Clad in a saffron cloak, this yoga guru wriggled his way to fame. Every time he would coil his limbs in impossible positions and squirm his belly, a collective appreciative sigh would run through his camps. Before long, this man became a household name, a telegenic personality and a crusader for a healthy lifestyle. Today, he runs a magnanimous business of fast-moving consumer goods that is increasingly becoming popular in a cutthroat marketing arena, sending rival Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies trembling.
Baba Ramdev, born Ramu Yadav, conceived the idea of his flagship project to promote and make available, yoga and ayurveda to millions across the globe. His modest plan to make ayurvedic healthcare accessible to all was celebrated by followers and non-followers alike. Consumers soon took to his wide array of “safe” ayurvedic products – from toothpaste to dish-washing bar and noodles to hair-care products.
Unlike those offered by other ascetics that have a spiritual resonance, Patanjali’s you-name-it-we-have-it products have a commercial value attached to them. And much like other consumer goods, Patanjali products come with a price too. A price so self-effacing, it will satiate your ayurvedic hunger. The products have given consumers a sense of nostalgia and homely longing – sans artificial flavours or fragrance. The chemical-free products are seldom advertised and there is hardly any need, with older generations in almost all families vouching for them.
Today, when most self-proclaimed Godmen, women and spiritual gurus are constantly doubted, and rightly so, considering the murky waters they tread, consumers are more welcoming than wary of Ramdev’s noble intention that is Patanjali. Touted as the next big profit-making thing, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd has the right numbers that are sending rival companies into a tizzy. Its revenue has quashed that of its competitors’ – Procter & Gamble, Emami and GlaxoSmithKline.
Patanjali has risen like an empire and has become a phenomenon. The evolution happened step-by-step. Ramdev made for himself, a market. He carved his niche as a yoga guru, went on to become a politician, saw through his travails and introduced Patanjali to the market. When most FMCGs employed eggheads, Patanjali hired a modest and a sociable staff. Ramdev has made it clear that his brainchild, with its spectrum of products, will be bereft of classical marketing. His is an example of intelligent presentation of products, of honest claims. No wonder the everyday household has recognized a brand, fashioned by a genius who is here to stay.