Singapore Management University wins at The Case Centre’s 31st Awards and Competitions

Patricia Lui and Lipika Bhattacharya of SMU score a win at the case method community's annual 'Oscars'

First-time winners, Patricia Lui and Lipika Bhattacharya of Singapore Management University (SMU), penned a case that won the “Outstanding Case Writer Competition” category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2021. Patricia is Lecturer of Marketing at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Lipika Bhattacharya is a Senior Case Writer at SMU Centre of Management Practice.

Outstanding case writers and teachers from across the globe are recognised in The Case Centre's Awards and Competitions, which celebrate worldwide excellence in case writing and teaching. This is the fourth time that SMU has secured a win, with the University previously winning a total of eight awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The case penned by Patricia and Lipika, titled “Kobe Influencer Marketing: Building Brand Awareness via Social Media”, delivers insight into the world of brand influencers. To weave the case together, they worked closely with Evangeline Leong, the founder and CEO of Kobe, a Singapore-based start-up and influencer marketing platform.

The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2021 are an annual celebration of excellence in case writing and teaching at schools of business, management and government worldwide. Now in their 31st year, the Awards have been global since 2011.

Richard McCracken, Director of The Case Centre said: “Educators have faced challenges during the pandemic, especially to take teaching - including case classes - online. This has highlighted the need for cases to adapt. We anticipate that teaching with cases online will become an enduring norm as part of blended programmes. So, building on our learning from this year’s Awards, we will be encouraging published authors in The Case Centre catalogue to update teaching notes to reflect the new online teaching reality.

“The Awards provide an annual snapshot of the topics being used to teach business and management around the world. This year saw a resurgence of interest in multinational companies, in particular those with an online or technology focus. For the first time, we also saw a case relating to the social media phenomenon of ‘influencers’ (Kobe). Broadly ethical issues also keep their place including energy sustainability (Enel), food upcycling (Barnana) and gender pay equality (FTS). 27% of winning cases featured female protagonists.”

Patricia and Lipika highlighted that “winning this competition means that the judges recognised the area of business issues we wrote about. It encourages us to continue working on unique business stories and topics and helps stimulate our interest in exploring the case writing method to engage students better.”

“In line with SMU Vision 2025 to tackle the world’s complexity and impacting humanity positively, there is a need to constantly find ways of growing the possible impacts and cultivate meaningful changes,” said Patricia. “Through the cases we are writing, we aim to offer a deep understanding of Asia’s economy, polity and society.”

Lipika continued: “There are a few reasons why this case was popular. First, the case tells a story of something that interests people. Influencer marketing and social media are relevant to readers. Second, the narrative talks about an entrepreneur’s journey and their motivations stemming from the age-old notion of human influence and word of mouth. Third, the case tries to tie back new business strategies with societal traditions creating ‘aha’ moments that foster deliberation. Fourth, despite being Southeast Asia centric, the case talks about discussion points that are global in context.”

“Most brands use an agency to plan and implement their digital marketing campaigns. We wanted to write the influencer marketing case with inputs from both the agency and the brand. It was challenging to get both an agency and a brand to allow us to write about their campaign,” commented Patricia.

Said Lipika: “We were thankful that Evangeline Leong, the founder and CEO of Kobe, supported us with detailed information, enabling us to weave together our subject knowledge with the case situation and problems. We managed to look into how the strategy was developed from an agency’s perspective, which is not a common approach in business case writing.”

Originating as the Case Writing Initiative in 2011, the Centre for Management Practice (CMP) is now a full-fledged centre that offers thought leadership in management thinking and Asia-centric cases for learning across disciplines and issues. Its core products now boast of teaching cases, Asian Management Insights, and Perspectives@SMU.

Click here for the details of The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2021.