We were better prepared with our plans for IPL this year: Khushnooma Kapadia, Marriott
Kapadia, Marriott International Senior Area Director of Marketing – SA, talks about the brand's 360-degree marketing plan with a heightened social media presence for IPL
The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic left a few brands scurrying to meet their marketing agendas as it unexpectedly put halt to several operations. However, for Marriott Bonvoy, the partners for Mumbai Indians for the IPL, there was no hassle in navigating the challenges this year.
Speaking to exchange4media.com, Marriott International Senior Area Director of Marketing – South Asia Khushnooma Kapadia said, “Last year, it was really challenging for us to virtually monitor every activity and ad shoots. Therefore, this time, we were better prepared for our association with the team during the IPL. We had, in fact, started working on our campaign in January and all the work was done on time. What transpired in 2020 became a great learning experience for us.”
Apart from visibility on MI’s team jersey, the brand is working with a 360-degree marketing plan for the IPL with digital at its core. The mix involves radio, print, video films, and a heightened social media presence.
“We are really heavy on social media for this association, just like the last year. This is the medium where the users are most active on. Another media that emerged greatly during the pandemic is PR and we are utilising that very seriously. People nowadays trust authentic messaging and third-party endorsements more than promotional ads and that has pushed us to involve a lot of PR work in our marketing.”
For its PR, Marriott is working with Genesis BCW and its association with Mumbai Indians has been executed by ITW Catalyst. Other than that, the brand has several media partners for digital, its internal agency – M1M, Zoom Ads for offline media execution, and for on-ground & virtual activities, it is liaising with Wizcraft.
Kapadia highlighted that at the heart of this association lies the brand promise to offer unique experiences to their loyal customers. While the ambitious plans of getting the members to personally meet the team, participate in the on-ground toss, and many such experiential activities could not be pulled off because of the pandemic; the brand has found great virtual alternatives for the same.
The members can enjoy experiences from one-on-one virtual engagements with players, a coaching clinic, to autographed memorabilia. With its “Marriott on Wheels” initiative, the brand has curated a special F&B menu themed around the game that can be home delivered. On the alternative, loyal members can also opt for a staycation at Marriott properties and relish these delicacies along with cheering with their friends and family for the team.
On being asked whether it would have been better to carry on the association in a normal scenario instead amidst a pandemic when the hospitality industry is severely affected, Kapadia said she feels it is in fact the best time for the association. “One should always look at the glass as half-full. And I feel that it is the perfect time for this association to make our members feel welcomed and taken care of. Sure, they can’t engage with us in the brick-and-mortar style hospitality, but Marriott Bonvoy is much more than that as well. It is the right opportunity to show our customers that.”
And the association surely delivered some exciting results last year, as per Kapadia. “We saw a real jumpstart to our enrollment base with the association last September-October. Our KPI this time is to get 150-200K new members onboard.”
She signed off by saying that they are using the platform to create a better top-of-mind recall for the property and increase penetration amongst the audience.
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