Cricketer MS Dhoni leading his team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to fourth win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will have a positive impact on his brand value, say brand experts.
Aviral Jain, Managing Director, Duff & Phelps - A Kroll Business, a financial consultancy firm, said that prior to winning the 14th edition of the IPL, there were rumours that this might be Dhoni's last IPL.
"This win has put an end to those rumours. In fact, CSK and Dhoni clarified in a press conference that he will be the first player they (franchise) will like to retain. From that perspective, his on-field career has got an extended leap and that should have a positive impact on his portfolio and brand value," he added.
Dhoni currently endorses around 30 brands including Dream11, Indigo Paints, The Association of Mutual Funds (AMFI), and Boost.
"He has been consistent in the last two to three years. We foresee that he might add new brands because his IPL career is still left and he has re-entered mainstream Indian cricket as a mentor which is a positive role for Dhoni. It is going to catapult him into a position where he can be seen as a leader as well as a mentor. So, we are estimating a double-digit jump (in Dhoni's brand value)," said Jain.
Dhoni's brand value in 2020 stood at USD 36.3 million, down from USD 41.2 million in 2019 and his rank slipped from nine to 11 last year.
Jain noted that Dhoni had seen a slight decline last year in brand value because of COVID-19 impact and softening of endorsement fees. "But Dhoni's ability to charge higher fees and reverse the trend is definitely back now," he said.
Concurring with Jain, Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and former marketing head of HP Asia, Motorola and PepsiCo India, said, "MS Dhoni’s brand value will remain high till such time he remains an active cricketer. He has smartly devolved into an icon whose astute captaincy not only took Indian cricket to new heights but also made his team CSK one of the most consistent and successful teams in the history of the IPL."
Mathias added that due to the win, his popularity will remain high and that will attract brands. "Across Tamil Nadu his popularity is skyrocketing and is very likely more than any non-local has ever reached," he said.
While Mathias thinks that many categories may seek Dhoni out given his successful leadership qualities getting reinforced with the IPL win, Jain said that Dhoni as an investor will be an important aspect to look at.
"He is focused on investments and not just coming on board as an endorser. Some of the late-stage startups which are looking for leadership positions in the market would love to have Dhoni on board (as an investor) as he has an established legacy, he has shown his leadership skills. And Dhoni as an investor helps because Dhoni's contribution is then much more than an endorser," said Jain.
Dhoni has invested in companies including Khatabook, Cars24, and RunAdam Sports. He has also co-founded SportsFit World and is a partner in the footwear business of brand Seven.
Jain also thinks that post the IPL 14 win, the relative ratio between Dhoni and cricketer Virat Kohli, who is on top of the celebrity brand valuation rankings in terms of brand value will go back to pre-COVID levels.
"While (Virat) Kohli will be stepping out of IPL and T20 captaincy, Kohli has a legacy. So, it may not negatively impact Kohli's brand value but it gives opportunity to other players. At the same time, we see Dhoni's brand value going up a couple of notches because of his IPL win and also the fact that he is going to be playing IPL," said Jain.