In conversation with exchange4media, Amar Thomas, Country Marketing Manager, BlackBerry India talks about IPL as a property, BlackBerry Messenger as a brand and the association with Mumbai Indians during IPL.
Why did you choose IPL over elections in the marketing game?
Our concentration on IPL is around BBM channels which we got around February. BBM channels had evolved to that level that we thought to take it to the consumers and therefore the association. Like IPL cuts across genders, age, region the same goes for the internet messenger. Therefore there was a connection for BBM channels. We are not investing in news channels because the element of engagement for BBM is in IPL. It does not seamlessly fit with the elections.
But other messenger brands have invested in elections. Their TG is similar to yours. How does your strategy differ then?
We have tied up with Mumbai Indians online and on ground. We have only gone cross platform in November unlike others. I think we will do few things and do them well and then figure out whether we need change or not.
What kind of engagement strategies you have devised during the tournament?
First is to get people on to the BBM channels for which they win merchandise, tickets and autograph bats. We will communicate that through digital and mobile platforms, through malls and by the virtue of us being a social media platform. Mumbai Indians also has a huge following and we will extend the trend of followership. Another strategy will be to interact on the BBM channels where we also have content which is extremely exclusive. The content is generally post and pre-game. These are the points we will be focussing on.
What kind of content will be exclusive in your case as streaming and broadcasting rights are already sold?
When I say exclusive in case of an internet messenger, it implies conversations among people. Conversations between people such as who will win the match, what is likely to happen,etc.We are targeting conversations and making interactions more fun. One of the chances we will be giving to our MI fans would be watching the team practice before the match.
So are you targeting loyal MI fan only?
If one looks at the team; MI is not only confined to Mumbai, they are the most followed team across IPL. They have been winners last year. There is a large following for them in Middle East as well. The traction of the team is huge. I don't think we will be able to get that with any other team. Strategically, we decided Mumbai by their virtue of cutting across regions.
Why go for IPL, a mass branding platform when you recently prioritised enterprise solution as your prime focus for India? Are you trying to make your presence felt among other IM brands advertising in IPL?
BlackBerry does four things. It sells devices, gives most secure communication gateway, it provides BBM service and it makes QNX. For IPL we have chosen only BBM. BBM is not only for enterprises, or consumers. It can be used by anybody who has a smartphone. We believe that part of business cuts across. For enterprise solutions we have separate communications and offerings. We are not trying to pitch ourselves against other messenger brands. We have our own unique offering and strength. The quality of time spent on BBM is more than any other IM.
How are you engaging users by associating with Mumbai Indians?
Some of the entitlements are about BBM as a channel which talks about what Mumbai Indiansare up to, before and after the match, how the players communicate with their families, etc. There are other engagement strategies for example to see what Jonty Rhodes does to make RohitSharma field well. The other chance for users is to win match tickets. Through BBM we will give people an exclusive window to book tickets in advance and book at preferential rates. Another deliverable was the personalisation of the jersey. One can get his own MI jersey with BBM QR code. One can also get autographed bats. We are only launching one leg of promotions right now through malls, SMS, radio, digital, phone marketing,etc. to communicate our promotions. We are trying to go beyond buying ad spots and therefore engaging people through activities by also involving players and management of the team.
Are you buying ad spots on Set Max during IPL broadcast?
No. We are not buying ad spots.
What will your objective of associating with IPL?
Our primary objective would be awareness of our channels and what can it deliver. We have a big story to tell to our consumers. That’s our focus with this tie-up. We want brands also to know that there are consumers who can be a part of their brand pages.