Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Feb 10, 2002
Promotions & Offers
C & B by Sundaram Newton
KOLKATA, Feb. 9
SUNDARAM Newton has decided to drive home its point on the cricket pitch. The mutual fund has proposed to associate itself with the game, but not through the usual route of sponsorship. It is viewing cricket matches as events that allow it to contact prospective investors.
It has already made its first move, courtesy the recently-concluded India-England one-day series. Cricket lovers at select venues, especially those who occupied the premium seats, were treated to a sales spiel that drew elaborate parallels from the game.
The strategists at Sundaram Newton describe the attempt as a way of breaking into a niche segment. This segment, as Mr Sanjay Santhanam, Vice-President (Marketing), puts it, comprises an influential set of decision makers. "Cricket has a mass appeal in India. It also has a certain class. We plan to tap it to our advantage,'' he said.
While there had been earlier attempts to leverage the popularity of cricket by finance & investment biggies remember the Prudential Cup ? there have not been too many recent instances. Sundaram Newton's move, therefore, seeks to fill an empty space.
"Cricket is a game. Investing is serious business. Where's the parallel?' is how the MF begins its pitch, and goes on to use the game to illustrate the principles of investing. This is how one of them reads : `As in cricket, investing is a team game, and just not about individual brilliance'. This is backed by the fund's ideas on making the right investment mix.''
Investors, who are informed about the importance of reading the "bounce'' on different pitches, are also told how time mitigates the effects of fluctuations.
Further, the importance of comprehending the causes of "reverse swings'' is underlined. Here, the examples used by the fund relate to risks arising out of interest rate movements and changes in credit quality.
The mutual fund, it is pointed out, has in recent times seen an increase in asset base, which currently stands at around Rs 800 crore. It is looking at a year-end aggregate of Rs 1,000 crore billed as the critical mass that will help it move up the value chain.
The company's Managing Director, Mr T.P. Raman, told Business Line, that cricket was chosen because of the general Indian fondness for it. "This time, we did not wish to convey our message in bland language'', he maintained.
There is, therefore, an attempt to brand the MF's own schemes along cricketing lines. Some examples include `extra cover' for Sundaram Tax Saver (the equity-linked savings scheme), and `the singles specialist' for Sundaram Money Fund (the liquid fund).
Sundaram Newton, on another front, is looking at the possibility of reaching out to another set of people: cine-goers. The idea, Mr Santhanam said, was to approach investors at the theatres, an extension of which would be manifested in television commercials. A few commercials, waiting to be released at a later stage, have been prepared already.
Sundaram Newton is further considering tie-ups with portals such as Indiainfoline in a bid to appeal to the Netizen investor.
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