Kohli Sets New Trend, is Now the Talk of the So­cial Me­dia

Af­ter pip­ping his cap­tain in en­dorse­ments, Kohli over­takes Dhoni as the most talked-about and most trend­ing sports­man in the coun­try across so­cial me­dia

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - Ratna.Bhushan @times­group.com

New Delhi: Af­ter over­tak­ing MS Dhoni as the highest-paid bats­man on the en­dorse­ment cir­cuit, Vi­rat Kohli has raced ahead of his team­mate on one more front. He’s now the most talked-about and most trend­ing sports­man in the coun­try across so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram.

Kohli av­er­aged a record of close to 12 lakh con­ver­sa­tions in March, com­pared with 7 lakh for Dhoni, ac­cord­ing to so­cial me­dia tracker Au­tumn World­wide.

“Con­ver­sa­tion vol­ume in In­dia has al­ways been in the range of 1.5 lakh to 4 lakh. For the first time, we are see­ing a jump with the range be­ing be­tween 10 lakh and 12 lakh. Kohli now has a clear lead,” said Anusha Shetty, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Au­tumn World­wide.

“This is the so­cial world where ev­ery sub­ject is dis­cussed…the cas­cad­ing ef­fect of con­ver­sa­tions is higher and per­for­mance dur­ing matches and per­sonal lives sway this vol­ume of con­ver­sa­tions.”

Kohli, 27, was the highest-scor­ing In­dian in this year’s ICC World Twenty20 tour­na­ment. Dhoni was ranked 23rd by Forbes’ among the world’s highest-paid ath­letes last year — the only crick­eter on the list — with $27 mil­lion in earn­ings from en­dorse­ments.

Ad­ver­tis­ers such as Pep­siCo, which have both Dhoni and Kohli as brand am­bas­sadors, have used only Kohli in their sum­mer cam­paigns so far. The bev­er­age maker’s cur­rent cam­paign on the ‘emoji’ theme fea­tures Kohli and ac­tor Ran­bir Kapoor and went live last month. Ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial aware of Pep­siCo’s plans, the com­pany hasn’t de­cided if, how and when it will fea­ture Dhoni in its sum­mer cam­paigns. Data from Au­tumn World­wide shows that for the pe­riod from Jan­uary 2015 to March 2016, both Dhoni and Kohli had sim­i­lar vol­umes of con­ver­sa­tions, al­though in some months such as Jan­uary 2016 when the Dhoni-led In­dia team de­feated Aus­tralia, Dhoni led over Kohli.

Jo­gesh Lulla, COO, Corner­stone Sport & En­ter­tain­ment, the firm which rep­re­sents Kohli, said: “Vi­rat is very ap­pre­cia­tive of his fans and tries to make them a part of his life on so­cial me­dia. The con­tent he posts re­flects his per­son­al­ity and that helps in­crease his fol­low­ing.”

Kohli has 10.2 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter com­pared with 5.27 mil­lion for Dhoni.

“As a brand, Vi­rat is some­one In­dia hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore in the space of pop­u­lar­ity. Be­sides the per­for­mances he’s been pulling off, his flam­boy­ance, brash­ness and tat­too have be­come an as­set. All that put to­gether is a 360-de­gree pack­age,” said Shailen­dra Singh, joint manag­ing di­rec­tor at en­ter­tain­ment mar­ket­ing firm Per­cept.

Kohli earns about .₹ 8 crore for his MRF bat spon­sor­ship and is ahead of Dhoni who makes .₹ 6 crore, an of­fi­cial at a ta­lent man­age­ment firm said. In terms of long-stand­ing con­tracts, Dhoni re­mains higher at close to .₹ 8 crore a year com­pared with Kohli’s .₹ 5-6 crore, an­other celebrity man­age­ment firm rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

Brands en­dorsed by Kohli in­clude Adi­das, Ger­man lux­ury car maker Audi, tyre maker MRF, oral care maker Col­gate and Swiss watch brand Tis­sot. His earn­ings from brand en­dorse­ments are es­ti­mated at over .₹ 100 crore.

Kohli av­er­aged a record of close to 12 lakh con­ver­sa­tions in March, com­pared with 7 lakh for Dhoni

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