How Baba Ramdev built a million dollar Business Empire


Yuvraj Sakhare


While multinational, big brand Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies are spending crores of their profit on marketing by showing fair skinned, glossy models on Indian TV to endorse their products and lure the public, a half-naked Baba, dressed in a saffron robe on the other side is mapping new heights of success in selling his goods without much effort.

Baba Ramdev, the iconic yoga guru has been selling various products ranging from fruit juices, shampoos, soaps to oils and what not, through his company Patanjali Aurved Limited. Patanjali has now become a household name in Indian middle class homes and has gained credibility over the years.

From Yoga guru to Patanjali brand ambassador      

Born into a poor Yadav family, Baba Ramdev in his early days along with his friend and now co-owner of Patanjali limited, Achrya Bal Krishna used to travel on bicycle home to home to offer free yoga training. Later he moved to Haridwar where Patanjali was started. Baba Ramdev rose to fame when 24 hour religious TV channel Aastha TV began featuring him in its morning slot. Ramdev’s name reached to Indian households and everyone was talking about how he moves his belly in unbelievable manner which was a ‘cure’ to reduce belly fats.

Very soon his show proved to be telegenic and he gained large number of following. From Bollywood celebrities, TV stars to influential politicians everyone was eager and queued to appear on his show along with him. Baba Ramdev got international attention and later started taking yoga sessions abroad in countries including UK, USA and Japan.

Building the brand

Baba Ramdev used his influence and started Patanjali Yogpeeth and Patanjali Ayurved limited in 2006. Patanjali Yogpeeth was an institute founded for the promotion and practice of yoga and ayurveda while Patanjali Ayurved Limited was aimed to provide mineral and herbal products made from Ayurveda and natural components.

With the use of the tag called ‘Ayurvedic products’, FMCG goods of Patanjali in a very short period of time, with some distinctive features like reasonable pricing and aggressive marketing during yoga sessions, started eating into the market of decades old established brands like Emami, Dabur and Marico and Godrej.

Due to less production and marketing costs Patanjali managed to keep the prices of their products as low as possible, giving an alternate option to Indian middle class.

Tough competition to established brands

In the last financial year Patanjali generated revenue of Rs 5000 crore, leaving its competitors Dabur, Marico, Godrej, GSK and Emami behind. While Patanjali is planning to double revenue through net sale by next March its competitors are struggling hard. Patanjal’s products are 30% cheaper as compared to the products of Hindustan Unilever and P&G.

The company now has some expansion plans and will be setting up five to six processing units in various states.

What is helping Patanjali to grow this fast? Experts say that Patanjali is following single brand strategy which makes them very easy to reach out to many people. For example other companies have separate brands for separate products. They spend crores of money on every brand’s marketing. But for Patanjnali everything is sold under one brand ‘Patanjali’. Patanjali paste, Patanjali oil or Patanjali aata. Multinational companies like Unilever sell their products with hundreds of sub brands like Lux, Sunslik, Dove, Surf and so on which increases their costing.

Patanjali has also partnered with Future Group which is India’s largest retail group with presence in more than 95 cities for promotion and distribution of its products.

The Way ahead:

“People believe in us, they have trust in us. They know that we will deliver them nothing but the best,” Ramdev revels the secret behind his brand’s success.

“We will be exporting honey and cosmetics to 10-12 countries, including US, Britain, Canada, African and Arab countries,” says Acharya Balkrishna, Patanjali’s Managing director.

The company is also going to launch dairy products and yoga clothing.