Brands Are Now Behaving Like Organised Religions

Brands Are Now Behaving Like Organised Religions

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In an interesting piece on Harvard Business Review, Utpal M. Dholakia takes a look at how brands have taken inspiration from religion for their marketing tactics. A good read for a Friday.


Organised religion has shaped virtually every aspect of human behavior for thousands of years. Some historians have even argued that religion was integral to human survival.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that savvy marketers have figured out that they can use some of the same basic principles to connect with their customers – and that brands have taken on such importance to consumers.

And yet the narrowly formulated, self-serving, and consumption-focused beliefs and values, rituals, and communities provided by brands usually have little to offer beyond the boundaries of their products and services. Thoughtful marketers should have an understanding of how this is shaking out – how some brands are adopting the characteristics of organized religion – so they can think critically about whether this is something they want to do.

Scholars have found that every organised religion offers three key benefits to its followers, a) a set of core beliefs and values, b) symbols, myths, and rituals, and c) relationships with members of a like-minded community. Here are a few of the ways in which brands have begun using these elements to create “congregants,” not just customers:

Read the full article here.

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