24 Dec 2019 19:32 IST

Digital wave helps brands go global, says Prof Steenkamp at IMI Kolkata

From left: Dr Rituparna Basu, Jan-Benedict Steenkamp and Dr Arindam Banik

Two-day international meet focuses on emerging trends in marketing

Brands, however small or regional they are, can now turn into national and even international brands riding on the digital wave. According to Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, C Knox Massey Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, there are a lot of opportunities for brands, especially Indian brands, to use the digital channel to tap overseas markets.

“With shifting paradigms, every brand can now be national or international in a keystroke,” Steenkamp said, while delivering a talk on ‘Brand breakout in the digital age’.

Steenkamp was speaking at the two-day international marketing conference at IMI Kolkata (IMIKmarcon19). Themed “Marketing in the new era — Emerging trends and sustainable practices”, the event explored new ideas that are gaining prominence in the global market place, with a solution-driven, proactive milieu of marketing thoughts and practices.

Steenkamp cited examples of Indian brands that are doing well internationally by leveraging digital technology. He enumerated various breakout issues that need research, such as the choice of digital options and the role of country of origin in the digital era with respect to India.

According to him, hyper-connectivity among users makes brands accountable for their actions. To elucidate, he gave examples of national branding strategies, with a reference to the success of the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Nuances of academic publishing

The first day of the conference showcased a session on ‘Meet the SAGE editors’ — that helped participants with insights on the nuances of academic publishing based on listening to the perspectives of editors.

On day two, Steenkamp conducted a research workshop on ‘Getting research ideas and publishing them in international journals’. The event was attended by scholars from various parts of the country.

The conference concluded with an industry-academia panel discussion on ‘Emerging India in a global world: Challenges and opportunities’. Steenkamp, Prof Arindam Banik, Director, IMI Kolkata; Sunil Kajaria, CEO, Keventer Bananas and COO, Metro Dairy; and Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO at Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, were the panellists.

Quality education

According to Banik, the lack of proper education and internet facilities in rural India have been holding back the country’s growth. He highlighted the need to use available manpower efficiently to put the country on the growth map.

There is an urgent need to develop new technology in minimum time to avoid the problem of obsolescence. Citing available statistics on bananas, Kajaria explained how India has not been able to scale up in the global trade despite its huge production.

Pointing to the rapidly growing population of India, Steenkamp mentioned that the manpower should be directed from unproductive agriculture towards more productive manufacturing, which has also been China’s strategy.

“A rosy outlook of India as a country has to be supported with a concrete action now,” he said. pointed out.

Paper presentations

Dr Rituparna Basu, Associate Professor and Marketing Area Chair at IMI Kolkata, said: “The idea of the conference was conceived 10 months back and a lot of effort has gone into presenting a truly world class conference for the purpose of providing right exposure to the new emerging class of the Indian academic fraternity. While it has been a pleasure to host the stalwart award-winning researcher and author Prof Steenkamp with his unparalleled insights, the conference also showcased a total of 57 shortlisted academic papers, of which, 46 research articles were presented over the two days.”

Pledged to go green, the institute gave the book of abstracts for the conference only in an e-format. Saplings were given to all participants and guests.

(BusinessLine on Campus is a media partner of the event.)