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University Research

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jun 2024

Prof. Fadel M. Megahed of Farmer School Information Systems and Analytics (ISA) at Miami University (USA), is the lead author of two papers on artificial intelligence (AI), 'Introducing ChatSQC: Enhancing Statistical Quality Control with Augmented AI' (aug 2023, arxiv.org) (Authors: Fadel M. Megahed of Miami University; Ying-Ju Chen of University of Dayton; Inez Zwetsloot of University of Amsterdam; Sven Knoth of Helmut Schmidt University; Douglas C. Montgomery of Arizona State University; L. Allison Jones-Farmer of Miami University) and 'How generative AI models such as ChatGPT can be (mis)used in SPC practice, education, and research? An exploratory study' (jun 2023, tandfonline.com) (Authors: Fadel M. Megahed of Miami University; Ying-Ju Chen of University of Dayton; Joshua A. Ferris of Miami University; Sven Knoth of Helmut Schmidt University; L. Allison Jones-Farmer of Miami University). He has brought AI into his classroom teaching for business analytics students. He says, 'There was a lot of research that talked about how AI could be used in education, that AI can play many roles in the classroom...As an ISA student, learning to use AI is an emerging skill that would benefit your career. That being said, you should be aware of the limits of such tools: (a) the use of AI tools may not be useful in all applications, so use them with caution; (b) prompt engineering matters, so you will need to craft a good prompt to get higher quality answers; (c) the answers you get may be wrong, e.g., ChatGPT is often confident but wrong; and (d) if you use such a tool in an assignment/exam, you will need to provide your prompt and the AI's answer (which may require tweaking to work correctly).' Regarding the ChatISA tool, Prof. Megahed says, 'I wanted to provide a free tool for students to be more inclusive, a tool where the students' prompts and responses are not used for model training. And I wanted to incorporate state-of-the-art recommendations about context setting and prompt engineering to enhance the outputs our students would get from the same request...Students in my class have mentioned that depending on the instructor, when they have the option to use these AI tools, they use it also for other classes.' Read on...

Miami University FSB News: FSB professor creates AI chatbot to assist business analytics students
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jan 2024

According to the research 'Reidentification Risk in Panel Data: Protecting for k-Anonymity' (Authors: Sachin Gupta of Cornell University; Shaobo Li of University of Kansas; Matthew J. Schneider of Drexel University; Yan Yu of University of Cincinnati), published on 07 oct 2022 in Information Systems Research, nearly all market research panel participants are at risk of becoming de-anonymized. The commitment of a market research company towards privacy of panelists cannot be totally practiced as there are ways around it. Prof. Sachin Gupta says, 'When organizations release or share data, they are complying with privacy regulations, which means that they’re suppressing or anonymizing personally identifiable information. And they think that they have now protected the privacy of the individuals that they’re sharing the data about. But that, in fact, may not be true, because data can always be linked with other data.' Earlier research (2006) 'How To Break Anonymity of the Netflix Prize Dataset' (Authors: Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University; Vitaly Shmatikov of Cornell University) showcases the similar risk. Researchers developed a de-anonymization algorithm, Scoreboard-RH, that was able to identify up to 99% of Netflix subscribers by using anonymized information from a 2006 competition, aimed at improving its recommendation service, coupled with publicly available info on Internet Movie Database. Both of these researchs rely on 'quasi-identifiers' or QIDs, which are attributes that are common in both an anonymized dataset and a publicly available dataset, which can be used to link them. The conventional measure of disclosure risk, termed unicity, is the proportion of individuals with unique QIDs in a given dataset; k-anonymity is a popular data privacy model aimed to protect against disclosure risk by reducing the degree of uniqueness of QIDs. Prof. Gupta suggests that even though privacy laws are getting tougher but market researchers will continue to collect and store data, and the challenge of privacy remains. He says, 'The nature of the problem will probably reduce and change, but I don't think it's going away. Read on...

