Thursday, 21 July 2016

Baba Ramdeva- the marketer


Baba Ramdev can be considered as one of the biggest marketing minds in India. He has built Rs. 2000 crore FMCG umpire in few years and has given tough competition to the big Indian FMCGs. Some factors which we can attribute to his success are:

1.     Great understanding of consumers
Ramdev knows his customer well. He acquired a huge fan following and loyal customer base by offering a service which was free of cost- the Yoga. Once the consumer trust was obtained, extension was only half difficult. He understood that consumers do not trust their current products (in FMCG space) and are somewhat unsure of their benefits. This gap was where Ramdev placed his Patanjali offerings. He started a range of ‘made in India’ ayurvedic products which could be trusted.
2.     Focus & consistency
The brand Patanjali forayed into ayurvedic medicine, food and personal care space as consumer scepticism is highest in these categories. Patanjali occupied this vacant space and positioned themselves as value for money natural products. Ramdev did not let the brand lose its essence- the greed which most other FMCG companies fall a prey to, i.e. trying to be everything to consumers.
3.     Value for Money
Ramdev knew Indians are value conscious and his marketing strategy was based on this- good quality natural products at lower price points. This was appealing because most of the natural, ayurvedic and organic products come at premium price points in India.
4.     Distribution strategy
He used his follower base and multi level marketing skills to ensure that his products are available in every city and town. Though he is still building distribution arm for Patanjali products and is having serious demand supply issues; the hybrid channel would be an advantage for Patanjali over time .
5.     Word of Mouth
Ramdev never hard sell his products or talk about them. He only points out deficiency in other available products and let the consumer explore their options. This subtle communication does not project bias, hence minimize scepticism in consumer mind. Ramdev leverages his huge follower base to spread positive WOM, and I believe that there is no other tool as powerful as WOM because it gets you consumers without you chasing them. And isn’t all communication tools also geared up to create strong and positive WOM? He has built the brand around very strong yet simple idea- “Product you can trust”. This beautifully bridges the consumer insight and the brand philosophy.
6.     Product portfolio
I feel that the product portfolio and phase out plan for his offerings has been well thought of. He started the brand with ayurvedic medicines and offered services and consultation on the dosage for critical ailments. The products were good and this built a positive WOM and trust among consumers. He is slowly leveraging this trust across categories and moving from low risk (oil, balms etc) to greater risk offerings (juices etc.).


I would say that he has a well thought of and focused marketing plan. He knows his segment well. (people who practice Yoga; are committed to well being of the self and believe that natural methods are the best way to heal and solve any problem). Ramdev follows the mass customization strategy. His positioning is simple and resonating and hence he is able to strike a chord with consumer’s inner feelings and fears. And obviously, he delivers to his promise as discussed above. Baba Ramdev’s story teaches us a great lesson that consumer is not necessarily looking for fancy and glamour. They seek benefit and want to feel assured after buying something. Also, Ramdev’s brand equity was build on ‘yoga’, the space which is considered as proactive wellness space. The products in his FMCG portfolio only complements this space and hence help the brand leverage on Ramdev’s equity.

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