual (misogyny, homophobic jokes) that are intended to harm others.

Following Liberal education at IILM University, we teach life skills in out everyday classes in the form of role plays or class discussion to help them accept, understand and manage negative emotions.

But why do we aggress? Is it like a life skill that we all need so that we don’t look meek?

Evolutionary Scientists explain that we have an innate ability to protect as well as seek continual survival of our genes. Human beings need to be able to aggress in certain situations, and nature has provided us with this skill which means that under the right situation, almost all of us will aggress (Buss & Duntley, 2006).

Physiologists’ support evolutionary perspective as it is known to mankind that aggression is controlled by Amygdala i.e. limbic system inside the cortex controlling emotions. This further controls our autonomic nervous system which in stress activates flight-or-fight mechanism.  What science is trying to explain to us is that under stress, we will either fight the stressor or run away from it. Not only this, some imperative chemical substances in our body like serotonin which when found to be at low levels predict aggression (Kruesi, Hibbs, Zahn, & Keysor, 1992; Virkkunen, de Jong, Bartko, & Linnoila, 1989).

Behavioral scientists feel that what we see in our environment is how we condition ourselves to be; so if children see their parents act out aggression by hitting, to them it’s OK to do the same. It’s no rocket science to explain that aggression would harbor aggression and the more we see it, the easier it is for us to repeat it.

It is imperative to say that one’s social situation also makes it critical for a response like aggression. As it is commonly noticed that we may react violently in situations where we are uncomfortable/ fearful or provoked (with friends or subordinates) but may react more calmly in others (in front of an authority).

On hindsight, it is easy to recall that when we were aggressive, we were likely to be experiencing a negative emotion (example- unhappy thoughts, pain or discomfort) that’s why it became so easy to react aggressively. In general, it could be the feeling of being ill or undergoing emotional disturbance that makes one vulnerable to frustration which further provokes violent behaviour.

At IILM University which is considered one of the best private universities for Psychology around Delhi/NCR, we teach critical thinking and communication skills along with other courses where we discuss how anger does not become an issue till you keep ignoring it. Reaching to the core of an internal conflict and addressing concerns is half battle won without inflicting pain to self or others.

 

How to if not stop, control aggression?

The answer to this is Catharsis which is a process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotion. For reducing negative affect and its arousal, if we can actively distract ourselves from that emotion it can help break the cycle of being provoked to react in anger. Catharsis can be any form of meaningful engagement like talking it out, exercising, listening to music and is most useful when done alone.

At undergrad and master’s courses in Psychology at IILM University we teach positive and social psychology and most importantly emotional intelligence. We endeavour to help our students with a thorough understanding of psychology, its components and how aggression is a symptom of repressed issues which through therapy and counselling can be managed.

Conclusion:

Aggression is seen more an emotional than instrumental response needs to be managed by first checking on our feelings. We need to assess what caused this emotion and why? At times aggression is directed at something different than what actually provoked it. When we think carefully about our situation, rather than simply responding in an emotional way, we can carefully choose the most effective responses when we are angry (Berkowitz, 1993).

To conclude, aggression is not a disease we need to fight, lets comes to terms with how normal an aggressed response is; but accept that it cannot be typified into personality. We need to address cause before the management for a long-term goal.

 

The Community Identity, a Sense of Belonging

A community is an identity, an entity. And therefore, it is important.

Community is a group of people in a shared interest or loving space and have similar characteristics. When it comes to human civilisation, a community is a thriving ecosystem having its unique DNA, social and legal structure, beliefs, and practices. Threads of reliance and togetherness among the community members keep it alive. Community is an important facilitating agent of influence and change as it consists of people who share common thought processes and camaraderie. We usually talk about urban, suburban, and rural communities. But communities are varied and formed based on shared lifestyle and beliefs, like religious communities, occupational communities, political ideological communities etc.  All this make the concept of a community very relevant and important for businesses and government and whoever intends to sell an idea, service, product, or positive behaviours.

