How Vedanta’s Marathon Redefined Branding with Purpose

It was all about exploring the dynamic relationship between sports and brand-building strategies during the keynote address on – Effective Corporate Communication & Its Impact on Society.

Ritu Jhingon, Group Director of Communications at Vedanta, expanded on the profound connection between sports and brand building strategies. The topic was – “Sports & Its Impact on Brands – Exploring the Dynamic Relationship between Sports and Brand-building Strategies”. Revolving around the case study of the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon, her presentation shed light on how sporting events can transcend mere competitions to become powerful catalysts for social change and brand transformation.

The ‘Delhi Half Marathon’: A Spectacle of Excellence & Unity

As autumn descends on the capital city, an extraordinary movement sweeps across Delhi – one that injects a renewed sense of energy into people, from all corners of the globe. This movement is none other than the world’s most prestigious ‘half marathon’, an event that not only celebrates sporting excellence but also embodies the values of determination, generosity, togetherness along with transformation.

Ritu Jhingon remarked that each year, Delhi residents and participants from around the world come together to celebrate the diverse tapestry of Delhi and the exciting transformative impact of running. Beyond the thrill of competition, the marathon serves as a platform for individuals to contribute to the fight against malnutrition and promote a healthier India.

The Core of Brand Purpose

Ritu emphasized the importance of brands finding their purpose and how Vedanta successfully embarked on this journey. Today, Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon has earned recognition as the world’s most prestigious half marathon, attracting high levels of participation and significantly boosting the sponsor brand’s recall.

The choice of sports as a conduit for brand purpose is rooted in its universal appeal. Sports transcends geographic, cultural, and economic boundaries, enabling brands to engage in meaningful conversations with diverse audiences. Ritu posed a question: “Can we merge the passion for fitness, the love for running, and a noble cause to drive real impact and enhance our reputation?” The answer was the ‘Run for Zero’ initiative, where Vedanta pledged to provide a meal to a child through their Nand Ghar program for every kilometer run.

The Unique Immersive ‘Run for Zero Hunger’ Experience

The ‘Run for Zero’ initiative was more than a marathon; it was an immersive experience. Ritu highlighted the power of cause-based communication, with celebrities like Milind Soman, Bhumi Pednekar, and Sakshi Mallik endorsing the cause. Even the marathon medals were synergised and symbolic, minted with zinc from one of India’s oldest mines, a part of Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta company.

Internally, the impact was profound, with over 20,000 employees and their families contributing more than a million kilometers to the cause. Externally, the initiative resonated with over 50,000 participants, reached 6.6 crore+ people across India, and drew 5,000+ participants from Corporate India. And, stakeholders, including government officials and ministries, actively participated and engaged.

Building Brand Reputation through Sustainability

Essentially, Ritu highlighted the role of sustainability in shaping brand reputation. By communicating sustainability narratives differently, brands can actually create a positive rub-off on brand perception. Then, she drew attention to Apple’s sustainability communication, which involved real people, real problems, and a commitment to a better future. The approach was data-driven, backed by engaging storytelling, which had a notable impact on brand perception, attracting talent and boosting product appeal.

In conclusion, Ritu emphasised Vedanta’s commitment to addressing real issues and finding resolutions for the next generation. The Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon really serves as a testament to the transformative power of sports in uniting communities, driving social change & building brand reputation with purpose. “We cater to a cause – to create an impact for the next generation. We take up the real issues and try to find a resolution,” was Ritu’s parting shot.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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