The digital landscape has long been evolving with unprecedented technological advancements, innovative breakthroughs, and creative solutions to socio-economic problems. But one of the frontrunners of the spectrum is business. From sourcing to operations/manufacturing to of course, marketing, businesses all over the world have been embracing the digital era of product development, automation, and e-commerce. Themed on this very notion, Bangladesh Brand Forum [BBF] launched their hallmark event, bringing together noteworthy industry experts and leaders of the digital marketing from across the globe. Held on the 18th of March 2017 at the Le Meredian Hotel, Dhaka, in association with the national daily English newspaper, ‘The Daily Star’, powered by Dhaka Bank Limited and Beximco, the Bangladesh Brand Forum Seminar 2017 was presented by the American International University – Bangladesh [AIUB].

Geared towards initiating and encouraging CEOs, Marketing Heads, Brand Managers, Agency Leaders, and even Marketing Academics to become an integral part of the greater conversation on the digital changes transpiring throughout Bangladesh in the 21st Century. Delivering the welcome note on behalf of AIUB, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. Charles C. Villanueva, expressed his immense pleasure and gratitude for being a part of such an initiative. AIUB has long been collaborating with BBF on their seminar series addressing current trends, future challenges, and prospective opportunities spanning from core business models to digital marketing today, and Dr. Villanueva congratulated BBF on all it had achieved. Mr. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, the Managing Director & CEO of Dhaka Bank Ltd. followed up with a special note, thanking BBF and applauding all the organizers for the event. The Managing Director & Founder of BBF, Mr. Shariful Islam, gave the opening speech for the program, sharing his thoughts on the digital theme and BBF’s attempts to create a platform and start a dialogue to shape the future of Bangladesh in this era of globalization, along with his appreciation towards all who were present.

The first keynote session, conducted by Mr. Hermawan Kartajaya, the President of the World Marketing Association and the Co-Founder of the Asian Marketing Federation, set the pace for the rest of the seminar. Mr. Kartajaya interacted and engaged with the participants, discussing several issues on branding in the digital age, covering many segments from his latest book, Marketing 4.0, co-written with marketing guru, Phillip Kotler. A recorded speech from Jagdish Sheth, the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Goizueta School of Business at Emory University, was played next, sharing his insights on consumer behavior, competitive strategy, and their impact on the digital marketing landscape today. Mr. Debabrata Mukharjee, the Vice President of Marketing at Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, presented the second keynote session for the program, encompassing years of global experience that reflected on the changes influencing brands in the digital age.

A panel discussion on “Traditional to Digital: The Organizational Perspective”, navigated through the transition and its effects, ensued as the next segment of the seminar. The panel comprised of Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, the Vice Chancellor of BRAC University, as the moderator, together with Mr. Kazi Mahboob Hasan, the Senior Director & Head of Transformation of GrameenPhone, Mr. Munawar Misbah Moin, one of the Group Directors of Rahimafrooz Solar, and Mr. Syed Farhad Ahmed, the Managing Director & CEO of Aamra Technologies Ltd. contributing to the discussion. The following segment of the seminar was a case study presentation exploring the “Future of Marketing: Brands Evolving from Traditional to Digital Landscape” of Indonesia, Philippines, and Bangladesh. The session was moderated by Dr. Hooi Den Huan, the Director of the Nanyang Technopreneurship Center and an Associate Professor at the Nanyang Technological University, with Professor Dr. Syed Ferhat Anwar, a Professor at University of Dhaka’s Institute of Business Administration [IBA], and Maria Luz E. Javier, the Secretary General of the Asia Marketing Federation [AMF] and the Former President of the Philippine Marketing Association [PMA] participating in the presentation. Another keynote session as held by Mr. Nigel Hollis, the Executive Vice President and the Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown, emphasizing on the challenges and opportunities of building brands in the digital age. The seminar came to a close on a high note with the last keynote session speaker being Mr. Salvador Lopez, a Professor at ESADE Business School and a renowned rock musician from Spain, who energized the room with his unconventionally approach of discussing an interesting take on branding in the digital era.

The seminar participants were provided with e-versions of the latest edition of “Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital” by Professor Phillip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, and Iwan Setiawan, courtesy of Shwapno, one of the prominent superstore chain of Bangladesh. The event was supported by Yellow, Bangladesh Edible Oil Ltd., and Rahimafrooz Solar, with Le Meridien as the event partner, Etihad as the Airlines Partner, Shwapno as the Retail Partner, Terracotta as the Branding Partner, MSB as the Strategic Partner, Aamra Technologies Ltd. as the Technology Partner, Independent as the Media Partner, Masthead PR as the PR Partner and WebAble Digital as the Social Media Partner. With a diverse and dynamic participant pool of around 350 noteworthy members of marketing from business corporations to creative agencies to academic institutions, the BBF Seminar series continues to address issues that demand attention in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, creating a strong and versatile platform that enables a group of like-minded people to come together and AIUB is proud to be engaging in a dialogue working towards identifying challenges, opportunities, and more importantly, solutions to redirect the trajectory of the country’s growth for the years to come.


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