Back Of Pack (BOP) is the New Front Of Pack (FOP)
Source of Credibility:
Nivea’s Blue Dabba, Dove’s 1/4th moisturizing cream are at the heart of the belief & trust around these products. These brands hence do stand for CARE. These can be called temple ingredients or products, which give an aura not just to a particular product but to the entire product category. These are temple ingredients / products which give back to the entire portfolio of products umbrealled under the mother brand.
For more on “Temple Ingredient/product” strategy refer to: http://bit.ly/1StDjBd
Patanjali has a vastly different source. A source which comes from spirituality/divinity & health. Unlike commercial brands, Patnajali’s source credibility was beamed into consumers hearts & minds early in the mornings via television sets.
Baba Ramdev garnered great equity for spiritual & physical well being. Propagated yoga, with him & his body being the most visible proof point for the success of this approach.
While preaching pranayaam, humans being made with “prakriti” / nature was strongly embedded into peoples minds and dialed-up age old beliefs around Ayurvedic & natural which were still prevalent today.
Brand Ramdev hence stood for more than just spirituality, he also stood for body (read health) benefits of ayurveda.
Hence brand Patanjali has a source credibility which is unbeatable.
Triggers for massification:
India is seeing a contrasting trend while it comes to packaged foods. At the bottom of the pyramid packaged goods represent safety & hygiene. So many categories are still under penetrated, that efforts for conversion from loose/unpackaged is still on (example: Soya Bean brands at the rural level are casting doubts over the safety & hygiene of loose soya, promising the safety in packaged at the factory and preserved) , while in the middle & the top of the pyramid there are strong trends of distrust towards packaged goods.
Packaged goods are being seen as full of chemicals, not being hygienically packed and lack of honesty & transparency in claims (from manufacturing to delivery to shelf). Socio-culturally, the brand controversies around Colas & Chocolates, to the latest noodles is further augmenting these fears.
Primarily around food & beverage and personal care these fears are heightened. While on the other hand lifestyle diseases are plaguing India, with India slated to become the Diabetes capital of the world soon. Hence pro-active healthcare products from your Chyavanprash to amla murabbas etc; are also on the rise.
Aloe Vera products, Basil & Ginger concoctions are being recommended by doctors for hyper acidity & various other ailments. This is further raising consumer consciousness about natural based proactive health care. You also see your Face Book timelines being flooded by sponsored posts & shares from friends featuring tips to live naturally and organically. Living Traditionally & Organic India are few of the many such pages recommending natural remedies and also casting aspirations on commercial brands.
Social Media has also been the loud speaker raising fears & casting aspirations on commercially packaged goods. Whether it is the anti-shampoo movement “no-poo” movement in the west, “return to naturals movements” like coconut oil based products as being good for health movements based out of Australia or anti-bottled water movement in the US, social media brings these news right to your door step. So “consciousness of consumption” is on the rise at all strata of the Indian society.
& presto you see a strong foot print of Patanjali products primarily in these categories of pro-active health care, OTC remedies, Food & beverage categories and personal care.
Well one would naturally assume the core TG for Patanjali to be middle & lower middle class who are less westernized in their attitudes towards life and all those who see Aastha channel and baba Ramdev discourses. But then you would be completely wrong.
You would be surprised that this brand’s TG and loyal consumers stretch across all SEC’s and reach up to even LSM 11 & 12 (which would be your premium Dove/Loreal Consumer as well). Mind you quite a lot of them would not be those who are still of traditional Indian mindset, a lot of them would also include your Gucci & Prada sporting fashionistas and some from even the advertising & marketing fraternity (I know quite a few who vouch by some of these products).
So Patanjali has consumers across LSM’s based on their product portfolio. While I see the higher LSM’s using the pro-active healthcare products (aloe Vera, etc;). I also see these higher LSM’s adopting tooth pastes and honey and ghee as well.
While the mid level LSM’s of 4 & 5 (Unilever’s bastion + key focus for growth) would be the households which could adopt the personal care products and the food & beverage products as well. Nestlé’s Maggi needs to expand to & below this LSM too and this LSM would definitely be open to Patanjali noodles.
From Ghee to shampoo and Chyavanprash, the LSM 4/5/6 households might just be the “New Patanjali” households like we used to have Unilever households. I doubt at this point of time and with their current brand craft, whether Patanjali would be able to tempt the higher LSM’s into adopting beauty care or food & beverage products.
