The dynamics of branding at IPL: The best options for marketers
IPL today is the most popular and followed cricket league and was ranked the 6th most attended as compared to all other sports leagues in the world. The brand value of IPL in 2018 was estimated to be a staggering US$6.3 billion, according to Duff & Phelps.
Uncovering insights and trends on the role of branding and value creation in this multi-billion-dollar Indian sporting league is a book by Velocity MR, titled ‘IPL Brands Insights Book 2019’ during the first edition of Velocity Insights Summit at Bengaluru. The book was launched by Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
The Brand Book is positioned as an insightful guide for crafting marketing decisions by brands and highlights various elements that are brainstormed by marketing decision-makers while taking the IPL plunge.
Jasal Shah, Managing Director & CEO, Velocity MR, elaborated, “IPL is no doubt the biggest sports and marketing extravaganza by far for Indians at home and around the world. With the high stakes for this tournament, we felt the need to study the impact of advertising campaigns and branding during this event. Some of the notable surprises include the fact that RCB continues to be one of the most popular teams despite its poor performances. We also found that heavy spenders have been weighing their options between supporting the IPL as a whole or supporting an individual team, with the former being the clear winner. This annual study is a proven guide for marketers to help them with such tricky decisions. Moreover, we’ve covered around 100+ brands in our study and can develop exclusive & precise reports for each one of them.”
The Panel Discussion at the launch saw leaders sharing their opinion on “Future Landscape of Marketing & Branding (in IPL)”. The Panel included Anindya Mallick, Associate Business Director of Wavemaker Global; Ashok Vidyasagar, Management Consultant (Marketing, Digital and Brand); Ramesh Jude Thomas, President & Chief Knowledge Officer, EQUiTOR Value Advisory; Dr Ray Titus, Dean & Professor of Marketing of Alliance School of Business, Alliance University; and senior journalist R Kaushik, Author of VVS Laxman’s biography. The discussion points included the role of OTT and programmatic ads, understanding data integration, parameters to gauge marketing/ brand/ ad effectiveness, the evolution of sports marketing and endorsement and more.
- CSK & MI are the franchisees to associate with, for a brand looking out for nationwide awareness:Though CSK, KKR and MI, ranked high in-home loyalty contribution, only CSK (76%) and MI (66%) truly have a nationwide presence. So, for a nationwide campaign, brands should target matches of these two teams.
- RCB & KKR takes the stage for regional campaigns: For brands looking to target east, their best bet would be KKR with 45% of home loyalty contribution and RCB with 48% makes the best bet for brands targeting Bengaluru.
- Franchisees’ Image & Performance coupled with a good following, are the key elements for gaining the most while taking the Front-center position on Jersey: Average recall of a brand on the front-center position of a jersey is 53%. The brands that stayed above the average percentage for brand recall are Nokia for KKR (64%), Samsung for MI (61%) and Muthoot for CSK (57%). This could be because all three brands have a strong presence and are associated with highly followed teams.
- A good fan following can offset the trauma of bad performance on associated brands: The mix of a low-profile brand with a highly followed team can provide decently high recognition for the brands. Wrogn, the principal sponsor for RCB, which did not have a strong brand presence, after associating with a highly followed team RCB, is able to achieve a 40% increase in brand recognition. This could be because RCB’s presence on multiple ads and social media is strong.
- Good Performances can translate into higher recall for brands: Nokia which was the principal sponsor of KKR, garnered over 50% increase in top of mind recall when the team embraced victories, but their top of the mind recall dropped by 25% when the team lost 6 matches consecutively.
- Heavy Advertising scores over Sponsorship in getting a better brand recall: Swiggy and PhonePe, the two heavily advertised brands while not associated with a particular team, saw a substantial increase in their total brand recall over the IPL weeks; their total awareness had gone up by 8 and 10% respectively.
- Even less prominent space on jersey can give better recall for brands: Interestingly in spite of placing their brand logo in a non-prominent position on the jersey, Royal Stag had a higher brand recall of 38% compared to Exide which was placed in a prominent position. Other than Royal stag being more popular than Exide, the brand was associated with another IPL team (Kings XI Punjab) which could be one of the reasons why it had a higher recall.
- IPL is a good platform for product launches: In spite of not being the Principal Sponsor of KKR, with the launch of a new product and celebrity endorsement, Lux Cozi was able to build 58% association among those watched four or more matches of the team.
- CSK has the best overall impact score but RCB keeps the maximum score in average brand recall: When it comes to total impact score of the teams, CSK, MI, KKR and SRH take the top four positions. Yet RCB scores maximum in average brand recall (0.16 - the best across all the IPL teams), which proves the popularity of the team over social media and ads plays a big part in gaining viewership which in turn gives better brand recall to the brands associated with that team.
- The popular & exciting teams are likely to get viewership of the frequent viewers: Among the frequent viewers, it is found that the most watched matches involved three teams – CSK (9.5), MI (9) and RCB (9), who are popular & exciting teams with a strong social media presence during IPL.
Recommendations for Marketers:
- The best option seems to be to go solo and not associate with any IPL team as such. Some of the key brands which were not associated with any IPL teams but were advertising heavily during the IPL were seen to be doing better than brands which were associated with a particular team
- These brands generated a steady increase in its recall and other parameters and were not affected by the daily happenings in the IPL
- While brands which were associated with a particular team witnessed a change in their fortunes depending on the team's current performance, past performance, star value, length of association and other factors out of their control
- However, there were some instances where the recall for smaller advertisers was seen to be lower than that of principal sponsors of a few IPL teams
- Every strategy has its own share of pros & cons. Let’s have a look below what works better and what not
Associating with IPL event and not with a Team:
- Since the ads are shown for all the matches, it allows long term exposure to the audience as compared to brands which are associated with particular teams
- The recall increases even during the middle weeks of IPL when generally the viewership of IPL is seen to be dropping
- Associating and advertising heavily during IPL requires a good amount of financial muscle which not all brands would be able to afford
Associating with a particular team:
- The marketing budgets required are not as high as for a brand associated with IPL event.
- Principal sponsorship remains the best bet for a brand to garner the highest recall.
- Allows a limited exposure as there are only a specific number of matches that a team can play.
- The scores for a brand are seen to be fluctuating depending upon the performance of a team