IBC: How sporting platforms have risen to become most effective brand building medium

Given the clout that sporting platforms command as far as brand building is concerned, a panel discussion on “Building Brands via Sports” was held at the recent India Brand Conclave

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 8:39 AM

Brands across categories are taking note of the deep impact and emotional connect that sporting platforms can create for their businesses. Keeping this in mind, most brands have shifted from traditional platforms to sporting platforms to get maximum visibility and establish lasting brand recall. Case in point is IPL that has single-handedly established a number of brands (read Vivo and Oppo) that were hitherto unknown to Indian audiences. 

Given the clout that sporting platforms command as far as brand building is concerned, a panel discussion on “Building Brands via Sports” was held at the recent India Brand Conclave 2018 in New Delhi.  The participants included Anita Nayyar, CEO, India and South East Asia, Havas Media Group, Anupam Bokey, VP Marketing, RP Sanjiv Goenka Group  and Sai Narayan, Associate Director and Head of Marketing, Policybazaar. They deliberated on various factors that have made sporting leagues the go-to platforms for brand building.

Speaking about the reasons that make sporting platforms so effective for brand building, Nayyar said, "We have seen how cricket has panned out over the time and it's almost like religion now.  The reach of cricket and the fact that we connect so well with cricket and the pride that we have in winning are some of the factors that make sporting events very close to our hearts. I think after cricket it is Kabbadi and Soccer which are doing extremely well. I think at an overall level we are very emotional when it comes to sports and that explains the strong connect it establishes."

Sharing his thoughts on the rise of sporting platforms as effective marketing channels, Anupam Bokey said, "If you look at the visibility that cricket provides, it is about 305 days in a year, which is massive.  When you watch one day cricket it's like eight hours and you when you watch T-20 it is like four hours, so it creates high profile engagement and this explains the strength of sporting platforms.”

 Bokey also spoke about the reasons behind choosing a sporting icon (Virat Kohli) over Bollywood actors to launch their new brand Too Yumm. “When we were designing Too Yumm communication, we wanted a celebrity who could solve the marketing challenge that we faced. We needed somebody who espouses those values and is extremely health conscious. Also we wanted to establish our credibility and needed someone who could help us do that and Virat Kohli was the perfect fit for it.”

"When I look at sports as a platform cricket comes to mind first because I have seen brands being build around cricket.  The clear thinking is that India is a cricket loving nation and for us it is the platform where the entire male audience aggregates for insurance as a product,” said Sai Narayan.

Talking about some specific instances where the sporting platforms have built brands, Nayyar spoke about the Swiggy experience. "Sporting platforms allow you to do so much more where the brand elements can come out beautifully. On IPL for Swiggy we did the speedometer and we spoke about Swiggy being a platform that delivers fast and and we were talking about the fastest delivery in the matches as well.  So that was one relatable attribute that had synergies with the game.  Now there are lot of brands that look at how Swiggy made use of  IPL as a sporting platform to build brand value."

Underling how sporting properties have established insurance as a category that goes beyond the tax saving period, Narayan said, "The kind of reach and visibility and the kind of integration that sporting platforms offer takes brand building to a different level. When we thought of buying IPL it was an extremely difficult decision.  But once we did it we saw the highest traffic in a month that is otherwise the most difficult month for us as a category."

2019 is special for brands using sporting platforms as IPL will be followed by the World Cup. When asked what this means for marketers, Nayyar said, "It is a great year because there is so much of cricket.  For World Cup coming right after IPL the brand strategy will vary from category to category.  IPL brings a very different kind of an audience an environment to the table and World Cup also brings very different kind of an audience. Interestingly, both IPL and World Cup have 40 to 50% female viewership and it is also in the tier 2 tier 3 towns. IPL and World Cup do not come together every year, so my recommendation to the brands is to cash this opportunity it in a big way."

When asked about the rise of non cricketing sporting leagues and how marketers looked at leveraging their reach and clout, Anupam Bokey stated, “It makes sporting options available to more brands and not just to big brands.  Even for premium brands these are fantastic properties.  The rise of these leagues means more options for marketers and thus opportunities to create engagement with our audience."

“There is a lot of opportunity in the non cricketing part of it and we have seen that in Pro-Kabaddi and ISL. What is also interesting about these leagues is that they have a lot of following in the tier 2 and tier 3 towns," added Nayyar.

The panellists also deliberated on the increasing competition that GECs are facing from the growing popularity of sporting platforms and also underlined that this phenomenon is here to stay.






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