Friday, April 9, 2010

i-Pill - The chill-pill way to build Business and Brand

Oooops...!! I got it all wrong. Where there is 'excitement', there is an i-Pill and IPL is just about excitement, isn't it? Hence that slip of the tongue ;-) Call it 'Indian Paisa League' for the money that's splurged in it or call it 'India's Premiere Lalit' for the way he has left behind many a CMOs in terms of popularity and successful implementation and maintenance, the IPL 'Business' has kept everyone in a state of being busy. If guys are too busy to date their Sanias (!) in the evenings, so are several business establishments busy doing nothing, thanks to the reduced foot-fall into shops and malls. The IPL bug has even kept '@shashitweeroor' aka Shashi Tharoor Tweeting about the matches. So has been the IPL craze in India, which, when first took off, was regarded to have a mixed response. But now indeed it has been a massive success. Success of IPL and the strong promoter behind it i.e. the BCCI has ensured that a lot of top business houses and brands get associated with it.

The acceptance of IPL brought more avenues*- to the IPL in terms of generating more revenue and to the various Brands to increase their Recall Value. This exercise to become a TOM Brand (Marketing terminology, defined in the end) is being tried by a few Brands through IPL. Observe those 'Big hits into the stands'. Commentators never say "Big Six", but say "DLF Maximum". A wicket falls and they say "CITI Moment of Success'. 'Time Out' is 'MAX MOBILE Strategic Time Out'. IPL can think of more such unconventional ways of advertising/promoting Brands. Probably, as the batsman goes back to pavilion - 'PARAGON Walk', a Man of the Match - 'TVS VICTOR of the Match', a catch could be - 'HAVELLS Safe catch' etc.

Can these backfire? There are chances. Assume, a team not doing well in the entire IPL, losing 8-9 wickets in every match. Every batsman going back to the pavilion becomes a 'PARAGON Walk'. Hardcore fans of that team or a batsman might find it unpleasant to hear 'PARAGON Walk' frequently. As a result, Paragon might not be a preferred Brand by that city's or the player's fans. With most ardent IPL fans already turning frenzy, such risks are always on the cards. For all we know, India is also a Cricket crazy nation.

Associating with IPL also gives you an opportunity to network with industry big-wigs, celebrities, some top-notch Cricketers but most importantly - LAW MAKERS i.e. politicians. Do not forget most politicos in India like Sharad Pawar, Rajiv Shukla, Narendra Modi, Farooq Abdullah, Arun Jaitley hold lucrative positions in either the National level of State Level. Chetan Bhagat in a column in Times of India pointed out that if you show Corporate India a big reason to spend, you can generate big bucks from their wallet. Yes, you only got to show them the BIG REASON. Lalit did exactly that.

Thats about Business and Branding with IPL... If all this you thought was lucrative and glamorous, there is another side to it, though not associated directly with the IPL but courtsey to IPL. From what I see around. Hotels and eateries which do not have a TV see a dip in the customer turn-out. I stopped going to my regular hotel for dinner and have switched to a hotel which has got a TV for I can watch the match. Of course, it is coming at a cost. I now order extra dishes once I am done with my regular paratha/thali, so that I can watch some more of the match. Specially, if Sachin is batting, I would have a grand dinner that night and end up spending Rs. 110- Rs. 130 when on any other day I would not spend more than Rs. 30. Expecting a dip in the turnout for late evening shows, Inox and a few other theatres play IPL matches instead of movies. So what if you couldn't afford a ticket for it is too expensive or 100% sold-out a week before you thought of buying! Enjoy it in the big screen in the multiplexes. Pubs too are playing IPL matches and lavish hotels like the Taj and the likes too hold special screening of the IPL!

IPL has even made it to the Social Networking sites. Twitter and Facebook users give updates faster than Cricinfo! Most die-hard fans and supporters do not waste a minute to appreciate or criticize their favourites and their villains. Facebook 'Status Message' have temporarily turned form 'Employee Grievance Cell' to 'Player/Team performance appraisal form'. Friends have turned 'foes' for they now support different teams. 'City-based loyalty', a term coined by Lalit Modi has given him a 'Cricket-derived Royalty'.

No wonder Lalit Modi is currently the Best Indian CMO. He has sold the right product in the right market to the right customer. What is India Inc. waiting for? Hire him!

Common Man
TOM Brand - Suppose I were to question someone "Name the IT companies of India you have in your mind" and he or she answers "HCL, Cognizant, TCS, Wipro, Infosys.... ", it would mean HCL sits on top of his mind which will be known as TOM Brand (Top of Mind), followed by Cognizant which will be known as SIL (Second in line) and it goes so on (TIL, FIL etc.). Biggest IT company is of course TCS, followed by Infosys and Wipro.. but what matters here is what sits in the top of a person's mind. Brands normally want them to be comfortably seated on TOM of the market, not that we should buy them, but because they are an option when we intend to buy. And they become some real strong contenders to other options!
* - 'Avenues' have to do with legal and ethical ways of earning revenues and not with what Lalit seems to be more interested at. The placement of the picture adjacent to 'avenue' is highly co-incidental but the decision not to remove it is highly unintentional (Khi khi khi....) :D