Monday, May 14, 2007

Is your brand part of ritual?

+ BBDO recently released a study titled "The Ritual Masters", which took 9 months and involved ethnographic research in 26 countries, 2,500 hours of documented and filmed behavior, quantitative feedback from more than 5,000 people, and interviews with psychologists, nutritionists and sociologists.
Andrew Robertson, President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide said, "The idea here is to look at rituals as an important behavior in consumers' lives, to understand what they are, how they work, and how to work our clients' brands into them. We usually look at behavior through the lens of a brand or a category. This is an extra lens to look through. Not an alternative."

According to the BBDO study, rituals are a defined series of actions
that move people emotionally from one place to another. Rituals are
sequences that are developed over time. Rituals make people feel good. While there may be bad habits, there are no bad rituals.

It was BBDO's going-in belief that by better understanding rituals, new insights might be uncovered that could change behavior and unlock business-building ideas. For example, those brands that are already embedded inside a ritual enjoy great "stickiness" with consumers. These are called "Fortress Brands." The goal of the BBDO study was to uncover insights that could help move a clients' brands inside.

"What we found is that people are more alike than different, which is great news for marketers," remarked Tracy Lovatt, Director of Behavioral Planning for BBDO New York and BBDO North America and one of the architects of the study. "Emotionally, rituals are critical to people everywhere in the world. They help transform us from one emotional state to another, for example, from your private sleepy self every morning to your 'warrior ready to take on the world' self. We all repeat a series of steps to help us make that transformation. What varies from country to country is the execution."

As a result, the BBDO study focused on the five rituals that are
performed most often by most people throughout the world. These include:
Preparing for battle: transforming us from the cocoon to "ready to face the day";
Research showed: 89% of people rely on the same brands when performing this sequence, and three out of four people become disappointed/irritated when their sequence is disrupted or their brand of choice is not available. That's because the morning ritual is all about being prepared and gaining control in order to face the day.

Feasting: the pleasure of eating that "reunites us with our tribes," transforming us from alone to connected;
Research showed: It's important that people also feel a sense of involvement in the preparation of a meal. It's part of the emotional transformation.

Sexing up: a highly pleasurable and indulgent ritual, though not without stress (particularly for women), that transforms us from our everyday selves to our most fabulous selves;
Research showed: Bottom line: when "sexing up," people are transforming from their normal to most confident selves. They use special products to make themselves feel special.

Returning to camp: that moment when we unwind and exhale, transforming us from tense to relaxed;
Research showed: Bottom line: there is an opportunity for those brands that can contribute to a sense of relaxation, calm, self-satisfaction and at ease.

Protecting yourself for the future: that last ritual of the day that moves us from relaxed to feeling safe and secure before the next day comes around;
Research showed: Four out of five people become irritated when their products are not available - levels comparable to preparing for battle. Bottom line: brands play an important role in the ritual of helping someone feel safe and secure and protected for the future.
The conclusion from the study states: "There is an opportunity for brands to become more emotionally connected with consumers through understanding the transformation that is taking place in any given ritual and the role that a brand can play in that transformation. Implications can take the form of packaging to positioning, advertising, promotions and product development."

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