5 Things that led to success of Ramdev’s Patanjali. Something Entrepreneurs and Marketers must know.

The success of brand Patanjali happened due to 5 interconnected factors:

  1. Product Strategy: Beyond Patanjali’s flagship ayurvedic range of products, their strategy is to simply create products that people are already used to using and not try to innovate with the core positioning of the product (think cereals, biscuits etc). Even the product names are very similar. This is very clever, as it significantly reduces the friction for the end consumer, as this requires no change in their behaviour if they opt for a Patanjali products.
  2. Brand Strategy: Alright, so you have got 2 or more products that offer the same benefits, now how do we get people to pick our product (which is new to them) over something that they have already been using. Simple — promise them something that they want but the other product doesn’t offer. So Patanjali says: “Pick our product — it is the same product with no harmful chemicals. Plus by buying our products, you are ensuring the money you spend stays in India”. And that additional value proposition is true for all their products and that is the reason they have branded every product as a “Patanjali product”. 
    While the existing FMCG brands, for sake of growth, are forced to find new product categories and force change in consumer behaviour through huge investments in mass marketing, Patanjali can simply offer a “no chemicals & swadeshi alternative” to the people who have got used to this new product. 
    (Side note for marketers: If you are thinking of choosing between single brand strategy and multi-brand strategy for your products, do not opt for single brand unless you have a single, clear, concise value proposition for all your products, unlike what Mahesh Murthy has built a case for in his article on Patanjali’s success)

While the above 2 factors deserve a lot of credit for lending success to Patanjali, but the impact of these 2 factors increased exponentially due to the following 3:

  1. Timing: The consumer awareness about impact of harmful chemicals, in what they eat and use, has been growing rapidly and is an at a all time high. So there couldn’t have been a better time to launch a brand that offers “no harmful chemicals”.
  2. Loyal Community: While one might be tempted to believe that Patanjali has grown exponentially within such a short span of time, the fact is that it is a result of around 20 years of relentless work around Yoga and Ayurveda by Ramdev. In those 20 years Ramdev has built a extremely loyal community of followers. 
    (Side note for entrepreneurs: Most of entrepreneurs today do not have the required patience, but a strong community is like a solid foundation on which you can build a business that would really last for ages. Seth Godin has been urging everyone to focus on building community for years now. See this TED talk.)
  3. Reputation: Last but not the least, over years, he has built a reputation and trust even among his non followers. When it comes to choosing between the likes of Unilever, P&G, Nestle etc and Baba Ramdev, most would trust the later more than the former.

In hindsight, it looks like other brands simply failed to read people’s increasing awareness & concern for presence of harmful chemicals in products they use; or simply chose to disregard it. The fact is they missed out building a brand around that. Now that spot is taken.

(I wrote this originally on quora in reply to What is the secret behind the huge success of Ramdev Baba’s PATANJALI products?. Do consider upvoting it there.)