With the IPL 6 just days away, much is being written on whether the tournament has lost its sheen. Discussions such as this miss the point. What smart marketers should be asking is if they are using one of the best marketing and branding platforms that India has ever seen in an intelligent and optimal manner.
It is surprising how unimaginatively and ineffectively some companies have leveraged their IPL associations and marketing assets. It appears that sponsors have developed their partnerships without much strategic thought beyond basic brand visibility, and still consistently fail to demonstrate deep understanding of how best to sweat this not inexpensive marketing platform.
If you are participating in the IPL or are considering participating, here are some tips for you.
Activation is more than TV advertising
If advertising on the official broadcaster’s feed is all that comes to mind, you’re being shortsighted. Stop complaining about whether rates should come down. There are a range of other more powerful “emotional assets” that can provide you with a better return on your marketing spend if used with some imagination. You should aggressively work with different rights holders, beyond the broadcaster, to leverage different assets such as the players, teams and owners.
As a 21st century sponsor, you should seek to carefully identify and create a package of rights that is most relevant to your business, your target demographic, and how they engage in the sport using technology. Make sure you understand the additional resource and activation investment required to fully capture that value.
Identify your sponsorship goal
Can you articulate the business plan behind your sponsorship? Do you have a scientific way of measuring whether your goals are being met? If you don’t, then it’s very likely that you’ll fail to capitalise on the sponsorship.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Many IPL sponsors have stated reach as their primary goal, but reach alone will not create differentiation, neither does it create loyalty towards your brand or increase propensity to purchase. An IPL sponsorship must be more than a trophy asset to see your logo on the field, uniform or on television. Ultimately, you have to effect and track a tangible impact on the bottom line.
What brand values do you want to create / embellish through the IPL?
Have you asked yourself what kind of brand values you are seeking to promote when you participate in the IPL? When you are one of the numerous mobile handset or network companies competing for consumer mindshare, are you able to create enough of a connection with your audience for your brand values to stand out in the clutter? Ask yourself which of the assets or rights gets you closest to the brand values you are aspiring to.
In Rolex’s association with Wimbledon, the link is obvious. As an IPL sponsor, do research among your target audience to verify if the brand values link between your brand and the sporting asset you have rights to is obvious. If not, you probably have the wrong message or have chosen the wrong asset. Just picking a new IPL star, and putting your marketing spend behind him isn’t enough if you can’t identify how this creates or adds to your brand value.
Are you creating enough emotional attachment with your brand?
Sports marketing gives the unique opportunity to engage with an audience by tapping into its latent desire to be a part of the action. The T20 format and its yo-yo like outcomes manifest itself in a level of excitement among fans that is ripe for creating a deeper engagement and loyalty with fans.
Sponsors can create experiential events that expose the brand in new media and allow for consumer interaction through a shared passion of sport. Some simple basics such as fantasy leagues, using school/college visits with players, practice-day experiences in the nets, video chats with players, virtual gaming, kits for schools, on-line communities…the opportunities are endless if you exercise your imagination to acquire the correct rights and then create the relevant content around this.
See the original article at the The Economic Times