Cornell Chronicle: Protecting identities of panelists in market research
Author: Tom Fleischman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2023

According to the recent research study, 'Influencer marketing and the growth of affiliates: The effects of language features on engagement behavior' (Authors: Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham; Holly A. Syrdal of Texas State University; William C. McDowell of Texas State University; Susan Myers of the University of Central Arkansas; Sandipan Sen of Southeast Missouri State University), published in the Journal of Business Research (August 2023), traditionally major brands have embraced affiliate marketing programs, but the factors influencing engagement with influencer-generated content have remained largely unexplored. To bridge this gap, the research team applied the Elaboration Likelihood Model to investigate how the linguistic features of influencers' affiliate marketing posts influence consumer behaviors. Wikipedia defines Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuation, proposed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo in 1980, as a dual process theory describing the change of attitudes. The model aims to explain different ways of processing stimuli, why they are used, and their outcomes on attitude change. ELM intended to provide a general 'framework for organizing, categorizing, and understanding the basic processes underlying the effectiveness of persuasive communications.' Authors of the current study text used text mining and natural language processing techniques and analyzed a vast data set of influencers' affiliate marketing posts from Instagram. The study revealed that specific linguistic styles within these posts can enhance or diminish engagement with the content. Prof. Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham, the lead author of the study, says, 'Affiliate influencer marketing is a good example of a social media marketing strategy that is evolving before our eyes in real time...now we see that the industry is maturing and dealing with new concerns around artificial intelligence, bots and fake followers, and brands are still trying to figure out how to utilize influencer marketing in order to drive value...Affiliate influencers offer companies a lower-risk strategy to partner with influencers utilizing a commission-based pay formula rather than an upfront investment, For smaller brands especially, utilizing affiliates may be the winning strategy moving forward.' Micro-influencers could establish trust with their followers and offer authentic brand recommendations, making them an integral part of brand strategies. The study represents a significant contribution to the field as it is the first to examine the impact of language cues on consumer engagement with influencer-generated affiliate marketing content. Moreover, the research helps to understand the dynamics of influencer affiliate marketing and its potential impact on marketing strategies. Read on...

UAB News: New research reveals how influencers' words impact engagement in affiliate marketing on social media
Author: Adam Pope


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2023

According to the research commissioned by Trades Union Congress (TUC, UK) and conducted by academics (Dr. Minjie Cai, Prof. Sian Moore, Dr. Alex Stroleny, Dr. Safak Tartanoglu-Bennett, Dr. Scott Tindal) at the Centre for Research on Employment and Work (CREW) at the University of Greenwich, the pandemic 'intensified existing trends' in online shopping, which meant a renewed shift from traditional shop-floor jobs towards work in warehouses, away from direct contact with customers. The analysis suggests that even though warehouse roles often provide more regular hours, and that competition for staff has pushed up wage rates, but warehouse work was considered by research participants as particularly gruelling ('the job is not human'), explaining labour shortages and high turnover, with a suggestion that automation and robotisation might be necessary to save the physical cost to human physical and mental health. Kate Bell, deputy general secretary of TUC, says, 'It was easy for consumers to forget that what feels like the miracle of rapid home delivery relies on real human labour, and real human labour which is increasingly tough - monitored, repetitive, gruelling.' Adrian Jones, the national organiser at Unite, says, 'Employers seem to be relying more and more on automated performance management tools in warehouses to set standards - and it doesn't take into consideration the massive issues that workers face on a day in, day out basis.' The researchers suggest surveillance of staff is used differently in workplaces where unions have a seat around the table. The report says, 'Where trade unions are recognised, workplace representatives play a key role in mediating technology and constraining its use in disciplinary measures against workers.' Tom Ironside, the director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, says, 'The need for warehouse staff has been rising in recent years, so retailers have worked hard to provide the necessary financial and non-financial total reward to attract the necessary talent. As with all parts of retail, good working conditions are a key way of attracting and retaining staff, and warehouses are no exception.' Read on...

The Guardian: 'The job is not human': UK retail warehouse staff describe gruelling work
Author: Heather Stewart


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2022

Recent research report, 'The State of Shipping Report 2022: Why Faster Shipping Matters', developed in partnership between X Delivery and Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University, points out the importance of fast, free, and effective shipping on online brands' customer relationships. According to the report, 62% of shoppers expect their orders to arrive in less than 3 business days when choosing free shipping. On the contrary, more than 4/5ths of leading fashion and apparel retailers are still using 5-8 day delivery options to service free shipping orders. Prof. Kirthi Kalyanam, Executive Director of the Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University, says, 'Customers want shipping to be free and fast — and they’re willing to abandon carts and walk away from brands that fail to deliver on both fronts. Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever, and it’s up to merchants to give them the streamlined, expedited shipping experiences that they crave.' Peter Sheldon, SVP of Strategy & Business Development at X Delivery, says, 'Everyone understands the ROI of free shipping, but many retail brands aren't yet providing affordable and convenient expedited shipping options. retailers that step up and elevate their delivery options have an opportunity to upgrade their brand experience, reduce cart abandonment, and capture significant ROI.' Read on...

Retail Dive: Survey: 62% of shoppers expect their free shipping orders to arrive in 3 business days
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2022

According to the research paper, 'Leveraging Creativity in Charity Marketing: The Impact of Engaging in Creative Activities on Subsequent Donation Behavior' (Authors: Ravi Mehta of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lidan Xu of the University of North Texas, Darren W. Dahl of the University of British Columbia), published in Journal of Marketing, 'engaging potential donors in creative activities can positively influence their propensity to donate money to a charitable cause.' Prof. Ravi Mehta says, 'Participating in creative activities such as drawing or cookie decoration in support of a charitable cause induces a sense of autonomy in participants, which leads to a positive affective state, resulting in 'enhanced donation behaviors' - that is, a greater likelihood of donating to the cause and a greater monetary amount donated.' Prof. Mehta further explains, 'Charities are constantly looking for new and more effective ways to engage potential donors in order to secure the resources needed to deliver their services. This paper demonstrates that creative activities are one way for marketers to meet this challenge. We think that this research will have substantive implications for understanding how creativity can affect subsequent behavior, and how marketers and advertisers can incorporate creative activities into fundraising efforts, charity events and social media campaigns as a viable fundraising strategy.' Read on...

Illinois News Bureau: Paper: Engaging donors in creative acts can boost charitable fundraising
Author: Phil Ciciora


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 apr 2022

Generating positive word-of-mouth (WOM) is one of the important component of brand influence. Nowadays, brands utilize influencer marketing strategies to get WOM. The study, 'How implicit self-theories and dual-brand personalities enhance word-of-mouth' [Authors: Arvind Sahay (Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad), Sudipta Mandal (Indian Institute of Management Indore), Adrian Terron (Tata Group), Kavita Mahto (Tata Sons Ltd)], published in European Journal of Marketing, investigates how and why consumers' mindsets can influence their WOM intentions toward a brand and the consequent implications for a brand's personality. The research study finds that fixed (growth) mindset individuals exhibit greater WOM intentions than growth (fixed) mindset individuals for motives of 'impression management' ('learning and information acquisition'). Moreover, the study results also demonstrate that brands that exhibit dual personality dimensions simultaneously, one salient and the other non-salient at any instant, garner equivalent WOM intentions from both fixed and growth mindset individuals, contingent on the fit between the salient brand personality dimension and the dominant consumer mindset. Finally, using a real brand, it can be seen that WOM intentions actually translate into behavior'. Prof. Arvind Sahay says, 'In today's world, influencers, both offline and online world, influencers, both offline and online, help you to sell your brand. Many of these influencers will have different kinds of personalities. As a brand, if I can build personalities of the brand itself, that appeals more to different kinds of influencers, they will generate more word-of-mouth.' Prof. Sahay suggests, 'Brands which have a purpose, brands which empathise with their customers, brands who try to connect with their customers are going to do better.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Brands could have dual personalities in an influencer-led economy: Arvind Sahay, marketing professor, IIM-A
Authors: Chehneet Kaur, Prasad Sangameshwaran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 nov 2021