Building Community

Community building is a field of practice that aims to connect with a target group of people with a message in an effective way. Sometimes also called community development, it is a communication strategy and has time and again proved successful for the enhancement of a community. Community building exercises are important especially in a developing and populous country like India having a huge stratum of poor and rural population with high illiteracy and traditional belief system. Many social development policies and interventions of government and non-government agencies use community centric implementation strategies to bring about positive change. Social marketing of public policies and interventions are most effective when designed in a community specific manner, e.g, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ interventions will be different for a tribal community in Rajasthan or Haryana which are areas steeped in patriarchy and religious beliefs than rest of India where female infanticide problems are not so grave. Health insurance concept can be promoted in a better way through community-based health insurance schemes (CBHI) to bring more adoption and utilisation of the concept, eg. VimoSewa of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Gujarat that built a community of poor and self-employed women. Community buildings help the government in achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In a similar way, the power of community has been leveraged in many other development interventions like immunization, mother and child nutrition, disease or pandemic management, awareness programmes etc. The community members look up to community influencers and their peers to adopt to change rather than a plain reason to change.

Marketer Relevance

The community has always been attractive to the marketer who targets specific markets or niches to sell its products and services. A new whey protein manufacturer targets the gym going and vegan community specifically as it makes more sense to gain ground and a steady revenue stream. Lakers team in basketball is a world-famous brand that has built its own community of Laker fans to whom it sells its Laker merchandise. When Harley Davidson was incurring losses and had reached on the verge of shutting its shop, it tried the community building method (HOG-Harley Owners Group) for its bikes and accessories through its community building strategy.  Podcast uses community building and marketing strategies successfully to run its business in the face of tough competition from video-centric content. Mobile companies like Oneplus and Apple use community building and marketing strategies to promote their products and new launches.

A business can build its community through face to face personal contact, social media presence where the page google analytics can help the business check the leverage. Campaigns, events, theatre plays, festivals, fairs, social work and relevant, quality offerings that connect with the members help to build communities for the products where members feel involved. Marketing efforts for any product or service to the communities is easier and fruitful.

IILM and Community Building

Community building efforts help maintain lifelong connects. Many educational institutions, for example, IILM University, lays a lot of stress in harbouring its alumni community, roping them in for guest lectures, motivational talks and placements and highlighting them on a pedestal pf inspiration for future students. Every student feels part of the IILM family long after he/she has left the organisation. for its social work and CSR initiatives, IILM University also adopts villages in its vicinity and promotes education, healthcare, and other programmes of social upliftment for the poor communities. Students actively participate with full zeal in such programmes and develop a commitment towards community building for the larger good of the nation

Therefore, community building and marketing is important for organisations and businesses to remain relevant and in the competition. It not only empowers the business but also the customer. A thriving community ensures a happy society. Community building will also help in reducing social disintegration, harmful behaviours and will knit fabric of social support, social justice, and economic development along with brand loyalties.

The trend of community building and marketing is getting more prevalent and more niches will be created. It will not be exaggerating to say that community will be the future of marketing. Future marketers and policymakers should concentrate their efforts towards community building to remain relevant in the new age business and marketing scenario. It will be very beneficial for students to opt for Institutions like IILM that have dedicated community building programs which give ample exposure to students in this domain and help with their placements and career development. Students need to take up skills like interpersonal communication, blogging, public speaking, communication design etc. very seriously to gain competitive advantage. such skills are much in demand and will bring an added shine to their personality to make them stand out in the crowd. In this regard, students can further follow the author’s blog on IILM blog site or connect personally for queries and guidance on the email given.

Follow my blogs or write to me at shahana.qutab.phd2019@iilm.edu

Is print media losing its sheen as digital media leapfrogs ?

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses” ~ Malcolm X.

Media has been ruling since time immemorial. Mass media refers to various platforms, which can be used to communicate and interact with a large number of audiences in different languages. The frontrunners being print and digital. 

Early print and digital

Print media is known from the days of Julius Cesar when Acta Diurna, came into being.It has been dominating the media and communication industry with newspapers, magazines, booklets and brochures, house magazines, periodicals or newsletters, direct mailers, handbills or flyers, billboards, press releases, and books. However, change is the only constant and with digital slowly building up a solid userbase over the years a question mark on the sustainability of print arose.

We all know that digital media is created, modified and distributed on digital electronic devices. For many of us, it may be difficult to believe, but in 1986, only 34 years back, we had as little as 1 percent of total media storage capacity in digital form.  This number rose to 94 percent in 2007, which best illustrates the speed at which digitalization came about. In a relatively short period, the Internet has had a remarkable influence on almost every facet of our lives. This evolution of media and communication has not just evolved more with each passing day but has also revolutionized the way individuals and businesses operate.

