I had been thinking of writing this for quite some time now.It is a quiet revolution happening.
Think about the brand of soap,shampoo,biscuits or any other FMCG product in your house.
What are the brands that you can see?
If you belong to a normal middle class Indian household,the chances are that you will be having a Godrej,Unilever and ...a Patanjali product there.
Patanjali?..yes you read it right.Middle class Indians are taking to the yoga guru's product in a substantial way.A couple of months back,we decided to cut down on sugar and switch over to honey instead.When we searched the supermarkets,we found that Patanjali honey was quite cheaper compared to the others in the same category.Needless to say,we bought a couple of those jars.
I thought I was an exception,going for lesser known Desi brands.But No.
I discovered it when one of my colleagues suggested I use Patanjali shampoo for hair fall control.What?
Soon Patanjali became a topic of discussion at tea time and lunch break.Some friends suggested that they didn't like the quality of some products.Others disagreed.As for me,I didn't have any complaints.
The yoga guru seems to be a marketing guru as well.He has priced the products right and introduced them at the right time when there is a growing awareness to use traditional products.Unlike other FMCG products which ride on the strength of TV commercials,Patanjali products ride on the trust their owner commands.The guru has a great fan following across the country and his products are sold as an extension of the admiration he receives from his followers.
Not only that.He seems to have got his marketing tricks right.The products are sold via established retail outlets as well as Patanjali's own outlets.The Patanjali outlets are not very posh looking but are located in most of the important urban middle class localities.When Maggi Noodles were withdrawn after a huge hue and cry,Baba Ramdev took over with his own version of Patanjali Noodles.He is leaving no stone unturned.
Who would have thought of a yoga guru becoming an FMCG superstar?. Only the great Baba could pull it off.I am beginning to become his admirer. Mind you,I am neither an yoga practitioner nor am I interested in God Men.But Baba Ramdev's shrewd marketing skills has really won over me.
India has seen many yoga gurus earlier also.Either they were fitness enthusiasts or propagated yoga in a spiritual sense.And stopped with that.Nobody dared to do what he is doing.He was expected to practice and propagate yoga and Indian traditions and spirituality.He did that by making and marketing Ayurveda-based FMCG products.And in that process,he is raking in millions.That makes him an unlikely FMCG Tycoon.
The other unlikely FMCG Tycoon is the Tamilnadu State Government.Right from doling out mineral water bottles priced at Rs.10,the government seems to have got itself into marketing lot of FMCG products.Amma vegetable shops,Amma Canteens,Amma Medical shops..,a big list there.Amma is rocking!. All these are priced at lower rates so that the average consumer can enjoy the benefits.
I do not know if the economics of running a government permits all this,but definitely it is helping the common man who is burdened with inflation.
Looking at these two examples,I am left wondering if we are seeing a reversal of consumerism. It is not a huge change but slowly somewhere down the line,these two have addressed the growing needs of a rising middle class in their own way. And by doing so,they are giving the big FMCG companies,a run for their money.