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Contributors

Writers

Priscilla Thomas

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A content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Avanish Tiwary

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An independent journalist who writes on business strategies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya

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She has been covering the Indian information technology industry since its early days.

S.Sahu

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Sahu was with TCS as the editor of their house magazine before he became a freelance content writer.

Prajwala Hegde

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An independent journalist who has worked with The New Indian Express and City Today.

Rajesh Nanarpuzha

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Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.

Designer

Priyokumar Singh Naorem

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He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.

Artists

Dyuti Mittal

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A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.

Sumakshi Singh

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She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.

Parul Gupta

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A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.

Shweta Malhotra

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Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Rithika Merchant

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Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.

Aniruddh Mehta

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Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.

Paramesh Jolad

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Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra

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Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.

Enquiry

+91 9916326475

venkatesh@regalix-inc.com

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The author is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense…
-Gertrude Stein

Today’s business environment is characterized by a deluge of data. A major contributor to this deluge has been social media, particularly through its rapid rise. This has meant that firms, and specifically their customer facing functions, continue to amass large quantities of data regularly. But the effectiveness with which it is converted to information, and then to actionable insights, remains questionable. For long, firms have equated customer value to the firms’ attempts at creating perceivable value to customers. However, Kumar and Reinartz (2016) argue that this view is limiting in today’s business environment. They propose that customer value should also include value that customers provide to organizations through multiple engagement avenues facilitated by social media. Additionally, popular discourse on the impact of social media has largely been restricted to B2C contexts. However, social media has the potential to disrupt B2B ‘business as usual’. By focusing on forces preventing effective use of social media in B2B environments, and by looking at suggestions for its optimum application within extant research, I offer potential pointers to embracing social media within the overall strategic umbrella of B2B firms.

// Barriers to social media adoption in B2B

There is a growing realization that Social Networking Sites (SNS) can be effectively leveraged in B2B settings. However, existing research shows that firms in the B2B space have largely used social media for communication with customers, for identification of potential partners, and for building relationships (Michaelidou et al., 2011). The limited use to which social media has been put to, is indicative of potential barriers to its adoption in B2B settings. Delving into this, Siamagka et al. (2015) find that questions on usefulness of social media to their firm, lack of a culture fostering innovation, and uncertainty about costs and benefits with regard to its implementation are principal barriers to its adoption in B2B business settings. In addition, Lacka and Chong (2016) point to questions on usability and utility of social media sites as barriers to adoption. The prevailing environment within B2B companies with regard to social media adoption continues to be laced with scepticism. Its use is limited and marked by caution. However, the possibility of furthering business objectives by actively encouraging the use of social media exists. I discuss this next.

// Leveraging social media optimally

As an example of social media’s disruptive potential and the adaptation required to succeed, Malthouse et al. (2013) introduce the concept of the ‘social CRM house’ (Figure 1).

Malthouse et al’s (2013) consider traditional CRM to be a composite of tools and strategies related to acquisition, maintenance and termination of customers. The authors’ key insight is that firms can set the level of social media engagement with customers based on the firms’ comfort levels. Levels of engagement (item 1) can be dialled up as the firms’ comfort with the use of social media increases. The firm’s social CRM strategy (item 2) can be set based on this comfort level. Social media data and IT applications (items 3 and 4) provide the raw material and the analysis tools for strategy implementation. Equipping the company’s employees to implement the strategy (item 5) and building adequate monitoring mechanisms (item 6) complete the social CRM house.

Huotari et al. (2015) offer additional pointers on leveraging social media for B2B companies. They suggest that companies should actively differentiate between users involved in content creation on social media. The strategies for encouraging creation of desirable social media content needs to be different for internal users (those on the payroll of the firm) and external users (all others). For example, employees could be directly trained and encouraged to create desirable social media content. On the other hand, external users could be indirectly influenced to create desirable social media content through marketing activities aimed at content creation.

Conclusion

For far too long, the conversation on benefits of social media have been limited to B2C settings. In B2B settings, the role of social media has been looked at with scepticism. However, toddler steps have been taken and B2B firms are now waking up to the need to use social media optimally. Insights from research in B2B settings offer a potential pathway in this quest.

References

  1. Huotari, L., Ulkuniemi, P., Saraniemi, S., & Mäläskä, M. (2015). Analysis of content creation in social media by B2B companies. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 30(6), 761-770.
  2. Kumar, V., & Reinartz, W. (2016). Creating enduring customer value. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 36-68.
  3. Lacka, E., & Chong, A. (2016). Usability perspective on social media sites' adoption in the B2B context. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 80-91.
  4. Michaelidou, N., Siamagka, N. T., & Christodoulides, G. (2011). Usage, barriers and measurement of social media marketing: An exploratory investigation of small and medium B2B brands. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(7), 1153-1159.
  5. Siamagka, N. T., Christodoulides, G., Michaelidou, N., & Valvi, A. (2015). Determinants of social media adoption by B2B organizations. Industrial Marketing Management, 51, 89-99