On Wednesday, March 22, Chaitra Navratri and Ramadan are slated to commence, while the ongoing Lent will continue till April 8. Which effectively means that a significant chunk of Indians will be on purification mode - for religious values through the conduit of self.
It is well known that Sehri and Iftaar are the two ritualistic eating occasions for devout Muslims. The diet portfolio includes fruits, vegetables, milk products, sweets, poori-paratha and meats as well. During Navratri, potato-based items, sabudana variants, paneer and a special version of rice are on the wishlist, with multiple innovations in form. During the Christian observance of Lent, meat is not allowed on Friday and many believers refrain from alcohol consumption.
While emerging from greatly diverse origins, there is a pattern across the schools of sacrifice, or should I say purification. Firstly, a predictable dietary pattern in terms of the core while new-age expressions are indeed welcome. Secondly, a heightened consciousness of self-preservation which can actually extend beyond food and drink. Finally, an increased bias towards sharing and community which has sincere implications for charity.
In the UK, leading supermarkets have been quick to pick up the win-win social business opportunity during Ramadan - Asda being a prime case in point. 150 Asda stores across the country are offering dedicated check-out lines for seasonal shoppers while a select range of appropriate products includes a guaranteed apportionment to charities, when purchased. A happy marriage of convenience and purpose, encouraging gifting as well, which offers a fine starting point for marketers in India, restricted largely to Navratri thalis or fashion and accessory offers.
As an absolute no-brainer, both online and offline aggregators must consider festive experience alliances, starting with food. It is easy to imagine a Navratri integrated grocery package including all the foods and beverages as applicable and the same is easily done for Ramadan, as Sehri and Iftar offerings. All the recommended items, as discussed, will be included and the units of consumption can be daily or weekly depending on requirements and then, we can start thinking of newer ways.
The integrated curations can well be personalised for specific demographic patterns - children, young adults, diabetics, senior citizens and can have climatic variants ( Darjeeling differing from Darbhanga). Many believers across faiths have to travel and one can imagine on-the-go-kits, including RTE boxes, which reduce the stressful dependance on hotels. Enormous goodwill can be earned if delivery charges can be waived for these categories of shoppers, or perhaps some value-added freebies thrown in the ring.
Swiggy, Zomato and the F&B sector at large can certainly do better justice than they currently do, stuck to discounts and predictable combined deals. Sabudana is the heroine ingredient of Navratri and chefs must be persuaded to experiment with multiple expressions, within the recommended boundaries. For Iftar, there can well be home delivery packages for self and gifting, which must be delivered right on time for the cessation of the fast. Lent can have versions from similar foundations, while on Fridays, bespoke fish menus can be offered as substitutes of meat.
Taking self-preservation forward as an enhanced state of mind, the opportunities for Purification Marketing indeed multiply. Diagnostic centres can offer full body tests both before and after the periods of deliberate abstinence - the prologue will assess whether the believer will be physically able to manage the nutritional deficiencies and possibly suggest an acceptable diet. While the examinations after the cleansing will be a great indicator of optimal body parameters and how a version of the reduced diet year-long can optimise key health parameters, propelled by a data-driven before and after assessment.
Whether it is a week for Navratri, a month for Ramadan or even longer for Lent, the consistency in periodicity can provide a potent long-term analysis. As an addendum, gymnasiums and new-age supplements can add value in the post-sacrifice period, as year-long abettors of good health practices, as can the sports and wellness industry as large. It is not impossible to imagine a series of yearlong engagements which also include mental health counselling, spiritual content suitably tailor-made and thus a renewed burst of commitment. Not to be missed is a timely intervention by charities and NGOs for donations and participation - as folks are usually more compassionate and giving during their periods of non-negotiable belief.
Linear logic further suggests that this is a great opportunity for those in the home embellishment segment - cutlery, crockery and even appliances. Air fryers could have a topical rerun as the agent of healthy samosas, folks would love to do up their tables to delight guests and even furniture can pitch for a necessary rebooting. Urban Company is surely missing a trick by not offering cumulative cleaning-cum-servicing packages, leading to spiffy air conditioners and spotless floors - for Ramadan, a weekly spruce-up can be marketed as a joint package for homes or offices with regular visitors. I am not even getting into gifting as a segment for that is being tapped with much gusto.
Modern day customers are renowned for their fickleness and insecurity, as demonstrated by the carnage in loyalty ratings, post covid. One does not need statistics to confirm that in these periods driven by faith, the same customers are at their sincerest best and I have noted highly mainstream citizens observing the denial with much rigour. So, this becomes a valuable chance for businesses to build memorable relationships, persuaded by innovative empathy, which hopefully can linger over routine periods.
Whoever does Purification Marketing seriously will sincerely enjoy an early mover advantage, but truthfully everybody stands to gain. Especially, believers across religions uniquely united by the sameness of differences.