It all started in early 2000, when the yoga guru Baba Ramdev openly criticized the MNC brands. Since then, the yoga guru has turned out to be the worst disruptive force in two decades for the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and his brand “Patanjali” is giving the large FMCG companies a run for their money. Ramdev not only became a television celebrity teaching yoga, but is sitting on the fastest growing FMCG Company clocking a turnover close to INR 5000 crores, more than Colgate, GlaxoSmithKline and Emami by this fiscal year. All throughout this, Ramdev never hid his contempt for multinationals and vows to kill their market. He even has been accused of initiating anti Coke/Pepsi and Maggie drive.
MNC FMCG companies have always overcome the competitive threats from entrants, for example Nirma and chick shampoo to name a few. But this time the threat is stronger than ever with Ramdev’s tying up with Big Bazaar and brand Patanjali pushed by the growing fleet of 10,000 dedicated distributors along with the brand fitment into health consciousness taking place in Indian culture. It is clearly the fastest growing FMCG firm in the country, with the widest product portfolio.
Who understands it better to build an “ICONIC BRAND” than Baba Ramdev, who is known for popularizing yoga among Indians through his mass yoga camps and in return became an Iconic Brand himself. Patanjali is a challenger and a disruptor because it challenges many of the long-held assumptions in the classical FMCG industry. Patanjali doesn’t employ any fancy managers with MBA degrees, no high-end creative agencies, no celebrity brand ambassadors (beside himself). Instead of selling to the retail trade through distributors, it has its own branded outlets around the country (beside recent modern trade entry through future group).
Gone are the days when Al Ries and Jack Trout in “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” put forward a simple argument: for a brand to succeed in a society in which the volume of mass communication far exceeded what consumers could digest, it must own a simple, focused position in the prospect’s mind. As the incumbent FMCG companies struggle to burrow deep into consumers’ minds, marketers have ignored the fact that the value of culture-share brands is created and transformed in society itself. To ensure that strategy fits with history, strategy must move beyond abstract benefit descriptions to an understanding of how the brand fits into what is taking place in culture and society. And as consumers get confident, they like contemporary things that spring from their cultural identity
Patanjali is disrupting the FMCG Category having a 20-25 per cent cost advantage due to savings in distribution. That gives the company the leverage to price its products at least 15-30 per cent cheaper than its counterparts. Further the consumers beside price genuinely believe in the goodness of ayurveda and the natural, chemical-free products. Patanjali has expanded its portfolio to over 400 stock-keeping units (SKUs), entering categories like noodles and skin care, in the process stretching their equity in the FMCG category.
The most influential ideas on branding are shaped by the worldview of MBA’s and Ad Guru’s – build a better mousetrap and the world will take notice. Most brand strategies today pursue mindshare marketing, but the problem with the mindshare marketing approach is its inability to deliver truly disruptive brand innovation. Contrary to popular belief, Ramdev has moved Patanjali brand from Red Ocean to a Blue Ocean, what 15 years ago C K Prahalad offered a pioneering call to arms: to “create the markets for tomorrow”. He encouraged managers to stake out new market space – what they called “The White Space” or later coined by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne as a “Blue Ocean”.
Patanjali therefore understands deep historical and cultural undercurrents in Indian society and champions a better Ideology than its MNC incumbent counterparts, using Innovative Ideologies to Build a Breakthrough Patanjali Brand.