However an elite range of products with the right semiotics from packaging to retail design to communication craft would definitely make inroads in the higher LSM’s as well. Beauty Care and F&B for higher LSM’s would need a completely different approach from Patanjali’s current mass+ approach.
Hence I do see this brand eating into the share of many non-traditional brands beyond the traditional those like Dabur, Jyothi, Emami etc;.
Brand & Comms Craft:
Recognizing the fact that the baba is at the core of their source credibility, Patanjali has ensured that their brand & comms craft is not centered only around that.
For a more elaborate look at Patanjali’s communication efforts, do refer to my dear friend @prabhakar ‘s incisive comm analysis here: http://bit.ly/1QkL0Iz
Apart from the instigative comms crafted, they are very strategically putting place other brand pillars.
Though they leverage Ramdev, they also have an ayurvedic institute & a health care committee which are slowly but surely being built into the narrative. They are your counter to the P&G and Unilever’s labs. Strategically beyond a single person, these institutes are faceless and hence can sustain the brand even through any damage to Baba Ramdev’s credibility.
You also see “movement marketing” in its brand craft. “Swasth yevam samruddh bharat abhiyaan”. The movement for a healthy & hence prosperous India is also being communicated with every particular TVC & communication piece.
Every movement has ambassadors and all the Ramdev foot soldiers not only adopt. But also advocate these products and so do many others who have used these products and are convinced. Whether LSM 4/5 or LSM 10/11 once a consumer is convinced about this product they will advocate it as well.
The “healthy & prosperous India” movement is a great activation platform with amazing consumer engagement possibilities. Using this one could easily craft school programs, college programs and even office programs. I would simply combine yoga & this movement and create strategic marketing engagement initiatives.
This movement well crafted with better semiotics can actually cut through all LSM’s, because beyond the ‘Swadeshi’ zeitgeist and political associations, Patanjali is managing to craft into its brand core imagery of Ayurvedic/Natural/Pro-active”. These will stand the test of time, as long as the brand slowly starts operating as a stand alone.
Baba Ramdev is the apt stimulus for the first phase of the launch of this brand. It has managed to make the brand defy gravity, however for it to reach orbit and sustain itself…slowly but surely there is a stand-alone nature that needs to be crafted in. While the Baba will continue to keep adding into the brand’s popularity and penetration from the outside, the brand can already be seen leaning on the other pillars (the Divya Yog Mandir Trust and Patanjali Yog Peeth) being created for it.
There are great stories of specially grown endangered herbs, care of manufacturing in ensuring that “from the grass to the glass” products are safe etc; which can be taken to main stream media and popularized which will see the brand get more robust cut-through & conversion even amongst the higher LSM’s. Possibly another range which is a little more sophisticated in its semiotics but without losing the humility, approachability and earthiness of the mother brand could actually make this a brand capable of straddling all LSM’s with different ranges and different product portfolios.
Undercutting other brands on pricing speaks for itself and does not need to be elaborated upon.
Last but not the least worthy of mention is the brand’s distribution strategy. While they have gone e-tail and hence opened up a whole lot of consumer households, with this move they are also acquiring a few hues of suitable-modernity and “with the times”.
While the distributors/retailers the brand is also getting are not just any commercial retailers. They are bhakts and converts to this way of living. Hence unlike any other brands your retailer/distributor advocacy for the brand is very high and from the core. Many a major brand that I know of would die for this kind of a pull. Again this comes from such a poignant source credibility.
This brand can also be seen making strong ventures into modern retail and hence leaving no retail channel untouched.
The one last thing I would love to leave you with is CSR. This brand has managed to uniquely link its CSR initiative with retail. You do see small Patanjali stores being run by the differently abled and the poor. Like Lions club used to sponsor STD booths to small Kirana stores for the under privileged, Patanjali is also doing the same.
This adds immense goodwill to the brand.
Watch Out: This following social media share best warns Patanjali of not being in a rush and hence getting their product ingredient stories right. Should Patanjali rather than not enter some product categories, if it cannot manage to provide natural is a question that must act as a filter for variants and product categories selection. For Patanajali is the brand which has made BOP (Back of Pack) into the FOP (Front Of Pack) in mainstream FMCG categories.
Social Media is educating consumers that a green streak of colour on the BOP of a toothpaste means it is natural and black means fully chemical. So forget the mainstream brands, Patanjali needs to be doubly careful of not being out’ed for flouting the rules it has just set.
Excerpts of my thought piece on the same along with the thoughts of few great thinksters have been published in the following article in @AFAQS as well.
You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/1OrqwLJ
Howl back with your thoughts would love to learn and grow J