To read this content please select one of the options below:

Reinforcement of brands of faith with the paradox of cultural divergence in Indian perspective

Baba Gnanakumar (School of Management, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 25 February 2020

Issue publication date: 22 May 2020




Self-esteem values, with the new art of living, in the minds of Indians, lead to establish faith among the spiritual organization. Later on, the spiritual organizations brand their names and market the products in their branded name. These brands, which are inspired by faith and created by Indian spiritual gurus, have even disrupted the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market by being customer-centric instead of being geared by lucrative returns. It is in this context that this paper aims to find the cultural divergence factors that lead to change the consumption pattern of FMCG and how such brands of faith have been segmented in the Indian perspective by spiritual gurus. The research concludes that cultural divergence variables such as power distance, collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation influence the brands that are inspired by faith. Spiritual gurus in India are using sociocultural marketing activities such as social endorsement and cause-related marketing strategies for segmenting the markets.


The primary data were collected from the 1,678 customers of the Isha products. The respondents were selected based on the snowball sampling. The responses were collected from the followers who visited the foundation at least three times during the period of two years in Coimbatore and purchased Isha products worth more than Rs 500. The data were collected between the period August 2016 and April 2018. Of 1,678 responses, 1,465 responses were validated after coding. Of 1,465 responses that were validated, 1,126 responses were found reliable.


“Cause-related marketing” and “social group endorsement” activities of the firms tend to create a brand image. To find out which of the above activities highly influence the brands of faith, realistic-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was carried out. ROC curves were drawn to assess the brands of faith centroid values with social group endorsement and cause-related marketing variables. ROC curves explored the precision of diagnostic tests and were used to find the best “cut-off” value for impressive and unimpressive cluster test results.

Research limitations/implications

Cultural divergence variables such as power distance, collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation are influencing the brands of faith. The followers of the spiritual foundation have their own distinct culture, and their social affinity values increase the brands of faith. Social group endorsement and cause-related marketing are the marketing strategies suitable for spiritual foundation (to market their product/ service). Age, education and occupation are demographic values that influence the brands of faith. The spiritual foundations are segmenting their customers based on the occupational values, and they use the cause-related marketing strategies to increase the values of brands of faith.

Practical implications

As the cultural values related to the art of living have been recognized by society as the measure of social well-being, the spiritual leaders can enhance their brands of faith. The social media communication about cause-related marketing can create trust in society. On the other hand, societal marketing activities cannot target the entire society. Hence, it is to be stratified. While stratifying, the players of diversity markets have to target a group based on the values generated by the stakeholders in the foundation. The diversified markets created by the Indian spiritual gurus are providing cultural diversity.

Social implications

The business value created by spiritual foundations is increasing the social values which are essential to uplift society. The author concludes that if business values and societal values are integrated by any group of people, it improves economic value to that society and they can use the social currency in the form of “brands of faith”.


The cultural values of a society are measured and compared with national and global index. The enumerate method is an original one.



Gnanakumar, B. (2020), "Reinforcement of brands of faith with the paradox of cultural divergence in Indian perspective", European Business Review, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 513-530.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles