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Cricket Connection Fitting For USHA To Engage With Consumers: Komal Mehra

Given the connection cricket inspires in India, it was only fitting for USHA to leverage it to engage with our consumers and therein began our longstanding association with the sport, she said

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BTL activations play a key part in connecting with consumers across demographics, and our continued partnership with Mumbai Indians has helped us strengthen our outreach in Maharashtra. Through the years, our partnership has helped enhance our dealer engagement and aided strategic product launches, said Komal Mehra, Head, Sports Initiatives and Associations, Usha International in an exclusive interaction with BW Everything Experiential and BW Applause. Edited excerpts:  

 How is USHA International leveraging cricket as a marketing tool?  

As a brand, USHA has been invested in the world of sport for over three decades, and cricket has been a sport it has a deep relationship with for many years now. In India, cricket is way more than ‘just another sport’, and there is no other sport that elicits emotions quite like a nail-biting game of cricket. One knows cricket season is on when suddenly people get attached to whichever screen they have in front of them – from TVs to laptops and phones – to shrieks and shouts from crowds collected in front of TV stores and the neighbourhood Kirana shops or even open-air amphitheatres where matches are being projected on large screens. For Indians, cricket is a sub-culture that transcends all.  

Given the connection cricket inspires in India, it was only fitting for USHA to leverage it to engage with our consumers and therein began our longstanding association with the sport. We are already in the ninth consecutive year of a partnership with the Mumbai Indians. We also recently announced Mithali Raj – a formidable force in the world of women’s cricket – as our brand ambassador across product categories. Further, cricket legend Brian Lara has also been on board as USHA’s brand ambassador since 2019 till recently. Along with each of these associations comes a full media and marketing campaign that further deepens USHA’s connection with its target audience.

Apart from these cricketing partnerships, USHA as a brand also supports and nurtures inclusive sporting platforms such as the Usha Divyang Indian Cricket League. 

Can you give an insight into USHA’s recent association with Mithali Raj as brand ambassador, and how Usha associated with the Women’s World Cup?  

Mithali Raj is undoubtedly amongst India’s finest female batters, and currently the Test and ODI Captain of the Indian women’s national cricket team and signing her on as USHA’s brand ambassador across categories is an open acknowledgement of her formidable talent. In a career spanning two decades she’s become the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and is the recipient of several coveted awards that include the Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2017), Arjuna Award (2003), the Padma Shri (2015), and the Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna (2021).  

Mithali has followed her passion and converted her dreams into reality and is an inspiration to all women who don multiple hats and work really hard to break conventional stereotypes. Having her as a brand ambassador is a celebration and recognition of the resilient spirit of womanhood. We also had Usha ads playing during the telecast of the recent Women’s World Cup.  

In what capacity has USHA associated with the upcoming movie – Shabaash Mithu, which is a biopic of cricketer Mithali Raj starring actress Taapsee Pannu? 

There are various aspects to this association -- USHA will have in-film branding for our products in relevant scenes besides a meet and greet with Taapsee Pannu, who’s reprising Mithali’s role in the film. There is also a digital activation campaign planned, as well as co-branded TVCs. In addition, we will also be getting tickets to be distributed to our trade/channel partners. 

USHA’s association with Mumbai Indians was just extended for the 9th year in a row. Can you give us an insight into this longstanding partnership? 

This year, we announced the continuation of our partnership with five-time-champions, Mumbai Indians, for the 9th consecutive season. USHA’s association with Mumbai Indians is aimed at shining the spotlight on health, fitness, and sportsmanship, while curating fun and unique integrated experiences for our consumers and audiences. The Mumbai Indians are icons and play an impactful role in encouraging people to adopt an active lifestyle.   

BTL activations play a key part in connecting with consumers across demographics, and our continued partnership with Mumbai Indians has helped us strengthen our outreach in Maharashtra. Through the years, our partnership has helped enhance our dealer engagement and aided strategic product launches. This year with the fans in the stadium, USHA is also inviting its channel partners to experience some live cricket in action. 

At USHA, we believe in long-term strategic partnerships that can weather the ups and downs – as the last two years proved – as sports and sporting platforms need nurturing to mature and have the desired impact. The fact that this is our 9th year of association bears testimony to our commitment.  

What are the kind of marketing efforts being deployed with respect to USHA’s association with Mumbai Indians this season?  

This season is very exciting as fans are back in stadiums – something that was sorely missed in the last two seasons – and USHA has a whole campaign in the works.  

During the matches at Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, D.Y. Patil Stadium, and the MCA International Stadium in Pune, the USHA logo will be prominently visible on the caps and helmets of the players, as well as on the mat during an official match toss of a Mumbai Indians match.  

USHA will also be doing on-ground brand integration during the matches, as well as digital-led campaigns to engage with Mumbai Indians Paltan and cricket fans alike. USHA ads will also be aired during various match telecasts. 

In the past, USHA has also partnered with renowned cricketer Brian Lara. Can you tell us a bit more about this association?  

In 2019, we announced our partnership with former West Indies cricketing legend, Brian Lara who worked closely with us across our sporting initiatives. Brian was instrumental in engaging junior and lady golfers at the Delhi Golf Club with his sporting journey and active living. The cricketing legend has also worked with us to help improve the quality of life for youth through sports while developing the sporting culture at the grassroots, national, and international levels across all ages. One can access special podcasts with Brian on cricket, golf and active living on USHA Play social media platforms.  

In the past, there have been numerous efforts by USHA in promoting inclusive sports at a grassroots level. Can you please elaborate on such efforts with respect to cricket?  

Yes, USHA is an avid supporter and promoter of a wide array of inclusive sporting initiatives across the country, cricket for the differently-abled, Ultimate Flying Disc for the lesser privileged, ancient, and indigenous sports like Mallakhamb, Siat Khnam, and Kalari, sports for the visually challenged (athletics, kabaddi, judo, and powerlifting), as well as football.  

USHA has also been a key sponsor for the Indian Deaf Cricket Team for the Deaf Cricket Asia Cup. Underpinning our commitment to supporting inclusive cricketing tournaments, we also have a longstanding association with All India Cricket Association for the Deaf (AICAD) and Deaf Cricket Federation for Usha Divyang Indian Cricket League (cricket for the specially-abled). 


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