The IPL is not just an entertainment brand but it has turned out to be a major source of inspiration. It is thus worthy of a HR and not just a sporting case study and can be a valuable benchmark for brands across categories. Welcome thus to the world of Multiplier Brands, whose impact and influence extends way beyond immediate consumption to notable upgradation.
What the IPL has done for Indian Cricket is instill self-confidence in multiple forms and expressions. Firstly, as skill upgradation derived from the rigorous competitive and collaborative parleys with the best players in the universe, literally on a daily basis. Batsmen and bowlers learnt newer tricks and were lovingly mentored by global stars. Secondly, as the busting of physical for when the best in the world share dressing rooms they become approachable and human, not some mythical legends. Thirdly, and most importantly, emotionally as when teams led by such honchos are routinely defeated in matches or when a Steve Smith is cleaned up by a rookie, this precedence extends to the test matches effortlessly. Fourthly, as a bird’s eye view from an analysis perspective of chinks in the armoury, no longer just a TV espionage exercise. Finally, the source of a large talent pool as with so much of competitive cricket in a short span, teams need to develop bench strength.
It is plainly clear that the Multiplier Effect of the IPL has worked wonders for the cricketers and as a result for the game in the country. Most importantly, this promises to be a sustainable pattern unless some dramatic development does happen, which is unlikely. Cricket fans would note the difference between the IPL and County Cricket, the gold standard of first-class cricket till the 1990s most surely, immensely prestigious for an overseas player. In that case, however, the beneficiary was clearly the overseas player gaining a headstart in English conditions as counties could hire only one or two foreigners in a year. The Pakistanis of the 1970s learnt their ODI skills from this exposure superseding the Indians while the West Indians too gained enormously, Indians were rarely invited. Kerry Packer’s Cricket Circus was closer to the IPL in spirit but did not last long enough to make the desired impact.
The point of this piece is actually a parallel with many other brands who have the potential to create such a multiplier effect, if they try hard enough. Byju’s for instance can well transcend from being a tutorial plus to a confidence booster for the non-urban Indian, as is the case with its many peers. While the entire immunity category can lead the fight for the world economy against Covid, allowing common folks to board flights, take meetings, plan holidays and do so much more. Each time we wear a fashion brand, there is a demonstration value but more importantly, accessible fashion can help bridge the exposure ceiling, creating a level playing field in corporate India. Coke and Pepsi have been playing up on youth attitudes for many decades now as is Bollywood, whose positive inspirations have shaped our lives and mindsets for a while. Swiggy, Zomato and Urban Company have empowered businesses and encouraged home entrepreneurs to start off profitable crafts, such is their potency.
The simple point I wish to make is that brands have the potential to influence our lives way beyond the delightful transaction and this is the gist of the multiplier effect. Conceptually, it is loosely aligned to but fundamentally different from building purpose, as here the impact is more than just notional, it has actionable measurable outcomes. Owners and custodians need to recognise this power and build in an experience cum communication programme to harness this and building awareness must coexist with creating platforms. What will help is the power of the testimonial, as use cases of how the brand has led to a change in perspectives and outcomes.
On Lalit Modi, I certainly cannot thank him enough, whatever be his stature in the eyes of the statutory stakeholders. For millions of cricket fans brought up on a diet of humiliating defeats in SENA countries, the Aussie victory has been a welcome dose of champagne in a terrible year.
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