Rohit Sharma news: Why the Hitman’s brand will struggle to match Kohli and Dhoni

Rohit Sharma

Marketing experts from India have weighed in on the potential for the growth of Rohit Sharma as a brand.

Co-founder of marketing firm TheSmallBigIdea Harikrishnan Pillai, believes that the new India skipper’s brand might struggle to match that of his direct predecessor’s Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.

Pillai believes the success of the Rohit Sharma brand will depend on India’s fortunes on the field.

“Sharma is getting the coveted captaincy in the long tail of his career, which is one of the biggest challenges. However, he will get to lead the country in two ICC tournaments,” Pillai told ET Brand Equity.

“The run-up to those two and their results will play a very important role in enhancing the value of ‘Brand Rohit’.

“His team, I am sure, will look at building on that anticipation and line-up and close deals for a longer duration.”

Co-founder and director of sports and talent management firm Baseline Ventures Ramakrishnan R agrees that it will be difficult for the Rohit Sharma brand to grow at this point in his playing career.

“Rohit Sharma is a mature [celebrity] brand today.

“So, getting the captaincy will not result in the burst in endorsements that may have happened [if he became captain] in his mid-20s.

“He has already made that leap from x to 2x, and the jump to 3x takes much longer,” Ramakrishnan said.

G Srinivvasan, CEO at sports management company Sporjo, says that Rohit will continue to attract big commercial partners.

“Throughout his captaincy for the Mumbai Indians, much before he was chosen to lead Team India, he has already shown on-field leadership and displayed attributes of [being a] calm, composed and successful [sportsman]. Brands have always looked at him for such attributes and will continue to do so.

“He’s also taking on the mantle at a time when the team is going through a transition. This makes him attractive to brands that want to portray leadership qualities through their communication,” Ramakrishnan would add.

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For their part, Rohit’s representatives say they don’t want to ask too much of the India skipper.

“We have seen an increase in brand interest for Sharma, of course. But we’re being strategic in our approach to create a balance in his brand portfolio. We are looking at more meaningful associations which translate to long-term relationships.

“Sharma has always been a proven leader with his success as a captain and persona,” said Nikhil Bardia, head of sponsorship sales and talent, RISE Worldwide.

“Brands look at him like that.

“We don’t need to position him as a particular type of captain.

“Having said that, he has also proven to be a players’ captain.

“He is more than happy to be part of both solo and multi-personality campaigns and to be featured alongside different personalities.”