The 20th Nirma International Conference on Management (NICOM), organized by the Institute of Management, Nirma University (IMNU), commenced at 10:30 am on 5th January, 2017. NICOM has been an annual event at IMNU providing a platform for an interactive discussion between academicians and industry veterans on a plethora of topics under a common theme. In addition, the Conference will have academicians and practitioners from India and abroad, presenting their research in as many as 40 sub themes viz, Brand Management, Marketing Research and Analytics, Retail Marketing, Consumer Behaviour etc., in five track sessions spread across the three days Conference. Four plenary sessions are also arranged during which, the prominent personalities from the industry will be addressing the audience on various topics.
The chief guest for the inaugural session was Mr. M.G. Parmeswaran, Brand Strategist, Founder at Brand-Building.com and former CEO, FCB Ulka. Mr. Tarun Arora, COO and Director, Zydus Wellness Limited was the Guest of Honour for the occasion. The president of Nirma University, Dr. Karsanbhai Patel was also present for the inaugural session. Dr. Anup Singh, Director General, Nirma University was also a part of the function. The chairpersons for NICOM, 2017 were Dr. Jayesh Aagja and Dr. Sapna Parashar, professors of the Institute of Management, Nirma University (IMNU). Dr. M. Mallikarjun, Director In-charge, IMNU delivered the welcome address.
Mr. Tarun Arora began the session. He said that consumer behaviour, these days, is fast changing. The consumers have become more expressive and demanding than ever before. These days the macro methods of segmentation are being done away with. They are replaced by mass personalization and customization. The huge amount of data available on the likes and preferences of consumers helps a marketer to come up with innovative ideas with the use of data analytics. The consumers these days, according to him, are no longer mere recipients but are also involved along with the marketer in brand creation.
Mr. M.G. Parmeswaran took over the session next. He discussed the role that emotional advertisements play in attracting consumers. He gave numerous examples relating to the Indian context. He discussed cases of some of the famous brands and how proper advertisements helped them gain a good share of the market. He was of the view that more and more brands are taking up social cause to get connected to the consumers. Also, the essence of contemporary marketing amidst social and digital marketing should be change.
Dr. Anup Singh, Director General, Nirma University also said that marketing is all about change which is a permanent phenomenon. As the needs and aspirations of customers are changing, innovation is what becomes necessary. As long as a marketer focuses on these needs and aspirations, he remains successful. He should remember that money is just a by-product and the internal customers should also be kept satisfied throughout. Marketers should try to connect with the brain of the customers, which is an emotional entity and can help him achieve success.
The books titled ‘Consumer Behaviour and Contemporary Marketing Strategy’ and ‘Services in Emerging Economies’ were launched during the session.
Track Session 1A:
This track was based on Consumer Behaviour and was chaired by Professor P.K. Chaugan. A total of five research papers were presented in this session by students from various institutes such as IMNU, Bhakta Management Academy, Rai University, Institute of Business Management and United World School of Law. The various topics of research were Ethnocentrism and Workplace Dynamics, Knowing Your Consumer, Online Shopping, Behaviour of Women in Apparel Industry and Exploring Consumer Attitude and Behaviour.
Track Session 1B:
The Chairperson for the Consumer Behaviour session was Professor K.C. Mahesh. The speakers for the session talked about reference groups, informational influence, utilitarian influence and value expressive influence. They also talked about whether happiness can be considered as one of the parameters that influence buyer’s decision making process. They also explored the topic of nudge and the strategies adopted by Indian car manufacturing companies.
Track Session 1C:
This session on Consumer Behaviour was chaired by Professor Shahir Bhatt. The speakers for the session spoke about the relation between consumer satisfaction, retention and loyalty, and brought out the factors affecting consumer behaviour as well as consumer engagement. The highlight of this track session was the discussion on Role of Farm Equipment Dealer in Farmers’ Purchase Decision Making Process, by Professor Subrat Sahu of IMNU.
