Kingfisher Essay

15167 Words 61 Pages
Brand Kingfisher : Creating a Lifestyle Brand
-- Lekha Ravi
Team Leader,
The Icfai Research Center,
The author can be reached at The United Breweries (UB) group today (2008) boasts a diverse portfolio of businesses - alcoholic beverages, life-sciences, engineering, aviation, agriculture, chemicals, information technology and leisure. The man behind this potent diversity is none other than India's flamboyant tycoon Vijay Mallya (Mallya). Mallya's association with the rich, trendy and the luxurious seems to have rubbed off on his brands. All through his glitzy forays into various fields, Mallya has fastidiously endorsed Brand `Kingfisher'. His entry into aviation with the glamorous launch of
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Young Mallya, who loved good living and was crazy after fast cars, discos and planes, was criticized by many as a `playboy'. In Mallya's own words, "My industry peers were in their 50's. I stuck out like a sore thumb." Many were sceptical about Mallya's stewardship. Mallya, however, in course of time, proved his cynics wrong. He endured the succession dilemma and guided his empire to unimagined heights. By 2008, UB was a multi-national conglomerate of over 60 companies with an annual turnover of over $1.2 bn.
Flamboyant CEOs have been known to endorse their brands from the front. Sir Richard Branson and Steve Jobs are two famous names that may be recalled in this context. Mallya, at the helm of UB, deems it right to lead his brand upfront by leveraging his multifaceted persona. Mallya astutely judged that his involvement with the rich and the trendy will eventually rub off on his brands (Exhibit I). His wealth is stretched across the globe. He has over 25 dwellings around the world including houses at Sausalito, Napa and Trump Plaza in New York, a castle in Scotland, and at Monte Carlo, apart from homes in every major city in India. His antique racing cars number more than 260 and are stored in 10 countries. He has two yachts in California and a few in India. Among them is the famed `Kalizma' - a 165-foot Edwardian yacht once owned by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and now based in the Mediterranean;

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