As humans, we like our rituals – they can be comforting, make us feel more positive or get us ready to complete a daunting task. Many sports figures have rituals that they use before any game. Recently, research has shown that performing these rituals strengthened people’s confidence in their abilities, and that their performance improves as a result. Rituals make us feel more in control of our surrounding or situations in which we may find ourselves. They can make us more comfortable and put us at ease.
There are simple rituals that most of us practice such as saying Bless You or Gesundheit when someone sneezes, and hundreds more that we do everyday without even thinking about. Sometimes we think of these rituals as superstitions (not walking under a ladder, for example). Rituals play a large role in our everyday life, and they affect many things that we do. They also affect what we buy.
If customers assign rituals to products, they tend to be more loyal to the brand and appreciate their familiarity. If you ask someone how they eat an Oreo cookie, for example, they will not look at you and ask you what you mean, they will explain whether they eat the middle first, take the two sides apart or dunk the cookie into a glass of milk.
And what about the ritual of clinking glasses as a promotion of fellowship, friendship and celebration. Just the rituals of opening a bottle of wine make the experience special.
So, what rituals can you promote in your tasting or retail room, or with your wine club, that will connect customers more closely with you and your wine? You might create your own toast and repeat it to every one of your customers, every time. You could use a toast that relates back to your heritage.
There are lots of things that you can do, to create rituals. Greet your visitors in a special way, that’s unlike any other winery greeting, or have visitors take a deep breath before they taste the wine to help them get the full flavor of the wine. It won’t change the flavor of the wine, but it will concentrate their mind on the action of tasting.
Let me know about the rituals you already use at your winery, or the ideas you have for rituals.
(Thanks to Scientific American magazine and the book Buyology for information on rituals).
A tip of the glass from me to you!