Monday, January 17, 2011

MAXI Fair: XLRI plays brand games - 2-day consumer insight fest

Jamshedpur, Jan. 16 (The Telegraph): All work and no play makes brand survey a dull job.

XLRI’s MAXI Fair, an annual survey for corporate brands and consumer behaviour, goes into gaming mode to ferret out people’s insights of what makes certain brands tick and others don’t.

And in its 32nd edition now, the event, organised by its marketing association, has become a respected brand in itself.

The two-day fair that concluded today, has since last year, bagged the prestigious ISO 9001-2000 certification. And this year, it saw participation from reputed companies across diverse industry verticals such as Castrol, Reckitt Benckiser, IDBI Bank and Nestle.

In addition, it also saw participation from academia. And to draw maximum footfall, and hence, accuracy of results, organisers have decided to conduct the fair on two consecutive days, instead of just Sunday which was the case previously.

“With four companies and academic research, the MAXI fair tried to understand consumer behaviour through interesting gaming open for the public. Participation by visitors in various games helps us understand brand preferences affected by many factors,” said Himanshu Joshi, a senior member of MAXI and a second-year student of personnel management and industrial relations.

Around 120 student volunteers worked tirelessly for months to execute every aspect of the fair, ranging from sponsorships and media to logistics and entertainment.

The fair kicked off on Saturday afternoon, drawing over 500 participants within the first few hours of its opening. The evening was pure entertainment with game stalls, rides for children and a concert by XLRI’s in-house band, Bodhi Tree. Food stalls saw brisk business. In two days, footfall count was around 1,000-plus.

The stall researching for Castrol drew youths who discussed bikes and their maintenance. “At the Castrol stall, we hosted bike-related discussions with people that were captured on video. The company will get to know valuable insights into consumer behaviour from the footage,” said Pathik Krit Basu, of second-year business.

The idea of MAXI fair was conceptualised 32 years ago by marketing professor and visionary Sharad Sarin.

Every year since then, major Indian corporate houses bring their market research problems to students of XLRI, who design elaborate games around them. Hosted on XLRI grounds, the fair is open to people who have a good time apart from winning prizes in games. Students, on the other hand, get useful data on public preferences, which they analyse to solve problems faced by companies.

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