6 min read

Behind The Brand: Ritual Vitamins

Casper is a sleep company, not a mattress company. Glossier is a people-powered beauty ecosystem. And Ritual is in the business of you.

Like other standouts in the early-stage DTC cohort, Ritual built its brand around a lifestyle, and the company happens to manufacture the very product that enables that lifestyle — women’s multivitamins.

Ritual’s approach isn’t uncommon, but it’s a fresh angle in the vitamin space. Here’s how Ritual is bringing new life to a tired category.

Consumer

Ritual creates products for women, plain and simple. They know their target consumer and it drives every decision the brand makes.

In a post on Instagram, Ritual’s founder Katerina Schneider wrote that she created the company to “help women build a healthy foundation at every age, starting with the multivitamin—for my daughter, my mom, my grandma, and every single woman.”

In that same Instagram post, Kat announced that the next product on the Ritual roadmap is a multivitamin for women 50+.

In a strikingly simple product assortment (currently featuring the Essential for Women and Essential Prenatal), this new product announcement shows their commitment to women at every age.

Brand

Ritual’s branding is among its most defining elements. From the aesthetics to the tonality, the startup brings an entirely fresh perspective to a bland category.

Starting with the visuals, Ritual has become synonymous with its signature sunny yellow. The color dominates the website, packaging, and even serves as the company’s identity in profile pictures across Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

It’s an instant association with the pillars of Ritual’s identity: bright, friendly, cheerful. And that’s no accident.

Yellow is known to generate one of the strongest emotional responses, often associated with optimism and confidence. Not a bad color choice if self-empowerment is central to your brand message.

The imagery itself reinforces the brand message. Ritual’s declaration that the “the future of vitamins is clear” plays to the transparency of the product—both in practice and package design—and the minimal aesthetic. The clean photography features solid backgrounds and simple subjects.

There’s nothing to dissect — the message is clear. Pair that with trendy sans serif type treatments, and we have ourselves the makings of a new-age DTC brand.

Messaging and tonality both contribute to setting the brand apart. Ritual’s voice is friendly and approachable — the exact opposite approach of what’s dominated the vitamin category for years.

As part of its tonality, Ritual breaks down the science behind their product, making it simple and approachable. The company makes the product more personal, using social, editorial, and web copy focused on self-empowerment, morning rituals, and being the best version of you.

The brand’s campaign, “Make Your Self”, encourages its audience to “commit to yourself every day, with good habits and relentless self-determination.” This messaging extends to product elements too — Ritual has a “happiness guarantee” that states they will refund a purchase in full if the consumer doesn’t like the vitamins.

With the combination of intentional design, photography, and messaging, Ritual has created a brand that wins consumers over before they even know what the product is.

Community

From the digital to the physical, Ritual is investing in its community.

For starters, take a look at their editorial strategy. Ritual embraces serialized content and distributes it across a number of platforms. They’ve also created the Before 9 series, a weekly talk that happens before 9am at the Ritual Showroom. These talks are free to attend, but the value doesn’t necessarily come from the 30 people in the room. The 29-minute talks are filmed and uploaded to IGTV, with teasers shared across IG Stories. It’s one event scaled with digital touchpoints.

It doesn’t stop there. Ritual’s long-form Make Your Self interview series lives on the brand’s journal. The interviews go deep with various female movers and shakers, but bite-size pieces are extracted and shared on social media to entice the average scroller.

Sprinkle in special dinners with the brand’s influencers and community member (themed around their essential ingredients to tie it all together), and you have a multi-faceted community based on content alone — and we haven’t even mentioned vitamins yet.

If it seems like a lot of extra work, it is. It’s also incredibly smart. While brands of old put a singular focus on product, new-age brands are putting the focus on content and community.

In doing so, companies like Ritual are simultaneously building a cult-like following while creating a customer acquisition flywheel that grows the brand’s reach, at the same time lessening its reliance on paid marketing channels. At a time when customer acquisition costs on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are soaring, Ritual’s community is working overtime to propel the company forward.

Product

Ritual’s declaration that “the future of vitamins clear” doubles as a commitment to transparency, particularly in their ingredients.

Each product’s ingredients are communicated simply and clearly. Nine essential ingredients (12 for Essential Prenatal) with a page dedicated to what they are, where they’re from, where they can be found, and their benefits.

By focusing on the benefits, and designing each page in a user-friendly way, Ritual makes navigating multivitamin ingredients an adventure in self-improvement. There’s even a map depicting each ingredient’s source. While the significance of each ingredient’s country of origin could be lost on the average consumer, the commitment to transparency comes through loud and clear.

The same can be said for Ritual’s “clean” ingredients. Consumers won’t miss the fact that the vitamins are vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free too. Non-GMO, no fake coloring added.

Do other daily vitamins incorporate those ingredients or follow these dietary restrictions?

Sure.

But the genius of Ritual is that they package all of these elements into a story, creating a discovery experience where users actually enjoy learning about the product — one that helps them forget all about those other daily vitamins in the process.

Challenges

For all of Ritual’s success to date, the brand is sure to encounter some challenges as it navigates future growth.

Namely, competition in the space. The most obvious competitor Ritual faces is Care/of, another DTC supplement company that employs a subscription-based revenue model. While Ritual hangs its hat on a clear, simple, and in some ways singular value proposition, Care/of is focusing on another hot topic: personalization.

Care/of’s personalization starts with an engaging quiz on the site, carries over to a “custom-tailored” formula, and extends to your name on the packaging. Based on the inputs of the quiz, Care/of recommends a blend of vitamins that you can modify at any given time. Totally modular, totally personalized.

The monthly price of Ritual vitamins is $30, compared to a price point of around $40 for Care/of.

Beyond Care/of, Amazon is an absolute monster in the supplement space. Retail vitamin shops like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe aren’t going out of business because of companies like Ritual — they simply can’t compete with Amazon.

In a price comparison, GNC’s prices were 11% greater than Amazon across 30 identical brands. Pricing and convenience are factors that have earned Amazon 77% of the market for online vitamin and supplement sales.

Couple that with Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, the online pharmacy that’s essentially a DTC pharmaceuticals company. While prescription medicines are the primary business, they also offer vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medications that just might render the new wave of DTC vitamin companies irrelevant.

Finally, in what might be the hardest pill to swallow, there’s a growing body of evidence that many popular vitamins and mineral supplements provide no health benefit. Worse, they can be downright dangerous.

Takeaway

As long as we continue to buy what wellness lifestyle companies are selling, expertly crafted brands will provide us with the products we think we need. And Ritual, for one, is making believers out of all of us.

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