Patanjali's Rise- A psychological Analysis
The Swadeshi Baba Bomb A Psychological analysis of Patanjali’s Rise Marketing through spirituality has become one of the best strategies to capture India’s market. Many spiritual organisations can be seen launching their products in the market. With Yoga and Pranayam being considered the prime facets of spirituality, Baba Ramdev has been able to woo the Indian population and gather massive support. Not only in yoga but baba and his brainchild - Patanjali has rocked the corporate space as well with Patanjali gearing up to cross 1 trillion mark in the next 10 years. Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. has already overplayed the major companies like Nestle, Godrej, Dabur etc. and is behind only HUL. Company’s revenue had doubled to Rs 10,000 crores during the last financial year. But in all these, one question is worth pondering upon. Why are consumers preferring only Patanjali while choosing from similar products when already experienced companies like Himalaya and Dabur also came up with the products which claimed to be herbal-made? In this case of ours, we tried to study this meteoric rise of Patanjali through a psychological lens. We found 3 factors to be majorly affecting Patanjali namely Baba Ramdev, it’s work culture and the consumers. And through a general secondary analysis, we have tried to decipher how it has affected Patanjali. Baba Ramdev: Patanjali’s steep rise has got many factors involved in it and one prime factor is the name of Baba Ramdev with it. Baba is seen as a brand ambassador and is also a central figure when it comes to planning and decision making for the Patanjali. It has got to do a lot with Baba’s personality and his reputation in public. So a personality analysis of Baba Ramdev would yield to our cause. Physiological and Safety needs With no doubt, Baba Ramdev’s Physiological and Safety needs are assured. This ensures us the opportunity to analyse his other needs. To seek love, to be loved, to love ourselves With years of yoga teaching, he has gained huge popularity all over the world; he has already surpassed this level in the hierarchy of needs. He is loved by his followers because the latter believe that they owe their health to him. He also has a sense of love and respect for his followers. To seek self-esteem With the help of his reputation of a health crusader and a messiah for alternate health solution, he has acquired a great sense of self-esteem. It can easily be traced from his body language and his voice of opinion. Self Actualization Baba Ramdev is a self-aware person. He knows his strength and loves to play on it. This fact is clearly stated from some of his interview scripts. He is loving and caring or at least presents himself to be. Ramdev Baba has got an opinion of his own. He has founded an institution called Bharat Swabhimaan to instigate and voice his political thoughts, thus his opinions are not paralyzed by others. He works towards a public rather than the personal goal- his sole motto for promoting swadeshikaran of products. Patanjali, under the guidance of Baba Ramdev, has prospered a lot in recent years due to his sole interest to increase sales rather than profit. This proves that he is working for a greater cause. He presents himself and other employees of Patanjali as sevak. He not only considers himself to be working for a greater cause, but he also makes his employees believe the same. Baba Ramdev became paralyzed at a very young age of two and a half years. We can analyse this part of his life with the help of Post- Trauma Growth theory appropriately. After paralysis, he chose yoga to cure himself. This instills in him a sense of respect for yoga. This part of his life proves his resilience. At this point of time, he had started having clarity of what's most important in life. Quite in contrast to a normal life where a person pursues schooling, Baba chose to study ancient scriptures and yoga. Knowingly or unknowingly, Baba Ramdev had a sense of being for a greater cause right since his early years. Baba Ramdev worries less for acquiring material possessions and money. In case of Patanjali too, he executes the same attitude. He focusses more on sales of the company rather than profit. The Consumers Earlier the FMCG market, particularly the food and beverages was flooded with adulterated items that were detrimental to the health of an Indian customer. Patanjali has reached the households by targeting this citizen's belief of collective unconscious, termed by Jung, that is a repressed feeling in the mind of Indian citizens that Ayurveda has a potential to cure everything and herbs has got no side effects on our health. The customer's ego and conscious thoughts are protected by the defence mechanism- rationalisation, by which they may give self-justifying explanation “Baba ji ne kaha hai…” as a reason to assure themselves that they are in safe hands while using Patanjali product without any substantial proof. This is backed up by the Baba Ramdev’s tremendous job to break the concept of fear in common mass about the harm caused by Pranayam. Moreover, the word of mouth, publicity, yoga campus and free health check-ups has also conditioned the minds of the customer on Patanjali’s behalf. In future Patanjali will be seen more customer, that will look over the use of the traditional product as a trend and the customer base will increase as a result of conformity bias, that is the tendency to behave similarly to the others in a group, even if doing so without any rational judgement.The younger population is watching their parents following Baba Ramdev’s yoga lessons and using Patanjali products. They will also start using the Patanjali products as a result of the identification process, given by Freud, by which the younger population will try to incorporate their parent's values in future. Patanjali’s work culture: Patanjali follows a peculiar work culture based on the lines of Indian traditions and values. Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balakrishna and Ram Bharat ( Ramdev’s brother) are considered as gurus and often greeted by touching feet by the workers as a symbol of respect. There is a centralised system of administration with most of the decisions being taken by the 3 men at the top with consultation from executives. There are not any standard roundtable meetings as it used to happen in a normal firm but a subtle Indian version of assembly wherein Baba Ramdev sits on an elevated place and everybody sits on the same floor. There is an existence of Gurubhai culture wherein employees consider themselves as the disciples of the same guru and thus, equal. With the tinge of the tradition, Baba has been able to create an environment of acceptance, genuineness and empathy.(Carl Rogers person-centred perspective). this unconventional approach to the business might also bolster creativity and innovation. The employees see themselves not as normal workers of a firm but as workers of a swadeshi movement and thus the work is recasted as seva, as a contribution to a bigger cause i.e. the mother India. As a result of the above, often the workers do not mind low wages and Patanjali is able to produce effectively and at a lower cost, thus outsmarting the competition. With this concept of Seva, workers are able to realise both the intrinsic and the extrinsic goals of theirs and thus feel greater satisfaction.(matching hypothesis) With all the above, Patanjali has been using the best of the management techniques and technologies of the west and has also set a benchmark in the supply-chain management. Conclusion With deep understanding, Baba Ramdev has been successful in blending the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda with the modern technology. He is never seen as a corporate conservative, rather he has an image of a colourful crusader of swadeshi. Under him, Patanjali has created a benchmark in the Indian market in a very short time. The customers have also started seeing this as their support to Made in India campaign. The rise of Patanjali has also indicated that the future of Indian market is not only depended on the technology and modernity but also on how well a company can play upon the fears and sentiments of the public.
