Dru Yoga shows everyone how to handle a cult reputation crisis

Away from the gaze of the public, allegations of serious sexual misconduct, corruption and intimidation have since faded and founder Mansukh Patel has returned to top of the leadership pile at Dru Yoga.

Dru Yoga, (formerly known as the Life Foundation School of Therapeutics) first started attracting criticism back in 2006, when the UK newspaper The Mail On Sunday published an article about allegations from former members about the various goings on at Dru.

Journalist Sue Corrigan first picked up the story way back in June 2006 writing:-

To the outside world, the Life Foundation is a spiritual organisation campaigning for world peace - but now, for the first time, angry ex-members claim it is a destructive cult and accuse its leader of intimidation, corruption and sexual abuse of his devotees…

Later that year another UK newspaper, The Observer wrote in an article about Paul Clarke:-

…he thought he'd found a reason to live. A few years later, he was dead.

Dru Yoga has always denied any wrongdoing, responding to the accusations of impropriety by suggesting that their critics were not telling the truth, because they had a chip on their shoulder. The damage to the reputation of the company caused by the highly public furore over the allegations, and problematic public image that had built up around it's founder seems to have been limited as Patel has since rejoined the team at Dru Worldwide, topping the online roster of health care professionals again.

Around 2011, the company began setting up an extensive network of websites that raised the internet search engine ranking for controversial keywords like dru yoga cult. The effect was criticism of the company was relegated to the lower reaches of internet search results where it is estimated that as little as only four per cent of all internet searches ever end up. A leading crisis management company that specializes in this type of work describes the process:-

(We) devise a strategy to quickly push that site down to the second page of Google using state of the art search engine optimization techniques.

Soon, overtly critical websites tended to disappear from internet searches, as if by magic, while the catalogue of websites that linked to more informational or positive content about the company expanded. Here are just a few websites that were in operation at that time:

druyogacult.com, druyogacult.net, druyogacult.org, druyogacult.co.uk, druyogacult.org.uk, druyogacultinfo.org.uk, druyogacultinfo.co.uk, druyogacultfollowing.org.uk, druyogacultfollowing.co.uk, druyogacultstatus.co.uk, druyogacultstatus.org.uk, druyogacultblog.co.uk

DRU (UK) accounts show annual turnover approaching one million English Pounds and Administrative Expenses also growing even after Cost of sales have been taken into account immediately following the period 2006-2009, when rumours were probably at their highest

It's easy to see why Dru Yoga was prepared to go to such great lengths in targeting considerable resources through its worldwide network of linked companies to try and shake off its less than creditable public image.

As the allegations have faded into the ether of the internet, Dru Yoga's business today looks like it's back on the rebound, and with Patel back at the top once again, perhaps Patel's career and the rumours were never in danger of being terminated completely, and were destined to lurk around the lower reaches of the internet for a few years?

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