Mass Branding vs. Premier Class

Just in case, you’re in India, and not into cricket, there’s a 5 Billion USD juggernaut which is gathering speed in season 3. That’s IPL ( Indian Premier League), India’s massive adaptation of the EPL (English Premier League) for soccer, and far far more valuable than any other comparative sports event on an ongoing basis. And it’s just starting up.

Now if you look at the image on your left, the central logo bears the title sponsor’s name and style, construction giant DLF. Go to the event website – http://www.iplt20.com/– and you find the title sponsor named in a band tucked away two screens below, all the action, the glamour, and the personal branding for IPL Chairman and Commissioner, Lalit Modi ( interesting title, that!, corporate and bureaucratic at the same breath).

So what’s the point I am making? just this one! does it make sense for a DLF to be the title sponsor of a mass TV event such as this. contrast that to EPL website-  and you have Barclays all over, including the name, which is now Barclays Premier League. So did DLF get shafted? or does England’s largest bank understand branding better than India’s largest (?) real estate company?

The answer is simple! A bank has products for anyone needing financial services, a real estate company is NOT a mass brand. A home or an office is neither something you can carry within your wallet, and though you do live and work there, your emotional response and awareness is never with the real estate developer, but the people who live and work there, and what they may have done with their homes and offices.

Plus, of course, the volume and value equation between mass awareness and purchase behaviour just doesn’t make sense for a real estate company to be the title sponsor of India’s largest cricket carnival. After all, you will buy your home or office much less than you will use a bank ATM.

So what happens to the Premier image that DLF is supposed to have- just a look at the two year trend on share prices vs the sensex gives a good indicator on premium less, the brand has underperformed, inspite of the hype. Have a look!

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