It is fairly obvious that Patanjali has now got good traction. If it is headed to Rs. 10,000 crores in turn over it is obviously a big enough brand for the Colgate, HUL, etc. to sit up and take notice.

Patanjali is selling for 3 main reasons – one is that people think it is more organic and less chemical driven like the mnc products, and people like a ‘patriotic’ feeling – and are happy to contribute to an Indian company instead of an mnc, and of course there is price.

Now if you are a FMCG company in India how will you react to this development? You need to live, thrive and protect your market share and margin. Remember what gives good solid pricing power is some kind of a proprietary technology or a strong brand. So the brand has to be protected at all costs…so here are the steps:

  1. Get the press to write about ‘quality’ tests done in random labs: this is one of the best ways to scare men and women from buying poor quality stuff – so biscuits, honey, soap, toothpaste, brush…are all attacked a little subtly so that there is a whisper campaign. One neighbor whispers ‘the ghee is really full of vanaspati I HEARD’ or ‘my servant was telling me that her hands burn if she uses the Patanjali bar soap for washing utensils…’ . Such rumors well planted can cause a lot of damage. When Nirma was launched such attempts were made.
  2. Talk about how ‘Baba’ run companies may not comply with the strict laws: this one is easy. In a country where the laws were made by 30,000 Englishmen to control 30,00,00,000 it is easy to find violations. ‘Not reporting that you changed the components’ or ‘you informed us after 43 days..actually you had to do it in 39’ kinda things are easy to find. Just recruit a dog and the sniffing can happen. Remember Gen. V K Singh’s word for the media? So this too is not very difficult to manage.
  3. Poor Corporate Governance: Baba is a bachelor, but his devotees are not! So it will not be very difficult to find some corporate governance issues in any business. Running a huge company and pretending that he cannot find a successor is a corporate governance issue too – why is the press not chasing such non=agerians do they? They do not have an agenda to chase him.
  4. Good product but poor packaging: Easy low hanging fruit to attack. Attack the quality of the outer wrapper, attack the quality of tube, quality of the toothpaste tube cap. Once you attack this and tell people ‘a broken cap can mean that the toothpaste can be infected’ it will throw people out of the queue or buying Patanjali products.
  5. Talk about black money: as our paragons of virtue the FMCG manufacturers do not deal with cash, they start a smear campaign saying ‘Patanjali’ is not so clean..etc. etc. So a few ‘pure’ and ‘white’ customers start worrying about this.
  6. Rubbish the content: “Subra we all know that biscuits have to have maida..why is he claiming it is wheat? Such questions planted on FB can easily get 10,000 hits…and sow the seeds of doubt.

See what all are going to happen…..LOL and continue to buy the same stuff…i have been using honey, biscuits, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, room freshener …..

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  1. Seriously, this one is a pre-emptive effort to make Patanjali look good 🙂 Baba bhakt … not a bad thing at all. To each his own. Let the MNCs battle it out and may the best win!

  2. trust me the way these so called multinational companies manage the quality to reduce cost will make you stop using their products all together, it is not possible to maintain standards when mass producing there is no getting away from this fact, if only one could see the production process for most of the food items…..

  3. My Family member works in Lab which does PATANJALI Product testing. All products pass, not just for reporting but actually. That’s a big confidence.

  4. Patanjali is selling for 2 reasons – reasonably good quality and price . It needs to stick to these two things and its dream run will continue for a long time .

  5. Read “the new confessions of economic hit man”, John Perkins. And United fruit company adventures in Latin America. You’d know why there is a lot that can and will be done to down this new threat.

  6. not sure about the company, but i did note that the patanjali outlets do not provide receipts for any amount & deal with cash only. if you don’t like it, you can step out of the long line – they couldn’t care less…
    it was a surprise them to see the products at big bazaar – where this might not apply…

  7. I think we Indians have very short memory.
    Do you remember some company called “NIRMA” came out with a “washing powder” and threatened none other than HUL (HLL at that time). See what happened to NIRMA 30 years down the line. NIRMA as a brand is relegated to only for “economically weaker section of the society” / washing heavy clothes like beddings etc during Diwali,etc. / washing floors, etc. For your info, NIRMA is having almost static growth in their detergent powder category for almost a decade now. At the time of launch and its juggernaut journey in the early 80s, it created a huge stomach churning in HUL’s top brass not only in India but in their HQ also ( see at that time, the turnover of India operations was only 5% to their global operations unlike today) and that they had no reason to worry about an emerging brand called “NIRMA”. But they created a special cell in their business to counter NIRMA called “STING” means “Strategy to inhibit Nirma Growth” in India.
    Don’t underestimate the talent and capability of these large companies – irrespective of whether they are Indian or MNC companies.
    Have you seen recent ad by Dabur (an Indian company by all means) on Honey. Please see this ad.
    There will be a bombardment of retaliation by all competitors whether Indian or MNC and let’s review after 10 years who survives.
    History tells us a different lesson.
    Will it be different in India this time.
    I do not know.
    Only the time will tell.
    Keep patience and do not write obituary so soon.

