Opinion: Two new teams – The hyperlocal IPL marketing opportunity

Hyperlocal IPL marketing

With two new IPL teams – Lucknow and Gujarat, Khushboo Solanki Sharma shares how local and hyperlocal brands can hop on the IPL marketing bandwagon.

With the introduction of IPL, cricket and entertainment lovers found their regular dopamine dose. IPL, in the true sense, is a game-changer as it brings out the local connection; cricket was always a nationalist game, but IPL gave regions/states their individual identities in the game. The two new teams further make it appealing from a local and hyperlocal marketing perspective. Here’s how…

The beauty of IPL is that it still maintains global appeal by having international players playing in various teams, but they do very well get merged in regional flavour by becoming part of franchise teams.

Today, more than a decade later of IPL’s introduction, brands have aced the game of leveraging on public attention that the cricket tournament receives on traditional media, but with the rise of new social media platforms and their terrific evolution, brands have found newer, regional and more specific channels to promote products and services.

IPL allows tapping individual states as a market for targeted markets; this has allowed the entire focus of local consumer engagement activities for them. Not only local but also international brands who would like to connect with a particular state market have a better framework to work around.

With two new teams being introduced, including Gujarat and Lucknow, the scope for local/regional brands has grown to cater to the target audience. Lucknow and Ahmedabad are big cricket markets in India, contributing 17% to the overall viewership of Vivo IPL 2021, as per BARC.

While not all brands can afford or crack direct deals with various verticals of IPL, which does not mean they cannot use the cricket momentum to garner traction online. Larger media budget brands pick and choose specific assets for advertising to maximize their leverage and presence. IPL 2022 audience occupancy increased to 50% by BCCI from Apr 6, 2022, KKR vs MI game (source: BCCI). While the audience pool, which wasn’t there for the last two years, is coming back to normal gradually on ground and online viewership.

The advertising sales of the IPL are set to cross the INR 4000 CRORE mark for the first time since its inception 15 years ago. Average rates of ad assets have also increased from 10-20% from the previous year. Advertising on spots and assets is conventional, but the interesting part is advertisers also use different creative means to explore this annual cricket mania.

While local businesses have many promotional activities around IPL, the same gets extended by small & medium or regional brands on their digital media.

Listed below are some online features that brands can use to leverage the cricket and IPL momentum from a hyperlocal marketing perspective.

Interactive Stories

Stories are definitely one of the most popular features of digital media, which is the best way to garner time-specific attention and traction. Brands can run polls around the ongoing tournaments and attract user interaction. Both Zomato & Vadilal Ice Creams are running polls on stories for their followers, asking them to choose the teams or players they support on particular match days. FMCG segment brands are always on the top when it comes to leveraging match days.

Also Read: Opinion: IPL Marketing on a shoestring budget – how to market during IPL without investing in IPL

Game Day Contest

Local brands can surely ride the wave of IPL. Running match-oriented contests, offering discounts, and having giveaways until the match lasts can pique the viewers’ interest and increase followers and build consumer engagement.

Makino, a snack brand based out of Gujarat, runs contests on Team Gujarat’s matchday and has ongoing offers throughout the IPL season on Instagram.

Moment Marketing:

Brands can gain from cashing on extraordinary events or moments that might take place on-field during the match time. However, they must keep an eye to notice such moments that can create buzz and have the potential to go viral, especially during the match of the team belonging to the region relevant to the brand.

For example, in 2019, Durex India and Dream 11 won the internet with their super witty tweets related to the events that transpired on the field. Who can forget the ‘Mankading’ row between R. Ashwin and Jos Butler during IPL 2019? By picking up on the mistake made by the player during the match, Durex associated with its advertisement on how its product can help avoid making a life-changing mistake in reality.

Brand Connect

IPL is also an annual summer event looked forward to by many; some states, such as Gujarat, face quite hot summers and are a huge market for seasonal products in various segments such as food and beverages, Consumer durables, Auto, etc. They can develop a strong brand connect by creating posts that relate to the brand’s offering and add value to the viewer’s game watching experience.

Here are some recent interesting posts by Society Tea and Amul, which lend a cooling effect during otherwise warm weather.

This year there is an extra enthusiasm attached to the tournament as it is the first major sporting event that the country is engaging in as it is shrugging off pandemic blues. It was conducted during the lockdown but without an in-stadium audience; this year, brands can make the most of public enthusiasm with on-ground activations, which of course, can be aligned with their online campaigns.

The article IPL marketing for local and hyperlocal brands is penned by Khusboo Solanki Sharma, Founder, Zero Gravity Communications.


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