Baba Ramdev is not a typical Hindu guru or a baba who preaches and gives discourses on Vedas or Upanishads. He is a Yoga Guru who teaches and motivates people to practice yoga, he also insists people to use natural products or go back to swadeshi products. So what? The same is being done or said by thousands of gurus since ages in this country. He is not the one who has invented or discovered Yoga; He does not speak an Oxford English to communicate, still what makes him unique and different from his contemporaries and powerful Modern Brands. With the style and attire of an age old Hindu saint, Brand Baba Ramdev has become an institution to study and learn from; lets look at the Ramdev Brand and how it has evolved as an Icon of the 21st century.
Brand positioning is very important in creating a brand, but it is very difficult for individuals to strategize in their initial career building time. An individual starts evolving as a brand, most of the time, without much strategy in place. Initial struggle to identify themselves with a strong idea, less means to market themselves and their ideas, competition etc.. make most of them, not able to have a clear brand positioning. But in case of Baba Ramdev, he chose himself a unique path by taking every one as a potential target group without defining the age group, rich or poor, literate or illiterate. He chose to be a brand, which gives clear identity as a Yoga Guru. The one who practices Yoga, teaches Yoga, believes in Swadeshi and Swadeshi Products, making himself a brand Ramdev, a household name where people start their day watching his program religiously. No other yoga guru of our times has impacted every one so much and he actually became the ambassador of Yoga and name synonyms with Yoga today.
While Prime Minister Modi may take the credit for pushing UN to declare an International Yoga day, the primary force behind this decision is definitely Baba Ramdev. Today many states have made it mandatory to have Yoga Classes in school ; Our armed forces and police forces have added Yoga as a part of their routine practices; You can find people in parks and even in gyms practicing yoga ; which was not the case a decade ago. It may be injustice to many of our gurus if we give the entire credit to Baba, but there is no doubt that Baba Ramdev is definitely the driving force for such a movement in our country and the brand Baba Ramdev clearly identifies itself as a Yoga Guru and an ultimate super yoga brand.
Communication is the most essential part of brand creation and often this alone can make and destroy a brand. While a good communication strategy may help a brand to create overnight and in the same time a bad communication strategy can take a brand nowhere. This is where Brand Baba Ramdev has really won over everyone else. His choice of both communication style and communication channels have been very different from the rest, in fact both his predecessors and contemporaries have been competing with each other to follow his style. His communication is simple and through a pure normal Hindi language. He doesn’t look for those heavy diplomatic words to communicate; he speaks from the heart without making any effort to give any special effect to it. It is the language of a common man and people from all walks of life can easily identify themselves with it. He is not an orator, yet he can hold on to people with his simple talk for hours. Politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats to the common men attend his yoga classes and he makes sure that they all are given the sessions at the same time without any special category. Most spiritual gurus are good in giving discourses and explaining the religious books and try to connect the modern living of ours, he only talks about yoga and try to prove the scientific benefits of it. He challenges modern medicine practitioners against the power of yoga, in fact, most of the time, you find him proving that the Yoga is a one stop solution for both your physical and mental problems. Baba Ramdev’s communication is simple, grounded yet very strong which makes a very effective brand of today.
Brand Ramdev, never loses an opportunity:
Having an opinion on your domain is called expert opinion. But Baba Ramdev would have his own opinion about anything under the sun, if asked, and at many times, he gets into controversies because of that. At some times, it seems, as if Baba Ramdev is always in love with controversies, but the art lies in making each of these controversies in his favor. He was an integral part of the Anna movement and took on to the then Manmohan Singh Government. He was one of the very few religious leaders who supported Prime Minister Modi during the 2014 election campaign, his cadres have openly supported and worked for BJP during the Lok Sabha election. His criticisms and war against the corruption along side ideas such as withdrawal of all 500 and 1000 notes, black money figures abroad etc… have made him a part of the daily discourse 24x7 news channels. From Yoga Guru to a Socio-Political figure, the growth of Brand Baba Ramdev was definitely astounding for a marketing strategist like me.
The challenge for any brand is to choose the right channels to communicate and be selective about your expert area, yes this is taught in communication classes, in case of Baba Ramdev, you can find him all over the places, irrespective of the category of TV channels, or an event you can find him every where, his way of a branding is to be visible 24x7 and now of course being a brand ambassador of his own brand Patanjali. It’s a tough game he has chosen because over visibility too at times kill the brand image rather than making it more powerful, having said this so far, we must admit Brand Baba Ramdev has been able to make every opportunity in his favour.
From Yoga to Brand Patanjali:
If the Yoga was the seed for Baba Ramdev, the yield is brand Patanjali. a brand he established with Ayurveda, nature as a base and marketing it as Swadeshi product, the growth of brand Patanjali has taken as surprise the well established corporate players in the sector. Launching new products almost every day from toothpastes to medicines, soaps to grocery, there is hardly anything that Patanjali has not touched in such a short span. He is the brand ambassador to his own company with the clear communication strategy ‘touch the Indians emotionally with the Swadeshi tag’ and ‘purity, natural product’ which is the most concerned issue in every mind. Like brand Baba, Brand Patanjali too has become a super brand in no time and fast becoming a part of our daily life.
From a Yoga Guru to a corporate honcho the growth of Brand Baba Ramdev is phenomenal. We can find as many as critics like his followers that also shows the power of a brand. No matter what his critics says - Baba Ramdev has grown as powerful and influential brand in our country. You may not like him but you can’t ignore Brand Baba Ramdev.