The Commonwealth Games 2010, to be held in Delhi in October, has been the lead story mostly for all the wrong reasons. With enough mud slinging and corruption allegations emerging every day, the opportunity that the Games provided to showcase Brand India has diminished to a great extent. But it is too early to write an epitaph for CWG 2010, as we Indians have the ability to still salvage the situation.
exchange4media asked three brand consultants how they would be treating Brand CWG 2010 and here’s what they had to say.
Harish Bijoor, Brand expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc
“Hosting the Commonwealth Games is a statement of pride for India. To an extent it is a country-brand showcase opportunity. The imperative would be to use every branding opportunity with creativity, integrity and passion. There is as much need for an internal branding exercise as there is for external branding. Since Delhi is hosting the Games, the Games city needs to be trained to host it well. This starts with every potentially rude taxi driver, every over-charging auto-rickshaw driver, as it does involve everyone else. To an extent, the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign has addressed this task. Importantly, however, ground level training must be visible in the smiles on the faces of the hosts literally. The gap, therefore, lies in internal branding of the Games.
In addition, I do believe there is an opportunity to showcase the culture and ethos of India to the visitors and the television audience alike. This is an opportunity to flood Delhi with cultural insignia of every kind. Dubai has larger than life camel sculptures and more during the Dubai Shopping Festival. Delhi can boast of 20-plus such icons. Building larger than life models of the culture that is India and Indian would be a big opportunity missed.
I would also look keenly at food branding. The cuisine of India can be branded through festivals and ‘haats’ that spell hygiene in every format. This is a missed opportunity as well.
The CWG provides opportunity for the pre-, during and post- event branding. We have missed the bus on the pre-event branding. I hope the during-event and post-event branding opportunities will not be missed. Many opportunities have been missed, but typically, I do believe the tempo will pick up now once all the infrastructure of Delhi, delayed as it is, is really, really ready.”
Avik Chattopadhyay, Saffron Brand Consultants
“There are two aspects of looking at this issue. First, if I were the Brand Manager of the Commonwealth Games, as an event I will position the Games as the essence of the concept of ‘Commonwealth’. I will position the Games as the ‘widest platform for sports performance’, after the Olympics, that allow sporting talent from the CW nations to display their prowess and sportsmanship. It is as if the CWG is the final step in the ladder for sportspersons towards their respective world championships and the Olympics. The CWG is, therefore, integral and crucial to eventual sporting greatness – the common platform to perform.
All programmes, therefore, should be around this concept of collaboration and cooperation amongst sporting associations of all CW nations – they come together to create amazing platforms to nurture, recognise and reward sporting talent and send them on to the world championships and the Olympics.
Second, if I were the Brand Manager of the Delhi 2010 CWG. In this case, it is the culmination of ‘Incredible India’ – not just as a tourism epithet, but as an ethos – to perform, to deliver, to create, to participate, to embrace. More than the Games, I would position and project ‘Delhi’, and Delhi stands for all that is in India. Especially after Beijing and South Africa, the pressure is just too much and I cannot afford to slip up.
Delhi 2010 as a brand would stand on the three pillars of infrastructure excellence, operational efficiency and human intimacy. Quite frankly, I would put all these incessant and sometimes inane discussions on how much money who made on toilet paper, to ensuring that I utilise these 45 days into ensuring an ‘incredible’ experience for all. After the games are over, we will pronounce and hang the guilty. Till then, let us prioritise, come together as a united nation, with pride to perform at stake and deliver.”
R Sridhar, CEO, brand-comm
“As far as India is concerned, this is a crisis as big as BP was to the US. Currently, credibility of the Games and the organisers is at an all time low. I would be extremely low profile and not seek attention. The entire priority would be to be Games ready.
As and when quantifiable progress happens, I would inform media, particularly those who have been very critical. I would look at any concerted communication to happen after the Games begin.”