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an important human resources issue in public relations field and needs consideration from various stakeholders. Recent research by Prof. Caitlin Wills of the University of North Georgia, published in The Public Relations Journal titled, 'Diversity in Public Relations: The Implications of a Broad Definition for PR Practice?', examines how the top 50 PR firms (Holmes Report) communicate about diversity on their websites. Their specific definitions are important as it showcases their understanding, policies and implementations regarding diversity. According to the research, 'Over half of the websites sampled contained definitions; the majority included expanded conceptualizations of differences, and most did not mention demographic characteristics specifically. Of the nine firms that outlined distinct activities, such as employee networks, all of the activities addressed demographic characteristics of diversity.' Prof. Caitlin says, 'The field has been slow to change and reflect the diversity of society, and fundamentally does not reflect the diversity of its audiences...The PR field is not yet diverse in traditional terms. The field needs to diversify in that way before they can move to broader definitions that ignore race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.' In the research article Prof. Caitlin made following recommendations for PR firms - (1) Develop a definition of diversity based on specific criteria that includes both traditional and broad characteristics of diversity. (2) Show organizational commitment to diversity initiatives by communicating the definition and activities across organizational communication to all stakeholders. (3) Align diversity-related activities to the criteria identified in the definition to allow assessment and ensure effectiveness. She further says, 'A definition of diversity that reflects the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) guidance might help focus policies and programs on many types of diversity and inclusion, thus, moving the field of public relations toward fuller diversification. Once a definition is identified, it should be communicated clearly to employees and the public on the website. All employees, especially CEOs, should know how their organization defines diversity and defines inclusion. In addition, initiatives should be expanded to address other diversity factors and linked to the criteria identified in the definition.' Read on...

University of North Georgia Newsroom: Wills points out diversity disparities
Author: J. K. Devine


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021

The new study 'Why Do Some Advertisements Get Shared More Than Others' by Prof. Jonah Berger of the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and Daniel McDuff of Microsoft Research published in Journal of Advertising Research, explores the emotional triggers - happiness, sadness, and even disgust - that make people want to share advertising content. Prof. Berger is also the author of the books, 'Contagious' and 'The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind'. The study investigates the link between emotional responses to video ads and sharing. The researchers found that positive emotions resulted in more sharing, but so did feelings of disgust. Prof. Berger says, 'Everyone wants their content to be shared - from companies with their ads to 'influencers' with their videos to content marketers with their content. But actually getting consumers to share is harder than most people think.' Prof. Berger mentions that for the study they used facial expressions of participants as indicator of emotions. He says, 'It certainly seems easier to ask people how they feel or have them rate their response on scale. But there's a problem: Self-reports are often inaccurate. People don't always have a good sense of what they are feeling, and even if they give you an answer, it's not always correct. Further, people sometimes bias their responses based on what they think you want to hear. So, facial expressions can be a valuable alternative. Our face often signals how we're feeling even if we don’t realize it.' Stating the key findings and implications of the study, Prof. Berger says, 'While ads that made people smile were more likely to be shared, some negative emotions, like sadness or confusion, decreased sharing, while others, like disgust, increased it. Consistent with other research we've conducted, this highlights that rather than just being about feeling good or bad, sharing is also about the physiological arousal associated with different emotions. Emotions that fire us up to take action, like anger and anxiety (and in this case, disgust) boost sharing, while emotions that power us down (like sadness), decrease sharing. This has a number of important implications for marketers. First, if you want people to share, making them feel good isn't enough. Feeling content isn't going to make people share. You have to fire them up. Make them feel excited, inspired, or surprised. Second, you don't have to shy away from negative emotions. Because they fire people up, anger, anxiety or even disgust can be leveraged to encourage word of mouth.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: What Makes Some Ads More Shareable Than Others?
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2020

Logos are a brief visual representaion of the organizational identity and help differentiate them from each other. They assist to instantly recognize brands and over a period of time can become one of the most important component of their identity. Traditionally, organizations utilize the services of graphic designers to get their logos and the process has artistic and creative orientation. But now powered with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), there are online logo design software tools that can design logos instantly once some specifications are submitted. These tools also provide editing and customization features. Technology is transforming the creative field of logo design into a more scientific one. Research paper, 'Letting Logos Speak: Leveraging Multiview Representation Learning for Data-Driven Logo Design' (SSRN, 25 nov 2019) (Authors: Ryan Dew of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Asim M. Ansari of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University, Olivier Toubia of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University), proposes a more data-driven approach to logo design in which the authors developed a 'logo feature extraction algorithm' that uses modern image processing tools to break a company's logo into many visual constituent parts like font, color scheme, and many other meaningful features, and a multiview representation learning framework that links the visual components to text that describes the company like industry, value propositions etc. Researchers then applied this framework to a large amount of data available on companies to predict their logo features. Prof. Ryan Dew explains, 'There are things that data and models can say about the design process that can help firms develop brand identities - visual brand identities that are doing the right things for them...we looked at hundreds of different logos, and we also looked at a bunch of textual data describing these firms - taken mostly from the firms' websites. And we also got consumers to react to these logos and the textual descriptions by rating these firms according to what's called a 'brand personality scale'...we developed an algorithm that lets us work with logos as a source of data. We call this our 'logo feature extraction algorithm'...and then we also have all this text, which can be anything...It conveys what the firm does and what their brand is...The idea is, we want to link these two domains to try to get the words to describe what the logo is trying to say. Let the logo speak. Conversely, this is actually how the design process works. You start with a textual blurb describing - 'This is what my brand is. This is what my firm does'. And then you go from that to a logo — to a logo template. This is where the concept of data-driven design comes in. We both, in the first sense, are able to use text to understand logos, but in the second sense, we're able to go from text to new logo templates that will let firms develop logos that are consistent with their brand identities...a more fundamental thing that the current paper can address is this idea of coming up with the 'right template' to convey what you want to convey visually. That is, in some sense, firms should be a little cautious when they're designing logos...understanding these templates and having this model of data-driven design can help with the creative process, to come up with new redesigns or new logos that will excel.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: Why a Data-driven Approach Can Enhance the Art of Logo Design
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 dec 2020

