Kent RO is among the few brands to continue its uninterrupted Indian Premier League journey into the 11th season of the league.
The market leaders in water purifying systems and healthcare consumer durables this year will be seen during the IPL preview and review studio shows on Star Sports network before and after the match and during the innings break. The brand Kent RO will also have the most prominent placement on the Kings XI Punjab jersey as the title sponsor of the Ravichandran Ashwin-led combine.
In an exclusive chat with insidesport.co, Kent RO Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Mahesh Gupta revealed that Kent RO has made a total commitment of ₹50 crore for IPL 2018. He frankly shared his opinion on various aspects of the IPL-Kent RO association.
Here are the excerpts:
Insidesport: Dr. Gupta congratulations on staying with the IPL for all the 11 seasons. What makes a water purifying gadget brand connect so strong with cricket?
Dr. Mahesh Gupta: The association is more than commercial gains. It is the philosophy of being the best and purest. I will say, we give the purest of water to India and cricket provides the purest of entertainment. That is why it is called the gentlemen’s game. The sport is a religion in India. Offering pure water is the most auspicious service. So you may say we are serving the national religion in the most auspicious manner.
IS: Kent RO is one of the lead broadcast sponsors with Star Sports. You are sponsoring the studio show. You have also announced title sponsorship for Kings XI Punjab. What mileage does this association bring to the brand?
MG: This investment gives us a strong connect with our targeted consumer. IPL is one event that helps us reach every Indian household that is a potential consumer for Kent RO and our other product range. We don’t do any marketing on regional media platform – be it news or television. We have absolutely no ad spent in South India. Still, we are reaching out to the entire market in the southern States in India on the strength of advertising through cricket. I don’t find any other media, any other programme on television or any other medium of marketing that can give my brand a pan-India reach on a single investment.
Let’s take this example, if we invest in movies there are Hindi movies, English movies and then there is vernacular or regional cinema. Any investment on cinema will give me a reach to a limited geographical region. But IPL is one platform that penetrates into each and every regional market and household in the country. For me, this single window investment opens into the horizon of opportunities.
IS: What additional gains do you see from this duel investment on the Star Sports studio show and the KXIP jersey?
MG: There are two factors – visibility and emotional connect. The studio show is purely for visibility, the KXIP sponsorship also brings with it an emotional connect. The people who support the KXIP team will also establish an emotional connect with Kent RO brand. This way we will be able to establish an emotional connect with say 12.5% of the total IPL fan base – which amounts to one-eighth of the IPL teams’ gross fan base. The visibility is not the lone value we as a brand look for, getting a place in my consumers’ heart is more important.
IS: You are saying Kent RO does not invest in marketing in South India. How much consumer interest have you been able to invoke in South India on the strength of cricket?
MS: I do not advertise in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada or Malayalam media. Still, I am getting 20% of my total business from South India. So there is some effort that is helping me. Cricket or IPL is that one property which is giving me this strong return.
IS: How will you define the No. 1 RO brand’s connect with the No. 1 sport in India?
MG: I am glad that I have become the number one product in my market segment. I also agree that cricket is the No.1 sport in India. But I did not become No. 1 only because of cricket. I am the market leader because I have a good product, I ensure good service and I have a good marketing team. It is a mix of various good factors, branding or marketing is one aspect or factor. I have done a better narrative, people have loved that narrative and I thank them for their love.
IS: Star Sports will have dedicated Telugu, Tamil and Kannada language feed this IPL season. How do you look at this?
MS: That is a bonus for us as a brand. That was one strong reason to persuade Kent RO to invest more than ₹30 crore on the IPL Studio Show broadcast sponsorships. Overall we will be spending around ₹50 crore on the IPL this year. The numbers also include the KXIP deal and statutory taxes.
IS: What kind of ROIs will Kent RO be targeting from this ₹50 crore marketing spent?
MG: ROIs cannot be quantified for each of our marketing initiatives. It is not a mathematical equation. We have a certain objective in mind of achieving certain business targets for the year. As an entrepreneur, you make certain investments to achieve your goals. If at the end of a well-planned exercise we are able to achieve the desired results, I would say we have succeeded in our commercial goals. It has to be a complete success. Otherwise, you need to analyse where did you fail.
IS: You are among the few brands to continue and uninterrupted journey into the 11th year of the IPL. How did Kent RO establish the continuity?
MG: We have so many things to do. Media buying and evaluation is not our specialisation. We have been professionally assisted by the company Alliance Advertising & Marketing, who are cricket’s biggest sponsorship buyers in India. They know what is happening in the market. They are the best evaluators for what is the best medium at what time to get us the best returns on our ad spend. It goes with our philosophy to be the best – best RO brand Kent, best sports cricket and best professional agency Alliance. For a perfect dish, you need all ingredients to be excellent. The right evaluations and right results backed by that emotional connect cricket generates have been the factors to strengthen our bond with IPL.
IS: You are among the leading spenders on cricket in India. How much of your annual budgets do you earmark for cricket?
MG: We are spending 12 to 12.5% of our gross turnover on marketing and advertisement. I can say 50% of this chunk goes to cricket.
IS: There are other sporting leagues in the country. There are other sports which need financial support. Will you come forward and invest there as well?
MG: Marketing investments are no CSR. These business calls are taken on the merit of a property. If other sports attract eyeballs, we will be happy to invest there as well. CSR budgets are no comparison to the marketing spends of leading business entities.
IS: The brands to have invested in all the IPL teams last year have got more visibility than the IPL title sponsors Vivo. Can we see Kent RO on other teams?
MG: No. We are not investing in any other team this year. We will restrict ourselves with KXIP and Star Sports.
IS: How much the KXIP results will matter for you?
MG: Marketing is not just about visibility. It is also about the credibility that comes with success. If you are associated with successful people, you also earn credibility. This is also the numbers game, the longer KXIP spends on the field, the better we are connected with our consumer. We will back the team with Kent RO jersey in each match, we will like the team supporting our brand to win all the games they play.
A first generation entrepreneur, Dr. Gupta has been the flag-bearer of water purification industry revolution in India. The market leader, Kent RO is dominating health conscious Indian homes with a range of water purifiers, air purifiers, water softeners, cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners.