Monday, September 17, 2007

Marketing Funda : Brand Rituals

A Ritual is defined as the combination of rites and rite is defined as a ceremonial act. According to BBDO rituals are defined series of actions that move people emotionally from one place to another.Rituals are sequences that are developed over time. Rituals are usually used in religion. We perform many religious rituals and some of these becomes an integral part of our life.

Brand ritual is the performance of an act by the consumers as defined by the brand ( Owners). These days brand rituals are a common strategy adopted by marketers. Some rituals become a part of our behavior over time.
A classic case of such a ritual is the checking of breath . The Ha Ha which we do with our hand was taught by Close- Up. The ritual in breaking the Kit Kat wafers is another successful brand ritual.
A global brand known for the ritual is that of Corona beer, the beer is to be taken through a lime kept at the neck of the bottle. Another famous one is the James Bond induced ritual for Martini " Shaken not Stirred" .
Not all brand rituals are successful. Munch is trying to recreate the success of Kit Kat with no success. Horlicks is also trying out a similar Hip rotating ritual.The latest Pepsi My Can also features a special way of holding the can which can be termed as a ritual.
Rituals are used as a brand element because of its stickiness effect. A popular brand ritual can make the customer remember the brand and stick to it. The ritual also involves the customer with the brand. It also creates a pattern in the consumer's mind which can trigger loyalty.

Another important advantage of brand rituals is that it acts as a differentiator. When product features become standardized, marketers look for non feature differentiation. Brand rituals often differentiates the products from the rest.

Marketers has to be careful while creating brand rituals. Some important guidelines for an effective brand ritual are given below:
Brand rituals should be

Simple : Complex rituals are failure for sure. Consumers should be able to do the ritual easily.
Relevant : Although this is not a rule, rituals will work better if its relevant to the brand.
Fun : Customers should enjoy performing the ritual.
Consistent : An important factor in the success of a ritual. Once the ritual is finalized, the marketer must ensure that there is consistency in promotion of the ritual.
Meaningful : The customers are not going to own a ritual unless it makes some sense for the customers.
If carefully created , brand rituals can be a powerful brand element. The ritual can be a double edged sword, if not created properly , the ritual can often diminish the brand's equity too.