Organizations now have large amount of data available to them, but the challenge is to obtain actionable insights by using right data analytics tools and processes that help in making right organizational decisions. Data-driven decision-making has become a common practice with organizations trying to find purpose for the data. But it is not necessary that all analytics processes answer the right questions and it's also not a safeguard against the influence of preexisting beliefs and incentives. Prof. Bart de Langhe of Esade - Ramon Llull University (Spain) and Prof. Stefano Puntoni of Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University (Netherlands) propose a new approach termed as 'decision-driven data analytics' - 'Find data for a purpose, instead of finding a purpose for data.' They explain, 'Data-driven decision-making anchors on available data. This often leads decision makers to focus on the wrong question. Decision-driven data analytics starts from a proper definition of the decision that needs to be made and the data that is needed to make that decision...Data-driven decision-making empowers data providers and data scientists. The risk is that decision makers take data that is consistent with their preexisting beliefs at face value.' Elaborating their approach, they say, 'To move to a decision-driven data analytics approach, a company must start by identifying the business’s key decisions and the people who make them, and finding data for a purpose rather than finding a purpose for the data at hand.' Data-driven Data Analytics (Anchor on data that is available; Find a purpose for data; Start from what is known; Empower data scientists). Decision-driven Data Analytics (Anchor on a decision to be made; Find data for a purpose; Start from what is unknown; Empower decision makers). To allay fears of executives who might confuse decision-driven approach with preference-driven data analytics (where decision makers use data to support a decision that has already been made and fall prey to confirmation bias), authors suggest leaders to take three important steps - Step I: Responsibility of decision makers to form a narrow consideration set of alternative courses of action. Step II: Joint responsibility of decision makers and data scientists to identify the data needed to figure out which course of action is best. Step III: Choose the best course of action. Read on...

MIT Sloan Management Review: Leading With Decision-Driven Data Analytics
Authors: Bart de Langhe, Stefano Puntoni


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2020

COVID-19 has brought about new challenges for brands and businesses. Changing consumer behavior, excessive use of social media, prevalence of fake news, fast spread of public opinion through internet etc has exacerbated the problems that businesses are facing. The large amount of content that is generated at this time is filled with mixed emotions - happiness, anger, fear, and disgust. Anubhav Mishra, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, provides a solution for brands to follow to manoeuver through the current marketing challenges - a simple LAC Model - that stands for Listen, Act, and Communicate. He explains - (1) LISTEN: 'Social media listening is the first step, which most of the brands regularly do as part of their digital marketing strategy. Brands collect information and do a sentiment analysis to understand the emotions hidden in those tweets or Facebook posts. Sentiment analysis reflects what consumers are feeling about that brand. A careful filtering of the information should reveal consumer's expectations and challenges from the brand.' (2) ACT: 'The next step is to act on the information collected in the listening process...Brands should find innovative ways to act on the information to ease the pains of consumers.' (3) COMMUNICATE: 'A critical aspect of communication is to gather free media and support from consumers...A firm must resist the temptation to chest thumping which can severely backfire. Many people are dying globally and there is a general atmosphere of fear and mistrust...Consumers are showing signs of distrust and skepticism toward any communication. In such scenario, content must be created to show feelings of concerns towards the severe spread. Brands should reflect that they care for their consumers in these testing times.' Read on...

