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Brand Rituals that Create Consumer Loyalty

Updated: Mar 26

Rituals are an important part of life. We take comfort in them as they provide a sense of nostalgia and belonging. From special occasions like holidays, weddings, and graduations, to ordinary events they give us continuity and familiarity - which the brain LOVES.

Call them rituals or habits or quirky behaviors. Marketers know the power of rituals and use it to create brand loyalty. Associating a quirky behavior with a brand can have a powerful effect on the way we experience, perceive and value that brand.

One of the most famous associations of course is Corona beer and lime. It's just a given that a Corona bottle will be served with a wedge of lime even though there is no logical reason why. And a Corona without the lime... well, it's just not the same.

Think about Oreo Cookies. Oreo is the top selling cookie in the world sold in over 100 countries. No matter where you go the whole world over, people just seem to know the right way to eat an Oreo: first you twist it, then you lick it, and then you dunk it. Sure the chocolate wafers and creamy middle are good, but the ritual of eating the cookie conveys a sense that the way you eat it is important, which by logical extension means the cookie itself is important.

According to research, not only do brand rituals add value to the product, they add joy to the experience. Consumers will spend more for a brand with an associated ritual because they feel like they are getting a premium product and the ritual is a value-add.

Marketers commonly use industry data, market research, and focus groups to build awareness for a brand or product and ultimately increase sales. Now, they can also use the science of neuromarketing to study and explain why consumers buy or not.

Neuromarketing is a communication field that applies neuropsychology to marketing research, studying consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. Although the field is relatively new, it can provide valuable information to any campaign or event. What truly influences how people feel about a product or a brand? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or are our buying decisions impacted by cognitive processes so deep in our subconscious that we’re barely aware of them?

From neuromarketing research, we’ve learned that rituals help us form emotional connections with products and brands and make them memorable. Once we find a ritual that we like, the brain likes the familiarity and ultimately that translates into loyalty.

Most of us are creatures of habit and part of that has to do with our implicit memory. Implicit memory is sometimes referred to as unconscious memory or automatic memory. Implicit memory uses past experiences to remember things without thinking about them. The performance of implicit memory is enabled by previous experiences, no matter how long ago those experiences occurred. And brands can tap into that and the power of ritual to make you a loyal customer.

Now you know.


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