07 Feb 2018 19:54 IST

Fourth Runners-up

Get youth onto ayurveda bandwagon

Their marketing strategies therefore should be targeted at the younger generation

According to market research conducted by Nielson, natural segment in personal care was estimated to be ₹18,500-cr market or 41 per cent of the total ₹44,790 crore market in 2016.

The report noted that hair oil is a leading category in the natural personal care space, constituting 34 per cent of the market, followed by toilet soaps (30 per cent), face care (13 per cent), toothpaste (11 per cent), shampoo (7 per cent) and hand and body (6 per cent).

According to the report, southern India, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab are the primary markets for natural personal care segment in the country. Urban areas are fuelling the rise in the space, with a growth of 6.7 per cent in 2016, as compared to 1.4 per cent growth in non-natural products, the research said. Roughly, every given year, the naturals space is eating up a per cent point from the non-naturals in the personal segment.


HUL, the largest FMCG group in India, has its back against the wall because of the extraordinary success of the 12-year-old company, Patanjali. HUL has re-entered the naturals space by reviving its ayurveda brand, Lever Ayush in December 2016 and launched 20 new personal care products.

The products, priced between ₹30 and ₹130, are targeted at the mass market, thus helping Ayush shed its premium tag. Its new tagline is Sahi Ayurveda (True Ayurveda), with the intention of positioning the brand as an authentic ayurvedic name. It has also partnered with one of the leading institutions propagating the science of ayurveda — Arya Vaidya Pharmacy — to develop its new products.

However, it is yet to gain customer acceptance and it has failed to adequately advertise its association with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy which could have boosted consumer confidence in its products.

With this current situation in mind, we begin our analysis by performing primary and secondary research to pin-point the variables of interest. The results are given below.


Patanjali's success

This leads us to the conclusion that Patanjali’s enormous success is attributed to three major reasons:

~ Baba Ramdev’s popularity and his Swadeshi rhetoric.

~ Cost leadership.

~ Need for chemical-free products due to increasing awareness about their benefits amongst consumers.

We also found that most of the youth consume Patanjali products because their parents and other elders in the house do so. This means that the younger generation, be it college goers or working professionals, is one untapped sector in the current market.

These people realise the need of ayurvedic products but due to lack of better options, consume Patanjali products. They are indifferent to Baba Ramdev and would be ready to switch to better quality products if given a choice. Hence, the youth could be the primary targets who could influence the older generation with time.

Marketing strategies

Because of these reasons, we propose the following marketing strategy:

1) Ayush must be targeted at the younger generation with the positioning of science coupled with ancient ayurveda. This can depicted by its association with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy.

2) The advertising message should be ‘Ayurveda for the modern lifestyle’.

3) The commercial should not focus only on the product features. Instead, lifestyle or identity advertising should be used to form a connection with the youth.

4) The brand needs to be endorsed by celebrities that connect with the younger generation and can be associated with ayurvedic way of living. Some of the options could be Shilpa Shetty, Bipasha Basu, and Akshay Kumar.

5) HUL needs to utilise its strong distribution network by providing trade discounts and leverage the loyalty of its traders to push selling. The retailers can focus on the innovative products like Cardamom Toothpaste, Saffron Soap and Fenugreek Shampoo.

6) Patanjali’s swadeshi stand could be diluted due to its recent associations with foreign funded e-commerce sites and retailers, giving HUL some relief on that front.

7) HUL can also open up health centres to provide the complete Ayush therapy experience.

8) It must focus on the southern States and rural areas where Patanjali’s reach is low and loyalty for Ayurveda is high. With these incentives, it could rope in Rajnikant.

9) It should also emphasise its international quality standards to prove its authenticity and superiority over other available ayurvedic products.

Trial runs

The following marketing strategies could be used to induce trials in the youth.

College students

~ Social media campaigns and contests.

~ Sponsoring college festivals.

~ Promoting the brand at malls, cafes and gyms.

~ Rolling out case study contests to engage the youth.

Working professionals

~ Corporate deals in the form of vouchers for performance awards, birthday occasions and anniversaries.

~ Promoting benefits of Ayush to treat skin problems caused by everyday stress.

Apart from this, the older generation could be also attracted by selling Ayush products in moving vans near parks in the morning to increase sales. This would help the brand to associate itself with health-conscious individuals.

(The fourth runners-up are first year PGP students from IIM Indore)