The unwavering appeal of brand Kohli

Virat Kohli has managed to build a formidable brand despite his brash comments which have time and again made headlines

BrandKohli

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has managed to build a formidable brand despite his audacious and indiscrete comments which have time and again made headlines. Being the brand ambassador of 21 brands ranging from cars, apparel and shoes, to snacks and health food, brand Kohli has remained strong alongside the young cricketer's meteoric rise and has catapulted him into Forbes's 2018 list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes, according to Reuters.

Ranking at No. 83 with an estimated $24 million income over the last year, Kohli is the world's top-earning cricketer, beating out other high-profile athletes such as Novak Djokovic and Sergio Aguero, and is likely to overtake Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the highest earning Indian sportsman ever. The former India cricket captain Dhoni earned $31 million in 2015 as he promoted a range of brands.

After tying the knot with Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, the couple effectively created a marriage between two of India's biggest obsessions- cricket and movies. It also helped him evolve into the image of the progressive, modern family man, which adds extra appeal to the middle-class Indian audience, while still retaining his position as a youth icon.

Kohli has also maintained a robust social media presence, with over 37 million fans on Facebook, more than 27 million Twitter followers and over 25 million followers on Instagram. He has been known to retaliate against those who rubbed him the wrong way. When a fan described the world's top-ranked test batsman, as "overrated" and said he would rather watch Australian and English batsmen than "these Indians", Kohli responded with guns blazing, saying in a video posted on his personal telephone app "You should go and live somewhere else, you know”. "Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don't mind you not liking me but I don't think you should live in our country..."  The incident had little effect on his brand, however, with some believing Kohli's response made him seem more patriotic.

He has also evolved tremendously as a brand ambassador; not endorsing soft drinks or skin-lightening creams anymore, while advocating a healthy lifestyle.

Kohli's earnings and brand value could continue to rise due to India's strong growth and the obsessive interest in cricket in the country and across the Indian diaspora. 

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