Ruchika Jha

Luminous shifts focus to the political arena amid the cricket season for marketing

Neelima Burra, chief strategy transformation and marketing officer at Luminous outlines business objectives, leveraging cricket & elections for marketing, and more.

2024 is a big year for Luminous Power Technologies as it aims to establish itself as a complete energy management solutions provider, beyond just being an inverter battery company.

The 35-year-old Indian energy solutions provider company that sells power backup inverters, batteries, and residential solar solutions is betting big on IPL and the 18th General Elections to leverage its advertising and marketing initiatives.

Neelima Burra, chief strategy transformation and marketing officer, Luminous Power Technologies, says that the company wants to have a comprehensive approach to solar ecosystems in business.

According to financial data obtained by business intelligence platform Tofler, Luminous made Rs 4,231 crore in revenue in FY23. This was 14.6% more than the Rs 3,690 crore revenue recorded the previous year. Its inverter’s price starts at Rs 4,600.

Its parent organisation is the French energy management company Schneider Electric. In 2011, Schneider acquired a 74% stake in Luminous Power; later in 2017, it acquired the balance of 26%. Other major brands in this category are Microtek, Exide, AMAZE (part of Luminous), V-Guard, and Livguard.

Brand expenditure: A multi-dimensional facet

Burra shares that around 60-70% of Luminous' ad spending is done in summer as most of its sales occur from March to August every year. She mentions that 2023 was a challenging year for the brand due to unexpected rainfall during the summer season.

Many strategic initiatives have taken place this year, not only in marketing expenditure but also in brand and business development.

The summer category products experienced a decline not just for Luminous, but for the entire cooling industry, including appliances and beverages. However, compared to 2022, which was a fairly comparable year, the company increased its advertising expenditure by more than 10% year-on-year.

For Burra, 2024 holds far more strategic significance as Luminous is reshaping its narrative from being solely an inverter battery company to becoming a global prosumer technology brand. A prosumer is an individual or an organisation that produces and consumes goods or services.

Luminous' objectives for 2024
Luminous' objectives for 2024

She shares that the company has diversified its business into solar and is expanding its presence into more countries.

Luminous is currently on a strategic growth path, aiming to establish itself as one of the leading companies in the prosumer technology sector.

IPL becomes a powerful platform for brand recall, not only to communicate but also to keep consumers reminded of Luminous as a brand.

“We have launched our brand in South Africa, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, increasing our presence in international markets. Many strategic initiatives have taken place this year, not only in marketing expenditure but also in brand and business development,” she states.

Leveraging cricket as a marketing initiative

Luminous entered into a multi-year partnership with the IPL team Rajasthan Royals in 2023 as its title sponsor, continuing until 2025. Burra believes the IPL is one of the most widely reached platforms, appealing to men, women, younger, and older audiences, making it a good fit for Luminous.

She says, “With such narratives and important messaging, IPL becomes a powerful platform for brand recall, not only to communicate but also to keep consumers reminded of Luminous as a brand.”

Burra also notes that 2024 is particularly unique as the country is witnessing the 18th General Elections, which is considered a festive period for people.

“Luminous has around 95% brand awareness, and such mediums work very well for a brand of its stature. This year, we also introduced solar products at the beginning of the summer season, in March, by inaugurating our first green manufacturing plant for panel production in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand,” she adds.

Utilising social media during IPL

Since 2023, a new trend has emerged among IPL franchises, with teams now forming partnerships with brands, influencers, and content creators to enhance engagement across their social media platforms.

Brands are indeed benefiting from this trend, and Burra also agrees that social media content and collaborations drive engagement for Luminous as a consumer company during this period.

She says, “There are several conversations that revolve around products, services, availability, distributorship, and more. These three months are solely dedicated to brand discussions, which foster brand affinity. I have observed engagement levels surging. Last year, we were the buzziest brand during the IPL season. Currently, when I look at our social media engagement, we are one of the most engaged brands compared to all our competitors.”

Burra also highlights that Rajasthan Royals is the buzziest among all the digital campaigns run by other IPL teams. Currently ranking second in the IPL points table, its performance is phenomenal.

“With all these elements, what Luminous gains as a brand is the highest level of engagement and affinity. Altogether, it forms a 360-degree engagement platform that fosters affinity for the brand,” she adds.

#PinkPromise campaign

Rajasthan Royals had committed to installing solar power in 156 homes in Rajasthan for every six hits during its #PinkPromise match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on April 6, 2024.

We also have a programme called Women in Energy where we are training women technicians to install solar products.

Along with the title sponsorship, Luminous and Rajasthan Royals took their brand collaboration a step further. It complemented the team’s commitment to implement the same. During this match, Rajasthan Royals hit 26 sixes against RCB.

The team, through its social equity arm, the Rajasthan Royal Foundation, has undertaken a women-led endeavour aimed at bringing solar power to communities in need. Burra shares that Luminous is supporting the initiative, which is being led by rural women trained to become technicians and promote the usage of solar energy in their community.

“The underprivileged women in Rajasthan, who face challenges with electricity and water, collaborated with the Rajasthan Royal Foundation because we share the same values and purpose. We also have a programme called Women in Energy where we are training women technicians to install solar products,” she says.

On expanding sponsorship portfolio

Recently, the Indian dairy company Amul announced its partnership with the USA Cricket team for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Discussing the expansion of its partnership portfolio beyond Indian Cricket, Burra says that Luminous was built on sports partnership with the onboarding of its ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar.

She shares that the brand will be coming up with a new announcement soon with a new brand influencer. “We have many plans for the upcoming collaboration, and the title sponsorship with Rajasthan Royals is already ongoing. While other brands may now be inspired to expand their portfolios, for us, this has always been the beginning of it.”

Burra explains that Luminous is driven not only by media but also by business objectives. 60% of its business objectives are achieved in H1 (the first half of the year), while the remaining are accomplished in H2, which focusses more on e-commerce, festivals, other initiatives, and new launches.

She adds that besides the IPL, elections are a more important aspect for the brand than just following cricket. Having Sachin Tendulkar already gives it mileage in cricket and the IPL is also an added advantage. The more crucial factor now is the attention garnered in the elections.

“People will now see our brand on news channels, which cover our season to meet our numbers and business objectives. We recently partnered with Republic news channel for studio branding, content, and a discussion spot,” conveys Burra.

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