If PR is about understanding how the operative environment works and then finding a dynamic and ingenious way of using it to your advantage, leveraging all forms of media and stakeholders in an integrated approach, then you would have to give it to Swami Ramdev and Patanjali hands down of getting it right. And how!!
There are more lessons there though. Of how the top leader of an organisation can be the biggest brand ambassador for the brand and its philosophy. Much like the other cult examples – Richard Branson, Bill Gates or our very own Late Shri Mahashay Dharampal Gulati of MDH.
The most interesting aspects however pertain to the way Swami Ramdev has been able to harness the potential of television as a medium to make himself a household name and then extending it seamlessly to the brand he represents – Patanjali. When it comes to this Yoga guru, expansion has always been the name of the game. Patanjali, which today seems poised to give the FMCG majors, including the MNCs a run for their money is present in every conceivable segment including soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, health & beauty products and much more, apart from a galaxy of Ayurvedic medicines.
In fact, the Yoga Guru’s celebrity status had its genesis in the televised yoga lessons he has been imparting for ages. In his latest avatar, where he has entered into a co-branding approach with India TV in wake of the Corona pandemic in a programme called ‘Corona se Jung, Swami Ramdev ke Sang’ – is going from strength to strength with more than 500 episodes already gone. These episodes which are aired daily in the morning doubles up almost every time for endorsing a gamut of Patanjali products and a bevy of wellness services at Yog gram-an abode for Yoga enthusiasts who flock to this retreat of the Swamiji in Haridwar, from far and wide, to get treated and healed.
Not the one to be left behind the times. The Swami has taken to social media like a duck to water. FB, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube – you name it and the ubiquitous Baba Ramdev is thriving there with a huge band of followers. His FB page has over 10 million followers and even his Instagram (considered a preserve of youngsters) has 1.4 million subscribers. Plus, the ‘more media savvy than thou’ Swamiji is peeping at you from several news and lifestyle channels every now and then. The rent a quote Swamiji also has his self-styled opinion on everything under the sun and beyond.
Which brings us to another dynamic he needs to be given credit for – Brand Values. In his personality and his products & services, he stands for some clear cut brand values – wellness, holistic healing, healthy lifestyle, traditional Indian values, acrimony towards allopathic medicines and MNCs (yes, that too), affordable healthcare and spiritualism to name a few. It’s a neat package and there is no ambiguity whatsoever in what the brand stands for and what value propositions it offers.
Indeed, about Baba Ramdev, it would not be an excess to say that he is a walking talking (literally) example of multiple facets of PR & Effective Communication. Extremely aware of his gift of the gab, he is not shy to use it to the hilt.
Synergy, is another quality which makes all his varied endeavours to come together instead of falling apart. With Yoga at the core of the brand proposition, the Swami Ramdev universe keeps on expanding without getting derailed by the virtue of those expansions.
What are the most important lessons for PR and Corporate Communication professionals in the example or case study of the Ramdev-Patanjali-Yog gram phenomenon? Well, for one the need for persistence. Ramdev did not get the cult status that he enjoys in one day. In fact, he is the other extreme who ensures that he and his brands are present in some way or the other every single day. Brands which need to be revitalised or suffer from brand fatigue can learn a lesson or two from the Swamiji in how never to sit on one’s laurels. Another is the audience connect and a certain flair for communication that works. Finally as they say, no amount of PR/Communication can save a bad product and it is here that the visionary Yoga guru has scored where it counts by really building a gamut of products, services, offerings, even ‘gyaan’ that serves a purpose and prompts a huge number of people to come back for more.
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