IPL and SRK – The Perfect PR Story

The victorious KKR team celebrates with their maiden IPL trophy

The game was super tense as team KKR paved the path to their maiden IPL trophy. The elements that evoked the tension were more than just cricket. Estimated at $42.1 million, KKR leads the IPL teams in brand worth. But this lead position in value did not correspond with on field performance.  The recent victory is n enormous boost for brand KKR, but much more so for brand SRK.

Troubled waters

SRK and KKR are almost synonymous now, thanks to the massive marketing campaign that made to most of his superstar status. But SRK had been having a streak of bad publicity.  It started with the badly received Ra.One, and was followed by the scuffle with Farah Khan’s husband Shirish Kunder. And then bad became worse when he got into a scuffle with the security during an IPL match at Wankhede Stadium that ended in him getting banned from the venue for five years. The latest was the incident that had him charged with smoking publicly at a stadium in Jaipur during another match.  Given this recent spate of negative media, the IPL victory was timed perfectly to rescue SRK’s image.

Khan who was seen doing jubilant cartwheels on the field post victory also used the occasion to apologize for the scuffle at Wankhede, capitalizing on his victorious moment to emerge as the “bigger person” in the very public scuffle.

New Dawn. New Knights.

Expenses were cut to make the business profitable, but not where it could damage the brand. KKR, at beginning of the season was given a new logo, motto and campaign. And it seems to have paid off. SRK who is a co-owner of the team played a significant role in the PR success of KKR.

KKR capitalized on SRK’s starpower and the use of social media. No other IPL team was able to achieve this level of visibility. This also enabled the transition from a loss making entity to a profitable business model. Apart from making smart choices at the season beginning with changes on the team, they used an aggressive and hard-selling marketing technique to maximize their visibility. This was profitable for them and their various sponsors, especially Nokia. The CEO, Mr. Mysore stated the reason their objective was achieved was the amount of hard work that was put in to add value to their sponsors and to increase the fan base.

The future is bright; the future is KKR?

The road to this victory was long and tough one- it took the team almost seventy matches to net this. And yet, the win has more significance than just a cricket trophy. The IPL industry is valued at approximately $2 billion and KKR has made the most of it. So what next?

As per the CEO, the business model is now at a stage, thanks to the sponsors, fans and ad campaigns where expansion into other areas of sports is a possibility. So will we soon see football and hockey teams in the KKR colours? Apparently yes. The push given by this win will play a role in helping KKR be a mother-brand under the Knight Rider Corporation.

And what of SRK? The apology was perhaps later than ideal, but the occasion was a good time to deliver it. With this under his hat, Khan can get started on rebuilding his record and image to push up brand SRK as well. The timing for him is nothing short of luck, an opportunity he doesn’t seem to be wasting.

Loyalty and Vision

One of the main reasons that KKR was able to sustain itself despite no victories, was the support of its sponsors. Most of them stuck by for five years, like partnering sponsor, Nokia. The long term vision possessed here is what will allow the further expansion of the motherbrand as the CEO envisages.  Purple and Gold will become even more visible in the near future.

Written by Ipsita Gauba for Image Management.

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