Campaign India: Opinion: Marketing in the time of Covid-19
Author: Anubhav Mishra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2020

COVID-19 impacted the retail sector and brought about unforeseen challenges. Recent study by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at University of Warwick (UK) and Blue Yonder examined how retailers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure their survival. The study is based on the survey responses from 105 different retailers from Europe, Asia and the Americas and identified the human vulnerabilities across the supply chain and the need for future investment in flexibility, visibility and automation to improve future resilience. Some of the challenges that retailers faced are - unprecedented demand for some products while no demand for others; many stores were forced to close, or adapt their operations to accommodate social distancing; shift to online shopping wherever possible but it had its own operational challenges. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS - (1) The majority (61%) of retailers used inventory to buffer against the disruption of COVID-19. Supply chain processes and systems were effective, but more than half (58%) of retailers said a high degree of manual intervention was required to respond to the fluctuation in demand and supply. (2) Workforce issues were dominant issues for retailers with 59% of warehouse and 48% store operatives being affected by quarantine or illness. This often resulted in the closure of online operations and the need to recruit temporary staff. (3) Retailers were polarised in their treatment of supplier payments, with 37% delaying payments and 30% making early payments. Prof. Jan Godsell of University of Warwick says, '...only just over a quarter (29%) of retailers relied on suppliers with more agile manufacturing and distribution networks, which is a potentially more resource efficient and resilient response. With 75 to 80% of products seeing a demand fluctuation, retailers were slightly better at responding to decreases rather than increases in demand...' Wayne Snyder of Blue Yonder says, 'A critical learning for retailers is the need to invest in creating supply chains with greater flexibility, visibility and automation. Here technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a key role in helping retailers navigate future disruption, whilst still meeting customers’ expectations.' Read on...

University of Warwick News: New study provides insights into how retailers have responded to COVID-19
Author: Alice Scott


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2020

Fake news at the time of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic is a double whammy that further adds to confusion and creates panic. Propagation of false and misleading information through social media and other tech platforms has multiplied. It not only exploits the emotional vulnerability of common public but also impedes and hinders the efforts to collectively and scientifically fight the pandemic and minimize its socio-ecomic effects. But an evergrowing group of Indian scientists have come together to create 'Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 (ISRC)' that is working to fight false information. It is a pan-India voluntary effort with more than 400 scientists across more than twenty scientific and research institutes in the country. It counts among its volunteers astrophysicists, animal behaviourists, computer scientists, mathematicians, engineers, chemists, biologist, doctors, social scientists and others. The purpose of the group includes analysing all available data and support national, state and local governments for evidence-based action, in addition to verifying and communicating information. There are sub-groups working on - mathematical modelling of disease spread and transmission, outreach and communication in simple terms for the public and media, translating basic resources in local languages, developing hardware solutions and apps. Aniket Sule, a science communicator with the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai, says, 'Since science communication is my area of interest, I volunteered to be a part of this effort. In this crisis, everyone has a role and each person can contribute by doing what they know best.' R. Ramanujam, a theoretical computer science professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, says, 'While people in the medical and healthcare community are doing their work, we thought, what about others like us, what can we do?' Rahul Siddharthan, a computational biologist at the IMSc, says, 'How an individual gets infected is definitely a biology problem, but what we are looking at is how an infection spreads in society, and we are dealing with large numbers of people. Physicists have a lot of experience in dealing with dynamical systems modelling, differential equations, and computer/data scientists can analyse the data that is available. It has to be an interdisciplinary approach and we need people to be talking and on the same platform.' T. V. Venkateshwaran, senior scientist at Vigyan Prasar, says, 'In a situation like this it's important to do two things, one is communicating to people that they need to be alert, not alarmed...The other thing is falling for wrongly circulated remedies and rumours. We need to counter all the misinformation going around so people feel at ease.' The group is putting together links, videos and articles in Indian languages and also working on translating others. Anindita Bhadra, an animal behaviourist and associate professor at IISER Kolkata, says, 'I am not an expert in virology or epidemiology or modelling, but I am interested in science communication so I thought I should help with that as well as translation. You need people who can transmit all this to the public.' Read on...

