Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brands

BRAND – THE SOUL OF MARKETING STRATEGY

In today’s fiercely competitive market place when big Corporates are fighting for their share in the market pie, building a brand is an inseparable activity for every Company. What they are selling is not the product but actually a Brand. The value of a Brand can be judged by the respect it commands in the market. Not far away, we did not know much about the most respected international brands like Nike, Samsonite, Sony (add a few more like for Jeans, Perfumes etc.). Not that the products they are associated with were not manufactured in India before these brands came in our Country. Shoes were manufactured even before by several companies, but when Nike came, Indians were willing to pay five to six time more price the same product because the brand it carried was Nike. Same thing about luggage bags. Before Samsonite entered India, the hard and soft luggage were manufactured in India also. However, Samsonite commanded much higher price for their product.

The point I am trying to make is that every brand has a value. The great brands have great value. This value or premium is not developed in a short span. It is a specialized technique. I will illustrate the technique of Brand Building with reference to Indian Premier League – a league promoted by The Board of Control for Cricket in India popularly known as BCCI. We all know that the game of Cricket is a national craze. Even during this age of electronic media when a great number of people are glued to the television sets when they are not in the colleges, offices etc. the popularity of the game has not dwindled (diminished). The lanes and the grounds are still full with children not only in the big cities like Mumbai but even across the length and breadth of the country.

Today we are in the era where “marketing” has become a key word for success. You no longer market goods and services alone. You have to market yourself as well if you have to taste the fruits of success. See how cine stars market themselves. Although they are the uncrown kings of bollywood, Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have also to market themselves as the “brands” to acquire currency and success in a fiercely competitive entertainment market.

In our county films and cricket are two spheres of every day activity which attract maximum frenzy. This adulation for both these areas gives rise to newer and newer innovation which elevates the public interest in them even further. The newest innovation in cricket is T20 also known as 20 : 20. This innovation sought to answer the oft-repeated criticism against cricket that it is a long, never ending, tedious game where one has to wait for full five days and still not be sure whether there will be finally any result. The objection to absence of speed in this game was sought to be removed to a considerable extent by ODI concept. With the introduction of T20 format, the game has become even faster.

This innovation has aroused considerable public interest. BCCI wanted to exploit the rage for cricket unleashed by this T20 format and, therefore, it started a new league called Indian Premier League on the lines of English Premier League (Put here the correct name). The novel concept was to sell each team to the willing buyers. A number top notched industrialists were interested in buying these teams as can be seen from the multimillion rupee bids offered by them for the respective teams. Maximum bid amount was offered for Mumbai team which was purchased by Reliance group at a price of Rs. 460 crores. Highest amount commanded by an individual player was Rs. 6 crores the price commanded by India’s T20 captain MS Dhoni. Even the films stars like Shahrukh Khan and Prieti Zinta entered the fray to buy the teams and succeeded in buying a team each. Shahrukh bought Kolkata where as Zinta bought mohali.

The race for purchasing the teams amongst the industrialists was not only out of love for cricket but also because these industrialist saw an opportunity cash on the immense popularity of T20 format to market their brands to the masses. BCCI saw an opportunity to make crores of rupees by marketing this new brand called “IPL” to the masses. The whole game plan revolves around money.

The essence of brand marketing is first to attract the attention of the public to the brand, then to arouse their interest in the said brand and finally to convert that interest in to the purchase of their product. One fact is absolutely clear that BCCI has very successfully created this new brand IPL. Let us see how the buyers of the teams succeed in exploiting this brand to increase the sale of their products.