The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Palash Sinha, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Patanjali, quite a familiar name recently is taking the market by storm. The brainchild of Baba Ramdev, the Yoga guru of India is growing fast and is also posing threat to the prominent players in the FMCG market in India.
Patanjali Ayurved Limited, started in 2007, was started by Acharya Balkrishna, companion of Ramdev Baba with an aim to popularize Ayurveda, the ancient medical science in India. It owns more than 15,000 exclusive outlets that sell healthy and organic consumer products and is into many product categories of personal care and food such as soaps, shampoos, dental care, balms, skin creams, biscuits, ghee, juices, honey, atta, mustard oil, masala, sugar and much more. Starting with few stores and limited distribution, this company today is putting the mighty FMCG players to deliberate on the rapid escalation of the company into India’s FMCG market. But putting all pundits into amaze, the company will technically be equal to Emami brand (₹1,820 Crore*), according to estimates.
The most interesting thing is that according to Baba Ramdev, he doesn’t possess any share in the company and more interestingly the company doesn’t even have a proper business plan or marketing strategy. It all started with the brand building of Baba Ramdev. He started as a modest yoga guru but gradually gained prominence in this domain. People started associating him with Indian culture and yoga. He used this belief and trust of the common man to market Patanjali products.
The products entered the scene as ‘healthy’ substitutes and were offered at cheaper prices. While the brand is entirely pushed into market by baba’s popularity, it isn’t surviving only on that. There is sure no business plan, but the strategies does not fall short in front of any multinational food company. Celebrities like Sushil Kumar are coming in to promote Patanjali products.
By rightly gauging the scope of the FMCG market, offering at cheaper prices, the company also used the franchise outlets to gain the reach. Currently, over 4,000 outlets operate and sell these products. Going by the popularity of the products, Reliance Retail store, Reliance Fresh entered into agreement and offered exclusive kiosks. And now, the company aims to expand sales to online and bring it on e-commerce majors like Amazon.
It is fascinating to see how the trust factor of a single person fuels the popularity of a product to the niche market of health conscious Indian customers. It will be interesting to see the battle of brands in the FMCG sector once Patanjali gain more market share.