We are a number-focused company: Saujanya Shrivastava unveils Goibibo’s IPL gameplan

Saujanya Shrivastava, Group Chief Marketing Officer
Saujanya Shrivastava, Group Chief Marketing Officer

With Season 11 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) all geared to commence in a couple of days from now, brand activity around the tournament is reaching a feverish pitch. This year, as many as 80 brands have come on board the Star Network for Vivo IPL 2018. The eight IPL franchise teams have also set in motion their respective brand and engagement initiatives in their individual capacities. 

All eyes are on the opening match between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. As per a Maxus Mesh study using their proprietary tool, Maxus Kaleidoscope, Mumbai Indians was the second most popular team in Vivo IPL 2017 and its final match against Rising Pune Supergiants was the most buzziest match, which alone generated around 5 lakh mentions on social media. 

This year, leading online travel company Goibibo has signed up as the principal sponsor of Mumbai Indians. The partnership will unleash a high-decibel 360-degree co-branded campaign that seeks to engage audiences like never before. As part of this partnership, brand Goibibo will be sported on the back of the Mumbai Indians team jersey this season. 

Goibibo has also rolled out a first-of-its-kind campaign linking the thrill of cricket with the delight of travel, featuring its brand ambassador and Mumbai Indians team members, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. A distinct feature of the campaign is that it links the travel fortunes of its customers with the performance of the Mumbai Indians as they take to the field. Through this campaign, the Indian millennials are set to be rewarded with goCash for their passion for travel. 

Viewers get to earn goCash via the gamified Goibibo app during Mumbai Indians matches. Users need to keep their Goibibo app on during every Mumbai Indians game. As the players score boundaries or take wickets, fans will get to earn GoCash on the App. Goibibo’s new high-decibel campaign aims to drive deep engagement among cricket viewing audiences by driving live engagement between the game and its fans. 

In an interaction with Adgully, Saujanya Shrivastava, Group Chief Marketing Officer, shares his company’s strategy for Vivo IPL 2018, the GoCash initiative, expectations from this season of IPL and much more. Excerpts: 

What is Goibibo’s strategy for IPL 2018?
IPL is one of the most loved, followed and watched sporting events in the country, and its scale has risen further over the last 10 seasons. Our association – be it with the tournament or with Mumbai Indians – is to deepen our engagement and connect with customers across the country. We aim to leverage this partnership via focused campaigns that will catalyse the offline to online travel bookings, more so amongst our target audience residing outside of the metros, in Tier 1, 2 and beyond towns and cities. This will further help us in driving brand familiarity and consideration via high-decibel 360-degree co-branded campaigns that will engage audiences like never before. 

Could you tell us more about your IPL campaign?
Goibibo is a young, dynamic brand. Consumers see it as a brand which is very pocket-friendly. Consumers of Goibibo are very active seekers and the kind of behaviour they exhibit is that they believe in social groups, learn easy, they are early adopters and they also share very frequently and since these are the traits of the core audience of Goibibo, we thought how we could actually take the best of what the brand stands for on the IPL platform – which is clearly one of the biggest in the country from an advertising standpoint – and marry three passion points: that are Bollywood, Cricket and Travel. Goibibo is the marriage of these three passion points of this country. Can we, in a manner which has never been seen before, bring to life a consumer marketing programme which is value accretive, which means how can I put tangible value in front of the consumers who engage with the brand? It is in that sense the unique confluence of online, travel, cricket and Bollywood drop to light in a way that is really unique. 

Thus, this is a very immersive campaign where you are actually involving the consumer and giving him value then and there. All one needs to do is keep the Goibibo app open during the Mumbai Indians game and then depending upon how the team is performing, they will get GoCash. There will be a live ticker or a scorecard on the Goibibo app home screen which will show how much of the GoCash you are earning as Mumbai Indians are playing and once the match ends. The GoCash is credited into your account and you can then use the GoCash without any restrictions to book a hotel. However, the GoCash must be used before the next Mumbai Indians match, which is usually in a gap of 3 to 4 days, which is adequate to make any travel booking and from the next game onwards you again have the opportunity to earn GoCash. 

What was the thought process behind such an engaging idea?
Nobody has done this during IPL or any other cricket property. We were very clear, while IPL works very fabulously well for us from an advertising standpoint and given the reach over 550 million in the country and we have been associate sponsor for IPL 3 years in a row, but the specific principal sponsor partnership with Mumbai Indians is being done for the first time and with Mumbai Indians we are the principal sponsors as a brand. The back of the jersey has Goibibo in big and bold letters, but we were very clear we wanted to go beyond this. When we were having discussions about it with the Mumbai Indians management, they were equally excited when we shared this thought of linking travel with Mumbai Indians’ performance and getting Bollywood into it. It helps us take consumer engagement to a whole new level, which is immersive and personalised. GoCash is almost synonymous with Goibibo and our customers love it as it offers them real value that they can use to book travel, which actually led us to the creation of the concept of linking GoCash earnings to how Mumbai Indians perform on that day. 

How does the app work?
The moment you install this app, you will see a pop up on the home screen itself which says Mumbai Indians GoCash Fest. It will explain what this program is and will ask you to join this GoCash Fest and as you click to join, you will automatically get enrolled into the GoCash Fest. Once you have enrolled on the day of the match when the match starts, all one needs to do is open the Goibibo app and keep it open. When your app is open during the Mumbai Indians match, the home screen will show a live scorecard which will be your GoCash scorecard and below it will be the stats for the scores. Depending on the team’s performance, your GoCash will keep on moving. The product tech development is already done and therefore the app is already live, all you need to do is download the app or if you already have the app, then update it. 

We have got this programme running as part of being the principal sponsor of Mumbai Indians, once IPL 2018 is over this partnership closes. However, GoCash as a currency for Goibibo has already been very much at the centre and it will remain as a consumer proposition. 

What is the ROI that you are expecting out of such initiatives?
We always look beyond advertising and creating salience. If you are present in IPL and making these sizeable investments, you need to have a very clear view of the returns that you will get. Every time we have invested in IPL, we have got record numbers and we are a number-focused company. There are two or three things that we look at when we measure ROI – what kind of direct traffic growth we have got on the Goibibo mobile app and the website. Secondly, the organic app download velocity average, that is, how many organic downloads we get out of it. Thirdly, what kind of new user growth have we seen during these 7 to 8 weeks of consumer programme. We then take a composite view of these three things to see whether the initiative has delivered what we had set out to achieve. 

What are the offline activities that you are doing, being the principal sponsor for Mumbai Indians?
We will be doing a lot of consumer activations inside the stadium, and being a principal sponsor we get perimeter boards for home matches, which will be at the Wankhede stadium. We will be running some consumer promotions for people who book on the Goibibo app and winners will get tickets to the Mumbai Indians match at the Wankhede stadium. We will also be distributing flight and hotel vouchers inside the stadium. Apart from that, there will be some collaterals that we will be distributing amongst the fan base at Wankhede stadium so that they talk about it and how people can earn GoCash in a simple, easy, powerful yet unique way. 

We have customers along the length and breadth of the country, straddling all town classes and not just the metros. So, for us to engage with the audiences in regional languages is a very powerful concept and we welcome that move.

(With inputs from Prateek Khosla)


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