Chak Diya, Dhoni



As I write this, the whole of India is
waiting with bated breath to know if Dhoni’s boys can lift the World
Cup or will it go to the Emerald Isle across the Palk Starits. When
you read this, obviously the answer will be known-whether Sachin’s
unfulfilled dream has finally come true or if it is disappointment at
the last hurdle. The moot point though will be next week, either
there will be a general sense of euphoria all around or dismay at
failing to breach the final frontier. But as euphoria/dismay dies
down, what will emerge as the toast of the nation (either way) will
be the 15 men in Blue.

As the huge success of the ‘Bleeding
Blue’ and other ads show, the brand equity of the Indian cricketers
will reach epic proportions after the World Cup (even if they do not
lift it). And as has been proved, celebrity advertising (even with
cricketers) works for tech products; so many of the vendors are bound
to make beelines for our cricketers. The important question will be
can our partners take advantage of this frenzy to bolster their
businesses.

One can say, partners do not have much
influence on this; it will be more the impact of the marketing
campaign of a particular brand. While that is true to a large extent,
the partners too can have impact, especially at a regional level,
depending on where the player is hailing from. While Sachin more or
less transcends all regional aspirations, still obviously
Sachin-branded tech products could mean better business for Western
region partners. Or those endorsed by Sehwag or Yuvraj could mean big
bucks for North partners. Coupled with IPL which follows almost
immediately, this could mean cricket mania. It is now up to the
partners to leverage this mania skilfully to improve their toplines
and bottomlines.

Normally, the partners were unhappy
that the World Cup impacted their businesses directly; also, not too
many World Cup related schemes were brought forward by the vendors.
However, things could change, as the euphoria that had slowly built
up over the last two months had reached a crescendo now and chances
are very few marketing gurus of vendors will like to miss these
opportunities. Partners should immediately jump into this bandwagon;
align better with the vendor marketing campaigns; insist for more
schemes leveraging cricket; and most importantly do some aggressive
marketing on their own to hit the ball harder, using a cricket
metaphor.

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