Baba Ramdev, Patanjali and the art of content marketing

baba-ramdev-medicines

Patanjali Logo

There are businessmen, there are entrepreneurs and then there are people who leave you thinking, “What just happened!”.

It is an FMCG empire that was not in the competition analysis powerpoints of the big players even a couple of years back. Today, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali is sweeping away everything in its path. From local stores to Amazon,  Patanjali Products are everywhere. The product quality is best in breed, the prices competitive and the distribution chain is probably the first that is rivalling even the Cola majors.

And behind all of this, are the meticulous efforts of one man in creating his own brand. And his expertise in what we today call content marketing.

So what is content marketing? It is attracting consumers to your product, not by bombarding them with incessant ads (looking at you retargeting ad players) but by educating them on the general sphere where you operate. What many people forget is that the keyword here is ‘general sphere’! You cannot keep harping about your product and expect the target consumers to not be bored to death. Let me repeat that again – Do not keep shouting about how your product is better than everything else. And here, exactly, is where Baba Ramdev proved to be phenomenal.

For the last decade, Baba Ramdev did not focus on proclaiming that his brand was the best. Instead, he told us about the evils of MNCs, the virtues of products made in India, the corruption of corporates, the exploitation of farmers, the cancerous effects of fertilisers and chemicals and just about everything that surrounded his products. He just showed us the reasons and left us on our own to explore his products.

BABA_RAMDEVThis was brilliant. See, when someone forces you to try out a product you might have a bias to reject it as ‘overselling’. But here no-one was pushing anything, only an environment was created where you wanted to see if the alternative to above evils was usable. You might have been influenced by the fear of diseases or you might just have been patriotic enough to shun all evil US firms. Whatever the reason, you already had a positive environment to try the Patanjali products.

So now the Patanjali brand had a willing consumer. Was this enough? Obviously not, you still had to deliver. And did they do that! The product quality was brilliant. Yes, they were not the panacea of  everything as (often) claimed  – but the toothpaste was as good as any other in the market, as were the oils, as were the extracts, and as was everything else. And guess what, Patanjali overdid even its own stupendous record in the distribution department. Is there any village, any city in India where you cannot find these products?

The recent news reports of Baba Ramdev’s FMCG empire (2013-2014 turnover at INR 1200 crores) were meant to provide shock value, but they underplayed the true learning for entrepreneurs aiming to displace huge incumbents.

Beyond the obvious ‘have a great product’ and ‘make sure the product reaches consumers’, Patanjali Ayurveda was a startup that displayed as good a content marketing strategy as anyone ever before.

So let us recap again what content marketing is in the context of this example:

  1. To make a successful product, your marketing strategy should attract long term consumers. These long term consumers are made by influencing their core beliefs. These beliefs are (almost) impossible to change by superficial claims. You need to find out what values your target consumers hold and appeal to those. Needless to say that the thread should somehow lead to your product, but make it too obvious and you run the risk of losing all trust. Subtlety is the key. If you need another example, subscribe to shopify.com’s mailing list. They are an e-commerce platform provider but every article they write is about you as the ambitious business owner, and not about them as the platform provider.
  2. Be consistent. As consumers, we are anyway exposed to hundred ads per day. If you keep changing the core of who you are as a business (yes, today’s catchphrase ‘pivot’ notwithstanding), then even your most loyal consumers will lose their trust.
  3. Be persistent, but know when to pull back and when to go full steam ahead. Baba Ramdev (and hence the future of Patanjali) faced plenty of ups and downs, from political to product challenges. He lied low on some occasions and propelled himself to limelight in others. Efficient maneouvering of such situations is often the difference between the winner and the ‘almost did it’.
  4. To know your content, you should know your consumers. Patanjali’s consumers had a very specific profile, and the content needed to revolve around that. The products needed to fit into their lifestyle. This was not an aspirational product to show off to others and having someone like Shahrukh Khan as the brand ambassador would simply not have worked. This was a self-improvement product and you, the consumer, were your own inspiration. That is exactly what the content focused on.
  5. Have a great product. If you don’t have a product that satisfies some need, solves a problem and works (almost) as you claim – don’t bother about content or any other kind of marketing. Go out, know your consumers and develop the right product. Then come back and apply these techniques.

Patanjali Ayurveda is one of the untold startup success stories, and in the next couple of years when it inevitably displaces more large players, be ready for more news stories aimed to surprise the readers!

baba-ramdev-yoga

 

Update: Sep 7. 2015

Here is something more to add on to your marketing arsenal. Always be ready to take advantage of sudden opportunities, like the current Maggi scandal which has prompted Baba Ramdev to launch his own noodles.

Author:
A bit of education, a byte of startups.
Comments
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    Im the owner of dal mill i want to know how i sell my product to baba ramdev
    plze email me

  • सर मेरी धर्म पत्नी को बाडमेर के लिए एजेंसी चाहिए क्योंकि बाडमेर जिला राजस्थान का सबसे बडा जिला है और शहर में केवल एक ही एजेंसी है लेकिन बाडमेर के बालोतरा कस्बे में दो से तीन एजेंसी है एजेंसी वाले की मोनोपोली से रिटेलर एवं उपभोक्ता पर विपरीत प्रभाव पड रहा है

  • We intend to hv agency / dealership of patanjali products at Udaipur. I m a retd senior commercial executive having a good team to serve at Udaipur..

