Published: June 8, 2018 | Times of India

How do the online platforms, including social media sites, video sharing platforms and blogs help the youth express their civic concerns? How do they engage with the global audience with local issues?

Researchers from Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA) analyzed two major international blog platforms, YouThink and Voice of Youth — launched by World Bank and UNICEF respectively, to answer these questions. They found that it helps the youth find their voice to express and explore dimension such as identity, value, knowledge and information, connection/community/networks, expression/ voice, dialogue/ deliberation and action. The paper titled ‘Young people as global citizens: negotiation of youth civic participation in adult-managed online spaces’ by Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia from department of communication, MICA, has been published in the Journal of Youth Studies on June 2. The researchers interviewed 20 bloggers under the age of 24 from nine countries namely the US, Guatemala, Cuba, Guyana, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Japan. “Our analysis shows how negotiated reading of the encoded messages on online platforms for youth civic engagement marks a political moment of signification in which there lies a possibility of challenging the dominance of the adult-centered notions of civic engagement,” said Shelat, associate professor with MICA. The study found that web platforms use strategies such as agenda setting for content production, gatekeeping and monitoring, discursive articulation of global citizenship and using affordances of internet to encourage youth participation. “The participants consider these managed spaces as spaces conducive for civic engagement as well as civic learning,” wrote the researchers.

Published: April 30,2018 | TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Ahmedabad: A study by a professor of MICA titled “Job sharing as a tool for flexible work systems: Creating opportunities for housewives in the Indian labor market” says that women’s contribution as professionals in India is hampered by various social factors. The study says that job-sharing may offer a way to change the circumstances.

The study — conducted by Dr Anjali Bansal, an associate professor at MICA — says that many women cannot join fulltime workforce because they have family responsibilities; however, the women are willing to put in half day’s work. “Fifty-four percent of the 266 housewives surveyed preferred the part-time work design so that the transition from a housewife to a working woman is a smooth one and does not disturb the family,” the study says. “Forty-two percent preferred the job-sharing option as they felt that they could not venture out to seek a career because of their family responsibilities.”

Job-sharing is an employment arrangement where, typically, two persons are retained to perform a task that is normally undertaken by one person. The employees who are sharing a job are equally responsible for it. The key to job-sharing is having two or more people operate as a team to achieve a set of common goals or responsibilities for work which is essentially indivisible. The practise is evident in the BPO industry and hospitals, among other sectors. Job-sharing allows women to stay at home and take care of children, in-laws, and husbands.

“Most (84%) of the housewives reported that they could not take up work because they were not allowed to do so by their extended families,” the study says. “The case was the worst with housewives who lose their husbands and are forced to play the dual role of taking care of their families and being the breadwinner. In most cases, they are solely dependent on their in-laws or on their maternal relatives. In some cases, they are forced to take up jobs with very little pay and no work satisfaction.”

The study says that it would be relevant to investigate if there is a causal link between the job-sharing practice and the uplift of women, not only at the economic but also at the societal level. Also, this would further help in understanding its link with the overall economic development of the nation.

Published: April 17,2018 | Times of India

Ahmedabad: A research conducted at MICA suggested that Indian consumers will remain loyal to herbal products and the FMCG brands can continue making steady investments in developing herbal category in the product lines. The survey, conducted by taking nearly 458 responses from two cities — Ahmedabad and Bangalore — and also from some rural parts, stressed that the brands will be more successful if they focus on communicating the benefits of herbal products rather than focusing on “swadeshi” plank.

“The results establish that consumers' belief on herbal products has a stronger impact on brand affect and brand trust, which further influences brand loyalty,” stated the study “Measuring the effect of consumer ethnocentrism and consumer beliefs for herbal products on brand loyalty: A study of Indian FMCG sector” conducted by associate professor of Digital Platform and Strategies, Jay Trivedi. Indian market has seen a lot of fads and trends. Currently, Indian consumers are buying a lot of herbal products. On these lines, FMCG companies are investing into developing herbal brands and production capacity, says the study.

“My research has taken up questions like, if these investments will give loyal consumers to the brands or will this ‘herbal’ category prove to be a fad in the market? The second topic my research focused on was positioning products on ‘herbal’ and ‘swadeshi’ planks. I have studied which of these matters most to the consumers,” said Trivedi.

The results suggest that Indian consumers are going to remain loyal to herbal products. Hence this will emerge as a trend in the Indian market. “Indian consumers are focusing on the benefits they get by using herbal products and are not much influenced by the products coming from domestic manufacturers. This helps us infer that Indian consumers will also accept herbal products from MNC FMCG companies,” he said.

Published: April 16, 2018 | Times of India

Ahmedabad: In order to secure a loyal customer base, airlines are investing a great deal on advertising, and other branding activities. But are activities like advertising and branding proving to be critical drivers of the aviation business? A study led by Dr Kallol Das, associate professor at MICA, states it isn’t.

His research “Understanding Airline Brand Equity Drivers: Lessons from a Multiple Case Study” comprised a case analysis of two budget airlines with almost the same period of operation but very different outcomes in terms of market share and customer perceptions.

One airline is the leader in the Indian market with a share of 39.6% in 2017 while another is a laggard operating at a market share of 8.5%. The objective of studying these contrasting cases was to distill the key principles of effective branding with respect to airline services.

Contrary to popular belief, the study revealed that the role of advertising and other company controlled branding efforts played the least significant role in brand equity formation in the case of airline services. On the other hand, customer’s experience with the company turned out to be the most crucial factor to brand equity formation.

Published: April 5, 2018 | DNA

MICA, the premier school of strategic marketing and communications, is all set to increase its capacity from the next academic year by a third Starting 2019, the institute will increase its student intake and add 60 seats to its existing 180. Not only will this, in a first, the institute also be offering short courses in the form of prerequisites to prepare the new students better. Preeti Shroff, Professor and Dean , Head - MDP, MICA, said, “We want our students not to have any inhibitions before coming to the campus. And that is why we will be offering online and on-campus short workshops on the basics, so they can brush up their knowledge.” Talking about expansion plans, Dr Shailendra Mehta, president and director, MICA, said, “We are embarking on an expansion programme to increase capacity by one third. This will entail building new classrooms, hostels, offices and dining halls. We have received all the necessary permissions and clearances. The funding is in place. We will begin construction within a month.” In terms of global exposure, Mehta said, “Last September, we took half of our faculty for a three-week immersion with our three US partner-schools, Michigan State University, University of Southern California (USC) and Emory. Research and partnership conversations have also been initiated with Northwestern, MIT and Stanford. This has resulted in exciting collaborations in areas of research, teaching and consulting, and return visits in both directions.” The institute is in the process of creating eight fresh new courses.

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