Business, Marketing, Strategy

Unbranding Kolkata Knight Riders

When Shahrukh Khan bought the rights for the IPL Team from Kolkata, it was a big deal for all people in the city of joy. SRK becoming a part of Kolkata, naming the team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and doing publicity for it everywhere. In fact the project was quite successful because even though KKR did quite badly in the 1st IPL League but they made the highest profit among all IPL Teams of Rs 13 crores during that year.

But that was last year, and the current year has been sort of a massacre for KKR and now it has probably reached the tipping point. I just could not believe the article titled “Kolkata dropped from Kolkata Knight Riders” in Business Standard. Quoting from the article

It’s not just Kolkata’s icon Sourav Ganguly who has been dropped from captaining Shah Rukh Khan’s IPL team this season. The name “Kolkata” has been dropped from all Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) merchandise. The team is still called KKR, but official sources said this could change to Knight Riders in the next IPL season. “Also, shifting base to other cities like Ahmedabad will help the company manage its administrative issues better and keep it away from more controversies.” said one source.

Shahrukh has always been the leading man for KKR. He did a splendid job for them last year, their dress, their marketing, their advertisements, everything went well except for their performance. But this is not country being represented and if you can still sell merchandise and get advertisements inspite of performing poorly then it might not be a big deal.

This year has been full of controversies. First of all removing Sourav Ganguly from the captaincy! Then claiming that there will be 3 captains in the team! A lot of people felt that may be it was a publicity stunt, not a very good one but still a publicity stunt. Next the Fake IPL Player actually made a mockety of KKR, it was even worse than the defeats KKR was getting on the field. Yesterday I read about a couple of players being sent back to India and how the team is demotivated. The number of coaches and administrative staff with the team is even more than the players! Wow!

SRK came back to India, claiming he has come back to cast his vote and not disgusted with his team. But that was all pretty much fine, except the news from Business Standard regarding removing Kolkata from KKR. The current move can prove to be really disastrous for the entire brand of KKR and it actually seems quite dangerous.

  • When you remove the name Kolkata from KKR you are essentially inciting the people of Kolkata and West Bengal (read your current supporters) to give up your brand! You might actually turn them against yourselves.
  • Why will any other city want to adopt a team which has already lost so much? Why will Ahemdabad or any other city want to be part of KKR, a losing team? Quite a difficult task this can be.
  • What will happen to the team? You will probably let go of Sourav Ganguly, your iconic player according to Wikipedia and most people of India. The entire team will lose its identity.
  • Your revenue from local channels will go away. Every city has revenue because of its association with that city. Radio, City Newspapers, Contests, Public Appearances, everything will dissappear.
  • The brand of KKR will be shattered completely. Everyone knows them as KKR and if next year they come back as KR then all the expense of creating a brand has gone a waste.kkr1

Whatever may be the situation of internal politics, SRK will probably not let this happen. Just to check the story I went to the KKR Website and it gives hints of both sides. The logo certainly has Kolkata removed from it. The claim is that Kolkata has been removed since the contest is in South Africa this year. May be that is the reason but I don’t see Rajasthan Royals removing an R from their logo because of this?

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Seems a bit strange the logo without Kolkata written with it. May be because I am from IIM Calcutta and actually liked having SRK with Kolkata Knight Riders. On the website atleast they claim to be still close to Kolkata, they actually claim that their heart is in Kolkata. Time to step up KKR, time to get going Sourav Da! Korbo! Lorbo! Jeetbo Re!

P.S. Why is Gujarat taking away everything from West Bengal? First they took away (or WB gave away) the Tata Nano Plant and now they even stealing Knight Riders + SRK! Not done guys!

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