How can brands own the act of consumption?

How can brands own the act of consumption?

Understanding the (sometimes) counter-intuitive value of the act of consumption

A brand should recognise the importance of the act of consumption and play around it. By analysing different brands we have observed possible ways a brand could do it.

Here’s the trick:

Consumption - qualify upgrade expand
Qualify the act of consumption

A brand can become an almost needed tool for a specific act of consumption – without the brand it would not be the same.

For example, Bialetti is defining the traditional way of preparing coffee in Italy.

The pot underlines the brewing experience from the preparation to the sound of the coffee coming out transforming the whole act into a unique experience.

Bialetti own the act of consumption

Bialetti is positioning itself as “the” coffeepot from tradition. So if you want a real coffee experience you should use the brand.

The main lever here is normally heritage and the precise and strong brand equity.


Upgrade the act of consumption

Upgrading is all about brands adding a specific element to characterise the consumption of a product. Improving the act of consumption somehow will differentiate it from alternative choices.

For example, Belgians are famous for their beers – pouring the beer so that the right amount of foam is produced is a key element of the experience of drinking.

With this in mind, they produce a unique glass for each brand or type of beer.

Kwak brought this to an extreme with a very specific glass that requires more attention when pouring the beer so the glass becomes a key component of the consumption.

How brands own the act of consumption

Many years ago, Corona introduced the habit of adding a slice of lime to the bottle. This little addition to the preparation of the drink increased the specificity of the brand and upgraded the act of consumption – so adding the lime is building a specific differentiation.


Expand the act of consumption

This is about brands making the act of consumption last longer, developing expectation and desire. Packaging can play a main role in this.

Magnum own the act of consumptionThe Magnum packaging and the crack of the chocolate on the first bite is something tangible which is owned by the brand. This developed sequence is always represented consistently in Magnum’s communication.


Inspirational rituals from one category can also serve well in another category. The way luxurious gifts such as expensive lingerie are now being packed and unpacked for example has been progressively copied by other categories such as confectionery brands.

In this case packaging becomes part of the ritual both when buying the product and when using it.

To a broader extent this is true also in many food and drinks establishments where the product is prepared in front of the consumer.  For example consumers now enjoy Japanese food where the cook is at your table, take part in cocktails being prepared or even watch the final preparation of a cappuccino by a barista…

So what does the value of consumption mean for brands?

For a brand to be successful when it comes to consumption it seems fundamental to:

  • Capture the real and deep meaning of the act of consumption for consumers.
  • Make the brand functionally and emotionally fit with it in order to own the moment.
  • Educate and engage the consumer though enhancing and consistent communication.

Read more about the importance of the consumption context and its effect on the evaluation of brand performance in our blog The value of the act of consumption