  8. lakshminarasimman

    to kamal:

    beautiful example on ad and sting operations

    when colgate tooth powder (not paste.. it used to come in steel dabba white colour red band ) came out

    the ads used to mock a villager using salt and coal on his teeth..

    now almost 30 years later they are advertising salt and charcoal in their paste recommended by american dental association!

    as long as stupid people buy based on stupid ads, companies will survive

  9. kamal garg – i still have fmcg shares. I know this country has enough people who still think it is below their dignity to buy Indian products, travel by bus, stay in a rented house, etc.

    so i have shares of fmcg, ultratech cement, hdfc, hdfc bank, ta mo dvr,…and i use patanjali products…jaisa kahte hain na…pat bhi mera chit be mera

  10. The point is not what you or I use / consume at our homes.
    The point is will this juggernaut survive next decade.
    Large number of Indian companies are MNCs today ( I am talking about beyond IT companies ) be it pharma, tyre, chemical, etc.
    Many of the top deck at largest and most successful companies today is manned by great Indian talent.
    Too early to write obituary.

  11. I use the following products – Amla juice, Aloe vera juice, Aloe vera gel, Giloy tablets, Badam Pak, Face wash, scrub, biscuits, noodles and choclolates. The quality of Patanjali is not excellent but EXCEPTIONAL! One needs to use Patanjali products to know what their quality is, no need to perform any tests. The noodles doesn’t cause stomcach bloating like Maggi and same are their whole-wheat made biscuits. The chocolate quality is the best even compared to American chocolates.

  12. We need to wait and watch how Patanjali and Sri Sri business evolves. They have created enough presence for MNCs to take notice. However, it has to be seen on how spiritual businesses do on various counts-regulatory aspects, quality, taxation, product innovation, etc. It’s too early to announce them a winner in the game. Who knows they may get caught in their own success and make some major blunders leading to destroying the business. Please try to recall what happened to Baba Ramdev during Anna Hajare andolan. His assessment of the situation was way off the mark.

    We can’t undermine the global talent with MNCs. Some of the best brains produced by our country are working for MNCs.

  13. Subra is the ultimate winner along with millions more. Thats a new beginning, with alert consumers, the table may turn in favour of the nascent products commercialised, though these used to be household products until now.

  14. Dont understand why this article? Are we saying only MNC brands are good and not desi?..consumers are liking patanjali and giving MNC’s the shove.

  15. Ram: Obviously, yes. But what surprised me is the lack of basic knowledge in this article. Look at the 6th point. There is not even common sense applied. Take 4 biscuits from both Patanjali and similar wheat flour (maida) biscuits from any of this author’s favourite MNC companies and eat them one by one you will realize the difference. The article is not in good taste, the author might be thinking that either the people who are using Patanjali products are unintelligent or those who are (still) using MNC products are more intelligent! By the way, Baba Ram Dev when questioned said this – “Our products are not cheap, they are priced correctly. It is the MNC products that are priced too expensive for their quality”. I don’t think the author really made ground work while praising his favourite MNC (stocks). There is a company called JHS Svendgaard which is also a listed company. The same company is the manufacturer for Patanjali brush and also also to Oral-B, Pepsodent, Colgate, HUL etc. It doesn’t matter which brand it is, it only matters how the end quality of the product is. Patanjali most likely cross Godrej’s figures which has been in market for more than a decade in next 6 months. That just shows acceptace of Patanjali quality. We Indians have habit of praising MNCs even without understanding the quality behind those products. No wonder we have people who call a good product cheap just because they are using expensive low quality products.

  16. I bought Patanjali honey yesterday afternoon. Later in the evening while I was watching the reality show ‘So you think you can dance’ I noticed a Dabur ad. on the importance of buying FSSAI approved honey. I went back and checked if Patanjali honey had cleared this test. To my surprise, Patanjali honey did not have FSSAI clearance. Good clever ad. by Dabur!

  17. these are the reasons patanjali products are making their market
    1: consumers are given option of new product with pricing and quality options example honey in patanjali advertisement provides the price of competitors with a gap of 50 Rs and with no1 quality.

    2: Made in Bharat is printed of patanjali products and baba too says in advertisement use swadeshi to support our country producers and farmers.
    he too supports all his competitors indian brands like dabur,himalaya etc.

    3:Price is competitive and low as they don’t have any high marketing cost,hema malini and baba are working for free.

    4: Baba is independent of patanjali and throwing his power to show how bad MNC product are , the same HUL and other companies ceo’s cannot do the same.Bala is taking care of patanjali and Baba is taking care of marketing and spreading the swadeshi and using every opportunity to add more crores to patanjali be it drought,rain,quake any

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