Brand Tendulkar : Will it Sustain Post Retirement ?

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1869 , Published on 30 April 2013

The curly haired boy next door cricketer who played a vital role in the World Cup victory has over a period of two decades , became one of the most admired brands. In the mad world of cricket, he conquered virtually all frontiers that he has gazed on. As per the recent surveys (HT Youth Survey 2011, Forbes magazine 2012), he has emerged as one of the best living role models. Brand Tendulkar enjoys universal and positive recognition across the entire country and the world at large. He's beyond controversies, trusted and idolised by millions around the globe, with equal sway over the masses and classes. Beyond his records, he represents the aspirations of middle class India, and for years has managed to retain his clean image and connect with the masses, riding on his consistent dedication and passion for the game.

In sports, there are legends and there are legacies. In the business of sports, there are brands, and there are dynasties. Sachin Tendulkar does not brand consciously. His actions do the branding for him. Hence, his brand image is cultivated out of the outcome of his actions and perception. He has only worked to make himself play cricket and cricket only.

Marketers and brands are very season and flavour-driven and they like to stick to those endorsers who have done something spectacular at that point in time. Many brands might start dropping him as an endorser. Although he is not exiting the sporting world now, his relevance to more youthful, technology, contemporary and fast-changing brands will diminish. After his retirement, he becomes iconic, higher order and above criticism. There was a sudden emotional outpouring on social media after this announcement. It was like a reconsolidation of emotions. From a performer every day, he will become a symbol of excellence. However, because he will not play actively, he won't be a part of everyday conversations; a lot of brands won't be able to use him.

Moreover it is equally true a fact that however great a cricketer might be, a slide on the pitch correlates with the sinking fortunes along his brand. All celebrities and endorsers have a finite life. In fact, Birla Sun Life Insurance's insight on 'Jab Tak Balla Chal Raha Tab Tak Thath Hai' holds very true for cricketers.

Generally speaking 'out of sight is out of mind'. However, considering the legend himself it is likely Tendulkar's fan following will last for at least three-four decades. There will not be any drop in the stature. He also represents strong values. But, relevance to the brands is something which is dynamic. It is important to know what the brand wants and the target group.

Brand value will depend on how well he is able to reinvent himself to make relevance to the other category of brands; something on the likes of Madhuri Dixit. After her comeback, she started endorsing an anti-ageing cream and a toothpaste brand, as her smile continues to be effervescent. Master of reinvention is the king. Another classic case is that of Amitabh Bachchan, who repositioned himself as a patriarch as compared to his 'angry young man' image in the earlier days. He represents someone who is mature, intelligent and a father-figure. He might not have been able to connect with his earlier image.

“ONE DAY International ends ANOTHER DAY BEGINS”

The Article has been authored by Vipul Arun of IIM Rohtak.


HT Youth Survey 2011

Forbes Magazine 2012

Hindu Business Line



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