Why Patanjali is the poster child for Content Marketing
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you have heard about Baba Ramdev. The yogi who redefined Yoga for the modern generation and cultivated a cult following among young and old people alike. From giving out free Yoga sessions to villagers, to a multinational Billion-Dollar Ayurveda corporation, his journey makes up for cases studies at prestigious management institutes.
The other day, I came across an article by the New York Times which talked about how Ramdev was responsible for Modi’s rise (It’s a brilliant read, you should check it out). People talk about his influence and the, frankly unparalleled, business sense. However, most people do not talk about his marketing genius. The foundation for Patanjali was probably laid way before it’s launch of products in the Indian and International Markets. Frankly, I feel he is a Content Marketing genius and modern professionals have a lot to learn from him.
Make the most of what you have.
Ramdev used to teach yoga even before he was televised in 2003. His popularity skyrocketed after being featured on Aastha Television during the morning slot. That spiralled into television deals, on-ground camps and foreign camps that people attended in thousands. From Bollywood celebrities to political giants, he has taught yoga to all. There is only one constant; Yoga. He knew the ways to a healthy life and was never afraid to share them. With bold claims that yoga can cure cancer, he established himself as a, so-called, “Thought Leader”
Don’t just start selling before you market.
His yoga sessions never mentioned his company (or, trust, if you prefer). All it demonstrated and talked about was a healthy lifestyle and the benefits that Yoga provides. He publicised that lifestyle to people who had long been living with a protruding belly, exhaustion and unhealthy food habits. The simple techniques that you can practice at home combined with the soothing music in the background, his television sessions encouraged people to go out (or, stay in) and exercise. The simple fact is that a little bit of exercise goes a long way and once people started to see difference, they were convinced.
Customer testimonials are king.
This is a good one. Have you ever noticed that almost all his sessions include testimonials? Getting people to talk about how you changed their lives is much better than telling people how you changed countless lives. This is something a lot of companies lack these days. They talk the talk but can never really walk the walk. Getting people, who have used your product or service, to tell others how it changed the way they function is going to drive popularity in your favour. Most companies do that by way of small testimonials on their websites or a case study stuffed somewhere. Once you start treating your customers well and bring them to the front of your marketing strategies, people will respond to your content much better.
Create a brand that resonates with people.
Selling toothpastes and hygiene products is not old, companies have been doing that for ages. Patanjali did something that no other company had done before. They evoke the feeling of Nationalism among the citizens of this country. The brand resonated with the masses who felt that abolishing foreign products and using Patanjali somehow made them healthy and patriots at the same time. While I don’t suggest going the same route with your product (because, frankly, I don’t think people will care much), you should always try to figure out what resonates with your target audience. The key is to experiment with different strategies and figure out what drives more results.
Influencer Marketing is not dead, YET.
Patanjali mastered the art of influencer marketing. They got some highly influential people on board to advertise the brand. Mind you, the actual advertisements don’t feature influencers that often, but the value they created for the brand, will last for a long time. Imagine the Prime Minister of a country endorsing you and your brand. Once you’ve stopped drooling over the idea, try to figure out the best influencers in your domain. The ones who can sway popular opinion and not just post raunchy pictures and memes on Instagram.
Adaptability is key.
This is probably one of the lesser known and is tied up with creating a brand that resonates with people. When Patanjali started advertising their products, everything revolved around Yogi Ramdev. With him taking center stage, there was little to no room for the product. He was the product evangelist and the front-runner as well. They realised that a different strategy was on order and ditched the old advertising methods completely. They moved on to more realistic looking content that featured common-folk talking and advertising their products (Flipkart’s children ads, anyone?). That seemed to do the trick.
While Patanjali was into Content Marketing in the strict sense of terms, their marketing strategies and execution have been above-par and spanned across multiple channels. I am no marketing expert, but I feel the world has a lot to learn from the company and devise marketing strategies that involve the masses and speak their language (not literally). Most companies think about content marketing and start publishing blogs and articles, but that’s just a tiny part of what content marketing entails. The key is proper strategy and a lot of A/B testing. Something that will be providing as a service. Soon.