Authentic Traditions In Business


Habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically. Stopping at the same place for coffee each morning on the way to work or grocery shopping every Monday evening are consumer habits.

Tradition is also repeated behavior, but it’s driven by emotion and the positive feelings of prior experiences – tradition just “feels right.” While we usually just go through the motions with habit, we’re more willing to modify our typical routines for tradition.

Unfortunately, many businesses think tradition is just their yearly schedule of sales (spring sale, 4th of July sale, etc.). The businesses and organizations that understand tradition (and people’s affinity for tradition) transition from being just stores into brands with loyal followings.

Need some ideas of how to integrate tradition into your business? Here’s what others have done:

  • The Boy Scouts
    Each year after Christmas the Boy Scouts drive through town and pick-up old Christmas trees. For a few bucks I save the hassle of getting rid of my tree and support a great organization. I know that for probably the rest of my life I can count on the scouts to pick up my tree. For the scouts, picking up trees is consistent with their core value of public service and also acts a fundraiser for their organization.
  • Hardware Sales
    For as long as I can remember, Hardware Sales has given fifty-cent pieces in its change instead of two quarters. There’s no cost in doing this, it’s memorable and it fits perfectly with who they are and what it’s like to shop there.
  • Les Schwab
    For over 20 years Les Schwab has run an annual promotion giving away free beef with every new set of tires. The promotion has a down-to-earth legacy and conveys the unique working-man roots of the Les Schwab brand.

In addition to each having traditions that correspond with their core values the Boy Scouts, Hardware Sales and Les Schwab traditions all have something else in common: If any of them ever stopped their tradition people would notice and complain. That means they’re doing something right.

One Response to “Authentic Traditions In Business”

  1. A lot of companies have a tradition of sending out Christmas gifts or Holiday cards. You may have already pointed this out in an earlier post, but I really like the idea of breaking out of a tradition that is held by many into a new tradition that separates yourself from the pack. This idea is presented by Keith Ferrazzi (Author of Never Eat Alone) here:

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