#SSIPLWatch Media mix for an event like IPL cannot just be relegated to a select medium: Varun Khanna, Fast&Up

Varun Khanna

As per Fast&Up’s Varun Khanna, the brand is very well-entrenched into IPL 2020 and has a strategic plan to make the most of the investment.

Fast&Up aims to increase its brand footprint by associating with Chennai Super Kings for IPL 2020 as an official Nutrition Partner-Digital of the franchise. Varun Khanna, Co-founder of the brand speaks to Social Samosa about the their vision to boost awareness about health and nutrition via IPL and why it is an association beyond ROI objectives.

Edited Excerpts:

What was the insight behind your association with CSK?

With the current situation we are in, IPL is definitely staying true to its promise of being ‘India ka Tyohar’ as it comes during the festive season. At Fast&Up, we have been associated with cricket and IPL for the last three years and we have been supplying our products to all the teams. There was a natural alignment and IPL is going to be the biggest consumer movement in the country this year, especially with the COVID situation.

This is a perfect fit for Fast&Up to be there since we are into fitness, nutrition, wellness, and immunity.  CSK has been a pan India favorite. They have been multiple champions of the IPL with Dhoni who is a legendary figure in the sport. Coming from Ranchi and being the ‘Thala’ of Chennai, it fits in very well with Fast&Up as a brand, which has grown from small beginnings to where it is today. It resonates very well with what we want to do.

The fact that we are supplying all the products to all the teams means that we are very well-entrenched into this IPL and we hope to make sure the brand recall is as much as possible there. We also have a retail reach out in significant terms and we would want to leverage this retail association where we would have some brand activation as well.  Our association with CSK has been organic and we are extremely excited to be a part of the Yellove gang and whistle for the players! 

What does the overall marketing plan for the season look like? What kind of a role will social media play?

Our marketing strategy will be a mix of traditional spends; social media will play a key part in our digital media spends. 

Fast&Up has been strong on the digital front since our inception and we intend to use our strengths. We also believe working with content aggregators & amplification channels will be key to help build stronger brand identity among the incredible brands that are also associated with the various teams and the league itself.

Also Read: #SSIPLWatch It’s more about the purpose & building brand salience than monetary RoI: Komal Mehra, Usha International

Please take us through your media mix. How much percent of it is reserved for digital?

The media mix for an event like IPL cannot just be relegated to a select medium, it will have to be a holistic plan that is across mediums such as owned, amplification, and social.

Of the total budget, I can say we are definitely looking at conventional and digital mediums with a ratio of 40:60 since India as a country is extremely varied and layered. You cannot just choose one medium and expect a mammoth reach.

Take us through your marketing strategy. Any campaigns or activities lined up to support your partnership? 

With respect to campaigns, our first strategy is to introduce the nutrition supplement to the mass. Athletes & fitness enthusiasts understand supplements but to make a larger audience understand the importance of supplements is our priority. Part 2 is engagement – the most important since the potential audience is huge and to interact with them is an opportunity we don’t wish to miss.

So our focus is to first create awareness and then interact with the audience on the various media to create moments/experiences with the brand and this is where digital will play a key role since our current situation doesn’t allow a lot of physical interaction which was otherwise the signature of IPL teams and brands!

Our communication is very simple – Super Nutrition of Super Kings to raise awareness on the partnership and building upon the same with layers such as products, offers & activations (digital) is what we intend to do. 

What are the parameters to calculate ROI on your IPL marketing initiatives? Do you think it will be difficult to recover the investment amidst the pandemic crisis? 

ROI I think you would agree needs to have a re-haul in how it is calculated. Obviously, the end goal is to ensure product pick-up and revenue but an investment such as IPL is more than a return on the investment calculated on revenue earned in that period.

We see ourselves in an unprecedented time, and thus it is very important for a brand to be thoughtful of what it is associated with. At Fast&Up, when we decided to associate with IPL & CSK – we weren’t just associating with a team (CSK) and a sport (cricket) but we are associating with a feeling of excitement and also a level of pride that so many people are working hard to give us at home a reason to sit with our families in front a television and celebrate their favorite sport.

I feel this investment is one-of-a-kind since it is happening amidst a pandemic crisis and I feel for the ROI and its success – we will do a second conversation once the IPL is over! 

How will you be leveraging IPL to bounce back from the pandemic induced business lull & changing consumer habits created by the lockdown?

Fast&Up is a nutrition brand that helps in your daily fitness, health, and immunity. For us, the pandemic has not induced a lull but rather an awareness of the importance of nutrition and immunity. So we will be leveraging the IPL – it is by creating more awareness of the brand at a mass level. An athlete is definitely aware of Fast&Up but today nutrition and the importance of supplements go beyond performance. Hence that would be our main pitch (pun intended).

Pre corona v/s post corona: has IPL marketing or sports marketing in general changed dramatically? What are the key advertising & marketing trends you foresee? 

Digital platforms I also feel are great equalizers because the interaction, feedback, and engagement are more real-time. So a brand that would traditionally be the highlight during all ad-breaks during a match today cannot just use their deep pockets to get attention.

Content is the key driver in all communications and hence I feel COVID has really brought that out and brands with good content are creating a niche for themselves. They are standing out among the clutter that comes with great opportunities on a media and marketing platform that sees a boom. One trend I foresee is how fitness, health, and well-being are getting individual driven with more awareness and knowledge increase.


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