Want to make your brand psychologically capturing? Try using the power of ritual.
- Rituals are an overlooked trade secret to brand recognition.
- Successful rituals have three key components: They're repeated and comfortable, they're meaningful, and they're unifying.
- Brands like Starbucks, Apple, and Bacardi have leveraged rituals to draw in and engage customers.
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Whether it's tech or retail or any other niche industry, brand value is the crux of a company's continued success. Just ask Apple.
For years, various market and consumer reports have hinted at the things that matter most for building good brand value. Things like commitment, novelty, authenticity, trust, presence.
With these, there's an underlying psychology at play. So how do you design products and experiences to make a brand psychologically capturing?
In all the trade secrets of brand strategy, one piece has been overlooked: rituals.
The science of ritual
There's a growing science and psychology of ritual that's started to shed light on many of the puzzling aspects of human behavior. Ritual, as we've come to learn, is the basis of all human culture and a core feature in the evolutionary history of the human species. Rituals emerge as a byproduct of physical interactions between people and the external environment.
They start small. But, in time, mere physical actions get transformed into a symbolic ritual that stands for something big, something sacred.
While most recognize this to be true of religious life (think ritual prayer), research tells us it's the same underlying psychology and neurobiology for how consumers relate to their most cherished brands. It's been shown that when people look at their favorite brand logos, there's an activation in the brain's reward circuitry - not unlike that with cultural and religious symbols.
So, whether Apple, Amazon, Google, or Mercedes, we worship our most beloved brands. We become fanatical in our loyalty and following. That feeling of emotionally connecting to a brand and having that shared social identity comes from and through ritual.
If your brand or company wants a true fan, you need to get your customers to ritualize your offering.
Below are the three unique features of ritual that, if properly applied and integrated into design strategy, have the capacity to truly transform brand value for your customers.