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Goafest 2017: Patanjali’s bold and confident Acharya Balkrishna was star speaker on day one

From talking about the advertising strategy of Patanjali to taking digs at brands and advertisers, Balkrishna presented a great show by talking straight and smart at India’s biggest advertising festival

Acharya Balkrishna at Goafest

Goafest 2017 Discovery Presents Industry Conclave had three renowned speakers from very different verticals on day one. The first speaker was Upasana Taku, Co-Founder & Director, MobiKwik. The second speaker was Hemant Malik, Divisional Chief Executive of Foods Business, ITC Limited. But when Acharya Balkrishna, CEO of Patanjali, went on stage, the crowd at the event room increased and as everyone wanted to know the secret sauce of Patanjali’s success. In fact, towards the end of his session, the public gave him a standing ovation. Balkrishna talked about how Patanjali gained market share and its philosophy of functioning, while at times taking a subtle dig at other players.

He started off by saying that before Patanjali started advertising, other brands used to advertise about single products at a time and what Patanjali did was that it advertised about all its products in one communication piece. Balkrishna said, “In our earliest advertisement, we started giving out information. We had a lot of products and decided to put all our 50-60 products in one advertising piece and presented it to our consumers. A lot of experts in the industry said that advertising cannot run in this manner. I am happy to announce that by advertising about all our products in one go we have managed to reach out to all the consumers. We gained consumer trust and other people also started following the trend.”

Balkrishna said they eventually started their business by not focussing on the market share, but by finding means to help farmers in the country. They use what the farmers produce and convert it into healthy products and this is how they actually function. He said if we start thinking of uplifting others then we will automatically rise in our lives.

Talking lightly about the company turnover and how is it calculated, Balkrishna said, “We calculate turnover and revenue on the basis of volume. Because we do mass production due to huge demand, we also have to process in huge quantities.”

When people asked Balkrishna about the role of advertising in the sales of a product, Balkrishna said advertisement is a way by which people get informed. He said, “I am very sorry to say that when we started advertising, people came to us saying that we should advertise according to the market trend. But I said that we won’t leave our culture and will never use our Indian women to look attractive on the screen to sell a product. We have never done that and will never do that even in the future. We only talk about the product benefits in our advertisements.”

He took a dig at one of ITC’s latest ads in which a girl becomes a selfie talking maniac. Laughing out at the ad, Balkrishna said that they have made an ad that has a girl with a crooked face, why not make an ad that talks about the product’s benefits instead.

Patanjali indirectly took a dig at advertising governing bodies and said they see all these things. He avoided commenting further on the subject, leaving people to interpret their own versions of what Balkrishna said.

Balkrishna went on saying, “We are not professionals. I enjoy talking about my weaknesses. If a Sanskrit-read man, a person who has not done any marketing course, can build an empire like Patanjali then learned men like those sitting in the audience can make bigger empires.”

Towards the end of his speech, Balkrishna put forward a request to the advertising people sitting in the audience. He said, “If we find something inappropriate for our homes and if you use the same thing to sell the product then it is not right. If we understand this then only India can become the most powerful country in the world. For the world, India can be a market, but for us, India is our home and it the only difference.”

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