One of the most striking aspects of the Patanjali brand is its comfort in living in multiple worlds simultaneously. The brand seamlessly inhabits the world of yoga, natural and spiritualism along with the world of cornflakes and instant noodles. It’s this aspect of Patanjali that will make it a natural inhabitant of the digital world. In many ways, this is how today’s India lives as well — sharing good morning pictures on WhatsApp, watching bhajans on YouTube and devouring rotis with desi ghee, all in the natural course of a day.
Patanjali will therefore benefit immensely by embracing digital as a medium. What used to earlier spread through word-of-mouth, now spreads through videos on WhatsApp. The caveat here is that on digital, Patanjali has to stay true to its own narrative. A good example is how Hindi news on TV has kept its discourse so tuned to its core audience, looking and sounding very different from the English news channels, despite being on the same medium. Patanjali on digital must expound the same discourses of authenticity, swadeshi, yoga and pride in native wisdom. This could well be a marked departure from many other brands on digital which are trying to appeal to ‘cool digital natives’. This could be the birth of a new, desi-digital language and discourse.
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The brand has many followers; the digital platform now gives it an opportunity to build communities and conversations. The digital communities can be the online versions of its maha-shivirs (mega gatherings) and the digital conversations can be the carriers of its discourses. More than how Patanjali will use digital media, it will be interesting to watch how the digital media will evolve its own native language.
The author is chief strategy officer, Leo Burnett, South Asia.