Suddenly, cycles are the talk of the town. If you are sitting in the office cafeteria or checking the posts of your friends on Facebook, it is difficult not to find quite a few talking about cycling or actually seen cycling. Apps like Strava and Google Fit are also making people aware of an alternative mode of transport and fitness opportunity. There is definitely a rise of weekend cycling clubs and the fitness store chains like Decathlon doing their bit to promote cycling.
Why is cycling a positive trend and is likely to stay?
- Traffic is a bane for most of us living in the cities. Most of us are looking for alternatives for a traffic-free short-term commute. Many of us who work in European companies or have visited Europe are aware of the robust cycling infrastructure in these countries. And many of us feel that it can be a reality in India too provided, cycling infrastructure can be built which should not require big expenses.
- Pollution is an eye opener for many. The growth of private vehicles have totally ignored the fact that the way we are adding vehicles, it will only make the air worse with exhaust fumes.
- Sedentary lifestyles – fueled by french-fries, pizzas and burgers, coupled with desk jobs, have left most of us quite unfit. Many of us are looking at easy and fun way to lose weight. Many of us are not very comfortable working in the closed gyms but prefer some outdoor activity. With many of us having cycled as children, it is one familiar territory for us to re-explore.
- India is an importer of crude and that puts us at the risk of the vagaries of the oil prices internationally. By reducing our dependence on cars, even if we are able to achieve not using our cars once a week and cycle instead, we can save around 40 litres of fossil fuels every year. That may not sound like a big number but if we look at it from a national point of view with the population of 125 crores, I think it’s a very big number we are talking about.
- A lot of popular celebrities like Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar are known to be regular cyclists and their fans will surely adapt their lifestyles to follow their role models. The government, if promotes this trend with the help of these stars, the cycling will only get more popular and glamorous.
So where is the branding opportunity?
- Today many people want to cycle but they refrain from making investments in buying a cycle. There were schemes where cars were sponsored by companies in lieu of using the car for advertising space. If the same model was to be followed, a cycle which costs roughly around INR 10,000/-, can be gifted to potential target group and it could be used for reminder branding for a whole array of brands from telecom to tea. In fact, a fleet of 100 cycles would cost less than ten million rupees.
- Metro revolution is taking over the country. If companies / brands could offer the solution of last mile connectivity to and from the metro stations by sponsoring free cycles at the stations which can carry their branding and reach out to millions of people on a monthly basis.
- Marathons have been used for long by telecom companies. Cyclothons are not that popular yet. If companies could organize cyclothons where thousands of cyclists with branded jerseys and cycles are seen together for a cause, it can give a huge online and offline opportunity.
- Corporates today are looking at ways to have healthy employees, if companies start promoting cycling to the employees, and organize cycling events internally, it can be a huge opportunity for companies to promote their services.
- Cycling infrastructure is a challenge in the country right now. If any company, under their CSR program, want to invest and build the cycling infrastructure in the country, it can be a pioneering opportunity that can be encashed at various forums.
Outdoor branding is usually a huge cost. But cycling could offer tiny mobile branding opportunities at a much lower cost and can be controlled better. If trolleys at the airport can be branded, why not cycles and cycling?
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.