Renowned international scholar visits the Department of Marketing Management

Posted on December 02, 2019

There has been considerable research into the world of neuroscience, the purpose of which is to give brands insights into the way the brain responds to stimuli. The belief that building a brand is an art rather than a science no longer holds. Recent research suggests that successful companies are those that apply a combination of art and science strategies to make informed decisions that effectively appeal to customers on an emotional and logical level. That was the essence of the message by Prof Rafal Ohme during his visit to the Department of Marketing Management at the University of Pretoria.
 
Prof Ohme’s visit from 29 October to 3 November 2019 was made possible with funding from the Stephan and Pierre Viljoen Award, which was awarded to Dr Michael Humbani, a senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing Management. In his application, Dr Humbani suggested that Prof Ohme be invited to the Department due to his stature. In this regard, Prof Ohme was a Fulbright scholar at the Kellogg School of Management, winner of the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland awards, a member of many prestigious professional bodies across Europe, and a founder of NEUROHM, a smart technology company for human resources, sales and marketing.
 
The purpose of Prof Ohme’s visit to the Department was to train the marketing staff on how to use iCODE software, a do-it-yourself platform to run enhanced surveys enriched with reaction time methodology technology. Prof Ohme also displayed his cutting-edge technology to the staff in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) during a Brown Bag session, to assist both established and upcoming researchers in improving their research outputs by bringing in the neuroscience angle in their respective research projects. The opportunity was welcomed by all staff who attended the session, some of whom look forward to incorporating the new technology into their research.
 
Over and above training the departmental staff on the iCODE software, Prof Ohme also presented an industry lecture on neuro-marketing, during which he stressed the importance of how companies can enhance brand awareness strategies that positively influence customers on a psychological level. The lecture, titled ‘Neuroscience for business’, attracted participants from industry and commerce, particularly market researchers, senior managers of corporations, human resource practitioners and academics. According to Prof Ohme, “the neuro-based technologies go beyond rational declarations to capture true feelings of consumers”. He emphasised the need for companies to gain insights from a scientific perspective to better adjust their marketing and advertising campaigns in ways that appeal to the right target market, thus reducing budgetary waste.
 
The lecture included world-wide examples from business, advertising and politics, which contributed to making the lecture memorable. Participants had an opportunity to engage with Prof Ohme after the lecture to gain individual insights on how they can utilise the new technology in their respective companies.
 
Prof Ohme with some of the guests on the day of the industry lecture. From left to right: Mrs Carine Puckrin, Prof Rafal Ohme, Dr Michael Humbani, Prof Yolanda Jordaan, Dr Johan Bolt
 
During his visit, Prof Ohme was treated to an exciting tour of the recently inaugurated Javett Arts Centre at the University of Pretoria, housing a double-volume gallery, print gallery, a sculpture deck and a restoration studio. He was also invited to watch the 2019 Rugby World Cup on television during the final match where the Springboks celebrated their victory over England.
 
The Department of Marketing Management staff at the Javett Arts Centre. Front row from left: Dr Michael Humbani, Prof Rafal Ohme, Dr Tania Maree, Dr Liezl-Marie van der Westhuizen, Dr Michelle van der Merwe, Ms Sotira Petrou, Mrs Danita van Heerden, and Prof Melanie Wiese. Back row from left: Dr Tinashe Chuchu, Mrs Bianca Frost, Dr Tinashe Ndoro, and Prof Pierre Mostert.
 
A special thanks goes to the competitive Stephan and Pierre Viljoen Award won by Dr Michael Humbani, which facilitated the hosting of Prof Ohme.
 
Prof Ohme with Dr Humbani
 
- Author Department of Marketing Management
Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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