FMCG : PATANJALIED!!!!! {PART – 1}

FMCG : PATANJALIED!!!!! {PART – 1}


The Rise, Rise And Rise Of Patanjali…


The rise, rise and rise of Patanjali in the FMCG Sector is the cause many a heartburn in the trade  whose marketshares it has eaten, excitement in the media which gets something magnificent to talk about and report on – analyse – discuss; and a whole new range of products for the customer to experience. A lot has been said and anaylsed about the rise of this brand, and a few responses are also trickling in from the current majors in the trade, which is where the issue stands as on date.


A lot has been said about the key reasons behind the rise of this brand; a lot of it does actually make perfect sense; the factors that I have read are indeed pertinent and contributory factors behind the rise of the new brand. But, and this is a big but, all of these factors together will account, or rather, ought to account for, the rise of Patanjali. I respectfully submit to all Marketing Pundits out there, that let us first of all recognise that we arent talking of the rise of Patanjali; we are talking about the phenomenal  rise of Patanjali. The additional adjective does make a huge difference indeed…


A Look At Some Reasons…


On perusing a few articles around this these, I found several contributory factors identified; Health platform, Ayurved, New and Tailormade products to Indian palates and needs, Distribution Network, Yoga Connection and Baba Ramdev, Make in India, Indian products and so on and so forth. Each of these factors is quite pertinent, and does present an undeniable advantage that can be converted into a defined competitive advantage for the new brand.


But not one of these, or even all taken together, can account for the phenomenal growth that we have witnessed, which is nothing short of miraculous; we are talking of expected revenues to the tune of Rs. 5,000 Cr in FY 16. Now that, I respectfully submit, is quite stunning for a new brand in any industry – let alone in an industry with a well-entrenched competitive scenario and wide competitive choices and defined customer likes and dislikes with low comparative innovative potential like the FMCG Trade.


Objectons To The Reasons…


If you say health or bio-products or ayurved, there are other examples aroiund, like Himalaya; if you state distribution, then any number of companies can challenge the network. If you state the owned or exclusive network, then you can just point to its shelf space and sales from other regular outlets to defeat than claim.  Same can be stated for Swadeshi, or for product formulations and so on and so forth. The problem with this analysis is that all it, just about 100%, is internal and post-facto analysis that competely ignores the Market, The Brand and The Consumer : the three most significant aspects that need need contemplation and study when analysing any brand in any industry.


BRAND


Let us start with the Brand; what does a Brand typically mean or entail in practical terms? One of the most pertinent descriptions I have found is this one – which is my particular favourite : In other words, the real power of a brand is in the thoughts, feelings, images, beliefs, attitudes, experiences and so on that exist in the minds of consumers.  This brand knowledge affects how consumers respond to products, prices, communications, channels and other marketing activity – increasing or decreasing brand value in the process.   ( Keller, 2003)


What I like about this line, which has somehow stuck to my mind, is that it encompasses all three components – The Brand, The Consumer, and The Market which is in reality consumers responses in totality. What can we say about Patanjali in the light of the above? Looked at it from this perspective, it becomes clear that we perforce have to look at consumers; and that further, we have to try and identify relevant trends that impact or influence consumer choice. From this perspective, all the factors identified as reasons for the Patanjali phenomenon do not sufficiently explain the concerted and combined consumer response to the Patanjali offering,


This stands true for any Brand in any Industry; in order that you get to the bottom of the reasons for either the success or failure of any Brand, you have to look at the consumers’ responses; analysing the behaviour takes you deep into the psychology of the consumer body and their collective attitudes, value systems etc. It is these aspects that determine the purchase behaviour of any consumer. And, when you are talking of Beliefs, Attitudes etc, you perforce have to analyse all parameters that can influence the same. With respect to a product, we are talking of the external environment as well as marketing factors, of the kind mentioned above, including socio-cultural and political factors, inasmuchas these have a defined and well-studied influence on our beliefs etc.


COMING TO PATANJALI…


Would you buy a Made in Pakistan product? Or rather, how many of you would buy a made in Pakistan product? If yes, why – and if no- why not? What are the associations in your mind vis-à-vis that country? Some may view it as an enemy; some as an underdeveloped nation incapable of manufacturing good products; point is that these have nothing to do with the 4Ps of Marketing, and yet have a significant and defined impact on the Brand’s fortunes in the market. The question is, can we spot major shifts, trends in the external environment that can be our guide in understanding Patanjali?


One such possibility is Make In India / Indian Products; here again, we run into major trouble when we expand and consider that there are other companies across industries which are definedly Indian, or Make In India. And yet, not one has managed to match Patanjali and its speed and success so far as I am aware. Why should that be the case? What is it that is so different that can explain the phenomenal growth and consumer pull? That to me is the key; the competition is missing this simple reality. A holistic analysis would take us in another direction, when we consider trendlines in the society as well as in corporate India / consumer behaviour & choice / market trends across industries / economic realities…


This is the subject of the second part of the this analysis… watch this space as we look at Brand Associations, Society Trends, Industry and Consumer Trendlines. Consumer Noise & Pull, The Phenomenal Pull Of the Patanjali Brand. This is frankly a subject of research, and should ideally be a research in some top management institute as well as Brand Managements functions  of Major Corporations, as frankly I see Patanjali as yet another indication of the seismic shift in Indian Choices, which are established players would be well to pay attention to…

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