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Discovering the Power of Rituals in Marketing

Key Shared Insights & Perspectives

1- Purposeful Leadership

We started defining rituals as a symbolic behavior and discussed how creating meaning begins with a purposeful leadership team that looks at the various work habits employees have with co-workers and customers that can be improved and revisited.

When organizations don’t create their own rituals, employees/clients may improvise rituals that are not “on brand” or aligned with the company’s goals. Intentional ritual management allows more control over the brand and is a way to define who and what an organization is. Well-designed rituals can bring employees/clients onboard for a higher purpose.

Responding to Jonathan’s comment “When we engage in well designed rituals in business, we can bring people on board for a higher purpose”, Hilton shares his perspective on purposeful leadership.

2- Conscious Rituals

The group discussed the concept of purposeful rituals vs. unconscious rituals. Martina shared her thoughts on the need to differentiate between mindless ritualized behavior - running on autopilot - and meaningful cultural rituals that uphold shared values and identities.

She opened a question about the need to ask ourselves if the ritual has a real value to our being. The differentiating factor here being consciousness.

A purposeful ritual can have a positive impact and was cited in the scope of business communications. For our panelist who works in a virtual office environment, the weekly staff meeting was a positive ritual that provided an opportunity for camaraderie and collaboration.

On the other hand, our digital society has created unconscious rituals that are similar to addictive behaviors. Think about the first thing we all do when our plane lands, or when we are riding in an elevator or on a bus. Do we need to be quite so tethered to our devices? Listen to Martina’s questioning our way of living.

3- Individual Take-aways

As we came to the end of the hour, our group concluded the discussion in the same way we started, with a tour de table. Each participant had the opportunity to reflect on what they heard and share their take-aways from the conversation. Listen to the last 10 minutes of the episode.

Final Thoughts to Consider

It is fascinating to experience the implication and strangeness of a word taken out of its traditional context and applying it to another world. It is a reminder of the leap of faith we must take to expand our understanding of the world.

Ritual in commercial culture brings a new understanding of customer behaviors and branding.

With the deliberate incorporation of meaningful rituals, a brand is much more than a logo and tagline. Business rituals communicate a sense of purpose and give customers and employees the feeling of being “branded” - becoming part of a herd of common identity with organizations, communities and other individuals.

This common identity is valued by consumers and affects their buying behavior more than convenience or pricing.

It is important for leaders to recognize and manage rituals so they are not cast aside or unintentionally changed to the point of becoming meaningless.
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