  • I intend to know abt marketing of patanjali products at Udaipur Rajasthan… as distributes / dealers / all products with a physician…an early reply expected pleas.

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  • MY NAME IS YOGESH CHATURVEDI SIR MY REQUEST YOUR PATANJALI MAGGI AND ALL CONTENTS DISTRIBUTING ALL MATHURA. YAHA MATHURA MAI EK BHI PATANGALI KA DISTRIBUTER NAHI HAI SIR AAP SE YAHI REQUEST HAI HAMARI.CONTACT 9412883666,8449930190

  • Sir we have a Marketing Plan to sale Patanjali Products throughout Bharat at a very Large scale. We dont need to expence any money to media for add. Our Team wll do this and we will have a huge Team of motivated people eager to work for Bharat.
    Cntact us

  • I intend to take distributorship of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali’s new launch Atta noodles at Garden Reach,Kolkata-24.If possible during this Durga puja festival we can give a stall to market this noodles by tasting the same to huge no of visitors.If there is any positive thoughts regarding my views kindly contact with me.My mob no-9831580303.

  • Sir me u.p border pe aapki product ki shop kholna chata a hu yha se baki shop takribaan 3 se 4 km pr h or costumer bhut jayada h ye area long border ke pass pad ta h jo gaziyabad me h….

  • hii my name is manish khatik from hathrash state up 204101 i am graduation but no business i want to know how is sell my products to baba ramdev plz email me

  • I an interested to take distributorship of Baba Ramdev’s patanjali’s new lanch atta noodles at Diamond Harbour, west bengal. If it possible please contact with me my mob no-9933095007

  • i am required the patanjali producta distribution ship in rohini pitam pura new delhi….my phone no..9811936633 [yogesh kumar]

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  • NAMASKAR,padan ko shamil karne hetu,
    vishay-Gud Ut
    mai Madhya Pradesh Jila Narsinghpur me rahta hu, mukhya roop se vyavsay GUd ka hai ,Jila narsinghpur me kafi matra me gud ka utpadan hota he,yaha vartman me kuchh nirmata purane tarike se jise single kadhai gu d kahte he.jisne kisi Tarah ke camical ya anya milawat nhi ki jati ,me ichhuk hu ki yaha se bahtar bina milawat ka ucchh shreni ka gud ap apne utpadan me shamil kare jisse logo ko bhi svasthya labh hoga.
    Dhanyavad
    From-yogesh kumar soni
    add lig 64 housing board colony Narsinghpur Mp
    [email protected]

  • Sir I want pantajli item product by baba ramdev .
    a shop open in my home city didihat distt pithoragarh uttarakhand pl me advice about it my mob 09972572408.thanks
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    I wanna open shop

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  • Dear CEO Marketing,

    i am DR Hashmukh R Shah BSAM, i have 5 years experience in all type patanjali medicines & all others product of Baba ram dev product.
    sir, i want to open local store of all the product of patanjali product in Gandhidham (ktutch) gujarat 370201

    i have will purchase new shop around 800 sq ft & i want invest Rs 10 lacs

    kindly send me a proposal form & required form etc along with terms & conditions at the earliest.

    Thanks & best regards,

    Dr H R Shah
    (M) 9374020516

  • Iam intrested in pathanjali products selling…..i want to start showroom for products….wat is the procedure….pls give replay

  • I want to start retailer shop for product of Patanjali. Area Pune ahead of Hadapsar,Kadam wakwasti,Loni kalbhor. Please send information.

  • Request rewai distric haryana suer stokites plese l am interested patenjali product super stokites.

  • NEED FULL INFORMATION ABOUT DEALERSHIP OF PATANJALI AYURVED PRODUCTS.LIKE HOW MUCH SPACE REQUIRED ,CAPITAL REQUIREMENT ,SHOP POSITION ETC.
    THANKS

  • I want to open shop of petanjali please tell me the condition of opening the shops chandrpur (maharashtra ) city.
    cont no – 8087294604 / 9766756108
    my e-mail addres – [email protected] .com

    please sent details product list, Holesale rate, Dealers contact,

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    Thanking You !

  • how to get dealership. already i am running varous milk dealership in my area.plz give information regarding patanjali dealership.

  • Hi,

    I am looking for promotion work of Patanjali products at by residency if any chances to do kindly suggest

    Regards,
    santhosh
    9035886086

  • I want to take marketing for patanjali prducts I am very interested. Please reply with procedure. Thank you, please reply as soon as possible…………….

  • We have an E-commerce company and we dealing total consumer products in all over India and we want dealers/distributors in all over India for delivery who can deliver our product to our regular customer at there home address on (cod) cash on delivery mode. And you get minimum rupees 3000-4000 in a day and more information contact with me In

  • Sir;
    Ineed your kind help and marketing promotion for my product.
    I have invented a product, ‘neem based pesticide’. I already have got certification from Kerala agriculture university for this invention

    Product
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    M.r.p inr.560
    This product already have acclaimed appreciation as an hazard free bio pesticide for both domestic and large scale farming and forticultur applications .
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    A detailed discussion in this regard is solicited . Please note that a hazard free pesticide is the need of the hour . Please be kind enough to communicate .

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