My valuation is in runs, not in rupees: Tendulkar
Mother’s want their children to be like him. Cricketers in maidansand gullisdream of being him. Companies can’t get enough of him. An exclusive with Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
What is the valuation of Brand Sachin?
My valuation is in runs, not in rupees.
Two decades ago you began your career and we have seen you evolve as a player. How has brand Sachin Tendulkar evolved in your opinion?
I think I understand cricket a little better. Yes, from the age of 16 to 37 Sachin has grown, but that’s all I can say. The rest I leave to others to talk about. I have had the privilege of promoting various brands and there have been some top brands and it’s been terrific. I’ve enjoyed this side of my career as well. It has taught me different things, other than cricket. I have picked up a few things about advertising too — a little bit. I have enjoyed my association with various brands over the years.
You are the master blaster on the field, have you managed to master marketing too?
It’s honestly not my job to worry about that. I don’t want to spend hours thinking about something that’s not my profession. But before I associate with any brand, for me it is important to understand whether I should be promoting that brand or not. And I am pretty clear about that.
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There are certain brands that I wouldn’t be associated with and then there are other brands that you want to be associated with because you have grown up watching their advertisements. At the end of the day, my profession is to play cricket, to score runs and win matches for India. So eventually I think it is about what I do on the field that is important. As my family tells me, “you worry about scoring runs and the rest will happen.” And that’s what I have done so far and I am quite happy about it.
In your opinion what does brand Sachin epitomise for the masses?
I think in the people’s mind Sachin is still all about cricket, signature lines for brands haven’t replaced cricket.
After Sachin Tendulkar — the player has moved away from the game, how would you like brand Sachin to be built?
We will think about that when the time comes. Right now, my worry is how to score more runs. And it’s a good thing to worry about because that will naturally enhance the rest.
How do you select the brand you want to be associated with?
I look for the reputation, the image. There are certain things that I look for and if the brand meets those requirements then I go ahead with it otherwise I don’t . To me it’s not about the endorsement or hefty cheques, it’s beyond that. I think once you have associated with a brand, it’s a relationship, a partnership that both, the brand and myself want to take forward, work on and make sure that people accept us. Acceptance cannot happen forcibly, it has to be by choice. And the only way to make that happen is to have a good partnership, work together and understand where we both want to go.
How involved are you in the process building the brand?
Well, I am definitely not a marketer, I am a cricketer . But my contribution to the brand comes at the time of advertising. For instance, if I feel there’s something that might work, I suggest it. But these are purely suggestions during the making of a commercial nothing more than that.
The bigger responsibility — cricket or brand endorsement?
Without a doubt, I think cricket is a bigger responsibility. The entire nation depends on us — the team. Cricket is a different ball game, and cannot be compared. But if I have made a commitment, whether onfield or off-field in the form of endorsements , I give it my all as far as brand endorsements are concerned — either in terms of number of hours or days or where the brand wants to take me. We have to go hand-in-hand , so that is also important. But if you ask me what is more important, it is cricket. Because all that I am and all that I have is because I am a cricketer.