Track Session 1D:
This session was on Consumer Behaviour and was chaired by Professor Ashwani Awasthi. A total of five research papers were presented by students and teachers of Nirma University, PDPU, GLS University and Charotar University of Science and Technology. The topics of the study were Cognitive Dissonance, Nudge Marketing, Analysis of Service Quality of Freight Forwarding Industry, Influence of Consumer Preferences in Shopping Malls and The Demeanor of Young Consumers towards Smartphones. The research findings helped the audience gain valuable insights on marketing.
Track Session 1E:
The chairperson of Marketing of financial service track-session was Professor Deepak Danak. The presenters of various colleges across India presented on diverse topics such as – Application Of TAM In Understanding Internet Banking Behaviour Of 2 Tier Private Bank Customers, A Study On Customer’s Awareness And Preferences Of Specific E-Banking Services At Ahmedabad City, A Study On New Entrants And Innovations In Financial Services Marketing, Financial Services Marketing, Fama French Three Factor Model In Selected Indian Stocks And NIFTY Sectorial Indices and Segment Reporting: A Study of Banking Sector.
Track Session 1F:
The chairperson of Marketing of financial service track-session was Professor Nikunj Patel. This included various presentation papers from presenters across different Indian colleges. The topics included – An Analysis on Home Equity Conversion Mortgage in Ahmedabad, Investigating SERVPERF of Financial Institutions, Risk Based Evaluation of Information Technology Investments, Evaluation of Servqual in Banks – A Gap Analysis and The Dynamic Relationship between Macroeconomic Factors and the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Track Session 2A:
This track was based on Marketing of Financial Services and was chaired by Professor Shantanu Mehta. A total of six research papers were presented by students from Maniben Nanavati Women’s College, IMNU, B.K. School of Management. The various research topics were Total Business of Brick and Click Marketing, Digital Marketing, Valuation of Equity, Payment Banks, Financial Innovations in Banking and Informal Finance.
Track Session 2B:
Based on Marketing of Emerging Economies, this track was chaired by Professor Prasananda Panda. A total of eight papers were presented in this track session on topics such as Importance of Marketing in the Economy, 360 Degree Appraisal, Employee Management in Retail Stores, Employer Branding, Marketing and Employee Management etc.
Track Session 2C:
Based on Marketing of Emerging Economies, this track was chaired by Professor Sameer Pingle. A total of eight papers were presented in this track session on topics such as Employer Branding, Recruitment Process, Talent Gap in IT Sectors, BRICS etc.
Track Session 2D:
This track was based on Digital Marketing and was chaired by Professor Nityesh Bhatt. A total of five research papers were presented in this session on topics such as Buying Behaviour of Working Women, Consumer Motivation, Digital Marketing, Brand Communication etc.
Track Session 2E:
The chairperson of Digital Marketing track-session was Prof. V.V.Nath. Eight papers were presented that included topics like – Social Media Marketing – A Game Changer of Modern Marketing, Usage of Social Media by Housewives, Indian E-Commerce and Department of Post: A win-win combination, Perceived Risks In Online Shopping Within Specific Product Categories, Features Exploration: Analysis Of Literature On Search Engine Optimization, Digital Marketing Strategies: Understand The Scope, Impact And Identifying The Tools To Optimize Its Return On Investment For Industries, Challenges And Strategies Of Digital Marketing and A study on Emerging market of Smartphone in Younger Generation: Perspective of college going students.
Track Session 2F:
The chairperson for track session brand management was Prof. Meeta Munshi. Papers presented included topics such as – Boys and Their Bikes: Studying the Relationship Using Brand Romance, Brand Attitude and Brand Loyalty; Impact of Contemporary Marketing on Towards Brand India: With Special Reference to Make in India Campaign, Alternate branding strategies for food delivery websites, Paid Advertisement for Brand Building of Academic Institutions: Productive or Counter-productive; Brands, Brand Management and Brand Manager System: A Critical evolution of Coca Cola; Royal Enfield: A Religion in Making and Understanding Reactions Of Youth Towards Social Marketing Campaign.