Brand India is slowly but surely inching towards its well-deserved glory. The brand has come a long way from what it was a decade ago to rapidly transitioning in the last 50 years or so following Independence. However there is still a huge chasm when we compare ourselves with our western counterparts in presenting ourselves to the rest of the world.
Culturally and traditionally we are a rich and vibrant nation with bountiful natural resources. However the truth is that we have failed to capitalize on these strengths to achieve our rightful glory. Take Yoga or Ayurveda for instance. These properties which are an intrinsic part of Indian culture is only slowly finding its way to the rest of the world.
I believe this is probably due to our failures in effectively branding these prized possessions and then in marketing it to the rest of the world. In the case of yoga, sporadic individuals have promoted the concept in the West resulting in limited awareness but then evaporated as it was abandoned midway. This was then further adapted and repackaged by people who learned it from the original pioneers. Ironically Yoga in its current avatar can be traced back to India but the advantages and attributes do not accrue to the country, its brands or its enterprise.
A case in point – a simple google search will throw up more scholarly papers from the West than in India. So is the case on running a search for Yoga Marketing on Google images.
In a similar fashion there are some sections of Ayurveda that have global recall but lacks consistency or a defined image that can credit its routes to India and its Motherland. Ironically there are no efforts to ascertain its true potential and to build a bridge with its western counterparts from a scientific angle. In stark contrast Chinese practices such as acupuncture and acupressure have a lot more acceptance and recognition in most markets, even including India.
The strength of Yoga lies in its deep roots and years of practice. While there can be a belief in the concept it needs to be embodied in an individual. To popularize a concept or to create a trend there needs to be a strong body of evidence to support it and then its needs to be universally acceptable and not restrained by walls like religion.
Brand Ayurveda in India
Baba Ramdev has been in the news for a variety of reasons. However one cannot deny the fact that he is a brand to reckon with and he is widely accepted by a large section of the population.
His growing popularity has resulted in the birth of ‘Patanjali Ayurveda’ a consumer products company, which analysts predict it is all set to threaten established, age-old Indian consumer brands including Dabur, Emami and Marico. Coming out of nowhere, Patanjali Ayurveda is today one of India’s fastest-growing consumer products brand. Established domestic and global competitors are unnerved by the spiking sales of its wide range of staples, nutrition, cosmetics and personal care products.
Patanjali is also slotted to launch an instant noodles brand shortly that is being positioned to counter food giant Nestle’s category leader, Maggi noodles.
What does India need?
Lessons to be learned from Baba Ramdev include the fact that there is a lot of potential for even home grown brands in Ayurveda or Yoga to make its mark in India and abroad. There needs to be a concerted effort to research, document and brand these ancient practices in our culturally diverse nation. Unfortunately I think it is lost in the varied disciplines that overlap it including Religion, Culture, Healthcare, Fitness, Ritualistic practice, etc. The efforts needs to be driven by the Government and supported by the larger population to own and take advantage of these centuries old learnings and practices.
During my visits to the United States, I observed the importance that the nation and the local population puts on cherishing their limited years of history. For instance even a Railway Station in a remote part of the country had a museum section which displayed the said stations brief history.
As a popular quote by Marcus Gravy goes – ‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’
Set against this premise we have a lot to cheer about in India considering we are a nation of rich and diverse culture. However a lot needs to be said about our ability to capitalize on these treasures.
Wake up India Wake Up!