World Economic Forum: How 300 Indian scientists are fighting fake news about COVID-19
Author: Bhavya Dore


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2020

Australia's retail industry is in turmoil with some of the big ones entering into voluntary administration. Tom Youl of Ibis World says, 'Weakness in the Australian economy, in particular, deteriorating conditions for households, has been placing pressure on the retail sector...Weak wage growth has been a contributing factor to decreasing discretionary incomes, but rising household costs have also played a part. The bad news for store-based retailers is online players are going to continue to grab a larger share of the pie.' Eloise Zoppos of Monash Business School says, 'Customers are seizing control of the retail landscape and those retailers not up to the changes proposed by their loyal shoppers will be left behind. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, and eye-catching and easy-to-navigate store designs, can help create memorable experiences that customers can share with their friends and family after their purchase.' Even though online shopping is on the rise but Monash's 2019 consumer survey reveals that more than 70% respondents prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores. A positive story coming out of the retail churn is that of an electronics store JB HI-FI. Retail expert Amanda Stevens explains, 'If you've been into JB Hi-Fi lately, it's a fast-moving big box retailer, but they really have knowledgeable staff, which is always a sigh of relief for consumers versus other retailers you go into, and you could spend up to 15 minutes finding someone to give your money to.' Regarding the future of Australian retail Mr. Youl suggest, 'Many retailers have been thriving in recent years. A sound brand strategy and market position are always vital to success, but these factors become of paramount importance over periods of weak growth, as we have been experiencing.' Read on...

Yahoo Finance: Why Australia's retail industry is drowning
Author: Anastasia Santoreneos


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2019

Traditional market research involves quantitative methods like group surveys or self-reporting to obtain valuable data, but to get the whole story, Prof. Rebecca Rast of marketing department at Missouri State University, has embarked upon a new methodology of research that utilizes iMotion software technology and uses facial expression analysis to develop a deeper understanding into the complexity of human behavior in the marketing field. iMotion technology captures physiological reactions, such as how humans think, feel, act and respond, in real time and helps to quantify engagement and emotional responses. The software can measure seven core emotions: joy, anger, fear, disgust, contempt, sadness and surprise. Prof. Rast says, 'I'm continuing to think of other applications I can use the software for to continue to look at marketing behavior...If I can share it with my students so they understand the outcomes, then I can apply it right back into the classroom when it comes to topics such as consumer behavior.' Read on...

Missouri State News: Understanding consumers through emotion
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2019

Wikipedia explains 'Spin' as, 'A form of propaganda in public relations and politics that is achieved through knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.' Researchers (Paris Descartes University: Isabelle Boutron, Romana Haneef, Philippe Ravaud; Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris: Amélie Yavchitz, Gabriel Baron; Inspire: John Novack; New York University: Ivan Oransky; University of Minnesota: Gary Schwitzer) in their study, 'Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of "spin" in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients'/caregivers' interpretation of treatment benefit', published in journal BMC Medicine, found that participants were more likely to believe the treatment was beneficial when news stories were reported with spin. Prof. Gary Schwitzer of University of Minnesota and founder/publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, says, 'This is important research because misinterpretation of the content of news stories due to spin could have important public health consequences as news articles can affect patient and public behavior.' Prof. Schwitzer says that spin can originate in all stages of the flow of information from researchers to the public. Researchers suggest that spin can be managed by taking the following steps - Train researchers to understand how the public uses the media and, in response, frame their communication to the public in a way which is truthful, relevant, understandable and devoid of distortion or hype; Train PR professionals, journalists and other communicators to detect spin and accurately convey research results; Educate news consumers on the resources available to help them critically evaluate health claims; Support research for developing ideal approaches for communicating scientific and health information. Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Research Brief: Evaluating the effect of spin in health care news
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2019

Prof. David Dubois, who teaches marketing at INSEAD (France), explains that by customizing digital technology according to customer relationships can provide B2B companies competitive advantage. Marketing spend is not defining factor for success, but how well companies integrate technolgical solutions is. Prof. Dubois says, 'A company's digital investment does not necessarily translate into marketing return on investment (ROI). For that to happen the firm needs to build a digital marketing organisation – data-driven marketing capabilities around the customer. A pivotal and enduring dimension of success in B2B markets lies in the relationship a company has with its clients. Thus, identifying the type of relationships that you have or would like to have with your customers is an excellent starting point to select and embed digital technology into your strategy. And this process is increasingly important for B2B companies if they are to maintain growth even as digital disruption accelerates the shift from B2BigB to B2SmallB.' He suggests defining customer-centricity by relationship type. Susan Fournier of Boston University offers a useful framework by likening customer relationships to friendship and romantic relationships. Once this has been done companies should select a technology that matches the relationship. According to Prof. Dubois, getting customer-centricity right in the digital age involves three steps after the relationship is clearly defined - (1) Test and learn: Consider the technologies and communication channels that are adapted to strengthening each type of relationship. Companies would do well to test and learn strategies. (2) Match technology to client (3) Integrate tech and new practices: Understanding the customer relationship should be an ongoing process. One part of that solution is mining big data on social media and news outlets. Prof. Dubois points out, 'At a time when the giant markets of SMEs such as China and India offer unprecedented opportunities, the roadmap to customer-centricity has never been more relevant.' Read on...

INSEAD Knowledge: Driving B2B Digital Transformation Through Customer-centricity
Author: David Dubois


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 feb 2019

According to the research by Prof. Elizabeth A. Minton from University of Wyoming, Prof. Kathryn A. Johnson from Arizona State University and Prof. Richie L. Liu from Oklahoma State University, 'Religiosity and special food consumption: The explanatory effects of moral priorities', published in Journal of Business Research, people with strong religious beliefs are more likely to buy fat-free, sugar-free or gluten-free foods than natural or organic foods. The research could influence the marketing of those specialty food products. Prof. Minton says, 'Religion is the deepest set of core values people can have, and we wanted to explore how those values impacted the market choices people make. We found religiosity influenced the selection of more diet-minded foods...' The study was carried out online and included responses from over 1700 people across the U.S. Prof. Johnson says, 'Often, people make intuitive decisions about food that could require more careful thought. People might make choices based on a cultural narrative or their religious and moral beliefs, without giving measured thought to whether there is a better option.' According to the research, the moral foundation of care drives the choice of sustainability-minded food products, and the moral foundation of purity is behind the choice of diet-minded foods. Prof. Liu says, 'The findings from our work can directly help businesses promote food products to specific groups of people without potentially alienating customers by including religion.' Read on...

University of Wyoming News: UW Researcher: Religion Affects Consumer Choices on Specialty Foods
Author: Chad Baldwin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2018

When one thinks of marketing, Northwestern University Professor Philip Kotler's name comes right at the top. He is author of the most used marketing texbook in business schools, 'Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control', alongwith another 57 books on the subject. Speaking with Paul Talbot, President of a marketing strategy firm Southport Harbour, Prof. Kotler shares his views on the role of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer) in today's business organizations. Regarding their skills and talents, he says, 'In the 1960s, marketers were hired for their flair for advertising and creativity...Today, we need CMOs with a different skill set. CMOs must be expert at digital marketing...Information and mathematics are crucial. Companies need in-depth information about their customers’ individual beliefs, values, media consumption and channel choices. Marketers today use multiple regression analysis, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, and predictive analytics to yield customer insight. Marketers increasingly make investments in...social media. CMO has to have good creative marketers on the staff to bring up bright new ideas. The tech approach to marketing is more about efficiency. Marketing creativity and imagination is about winning big.' Regarding collaboration between between marketing teams and others in the organization, he says, 'Back in the 1960s, companies didn’t have a CMO. They had a powerful vice-president of sales who was the driving force. They had added a vice-president of marketing whose job was primarily managing marketing research and preparing advertising and sales promotions...The chief marketing officer concept emerged as markets grew more complex and competitive...who would participate in finding and shaping what the company should produce, in identifying the target markets, and evaluating the overall company strategy...CMOs need to be effective in the following relationships: ...The CMO had to 'carefully' educate the CEO to understand marketing's potential and limitations; ...the CMO and CFO would work together to find and agree on the best way to measure the return on marketing spend; ...I view R&D people to be the masters of what is possible. I view marketers to be the masters of what is valuable; ...If those two executives (CMO and VP of sales) don't get along, the company’s financial performance is doomed.' Read on...

Forbes: Northwestern Professor Philip Kotler On Today's CMO
Author: Paul Talbot

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