Repucom eyes India’s expansion to a multi sport nation

MUMBAI: The year 2014 has been a wonderful one for sports in India. With a number of sporting leagues starting and big conglomerates putting in their money and muscles to make India a multi sport country, the brands are ready to jump on to the band wagon.

To run the show, finances of a large magnitude, a sustained and reliable inflow of premium information and analytics is of crucial importance  and so is the evaluation to help clubs, teams, franchise owners or sponsors to better understand the returns of sponsorships as well as, provide a frame of reference for future projects and aids in the planning process. However, not all has been and can be evaluated. So, here comes Repucom, a sport marketing research company, which helps find a solution to this.

 The research company, with more than 20 offices worldwide and 1000 plus clients, conducts sponsorship evaluation, market research, consultancy, media evaluation and commercial auditing. And keeping an eye on India’s growing sport culture, Repucom is all set to cash-in on the frenzy.

Repucom south Asia senior VP and India director Joseph Eapen says, “India is one of our key country of interest, from a cricket crazy country, now a truly a multi-sport country. From the past seven years, we were providing the sponsorship ROI metrics for cricket – IPL and all homes series; then came HIL, IBL, racing, and this year we are providing the same for Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Super League, running and International Premier Tennis League. So it is an important time and we are on it to quantity the investments.”

So how is it all done?

The company covers a varied amount of sports research through its various initiatives. It conducts sponsorship evaluation for TV, print and the online space. It arrives at ROI in terms of 100 per cent advertising equivalency and mainly quality index that quantifies the ROI on the basis of the quality of integration with the sport or any branded content. The quality factor it considers is size, duration, position and number of brand hits.

Through social intelligence it picks up drivers of social conversations like the rights holders, the event, the sponsors, the celebrity associated with it or the promotional activities around an event, organic and  otherwise and develop a KPI score card that provides clients insights on a pre-event, weekly, monthly as well as post event basis. In the case of the Hero ISL, it was done on a daily basis.

Through Bespoke Research it utilizes methodologies tailored to the individual requirements of clients. Sports DNA is a sponsorship planning and monitoring tool for clients pursuing an international strategy. According to Eapen, it is the world’s largest multi-client sports study, running consecutively since 2000, allowing high-quality market research via consistent and comparable methodology. It is built upon a twice-yearly survey of over 30 markets worldwide to deliver a wide range of insights globally.

Similarly, Catalyst is a framework that analyses the effectiveness of on-site activation in the context of sponsorships which generates key insights on property engagement and attendee profiling, activation diagnosis and impacts on brands. Currently it is being done for Procam International (for their activations leading to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon) in 30 plus locations in India.

But the tool which is creating the most buzz is Celebrity DBI. It is an independent index that quantifies and qualifies consumer perceptions of celebrities. The categories of celebrities indexed include actors, athletes, film and TV stars, musical performers, business leaders etc. Subcategory examples include coaches, designers, chefs, politicians. It evaluates celebrities in 13 key markets worldwide like Germany, France, Italy, United States, China, Russia, Australia, Brazil, Japan, India etc.

“It’s the only global celebrity evaluation service designed to provide superior brand-relevant insights. Brands, agencies, rights holders, teams, leagues and other marketers worldwide can measure, compare and leverage the impact of celebrities both locally and globally. The expanded database features more than 5,000,” says Eapen.

In India the company has been working with IMG, Hero, Muthoot, Pepsi, Vodafone, Yes Bank, Star Sports, USL, Garnier Men, Airtel, Standard Chartered, Mahindra, Toyota, Red Bull, Johnnie Walker, Nokia and Panasonic. For branded content it has been working with Idea, L’oreal, Tata tea, Snapdeal, Vodafone, Sunfeast, Maruti, Cornetto, Lux, Oreo and Lenovo.

For the ongoing ISL the company has firehose access to twitter feeds and a special tool to look at Facebook posts, plus uses Crimson Hexagon, Social Bakers and other tools are used by their in-house and global digital team.

It has also been working with broadcasters for their branded content analysis it says it is proud of their association with Viacom18, especially Colors, as they have a contract to provide ROI metrics for all of their branded content.

In the field of cricket the company has been conducting commercial auditing for ICC; as their compliance monitor - policing the broadcast of rights-related content through compliance monitoring helps to ensure that all events, branding and commercial stipulations are adhered to according to contract.

With India now being a key market that is offering a lot of consumption potential for the business of sports, according to Eapen, besides the usual four of gate revenues, sponsorship revenues, media rights and merchandising there is another added factor- the 10+2 ad cap. “This reduction in ad inventory will force brands to look at integration and placement within the content – sport is an ideal platform for this

Talking about the company’s future expansion plans in India, Eapen informs that a lot of growth will happen from the sport sponsorship consultancy services turn knowledge into action. “Our fact-based insight and recommendations allow brands, right holders and agencies to maximise the value of their investments in sport and entertainment” he concludes.

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