Cutting-edge research from Birmingham Business School will be on show next month at a unique interactive event aimed at the local business community.

The Birmingham Means Business showcase will demonstrate how academic research can help businesses and voluntary organisations in the region take advantage of a booming local economy.

The event will be held at Birmingham Council House on Wednesday 5 November and will include keynote talks from Lord Digby Jones and Professor Simon Collinson, Dean of Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham.

Part of this year’s ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, the event will reflect on the dynamic and changing Birmingham business environment and the ways in which research can help businesses to succeed. Participants will be able to explore the opportunities and challenges of working with academia.

Professor Simon Collinson said: ‘Birmingham Means Business will showcase cutting-edge research by Birmingham Business School academics that has direct relevance to individuals and organisations with a stake in the success and sustainability of the city.

‘The event offers local businesses the opportunity to engage directly with Birmingham Business School experts, to take part in focused discussion and to network on topics of high importance to stakeholders in the city, such as entrepreneurship, regional development, effective marketing, re-shoring, crisis management, resilience, innovation and sustainability.’

Birmingham Means Business will combine expert talks with interactive displays showcasing the scale and scope of research conducted by Birmingham Business School academics. Ask-the-expert stands, experiments, photographs, posters and videos are among the innovative and engaging ways in which the research will be presented. Topics include:

  • Alcohol choices
  • Business of policing
  • China and the Chinese economy
  • Crisis and reputation management
  • Decision making and consumer behaviour
  • Digital piracy
  • Entrepreneurship and diversity
  • Financial resilience
  • Food labelling
  • Happiness at work
  • Household financial security and inclusion
  • Managing retail and international supply chains
  • Offshoring
  • Older people at work
  • Online complaining
  • Regional development
  • Resilience
  • Responsible marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Tax and public finance

The crisis and reputation management ask-the-expert stand, for example, will explore approaches to crisis handling and business reputation – vital components of success in today’s 24-hour news and social media environment. Researchers at Birmingham Business School have been exploring the reputational impact of these crises and how communications strategies are vital in the quest to rebuild consumer trust – in business and in brand. Business communications expert and former TV journalist Hazel Westwood, and Dr Layla Branicki will be answering attendees’ questions about what to do and how to communicate before, during and after a crisis. They will draw upon research to offer an evidence-based perspective on what works in relation to crisis and reputation management for the region.

In a linked area, and in the wake of food retail scandals including horsemeat and poor financial accounting, Dr Pamela Robinson, retail and international supply chain expert, will be discussing whether the UK is still the global leader for the sector.

At the research stand on decision making and consumer behaviour, Dr Yvetta Simonyan will debate on whether the old saying ‘better the devil you know’ applies to brands and whether people donate to charities based on neediness or attractiveness. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a mini-quiz about the choices people typically make and to ask Dr Simonyan about the reasons for the consumers’ decisions.

Birmingham Means Business is a free event, but registration is required.


For further information, please contact Stuart Gillespie, University of Birmingham Press Office, on +44 (0)121 414 9041. Out of hours, please email the press office or call +44 (0)7789 921165.

Lord Digby Jones, Professor Simon Collinson and other leading Birmingham Business School academics will be available for interview on the night and in advance of the event.

  • Birmingham Means Business will be held in The Council House Banqueting Suite, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB from 5.00pm-7.00pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014 (includes refreshments). Journalists are warmly invited to attend – please contact Stuart Gillespie for more information.
  • Birmingham Business School’s world-class research and teaching provides the insights, ambitions and skills to shape better, simpler and more sustainable business strategies. Birmingham Business School puts business in context and people at the heart of business.
  • The University of Birmingham was named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/14.
  • The 12th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 1-8 November 2014 with over 200 free events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Festival provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and discover, discuss and debate the role that research plays in everyday life. With a whole range of creative and engaging events there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. A full programme is available at the Festival website. You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival