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Royal Challengers Bangalore: 'We Go Beyond Cricket'

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Russell Adams, VP-Commercial Operations and Cricket Academy, Royal Challengers Bangalore, speaks on marketing strategies and social media plans for IPL 2013

What kind of marketing strategies have you put in place for IPL 6? How is it any different from the previous IPL seasons?

It is not different but further enhanced. Organic digital marketing focus through Royalchallengers.com, Liveinstyle.com and a radio tie up with Fever FM in Bangalore. Our Green campaign continues to be a huge success and we will join forces (excuse the pun) with our Sahara Force India Formula One drivers.
 
How are you recreating the buzz in a format that's facing the risk of looking a bit tired... falling TRPs being just one indicator?
IPL buzz is primarily driven by marketing actions of the broadcaster and the title sponsor / central sponsors. This year the buzz is being generated through the marketing campaign launched by Sony ('Sirf  Dekhna Nahi') and the Title sponsor Pepsi. Further after five years we are beginning to see team loyalty being built, this along-with close finishes and the quality of cricket will drive viewership and buzz. In this respect, IPL has does amazingly well when compared to other leagues in the world. As far as RCB is concerned, we are happy to reinvent, challenge and promote our all year round life style positioning of the brand. RCB is not only about IPL. We go beyond cricket through various group initiatives throughout the year and therefore the buzz remains for all our loyal fans.
 
Could you elaborate a bit on your advertising strategies as well?
As a team our focus is on delivering on field performance, and fulfilling sponsorship commitments. Further, we are seeking to build ticket and merchandising revenue by focussing on the consumer buying experience online and improving consumer experience in stadium. For a sports team building revenues is about addressing two drivers (1) fan loyalty (especially amongst the right socio economic strata) and (2)  building service capabilities to deliver consumer and sponsor delight. Reach of the team is driven through the broadcast and our sponsors.  Our expectation for IPL 6 is to play great cricket (The RCB Way) and to keep our fans updated and informed in real time.
 
Tell us abut the the social media initiatives and strategies planned for your team? How do you plan to go up the next level in order to increase your fan growth rate?
Social Media is only one aspect of our digital strategy. In RCB, we focus on web presence optimisation (WPO) with the underlying thought that content is critical for any fan engagement and this content is consumed across multiple platforms. RCB already has a large following and it is growing daily organically and through interactive content blocks. I believe it is because we have a passionate chairman, a squad of quality players and their performance on and off the field excites our fans. We will continue to raise the bar though through cutting edge new initiatives. We recently launched RCB Diva. A campaign conducted by RCB women for women. Our players all sport twitter handles and this is showcased through our green match. Our stadiums are wi-fi enabled so that fans can upload content directly into our RCB Live Stream on the website.

Also, this season our tickets are enriched with AR codes to enhance user experience – he/she can see a 3D model of the stadium with rich interactive features.  A first-of-a-kind initiative by any IPL team.                                                         
 
Gate collections have always been the frontrunner revenue generator for a team. How have you distributed the price structure for every level of audience?
We spent time listening to our supporters/fans and value their feedback. This season we implemented a revised centralised ticketing infrastructure model. We offer very affordable pricing at entry level (Rs 385) and very affordable hospitality level pricing starting from Rs 3,300 to Rs 33,000. Furthermore, our tickets are easily available through various retail outlets (Reebok, Shoppers Stop, 1MG/Garuda malls etc) in the city.                                                                
 
What are the main revenue channels that you would be focusing on? What is the main stream of branding for your team?
Ticket sales and merchandising. However, we also began a process last year where we opened our inventory to external partners for the first time. RCB are able to offer potential partners great value because we are an all-year-round lifestyle brand. You will notice that major brands like Pepsi, Axe, Flying Machine, Reebok are part of the RCB family. We also have licensing opportunities and wonderful brands like Washington Apples, TK Sports and Figureactive have seen value in being associated with RCB.
 
How many advertising spots have you assigned to your team uniforms? Could you also name them?

We have 10 spots on our playing kit. I am delighted to say that all the spots are sold for 2013. McDowell's No 1 Soda takes pride of place on the front of the jersey and our headwear (side and back) with Royal Challenge Sports Gear on the top right chest position and at the back of the jersey. Axe and White Mischief Beachwear are on the non-lead arm and Kingfisher Mineral Water  on the lead arm. Pepsi is on the leading trouser leg position and Flying Machine on the non-lead leg.

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