Anirban Roy Choudhury

When Ashish Bhasin threw questions at Baba Ramdev...

Edited excerpts of the Q&A round at the end of Ramdev's talk at Goafest 2018.

Note: Baba Ramdev spoke in Hindi and Sanskrit. This is the translated version.

Quick highlights of the last part of Baba Ramdev's session at Goafest 2018, in which Dentsu Aegis Network supremo Ashish Bhasin asked Patanjali's Ramdev some questions on stage. Some questions were Bhasin's own, while others were sourced from the audience.

When Ashish Bhasin threw questions at Baba Ramdev...

Ashish Bhasin checks whether Baba Ramdev's hair is real or not

Bhasin: Yoga, agriculture, health - we understand you know a lot about all three. But where did you acquire your knowledge of marketing from?

Ramdev: I believe if you can connect with the minds of the masses, then you can do anything. At a time, I make 10 lakh people do yoga and they do it exactly the way I want them to do it... with full dedication. Even if there is a cyclone they will not stop... they will continue.

So, while other players in the market made efforts to own the throne, I worked hard to win hearts. Now they all realise that to get to the throne and own it, one must win hearts first.

Bhasin: You've consistently done the opposite of what was considered conventional advertising wisdom. Why - what motivates you to do so?

Ramdev: Many people gave me many suggestions... few of them might even be sitting here in the audience. People told me, 'You are a socio-political figure... separate yourself from the brand'. I didn't agree. Then they said I must get a celebrity to endorse the brand. Again, we did not agree. Then agencies pitched ideas to create advertisements that would cost us about Rs 5 crore each. If I included a celebrity, then the ads would cost us about Rs 10-25 crore each! We rejected all those ideas. Now, I am up on stage delivering these punch-lines.

Today, in Rs 10,000-15,000 we get an ad done. At present, we have about 40 ads running across different media channels. Effectively, we're 'saving' Rs 400 crore there itself.

Spending money is not important; what is important is building an emotional connect with people. And about expanding brands let me tell you that in next three years Patanjali will be the No.1 brand in the biscuit category too. That's bad news for Britannia.

Bhasin: What is that one thing that international companies were not doing right... that you did right?

Ramdev: In the cosmetics category, about 99 per cent of the products were chemical-based. They always mocked natural, Ayurvedic resources. They released ads saying 'Yeh haldi, namak lagane waale', 'Yeh koyla se daant saaf karne waale desi jungli log', etc. It was really wrong of them to do so.

And all these cosmetics brands highlighted fairness to the point of racial discrimination. All our Gods are dark. Why should being dark be a matter of shame? Another thing they did wrong was - they concentrated too much on making profits; quality was always secondary.

Bhasin: Do you aspire to setup operations in other markets?

Ramdev: Yes, we do aspire to take Patanjali across the globe. We have already started with Nepal and will soon launch in Bangladesh as well. But we have made a promise that we will never bring profits from poor countries into India; instead, we will invest that profit in those countries to help them develop. We've also promised to take certain countries to task, with our success - like the ones that looted us and took all our wealth away... international players from these countries should watch out.

In fact, we have a lot of senior level openings at Patanjali and those of you, who, despite working for these MNCs, applauded all through my talk, can come and join us... we're open to paying great hikes and even buying out your notice period!

Edited by Ashwini Gangal.

Have news to share? Write to us