A success story
On April 1, 2001, Anil Kesavan and his partners at Vertex, then a Rs 22 crore Bangalore-based sub-distributor dealing with printers and peripherals from HP, Samsung and Epson decided to quit sub distribution. A decision which was quite bold considering that Vertex was virtually the 'Printer King' of Bangalore, and was in the same business for over six years with more than 50 loyal and credit-worthy resellers. The company became a corporate reseller overnight, selling PCs, laptops and servers to the corporate market in Bangalore. In the very next year (2001-02), Vertex saw its revenues dip to a measly Rs 7 crore from the Rs 22 crore it had notched up the previous year. "It was a tough call, but we needed to take it and the timing had to be right. Buying from distributors and then selling to other resellers wasn't making sense any more with margins hovering at around 4-5 percent," says Kesavan, Director, Vertex. "What was the value addition we were providing? We were moving stock from one warehouse to another though we kept very limited stock." However Kesavan is quick to point out that they did more business selling directly to end-users despite a low top-line compared to their heydays in sub-distribution. From Rs 7 crore in 2001 to Rs 60 crore in the last fiscal year, Vertex has grown on an average of 50 percent year-on-year. Today, the company boasts of offices not just in Bangalore but also in Chennai, Kochi, Coimbatore and Pune, and has staff strength of 75. Earlier, last year, Vertex entered the retail space with India's first AMD exclusive showroom. Kesavan admits that it was not easy to get out of sub-distribution. "For a player who is used to the comforts of sub-distribution where he is pampered by the vendors and distributors, and has customers who walk-in and buy or call him over the phone and strike a deal, moving to a direct sales model where he needs to call on customers is difficult. We were lucky because we never compromised on our basic principles on inventory and credit policy. Today, with the market growing in size and the competition intensifying, most sub-distributors have extended credit to most of their partners, thus increasing their risks." He insists that he has never allowed anyone to pile up their inventories on his company, and has never succumbed to pressure from distributors or vendors on stocking. "Unfortunately, all around me, I see many sub-distributors who are forced to dance to the tunes of the vendor as well as the distributor," he says. "This is not healthy since they operate on such thin margins, and with a few hundred resellers, the risks are huge. " According to Kesavan, fundamentally there were few choices for a sub-distributor as was his case back in 2001. "You have to scale up, which means become a large national distributor or at least a regional one. A scale-down on the other hand limits your exposure, which means lesser profits. The last option is to get out of sub-distribution to pursue a better business model. We chose the last and entered a market which was completely new territory." Says Kesavan: "There is very little that changes in the game. The rules remain the same, but the presentation and approach are different." He feels that one of the bigger challenges for a sub-distributor to grow or alter its business model is the cultural change, the adapting to and understanding how the new business works. "If you need to grow your business, you must trust people and gain your team's confidence. Only then can you grow your business," he says.One of the reasons for Vertex's success story is that it stayed away from end-users who were likely to delay payments (such as the government, defense and public sector) and focused only on corporate entities. Kesavan believes that in a market like India where business works more on relationships than on any tangible process or principle, sub-distribution and sub-distributors will survive. "At the end of the day, both vendors and distributors (who do not have a direct relationship with an end-user) have targets to meet. Especially toward quarter- and month-ends, they will face pressure to deplete stocks from their warehouses. That is where sub-distributors will still be handy," he says. "However, whether it makes sense for a person to be in sub-distribution or not is a question which the person needs to figure out. He needs to analyze his cost of inventory, financing costs, ageing inventory, potential bad debts and other things. Awareness about these figures is what matters."