Sponsorship vs influence: Reshaping brand presence during IPL 2024

Aditya Gurwara, Co-Founder and Brand Alliances at Qoruz writes about how brands and agencies can utilise influencer marketing as a powerful strategy, challenging the traditional sponsorship model during IPL 2024

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Aditya Gurwara, Co-Founder and Brand Alliances at Qoruz

Aditya Gurwara

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has always been a goldmine for marketers, with its thrilling matches, star-studded teams, and massive fan base. Traditionally, brands have sought visibility through sponsorship deals, banner ads in stadiums, logo placements on team jerseys, and commercial spots during the broadcast. 

However, as we approach IPL 2024, there's a noticeable shift in how brands are choosing to make their presence felt. Influencer marketing is stepping up as a powerful strategy, challenging the traditional sponsorship model. Let’s dive into the evolving landscape with insights to understand how brands, marketers, and agencies can navigate these changes for optimal impact.

The Shift: From sponsorship to influence

In previous years, IPL sponsorships were the primary strategy for brands seeking visibility. For instance, in 2023, the IPL generated over $1.5 billion in revenue from sponsorships and broadcast rights, attracting an impressive viewership of 450 million across India. However, a closer examination of the data unveils an emerging trend: the growing power of social media influence. 

During IPL 2023, we saw influencer marketing making significant strides. An estimated 70% of Indian marketers increased their influencer marketing budgets, with a sizable portion directed towards sports and entertainment influencers during the IPL season. Why the shift? The answer lies in the reach and engagement that influencers bring to the table.

Understanding the dynamics

1. Reach and engagement: While traditional sponsorships offer broad visibility, they lack the personal touch influencers have with their followers. Influencers, particularly those with a focus on cricket and sports entertainment, have cultivated a dedicated audience. For IPL 2023, influencers on platforms like Instagram and YouTube reported engagement rates upwards of 15-20%, surpassing the average engagement rate of more traditional advertising methods.

2. Authenticity and trust: Influencers share their genuine experiences and opinions, which resonate well with their audience. This authenticity builds trust, a key factor when introducing a brand or product. In contrast, traditional ads are often seen as less trustworthy by consumers.

3. Targeted marketing: Unlike broad-spectrum sponsorship deals, influencer marketing allows for more targeted campaigns. Brands can collaborate with influencers whose followers match their ideal customer profile, ensuring that their message reaches the right audience.

Navigating the shift: Strategies for 2024

As we gear up for IPL 2024, here are strategies for brands, marketers, and agencies to maximise their presence and impact:

1. Leverage data for decision-making: Utilise data analytics to choose the right influencers. Look at engagement rates, follower demographics, and past campaign performances. This year, predictions suggest that influencers who engage with their audience in real-time during matches will see the highest engagement rates.

2. Create authentic content: Collaborate with influencers to create content that’s authentic and resonates with their audience. Behind-the-scenes looks, player interviews, and match analyses are content types that tend to perform well.

3. Combine strategies for maximum impact: Consider a hybrid approach that combines traditional sponsorships with influencer partnerships. For example, brands could sponsor the event or a team while also working with influencers to create buzz around these sponsorships.

4. Monitor and adapt: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Monitor the performance of your campaigns in real time and be ready to adapt strategies as needed. Engagement metrics and audience feedback can guide your efforts for better results.

The landscape of brand presence at the IPL is evolving, with influencer marketing becoming increasingly significant. By understanding the dynamics of this shift and adopting strategic approaches, brands can navigate the changes to ensure their message not only reaches but also resonates with their target audience. IPL 2024 presents a unique opportunity for brands, marketers, and agencies to redefine their presence in one of the world's most-watched sports events. The key to success lies in embracing the shift, leveraging data, and fostering genuine connections between brands and audiences through the power of influence.

influencer IPL brand quoruz