Leveraging Consumer Rituals to Grow Your Brand.

Our lives are filled with rituals that all represent a potential opportunity to position a brand. These rituals can be big or small, performed daily or specific to life stages, individual or collective. Preparing oneself in the morning to get ready for the day, or grooming yourself before going out at night, preparing a regularly occurring meal or an annual get together, shutting down the house before going to bed or getting married are all important rituals in peoples’ lives.


Rituals are a universal feature of human social existence and can be defined as an act or series of acts done in a particular situation and in the same way each time. They usually involve artifacts and symbolism and usually include a transformation or evolution from one mental or emotional state to another (from wound up to relaxed, from lonely to connected, from single to married, etc.).

Rituals can be a great starting point and provide a rich territory for positioning a brand. It might be presumptuous for a brand to assume that it will get consumers to start a new ritual but understanding the rituals consumers already perform will enable a brand to explore and identify new ways to position itself. For example, in a Positioning-Roulette workshop we recently held for a large packaged good company, one of the key insights that came up as we were exploring consumer rituals was the ideas of “using the smallest spoon one can find to eat this product” as an artifact for indulgence and as a symbol for the consumer’s desire to prolong the eating experience.


So ask yourself:

  • What rituals do your consumers perform in their everyday lives or at key life stages?
  • Which one would be the most relevant for your brand?
  • What specific steps or acts does a consumer go through when performing this specific ritual and in what sequence?
  • What mental or emotional transformation is the consumer going through by performing this ritual (from to)?
  • What benefit can your brand help deliver or claim in that context?
  • What meaning and values does your brand need to be associated with to be able to play this role in an authentic way?

What do you think? Have you used consumer rituals to position a brand? What was your experience?

Tapping into consumer rituals is only one of 26 approaches to brand story telling and positioning development. The other 25 can be found at www.first-the-trousers.com

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