The reach that IPL offers is unparalleled: Atit Mehta, BYJU’S

Atit Mehta, Head of Marketing, BYJU’S, details the brand’s strategy and expectations during the upcoming IPL season

e4m by Christina Moniz
Updated: Sep 21, 2020 10:48 AM
Atit Mehta

BYJU’S has been associated with cricket in a big way all these years and this year it has increased its level of participation in the Indian Premier League from being an associate sponsorship last year to a co-presenting sponsor this season.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Atit Mehta, Head of Marketing, BYJU’S, shares insights on the brand’s strategy and expectations during the upcoming IPL season. A cricket enthusiast himself, Mehta also talks about the synergies between brand BYJU’S and brand IPL.

2020 has been the year for ed-tech companies, and you have been the pioneers and leading player in this segment. How can cricketing tournaments like the IPL fuel growth for your category and brand?

We all know that for a child’s all-round development, we should focus on both academics and outdoor activity. In that sense, sport can play a big role in shaping a child’s growth, in addition to academics. In India, there is nothing bigger than cricket when you talk about sports. Therefore, it is natural for us to partner with everything cricket, and that is exactly what we have done with the jersey sponsorship with BCCI and the IPL sponsorship on Star Sports.

Byju’s has been associated with cricket in a big way all these years, but this year it has taken a big step up on the IPL platform. What was the insight and strategy behind this approach, and what are the kind of investments you’re devoting to this partnership?

I cannot share with you the budget details, but I can tell you the insight behind this association. The past six months, with the pandemic and lockdown, have been dull from a consumer viewpoint. And while many businesses were badly impacted, online education and Byju’s especially saw an upswing in numbers. We added over 20 million subscribers during this period. Now with IPL coming back and live cricked finally making a comeback during the festive season, we recognised that this could be just the thing consumers need to bring back some cheer. That is why we increased our level of participation this year, from an associate sponsorship last year to a co-presenting sponsorship this year.

What are the synergies you see between brand Byju’s and brand IPL?

One of the things about the IPL is the reach it offers; its reach is unparalleled. Plus the larger philosophy, like I mentioned earlier, is the all-round development of the students. That happens only when there is both education, as well as a good foundation in sports. Let’s not forget that sports teaches us a lot of things. For example, a lot of soft skills are learnt through sports, and going forward, extracurricular activities like sports along with education will jointly play a significant role. It has done so in the past, and will continue to do so. So it makes perfect sense that we should partner with a property like the IPL, because in that way it showcases the brand’s commitment to a student’s holistic development.

You’re also the title sponsor for Star Sports’ Cricket Live. What will the focus of your communication be during Byju’s Cricket Live?

We have just launched a new offering called ‘Byju’s Classes.’ Earlier, we had Byju’s - The Learning App that pre-recorded educational videos for students. However, with schools closed, there has been some anxiety among parents during this time in terms of learning loss. With Byju’s Classes, teachers will come in and conduct live classes online for students, thereby mitigating the impact of schools being shut during this time. The new offering will be launched at the same time as the start of IPL. That will be on-air as a product communication during the tournament. The brand communication during the IPL will showcase exactly we are offering live classes the same way a school teacher would normally teach the students. The objective therefore is to let consumers know that we now offer the Byju’s Classes as well as the pre-recorded videos that was available on Byju’s – The Learning App.

Why is Cricket Live a good fit for brand Byju’s?

Cricket Live, which is now called Byju’s Cricket Live, will have analysis from experts in the game. Star Sports has assembled some of the best known cricketers for this analysis, which provides fans with an expert view and sharp insights into the game. Byju’s is also an expert in the space of education and that’s what makes the property a good brand fit. It was a natural fit. Within the show too, there are multiple elements and one of these is a segment that we have also branded – Byju’s Cricket Expert where a cricket expert will share his views on the current game, on which team looks most likely to win, etc. It only makes sense to have an expert in education, Byju’s partner with a show that provides an expert take on the game.

Byju’s is also transforming into a house of brands with partnerships like Disney Kids and now the acquisition of WhiteHat Jr. Will you leverage IPL for the new brands, or will the focus be on the Byju’s brand alone?

During the tournament, we will be running communication for both the brands. The recent acquisition of WhiteHat Jr gives us a great opportunity to reach English speaking countries. That will be our next step forward, when we take the brand to new markets like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, etc. For the Byju’s brand, we will have the new Byju’s Classes launch communication during the tournament. The narrative for the WhiteHat Jr communication showcases a kid creating an app and investors chasing his parents to invest in his company. The objective is to create awareness about how coding can change your thinking and transform your future and provide endless possibilities to grow.

Like you mentioned, the ed-tech space has really grown immensely this year. Give us your thoughts on the space, and what do you think could be potential growth drivers for both ed-tech and Byju’s?

Yes, the ed-tech space is seeing definite growth this year, and we are just skimming the surface. There is huge growth, which I am certain will follow in the years to come. I think the future will see a lot of ‘blended’ education, which is both offline and online learning. The overall ecosystem and infrastructure as far as offline education is concerned is still not up to the mark. This is where the ed-tech space can really make a difference. The online offerings from Byju’s is a big help for both parents and students, who will not lose out on learning this year with schools being shut.

In the last few years, IPL has become India’s largest marketing platform with multi-language feeds. How does that help marketers, and what can they do to leverage the tournament better?

Star has done a phenomenal job with its multiple language feeds. As a marketer, it gives me the opportunity to regionalise my communication and drive higher engagements across markets. It allows me to adapt my communication and customise it for a specific market and that’s a big advantage. The mass reach which IPL provides gives us the opportunity to go through the breadth and length of the country.  Over the duration of the tournament, a reasonable amount of the total addressable population would be watching IPL and if your brand is present on IPL, the chances of the consumers getting to know your brand better will definitely be high.

Personally, what are you looking forward to the most during Season 13 of the IPL? Are you rooting for any team or player?

Yes, I am super excited about this season. I also play cricket myself, but have stopped since the pandemic began. It is good that live cricket is finally coming back. What I am really looking forward to seeing is how the matches will look especially with no spectators on the ground. We have never seen anything like this before. One thing for certain is that the cricket is expected to be very competitive and of high standards. All of us are looking forward to some excellent cricket and to a new experience this season.

 

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