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Meteoric rise of ‘Brand Alia Bhatt’: With $68.1 million valuation, how she’s zooming ahead

As Alia Bhatt debuts as a producer with Darlings, here's diving deep into the evolution of 'Brand Alia Bhatt' and how it has grown over the last decade.

alia bhattAlia Bhatt's latest release Darlings premiered on Friday. (Photo: Alia/Instagram)

Having started her career with Student of the Year in 2012, Alia Bhatt has come a long and is a bonafide star today. After her last release Gangubai Kathiawadi, she also became the only female actor to have two women-driven films enter the Rs 100 crore club (the first being Raazi). Today, the industry and fans alike have no qualms in calling her a superstar and among the top actors in the country, irrespective of gender. Alia Bhatt debuts as a producer with Darlings, a film that talks about domestic violence. Taking her career to a new high, Alia will also make her Hollywood debut with Gal Gadot’s Heart of Stone, for which she recently wrapped up the shoot. While on the personal front, the actor tied the knot with Ranbir Kapoor in April, and the couple is set to welcome their first child soon.

The actor recently graced Express Adda, where she conversed with Indian Express executive director Anant Goenka and film critic Shubhra Gupta. During the conversation, she was quizzed about how ‘Brand Alia Bhatt’ has changed over the last decade. She spoke about the transition of her image from being ‘unintelligent’ to this ‘smart’ woman, who now has a production house, and a fashion line. While pressing upon the importance of emotional intelligence, the actor said that she loves all the memes that get made on her, as that ‘adds to the popularity’. As for the evolution, Alia replied, “I don’t know, and I don’t care. For me, it’s not just a 10-year journey as I want to be in the industry, making movies till I am 90. Till I am walking, making sense. So it’s a really long, long road ahead for me.

But what is Brand Alia and how has it evolved in the last 10 years?

MCaffeine co-founder & head of brand marketing Vaishali Gupta told indianexpress.com that they signed Alia Bhatt as they wanted their brand to speak to the youth. “Alia is and will continue to be a strong millennial icon. Given we too are a millennial brand, we knew she will talk directly to the consumer. Alia is the epitome of fun and colourful vibe that the youth brings in.” Gupta added that Alia wants to associate with brands with a strong ethos, and given they are a sustainable brand, the connection was instant.”

 

Referring to the Express Adda conversation, the marketing head mentioned how she respects Alia for changing people’s perception of a star. “People feel connected to her in an emotional sense. And as she spoke about her emotional intelligence, I think the EQ (emotional quotient) that she brings is huge. The choice of her movies have evolved, and so has her personality. The curve from Student of the Year to Gangubai gives us a glimpse of how dynamic an individual can be. To sum it up, today as a brand herself, Alia has evolved and is so dynamic. She presents her different personalities not just via her stories but also through the brands she endorses. It just proves how versatile an actor she is.”

One of the highest paid actors in the industry today, Alia has appeared on Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list (2017) and has been a regular in Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list since 2014. She peaked at the eighth position in 2019, and the magazine then estimated her annual income to be Rs 592 million ($ 7.4 million). In 2022, she also ranked in the 97th position on The Indian Express’s ‘Most powerful Indians’ list.

With an Instagram following of 68.4 million and another 21.5 million on Twitter and 8.4 million on Facebook, Alia is today a quick choice for brand endorsement and social media campaigns. As per an influencer marketing executive, the actor can charge anywhere between Rs 85 lakhs to a crore for a social media ad or post. The amount can go higher during a release. However, shockingly, Alia Bhatt steers away from social media posts. Industry insiders shared with us that unlike other actors and celebs, the Darlings actor wants to keep social media as her personal haven, and wants it to be only a platform to connect with her fans.

 

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While the new-age commercial module of social media is off the rack, the actor does have a steady stream of traditional brand endorsements to her name. Climbing the ladder on the back of her stellar performance and stringent rebranding of her own image, she has signed brands like Blender’s Pride, which was once endorsed by Priyanka Chopra. Being the face of Hero MotoCorp, Aurelia, or Maanyavar, has also helped her go beyond smartphones. Chief marketing officers today now bank on Alia not just to connect with the GenZ but also to garner the attention of the top of the pyramid, which has a huge propensity to pay.

