Abhinav Anand
Brands and Sports marketing

Why the BFSI sector should look to leverage the IPL

Traditional models of engaging with customers standing disrupted, IPL 2020 tends to play an important role to help brands dive into more non-tradition and bold ways of driving visibility.

With the wind of revival slowly starting to blow, the days of unlocking the nation from the everlasting lockdown have begun. This has been a tough time for almost everyone; the marketers as well the consumers. Sales have been down, people have been spending less and there is still the scare of a pandemic looming over our heads. With the nation now having more than 25 lakh recoveries, we are in the phase of recovery and people have gradually started to step out, there is still a lot of talk about how this phase is going to pan out.

Among several sectors that have come under the hammer, the BFSI sector has been one of the adversely affected with domains like NPAs, bank loans, and stressed assets being some of the most impacted. While the whole nation is in the process of recovery, it is essential for the BFSI sector to formulate an effective plan that would put them right on the road to recovery.

Much to the likes of this current phase, almost every brand and sector has been waiting for the announcement of IPL. Over the years, IPL has been the most preferred and effective platform among all existing live sporting events. Several big brands have leveraged this platform to garner a great impact with their TG. With the backing of 12 successful seasons, the timing of IPL couldn’t have been better. Being the first Indian live sports event that is going on floor ever since the nation has been under lockdown, IPL guarantees to garner maximum viewership. With fans and cricket enthusiasts geared up and excited about the event finally getting back into action, the atmosphere around the event has been boiling up.

Over the past years, the BFSI sector has effectively utilized live sporting events to drive their business. With the need of the hour being a jumpstart to recovery, IPL 2020 tends to provide the ideal foundation. With this pandemic, banks and financial services would be witnessing a change in how their consumers would take services from the financial institutions. As they move towards adopting digital channels for these services, it can be seen as a great opportunity for advertisers to overcome the distribution and availability limitations. Using the higher SOV derived through TV and driving awareness and consideration for their brands/services, banks, and financial services can effectively utilize this to direct consumers to their digital platforms to build their customer pipelines. The traditional models of engaging with customers standing disrupted, it is important that they dive into more non-tradition and bold ways of driving visibility, this can help build an ideal channel for their telemarketing and performance marketing pipeline.

Building upon the already mounting excitement of IPL is the factor that this year’s edition coincides with the Indian festive season. The festive time being an enthusiastic phase for marketers to connect with their target audience, this naturally sees an increase in consumer spending. With all these added factors of increased viewership, we asked Sameer Nigam, Founder, and CEO, PhonePe about his views on the benefits that marketers can make out of this. “In the current pandemic, Sport comes as a relief. IPL has always been enjoyed by everyone across India, irrespective of age or location. This year since mobility is limited and everyone is largely working from home, we expect audiences in much greater numbers to watch the IPL matches. From supporting their favourite teams to entertaining social media banter, the IPL excitement will definitely help brands grab more eyeballs.”

Sameer Nigam
Sameer Nigam

“We are already seeing signs of revival across industries. For instance, we were back to our pre-lockdown numbers in June and July has been our biggest month so far in terms of transactions. IPL is the biggest sporting event in the country and has a lot of mass appeals. This time it also coincides with the start of the festive season which also creates a feel-good factor. We are sure the IPL will help lead to a revival in overall consumer sentiment,” adds Sameer.

Sai Narayan
Sai Narayan

With the phased unlocking underway and the upcoming lucrative festive season, if sources closer to the development are to be believed, IPL has already onboarded more than 30 advertisers. Shedding light on how brands look at this, Sai Narayan, CMO, Paisabazaar.com says, “Not only BFSI but brands across all sectors including consumer durables, auto, FMCG, online gaming, e-commerce startups can leverage a platform like IPL. However, the onus is on brands to think creatively and come up with relevant and relatable content that would stand out and reach a wider audience base. Investments in IPL are high and work well when it comes to changing perceptions. IPL is important to give stature to the brand which it genuinely deserves. If brand love is created and the right connect happens, conversions and better ROI will come with time.”

In the current situation where brands are now getting ready to spend more to make their presence felt loud and clear, IPL fits right into what most marketers are looking for. Further talking about how IPL 2020 is considered as an ideal comeback platform for marketers, Sai adds, “One of the unique aspects of IPL is that this year it is falling in the core festive time. Advertising spends increases during the festive season i.e. between September and November. However, since March-end many businesses had come to a standstill or slowed down owing to the pandemic. Brands may now be looking to gradually increase their visibility to reach their customer base, especially via sporting events such as the upcoming IPL. This year, their role of delivering engagement and reach would be very crucial for brands.”

Karthi Marshan
Karthi Marshan

Understanding how the banking industry has mapped their road to recovery and what their perspective is about the upcoming IPL season, Karthi Marshan, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Group says, “While some segments of our businesses will be slower to recover, other segments have actually done very well in spite of the challenges related to COVID. Digital adoption is at all-time highs, as are digital transactions, as well as the journey to digitise as many of our processes as possible, so zero contact sales and service can happen. Yes, IPL is certain to provide impetus for a resurgence in demand and consumption. Since banking is an enabler to the real economy, this will be good for the sector as well.”

With the onus of IPL being much larger this time and the matches being scheduled to kick off during prime-time in India, broadcasters strongly believe that this season will break all viewerships records of the past. Adding on the point of IPL 2020 bearing this additional weight recovery on its shoulders this time Karthi added, “People have been starved for both fresh as well as live content since the lockdown. From that lens, yes, IPL holds a lot of promise. Since live audiences may not be possible, players may perform very differently this time. Either they will play more boldly, more creatively, actualising their own potential without worrying about playing to the gallery or being intimidated by it. Or, the lack of a huge cheering squad may dampen their enthusiasm for the game. If the former happens, viewership should really skyrocket. Not so much, if the latter happens.”

This year’s IPL is a much-awaited entity, both for fans as well as brands. With a lot of curiosity around how high will the viewership graph peak, the anticipation, and excitement of this event has amplified manifold. Several brands have already geared up to leverage this homegrown live sporting event to get their wheels rolling. The huge wave of fan sentiment that has been garnered ever since the dates of IPL 2020 were announced, gives a glimpse of the viewership potential it has for this year. With factors like people waiting to see their favourite cricket stars back in action and the current work from home scenario has accurately set the stage for one of the biggest live sporting events to come to life.