That cricket is an effective platform to gain brand visibility and recall is a known fact, and a strategy brands across the board have employed over the years. Whether it is PayTm’s push for BCCI title sponsorship rights, or Vivo’s aggressive bidding for the title sponsorship rights to the IPL, or brands like Kent building their presence through the surround programming around the IPL (Extraaa Innings when the tournament was on Sony Max), cricket has been a sought after marketing platform. A look at the celebrity endorser pecking order by brand value will only reiterate the point, as Virat Kohli unequivocally rules the roost.
The catch however, is that cricket is expensive as a platform to invest in. Not only is the endorsement fee of cricketers head and shoulders above their peers in other sports (in India), but associating with any cricketing event requires deep pockets. FCM Travel Solutions seems to have found a way around this though. The travel platform has partnered with Bharat Army, the official Indian ‘cricket supporters group’ as its official travel partner for the soon to held ICC T20 world Cup 2020.
Manpreet Bindra, brand leader, FCM MICE and Vishal Patel, managing director, Bharat Army Travel, tell ETBrandEquity.com that how their collaboration will capitalise the sports marketing with fan engagement. With the association, FCM aims to market and promote travel, ticket packages, and experiences for the match. Edited excerpts.
What is the brand strategy behind the association with Bharat Army Travel?
Manpreet – While managing travel requirements for our clients we have seen interest from our clients for sporting events like cricket, Formula 1, Football, Wimbledon etc. The values system of Bharat Army matches with our company philosophies and both organisations are leaders in their own space. We were keen to venture in this space and so was Bharat Army who was looking to give Indian cricket fans an experience while watching live cricket matches. And so, with this association we would be working towards offering sporting events along with other attractions in an itinerary. Bharat Army’s passion and commitment towards bringing all the fans together along with our expertise in curating exciting travel experience will surely make this association a huge success.
Vishal Patel – The strategy behind it was to partner with a brand that is reputed and well- recognised within the corporate and leisure space in India and beyond. We find FCM Travel Solutions to be the perfect pick, with their vast experience and knowledge of handling large corporate groups in India, they bring with them a great leadership team that share the same values as Bharat Army Travel of Integrity, Transparency & Consistency to maintain trust amongst our clients (Sports Fans).
What are the marketing channels deployed to promote this association?
Manpreet Bindra– We have already started promoting the sporting experience through one of the largest travel trade fairs in India – OTM where we had a stall along with Bharat Army which showcased a virtual reality game around cricket. This fun yet challenging activity engaged a lot of crowd and helped us target B2B customers, that is, the travel agent network. We have already started getting enquires from corporates for deals and star passes for travelling to Australia. We will also be targeting leisure travelers for the same in the upcoming months and are expecting a great response closer to the ICC T20 World Cup.
We have also started promoting the association through our social media handles and on-ground activities, and we are going to ramp it up going forward as well. We are also keen on meeting with the players to enhance the sporting experience for the customers.
Vishal Patel – The Bharat Army fan club consists of over 800,000 Indian sports fans across its digital platforms spread across countries like Canada, USA, UK including India. Bharat Army Travel are promoting its sporting experiences to an engaged Bharat Army Fan Club audience through digital experiences & offline engagement activities. With FCM Travel Solutions we plan on a roadshow of events across India to engage with fans utilising virtual sports gaming.
What is marketing budget?
Manpreet: The marketing spends would be aggressive for the next couple of months. We plan to spend 20% of our marketing budgets to promote T20 World cup packages.