'Dhoni' brands endorsement valuation might dip

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brand value is all set to go down after he announced his decision to step down as the captain of the national team from limited overs format. Coming from a small town in India and beating all odds to reach the top, Dhoni's attributes such as the calm demeanor he possess along with the handsome and dynamic looks, made him the darling of the brands. Currently, the Ranchi boy endorses brands from various categories such as Excide Life Insurance, Revital, Gulf Oil, Lays, TVS, Orient Fans, Spartan, Big Bazaar to name a few. Dhoni continues to charge between Rs 8 cr. and Rs 12.Cr for the endorsements and has an annual total earnings between Rs.120 Cr and Rs.150 Cr. Recently, Forbes annual fab 40 list revealed that this figure has reduced from $21 million in 2015 to $11 million in 2016 but he still remained the only Indian in the top 10 global athletes. The experts have had a say on this and believe that the endorsement fee will take a dip. Experts Opinion: Harish Bijoor, Brand-Expert & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc said, “A brand endorser is primarily only as important as he or she is in her or his primary game, be it cricket or Bollywood. You are really as good as your last three games, the position you occupy in the team or as good as your last three films.To that extent, brand Dhoni is a setting sun brand. The rising star brand is really Kohli now. As one sets, another rises. But that's the way the brand endorsement cookie crumbles.” Shubho Sengupta, Brand Consultant is of the opinion that India doesn't let its heroes walk off into the sunset so easily. “Especially, heroes like Dhoni or Sachin who shouldered the hopes of an entire generation. Small-town India loved Dhoni then, and will love him in the years to come." Prateek Srivastava, Co-Founder, ChapterFive Brand Solutions said, “Obviously when the Captain MS Dhoni goes away, the brand Dhoni will definitely take a beating. He won’t be able to command a premium in the market unless he does something really big with the bat (which is highly unlikely). For example, Sachin Tendulkar did not need to be a captain for commanding a premium in the market. Dhoni became captain in a very early stage of his career and has always been seen as a captain and the tag has stayed with him. So, as he goes, it will definitely dent his market.” Although experts like Arun Pandey, CEO and MD Rhiti Sports Management and Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Global had a different opinion. Arun Pandey believes that whether Dhoni is the captain or not, he still today is a global brand and that the value of the brand will remain intact. " Playing for the country is the main thing. What he has achieved for country can't be wiped away. His legacy, his brand pull are visible in the success of the movie - MS Dhoni, untold Story which did such a good business at the box office without having any superstar cast". Vinit Karnik also believes that Dhoni will remain relevant to his fans , brand marketers and team-mates. " Dhoni has been an inspirational leader for the Indian National team and as a captain has always demonstrated key qualities like focus, innovation, confidence , passion and more. He has build a clear succession plan by building an invincible bench strength and by stepping aside he has given the younger generation a chance to lead and take Indian Cricket to even greater heights in the world." So, now that the industry experts have had their say on the 'Dhoni Brand', it remains clear that many believe the brand value to go down. Whether it will or not will depend a lot on Dhoni's future in the Indian Cricket team and his performances.