 

The debate and trends

The biggest advantage that print has over digital is its credibility. Print media is more trustworthy because once the news is published, it cannot be deleted or even modified. For most of us, the day begins and ends with screens. The print is a soft breeze that comes by to give us a digital detox time. When we read newspapers, there are no distractions from numerous clickable advertisements and pop-ups, that makes the consumption and comprehension of the news more deep-down.

In a country like ours, many areas have limited or no access to the internet. For them, print media is a blessing in disguise. However, when the debate continues to the statistics of literacy rate, digital scores a point, since radio and television do not require literacy and readability skills.

Current trends show that most newspapers and magazines are turning to their digital version and several online news websites are bringing their print versions. This is quite a mix bag of ways to reach more consumers and to establish credibility. However, in this fast-paced world and extreme paucity of time a  two-way communication that digital media offers make news and information interactive, engaging, and interesting. With a faster turnaround time and instant updates digital keeps us more streamlined.  This makes it easy to spread important news among the public.

However, as anyone can easily generate content for digital media, fake news is on the rise. As a result, unless they are famous and have a good name, digital media platforms are not being trusted by the public. In this regard, print media win hands down.

 

Who stays longer?

Yes! News is now being consumed in little digital packets. While digital boasts of a solid userbase today, print media has also witnessed healthy growth in terms of readership. Both have their pros and cons and will see robust growth in the coming years with their respective consumers. In fact, with increasing literacy rates, print is acquiring more users. The print is not losing its sheen, but it will have to diversify, experiment and explore more opportunities to remain in the rat race. So, we can say that print and digital media are co-existing quite happily for now. It’s for undercurrents to decide who sustains in the long run.

Journalism, media and communication programme at IILMU

We at IILM University understand the current trends, we know this is one of the most dynamic and imposing industry and therefore, the 3-year bachelor’s degree in journalism, media and communication offers the most intensive and innovative curriculum blended with a progressive pedagogy. From a range of core and electives, the student learns all about various media and communication platforms such a print, digital, broadcast, advertising, public relations, corporate communication, photography and many more. We teach journalism, media, communication not only as an industry but as part of society as well.

 

 

 

 

Harnessing Brand Communication to Reignite Momentum & Restart Commerce

Brand communication is voice. It humanizes any brand to be able to create real and relevant conversations with people. In times of crisis like today, brands play a significant role in shaping the choices people make. These choices are not just about the product or service, but also message and purpose-driven.

IILM conducted an engaging and interactive webinar on “Brand Communication in Times of Crisis ” by Karen Wilson – Publisher & Business Head Lifestyle Division – India Today Group. The webinar was scheduled for 15 May and was streamed live on YouTube. The participants were a mix of students, faculty, and guests who joined through registration.

YouTube video

 

Karen initiated the webinar by talking about how in these unprecedented times, people look to leaders and institutions for guidance, reassurance, and information. We further deliberated that customers today are more aware and exposed to the realities of business. And that’s why it becomes imperative for any business to stick to implicit messaging.

The webinar took an interesting turn when Karen highlighted how increasingly, businesses require to reignite momentum and restart commerce. How they should perceive this moment of crisis not as a danger but also as an opportunity but not at the cost of sounding an opportunist. She added that this is the time for brands to take a moment and reassess past business practices and the road ahead. Karen showed some eye-opening advertisements from the past and from the present that exhibited what brands must do in times of crisis and how in the process maintain their reputation as well.

The latter part of the webinar was open to the audience and some interesting questions on how businesses should strategize their brand policy when sales begin to nosedive, consumers set stricter priorities and reduce their spending, and most businesses postpone new investments. To this Karen focused principally on the right brand messaging and its importance. She explicitly pointed out how brands must appeal to consumers’ emotions. All messaging must elicit a high emotional response to the said product. The underlined sentiments of this new normal must be reinforced in all communication. To a very interesting question on how businesses dealing in non-consumable services must do their branding? Karen was quick to answer that businesses must leverage testimonials and focus on the USP of their service for the end-user.

The webinar was a grand success in terms of the relevance of the content, the structuring of the presentation, the flurry of questions from the audience, and the huge participation.  The crux that as humans, we’re programmed to stay connected. While social distancing measures offer protection and security, they come with a significant impact on the emotional and mental well-being of individuals, communities, and the world at large. It is at times like this that brands must continue to connect and reassure their customers that this too shall pass, and we are in this together, therefore resulting in them remaining top of mind.

Check out this post I wrote on “The Anatomy of Online business- Brand Storytelling the new normal, it’s packed with amazing tips.