The market for branded diamond jewelry in India is still in its nascent stage. According to sources, advertising and marketing expenses are less than 1% of sales. “There is a huge void here which needs to be addressed,” said Devika Gidwani, Director, Diamond Trading Company (DTC), although she declined to comment on Asmi’s market share or ad spend.
DTC has created brands such as Nakshatra (traditional jewellery), Asmi (low-priced jewellery) and Arisia (premium jewellery) among others. Nakshatra has been rated as the most successful in the Indian market; DTC now has plans to consolidate Arisia and Asmi. The spotlight is on Asmi, which has recently appointed television actress Mandira Bedi as their Brand Ambassadress. “Asmi attempts to recognise the spirit of the new Indian woman, someone who wants to be all that she can be and has emerged victorious. Mandira Bedi is a perfect fit. She epitomizes the different strengths that an Asmi woman is identified with – independence, confidence and goal-oriented. She has ‘the inner fire,’ which is what the Asmi brand of jewellery stands for,” said Gidwani.
Asmi has tied up with the Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) for the Team and Title Sponsorship of the forthcoming West Indies Tour of India, to be played from February 26 to March 12, 2004. It’s not just about putting in money for mileage and returns. Even though cricket is enormously popular in India, Asmi is sparing no effort to market the ‘Asmi Trophy’, as it will now be called. Brand Ambassadress Mandira Bedi, who was prominently featured in ‘Extraaa Innings’ aired on Sony Max during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, will leverage her star status for the five-match ODI series.
How will sponsoring a cricket match endorse the USP of a diamond jewelry brand? “Asmi in Sanskrit means ‘I am’ and stands for the woman who has a distinct identity of her own. We believe that women have the fire within to achieve excellence in whatever they undertake and in this case it is ‘cricket’. The Indian Women’s Cricket team is one of the best teams in the world. So DTC has found a perfect synergy between its contemporary diamond jewellery brand – ‘Asmi’ – and the cause of promoting Indian women’s cricket,” explained Devika Gidwani, Director, DTC.
“Asmi signifies the spirit of the modern Indian woman who is aware of her inner strength and has proven time and again that she can excel in any field. The Indian women’s cricket team, too, has been at the forefront of international cricket; we have recently beaten the world champions, New Zealand. As part of our squad, we have Neetu David and Mithali Raj, who are world record holders. So it’s a perfect brand fit,” said Shubhangi Kulkarni, Honorary Secretary, WCAI on the synergy of Asmi and WCAI. The last team sponsor was Hero Honda, which took care of the World Cup 1997.
Although sources reveal that the sponsorship is in the region of Rs 10 lakh, Asmi officials remain tightlipped. Undoubtedly, both organizations have a lot to gain. With Mandira Bedi in the pavilion, the cricket series is going to be noticed. “Because we don’t have sponsors, we don’t get publicity. When we don’t get publicity, we don’t have sponsors. It’s a vicious cycle. But now, with Mandira Bedi taking up our cause, other corporates are also showing an interest,” said Kulkarni. “She came to watch a game and we told her that you have done so much for men’s cricket, so why don’t you do something for us? She took it up very earnestly and very soon we heard that she was approaching sponsors. That’s how we tied up with Asmi.”
“The Indian women's cricket team had achieved a lot all these years, but it went unnoticed. They didn't get the kind of recognition they deserved. The current squad is made up of highly gifted players who have the confidence and the passion to excel. Recently, they beat world champions New Zealand 4-1 at home. So it was natural for me to be a part of this meaningful exercise,” enthused Mandira Bedi, Brand Ambassadress, Asmi.