Debashish Chakraborty
Brands and Sports marketing

"We are the only company that has taken the QR code proposition to stadiums”: Jaskaran Singh Kapany, Paytm

The Head of Marketing, Paytm talks about his brand’s involvement with the cricket, association with IPL, customized activations, broadcasting opportunities, yield factor and more.

The Indian sporting industry has been on the rise. With burgeoning homegrown leagues, the sports of soil have been successful in fueling the 15% per annual growth of the industry (global average stands at a mere 5%), as per DataPOWA. The sports fanaticism that our country witnesses, is beyond anyone’s understanding. The sports fan base is enormous with an unshakable loyalty factor that carries across sports and has been a key driver in making it a fan’s religion and advertisers as their devotee. Yes, while other sports have been doing fairly well, one cannot just encapsulate the sentiment with which Indians adore cricket. While the men in blue have been gathering accolades abroad, at home, the sport seems to be pocketing big on both – viewers and advertisers. With less than a month left for the grandest sporting event of the country, IPL, to takes over, we spoke with Jaskaran Singh Kapany, head- marketing, Paytm. Wherein, he talks about the brand’s involvement with the cricket, association with IPL, customized activations, broadcasting opportunities, yield factor and more.

Paytm, India’s largest digital payments company has had a big-time partnership with the sports and the league. Established just under a decade ago (2010), the brand entered the ground fairly early, on boarding the sporting wave early in 2015. When asked about the potential of the Indian cricket scene from a marketer’s perspective, he said, “There is nothing bigger than cricket in India. It is like religion & undoubtedly the most followed sport, across geographies, with an unparalleled reach & engagement. Not only this, it has a unique position in the minds of consumers- it is mass and at the same time premium. Hence, it delivers phenomenal perceived value for a brand.”

Paytm has tried to leverage the most popular sports in the country in every way possible. On one side it is associated with the Indian cricket team and on the other, it is cashing in on the IPL fever. The brand has been associated with both for about 5 years now. It has been the ‘Title Sponsor’ with BCCI home India cricket. On which, he adds, “At Paytm, we decided very early in our journey to partner with India Cricket. Over the last few years, our association with the sport has given us a huge platform to be visible in front of half a billion Indian cricket fans & has given immense stature to the brand – making us a trusted household name. Further, these associations have helped the brand immensely at various levels to build long term salience & stature.”

"We are the only company that has taken the QR code proposition to stadiums”: Jaskaran Singh Kapany, Paytm

Not just with the Indian team, Paytm is also associated with IPL in a rather interesting and well-strategised way – as the Umpire Partner. On this partnership he comments, “On IPL specifically, we are the on-ground ‘Official Umpire Partner’ which entitles us to branding the umpire’s uniform & also comes with a host of high impact benefits including side-screen presence, innovative QR code-based decision reviews, and more. Being an ‘on-ground’ IPL sponsor gives us the benefit of sustained presence during the entire duration of the match across all media. Also, unlike just a pure on-air TV sponsorship, our branding assets get broadcast across TV, Digital, etc, i.e all media - which means that the brand gets double the visibility (more than 550 million, last year’s reach between TV & Hotstar alone).”

"We are the only company that has taken the QR code proposition to stadiums”: Jaskaran Singh Kapany, Paytm

While sponsorship does give a brand reach and visibility, to lure its target audience, brands have found a rather new route via innovative ads and ad campaigns. There has been a substantial increase in the number of customised activations that have resulted in brands reaching out to the masses differently and uniquely. These activations do not just give brands an opportunity to showcase their product or service but, if initiated well, also help in building recall and further endorsing the proposition of the brand. For a brand like Paytm, the activations and initiatives have played a substantial role in carrying ahead it’s ‘Paytm Karo’ proposition, to the extent of making it today a catchy and popular digital payment jargon.

To this Jaskaran adds, “Being a Sponsor is only a small part of the battle won. It is equally important how you activate this. Over the years, we have done many innovative on-ground activations ranging from the ‘Paytm se Stadium’ initiative, wherein, Paytm customers have had a chance to get their shopping packages ‘delivered’ by leading Indian cricket players before the match, to the innovative 'Digital Money Transfer’ to the ‘Man of the Match’. We also advertise various lines of businesses in our BCCI matches—Movies, Recharges, Bill payments, etc. These give tremendous visibility to key business offerings in front of millions of Indians, with a direct link to the business. We are the only company that has taken the QR code proposition to stadiums. In the IPL, you can see the ‘Paytm QR scan’ happening on the giant screen before the third umpire gives his decision. Also, the Paytm umpire branding has a 100% exposure since ours is the only logo that you see, unlike say other team jerseys, which come with multiple logos.”

"We are the only company that has taken the QR code proposition to stadiums”: Jaskaran Singh Kapany, Paytm

He further adds, “All these innovative initiatives give a mass brand like ours tremendous salience & recall in one of the most watched events on the planet. And hence, enhance brand stature. The proof of the pudding is in the fact that we were have consistently been ranked amongst the ‘Most Recalled Brands’ in IPL over the years. This in a sense is a significant achievement given the extreme level of clutter that is prevalent.”

With a mind-boggling active user base of about 140 million users, the brand has been leveraging almost every medium of communication, from television to digital, to reach the masses. When asked about the brand’s sports broadcasting experience, he concludes with, “Sports genre in general & in particular Cricket delivers high on reach along-with quality engagement. This combination is what makes it a popular genre. High impact shows on GECs/News also fall in a similar domain. Having said this, Marketers need to be cautious & not overtly depend on any one genre in the media plans. Given that we are already long-term on-ground sponsors with both BCCI Cricket & IPL, we have generally found that on-air presence has a high degree of cut through, complimented with a high degree of recall/connect with our business propositions. But we do work very hard to put extremely compelling marketing work on-air, given a significant degree of clutter.”