Seeking the human meaning in consumer behavior

Tag: victor turner

The Ritual Power of Pokemon Go

The Ritual Power of Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is more than a video game. It’s a transcendent new ritual.

Rituals of Tradition and Transformation

Rituals of Tradition and Transformation

Rituals of transformation enable individuals and organizations to make a clean break from their present identities, leaving them free to embrace new possibilities. Rituals of renewal, on the other hand, give breaks – in the sense of restful pauses – from the demands of the present identity.

It’s Not Academic

Ritual is like love. It can be extremely complicated, but the heart of it, when it’s working right, is very simple.

Academics can write elaborate theoretical examinations of love that are almost impossible for lay readers to understand. Yet, people who are in love have no need for such treatises. The advice of a trusted friend is more useful to most lovers.

In my work, therefore, it is my aim to speak more at the level of friendly advice than at the with a voice of academic precision.

Many scholars in the field of ritual studies make a point of warning their students that ritual is a difficult thing to define. Ritologist Catherine Bell refused to provide her students with any definition of ritual at all, saying that any definition would lead people to think of ritual as something less ambiguous than it really is.

These warnings provide important boundaries – for academics who study ritual. The purpose of this book, however, is not academic. The purpose of this book is to develop a practical method for applying the elements of ritual in the field of marketing. To be practical, a ritual marketing method needs to be comprehensive enough to work in a full range of consumer contexts, but coherent enough to make intuitive sense to both consumers and marketers.

I do not assert that the model of ritual explained in this book is the only valid model of ritual. Scholars have developed many different theories of ritual, each of which has its own advantages. Neither do I claim that the model of ritual around which Ritual Marketing is constructed is without flaws. No model is perfect.

What I do assert is that the model of ritual I work with is, at this time, the most coherent and practical of those that are available. Part of the reason for that is simply that few models of ritual that even attempt to address the complexities commercial culture exist at all. At present, for marketers, there is no comprehensive guide to the strategic use of ritual process in their field. My struggle is focused on filling that gap.

The model of ritual I work with, in its rough definition, seem quite familiar to those who have studied anthropology. It is not wholly original, and I do not claim ownership of it. It is heavily based upon the works of Arnold Van Gennep and Victor Turner, though it has been elaborated, on the basis of insights gained by other anthropologists, the work of market researchers, and also upon my own experience as a qualitative research specialist in the field of consumer culture. Where Ritual Marketing differs from these academics is the detail of the model, which aims at matching the intricacy of our market society.