Event partnerships are strictly performance driven for us: Sunita Bangard, President- Marketing, Idea

A brand that strives to create life-changing moments, Idea Cellular considers experiential marketing at the core of its DNA. Excerpts of our conversation with its strong and vibrant president of marketing, Sunita Bangard, reveals why.


What is the meaning of experiential marketing to you?

Our strategy, which we do within the organization, lays the foundation for every communication that we do. Thereafter we translate that strategy through offline mediums and bring it alive for consumers to experience and engage with the brand better. From a ballpark view that is how we approach experiential marketing at Idea.

What does your marketing mix look like?

The bulk of our money is in TV, whether we like it or not, because fast moving brands like us need to reach numbers. After TV it is digital and events. We used to do much more in experiential marketing but we’ve cut back. Cricket has always been big for us and we’ve invested a lot of our budgets towards IPL. Bollywood is also important for us and we’ve been associated with Filmfare for a long time. Music is another integral category so we’ve sponsored several events in that space like Mirchi Music Awards or Jalsa, while Idea Rocks India is our own IP.

How does the brand approach experiential marketing?

The philosophy of our brand is “An idea can change your life” and we have been using event platforms to try and create these life-changing moments. Being at a stadium and watching a live match could be a once in a lifetime experience for a cricket buff, as it would be for a star-struck fan at Filmfare amidst Bollywoods A-listers, or a music lover watching his favorite musicians perform at a live concert courtesy Idea; being the medium for such consumer experiences is what Idea believes in.

What percentage of your entire marketing budget goes towards experiential marketing?

Our spend towards experiential marketing has come down off late due to competitive pressures. Up till now we have dedicated close to 35% of our overall spends towards experiential. It has since dropped to 10% this year.

You have recently dropped your sponsorship from few events. Are you eyeing any other events to sponsor?

We don’t sponsor Filmfare any longer because the proposition was turning out to be very expensive, but Bollywood is a key area for us so we are open to alternate events. We are planning to partner with IPL once again. Our belief in events is very strong so if any right opportunities come along we would definitely explore them.

Which event agencies do you work with?

We work with a range of them. Fountainhead does all of our in-house events. With Jalsa it has been Arts & Artistes. With IPL it depends on the various teams we work with.

How do you measure the success of your experiential campaigns?

We have every strong KPIs before we partner with any event- why are we doing it? What is going to be the evaluation criterion of the event? Will it be creating consideration for the brand? Will it spread awareness about the brand. We measure all these things very stringently through structured researches and listening closely on social media. If we don’t see the needle move from before the event to after we then either alter the engagement or sometimes withdraw from the event. Lots of brands partner with events because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do, but for us it is completely a performance driven activity.

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