From the boardwalk to the boardroom.
Football (aka soccer in the United States) and the automotive industry are closely related in many different ways. From a marketing perspective, the two go hand-in-hand from attracting consumers and the sport’s high-powered exposure to the high-end tastes of its players. Mohammed Bhana has an innate ability to market and grow brands in both sectors, paying dividends for football teams like the Huddersfield Town A.F.C. of the Premier League and companies like Kahn Design.
Years ago, these brands were relatively obscure but have since grown into globally-recognized names thanks to their successful products and the help of Bhana. In a way, the Huddersfield Town Terriers and Kahn Design share a similar spirit as underdogs in their respective industries that have since risen to become respected and established favorites among fans around the U.K. and the world.
Bhana has had a hand in growing each brand as a Director at Kahn Design and a Brand Ambassador with Huddersfield Town. At Kahn Design, his ability to creatively market on a limited budget have quickly put the automotive company on the map – having eye-catching products and design also helps! But his innovative techniques have reaped benefits for owner, Afzal Kahn, and his company.
Take number plates, for example. The ‘F1’ number plate was purchased by Kahn for more than £400,000 in 2008 – a record for the time. The idea was pushed by Bhana who had been tracking its value for some time. The value of it has since skyrocketed to £15 million, making it the most valuable number plate in the world. Not only has the plate become a brilliant investment, but the subsequent exposure from the press helped put Afzal Kahn and his company in the spotlight.
Bhana has also been able to connect with the automotive press around the globe, providing a constant stream of news while also participating in a number of world-class exhibitions and shows such as the Geneva International Motor Show.
That same underdog, fighting spirit is also what made the Terriers such an amazing story and fan favorite the past few years in the football world. After bringing in David Wagner to manage the club in 2015, the team has enjoyed a great deal of success after being written off by experts. They battled and made it to the EFL Championship play-off final and won in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Reading to earn their first promotion to the Premier League since the team had re-branded in 1992. Their 2017-2018 season in the Premier League was supposed to be one-and-done according to experts and analysts because of their small budget and lack of top-end talent compared to the pure power of other clubs.
However, Wagner led his team through the ups and downs of the season and was able to keep the Terriers in the Premier league – a feat that was called “the Premier League’s greatest survival story” by The Guardian. That fight and spirit despite being the underdogs throughout the entire season was boosted by one of the most impressive fanbases in the league. Not only did they cheer their hearts out and show their passion at matches both home and away, but they were also some of the most respectful to other clubs in the Premier League.
One of the men behind the spirit of the fans was Mohammed Bhana. As a Huddersfield Town Football Ambassador, Bhana was able to work within the tight budget of the team to market to a new and untapped fanbase, opening up a whole new market for the team. His efforts not only worked at home but also abroad, reaching fans across the Atlantic in the United States and elsewhere. Bhana’s persistence and passion mirrors that of Wagner and his players on the pitch as they fought to achieve unthinkable success.
Even Bhana’s son gained quite a bit of international attention for his charity after one home match. After finding a £5 note at the stadium, he decided to write a letter and give it to midfielder, Aaron Mooy, who had just been named man-of-the-match after his goal and excellent play during the Terrier’s 2-1 win over Manchester United. The nine-year-old was invited to the stadium to meet Mooy, who was more than happy to thank the boy for his generosity and took the time to speak with him. Mooy’s courtesy, kindness, and gratitude is something that isn’t often seen with the celebrity-like status of many professional footballers and athletes, but is something that Huddersfield Town players and staff take pride in having.
Bhana’s experience and resume of achievements at Kahn Design and football clubs like Liverpool and Huddersfield Town have helped create large international fanbases for the brands, in turn leading to major sponsorship deals. They have also propelled him into a boardroom level decision maker at Kahn.
There are a lot of underdogs in the football world and automotive industry, but Mohammed Bhana is making a few of those underdogs the top dogs in their respective fields with his innovation and persistence, for years to come.
Photo Credit: The Yorkshire Times, Kahn Design