Given the strata she holds in the industry today, Alia does come with a huge cost. The actor reportedly charges Rs 1.5-Rs 2 crores per day for a brand shoot in addition to the signing amount. As per an industry insider, the amount can fluctuate slightly depending on the contract. “If it’s a long-term deal with a pre-decided date commitment, the amount can vary from Rs 1-1.5 crore per day.” They also added that Alia charges upwards of Rs 2 crore for appearance at brands or products launch and rebranding events.

Though, her long-term association with Parle’s Frooti and Appy Fizz shows that she has delivered up to her potential and the ‘price tag’. Nadia Chauhan who is one of the directors in the family business leads the marketing initiatives and according to sources, is very impressed with what the Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani actor brings to the table

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For Vaishali Gupta too, the actor has always been on top of their list. “Given our objective at the moment was to send our message to a large mass audience, Alia can reach the youth and markets of India like no one else. We want to speak to 100 million people through and via Alia. Cost aside, it’s also about what she stands for today. Along with the emotional quotient, she is also breaking the stereotype of a superstar. Along with that she is also so full of love and emotions,” she shared.

 

Among the never-ending list of endorsements, some of the brands that have associated with Alia Bhatt include Aurelia, Blenders Pride, Cadbury, Cornetto, Flipkart, Lays, Garnier, Manyavar, Frooti, PhonePe, Samsung, Duroflex, Philips, Tresemme, Hero MotoCorp, Maybelline, Sunsilk, MakeMyTrip, Lux, Uber Eats, Sunfeast Dark Fantasy, Nokia and Gionee.

With hits after hits and association with such viable names, it has also helped the actor build ‘Brand Alia Bhatt’ stronger. According to Duff and Phelps celebrity brand valuation report in 2021, her brand value was calculated to be $68.1 million. The youngest in the top 10, Alia was ahead of MS Dhoni, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Salman Khan. The first female name on the list, she fell short of Ranveer Singh ($158.3 million) and Akshay Kumar ($139.6 million), while the first slot was taken up by Virat Kohli ($185.7 million).

At just 29 and a 10-year-old career, Alia Bhatt is definitely wearing a number of hats. Apart from being an actor and now a producer, a sought-after brand face, she also has a few companies to her name. A co-founder of ecological initiative CoExist, she also launched her sustainable kids’ fashion line Ed-e-Mamma in 2020. In just 10 months of its launch, the company recorded a 10X growth, and in the series A round, investors valued the company at Rs 150 crores, which set a new benchmark for children’s clothing in India.

 

While many believed that with Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor being married, the couple can go on to become the next power couple. The actors have together driven iconic campaigns for Lay’s (PepsiCo) and Flipkart a couple of years back. Post their wedding, they also shot for a TVC for a steel brand. However, experts feel that the pair’s collective brand value won’t skyrocket as happened in the case of Anushka Chopra-Virat Kohli or Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh as Ranbir Kapoor’s brand value has been plummeting for some time. According to the same Duff and Phelps report that valued Alia at number four, Kapoor’s brand value is estimated to be $26.7 million.

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However, for Judhajit Dey Sarkar, copy head, Digital Refresh Networks, with Alia Bhatt all set to welcome her first child, she is going to strengthen her positioning. “I believe Alia-the brand will reach greater heights as she will convincingly speak to a new audience base – young moms.” Reasoning her relatability as the key factor, he added, “Through her variety of performances, she talks to people from all walks of life. From a girl-next-door persona to a feisty feminist, she pulls every role with equal panache. This ability to explore different characters with aplomb empowers her to go far and wide and connect with different strata of society. From teenagers to people in 40s, she caters to a wide range of audiences. With her Hollywood debut round the corner, the audience base will further increase.”

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Besides her Hollywood film, Alia Bhatt’s next release is Brahmastra with Ranbir Kapoor and Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani with Ranveer Singh. Experts believe the brand value of the actor will thus further rise as she has started to appeal to a wider set of audiences and become a social media favourite. However, they also warn that given the means of the business, the brand image also depends on the performance at the box office, social media chatter and public appearance.

First published on: 07-08-2022 at 11:31:00 am
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