March 01, 2014

What does popping the top off a Pringles can have in common with breaking off a piece of a Kit Kat bar? Both are brand rituals that can lead to the strongest levels of customer loyalty, says Jacqui Brook, Client Engagement Director at SGK.

A brand ritual is a behavior that customers build with a certain brand that becomes a key part of their experience in the category. Successful rituals help cultivate a deep relationships between brands and consumers. But not all rituals have the same sticking power. A few guidelines will help rituals last and increase consumption:

  • Gimmick-Free: Keep it simple; focus on inherent behaviors that naturally complement the product and stem from real consumer needs/desires.
  • Discovered: This isn’t always possible, especially with a new product or brand, but it’s easier to ritualize behavior that already exists in some way, rather than try to impose something completely new.
  • Consistent: Rituals rely on repetition and reinforcement. Therefore, it’s critical that marketing messages communicate the same preferred behavior over time, to allow it to take hold with core consumers.
  • Easily Shareable: The best rituals are owned by the devotees and passed on by word of mouth and observation, in their real-life contexts.

For marketers, the ideal scenario is when a ritual becomes an integral part of people’s lives; when it creates an enriched experience in a unique way that only the brand can provide.