The Brand- ISKCON: Hare Krishna Hare Rama!!
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I am crazy about brands, how they are built, managed and how the propaganda is set for generations to come. While every brand has different USP on which it prospers, it uses two of the most important parameter to count on its success- Consumer behavior and Market research. A product or service can be hyper localized or spread across different time zones, but require consumers like us to start on a positive note, break-even, or even go with IPO.
There is one brand which has always mesmerised me. It is not the P&G or Hindustan Unilever or Micromax (having one of the best Marketing team in India). I am talking about ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness), an organised brand, having religion as its platform and deep rooted Krishna devotee as its consumers. It might be evil to compare it with organised crime, but it’s hard to dilute the fact that the modus operandi looks similar. They protect who follow them and thrive on donations (Big one).
While was discussing with an office friend, who is deeply involved with ISKCON, told me that ISKCON has free stay packages and excellent food service and exclusive offers around the globe, but it requires a club membership and this reminded me of my staling Mahindra Club membership.
Apple works on the principle “why-how-what” principle (I will talk about it in some other article) to satisfy its consumer base. What does this Brand do?
ISKCON is the biggest merchandisers of Krishna. Even if it takes a lot of their time and money to build and market such merchandises, who will complain as its a shortcut to heaven in the name of Krishna. The only thing which impressed me is the retail module in the temples. The staff members there are always happy to help you and give you behind the scene knowledge about Bhagwat Gita and the meaning behind “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”.
Like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon they also celebrate the “Big Sale” day. Janamashtmi is the day when they pitch sales on Bhagwat Gita, cool one liner Tees on Krishna, Posters, Perfumes, Scented sticks, stationary, key chains, small sized down swing for Krishna, food ( Which includes- Indian Cuisine, Italian and around the world street food and desserts). Plus the only brand which has approximately equal followers of Indians as well as foreigners.
I remember my land lord, a person who on top is all about Hare Rama, Hare Krishna and doesn’t stop his preaching about Krishna, even if you want him to stop. But inside he has only one goal to sell “ISKCON” brand to everyone. I mean if it’s a part of Hindutva, then why pitching is required? People will follow something good, irrespective of its marketing and the way it looks from far.
There have been multiple initiatives started with ISKCON which are marvellous and one of them is mid day meal they provide to students in government schools. The food quality and standards are way better than what government provided in the same school earlier. The temples are really well built and the energy which circulates within the four walls is positive and intoxicating. But still it remains a Brand, who’s “Prasad” is a paid treat, whose devotion is a paid treat and who facilities are paid treat. It’s a brand no less than H&M of clothesline, I phone of mobile world, Mercedes of car world and a Reliance of Industry world. A business thriving across the world, with roots stretching across the world.
Visit the Bangalore ISKCON and you will be greeted with the South Asia’s largest ISKCON temple stretching for acres. You can guess the amount of money this brand has acquired in past and how they are selling everything under the Krishna hood on the boat they call Krishna Movement.
Look out for this space (www.simplymrigank.blogspot.in) for more articles coming up in the field of marketing, experiences and other topics. Till then remember one thing- “A product rusts till it is rubbed with Marketing”.