Pride can be defined as dangerously corrupt selfishness, the putting of one’s own desires urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people. Pride is the strongest of the 7 deadly sins because pretty much every other cardinal sin stems from it. When referencing pride, we will also reference ego quite a bit. Ego is strongly tied to pride.

Pride is what makes it hard for you to ask for a discount at that fancy restaurant. Pride makes you wear branded attire. It trickles down into the type of people we associate with. Most people, for their pride only want to be associated with certain types of people. For example, a good number of successful people would not want to be seen sharing the same space as people of a lower class. This is not to say that they would not do something for a lower class. On the contrary, doing things for the lower class often feeds into someone’s ego. Sure, there are nice people that are selfless, but when you give, it feels good. You feel proud of yourself. That’s part of the reason why we have clear distinctions between your local fast food restaurant and a high-end diner.

Now, even in the introductory part of this article, we have already seen multiple instances where pride can be used for business purposes. Even so, here is a more defined list.

Businesses that profit from Pride

As always, this is an incomplete list of businesses and I implore you to think of other businesses that profit from pride and find ways to use that knowledge.

1. Luxury Everything

person holding round gold colored analog watch with link bracelet

Broadly speaking, there are two ways most companies make a lot of money:

  • Sell a low price product/service to a lot of people. Think every consumer product
  • Sell a high price product/service to fewer people (more on why this works below). This is where the luxury market is.

If you can figure out a way to sell a high-priced product to a lot of people, you can build the most valuable company in the world. In fact, that’s what Apple did and they are currently the world’s most valuable company with a market cap of $2 trillion. Seeing it in words doesn’t nearly bring out the magnitude of the number so here it is $2,000,000,000,000. Not bad huh? Apple figured out a way to create high-quality high price products for millions of consumers and that made them quite wealthy.

close up phography of a grey iphone xi
196.6 million iPhones were bought in 2020 alone.

From fancy restaurants to mansions to yachts and private jets, the luxury market is built upon a foundation of human pride. Most luxury items do not have match the objective value of the prices they command. The luxury market relies on the perception of value through separation and scarcity. To appeal to the rational side of wealthy minds, they (luxury brands) usually use higher quality raw materials to create their products. However, one key differentiator between the luxury businesses and their mass-market counterparts is that the markup between the cost of production and retail prices is often double. For example, Rolex retailers make an average of 40% in profit margins while Casio, which is more readily available makes about 20%, half that.

The value of many luxury goods is often perceived value. Since luxury items are scarce, the price goes up. Scarce items elicit the most desire. A higher price means fewer people can afford it. The fewer people can afford it, the more the wealthy are attracted to it. To have what others cannot have is to do a great service to one’s ego.

2. Dating apps – Tinder, Bumble etc.

To a very high degree, pride is what makes it hard for guys to approach chics and vice-versa. Dating apps make this easier, providing a safe space to protect people’s pride and ego. Imagine getting rejected in front of people… Now imagine getting rejected and no one ever finding out about it. Much better huh? Literally, every successful dating app obeys this principle.

3. Comparative social media

man in white crew neck top reaching for the like
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on

I’ll use Instagram as an example simply because of how much it allows other people to compare each other. Likes, views, and follower counts are often tied to people’s egos. Many people with several followers may have a sense of pride and entitlement derived from the virtual numbers that signify their digital social status.

Whenever there is something to make someone feel like they are better than other people, egos will clash and money can be made by gratifying people’s pride. Brands are also likelier to work with the aforementioned individuals, usually called influencers for the influence that they have on others; something we also looked at when talking about envy.

4. Videogames

Through high scores and leaderboards, plenty of video games give you plenty of things to brag about. Perhaps it could be your new high score on or that new skin you got for your character.

Sidenote, for the non-gamers reading this, a skin is a cosmetic item such as attire or accessories that changes how your character looks.

Gaming lingo^

Anything that gives players a chance to show off to others appeals to their pride and as we have discussed before… The 7 deadly sins are not going anywhere anytime soon.

The free to play model

Isn’t it ironic that the most profitable games right now are free to play? Take Fortnite and League of Legends for example.

Fortnite is Free to Play but makes billions. Image copyrights belong to Epic Games

How exactly do they make money? Put simply, through cash-shops. These are shops that allow you to buy in-game items often using a virtual currency that can be purchased using real money. Some of the strategies that video games use to get people to buy virtual stuff are:

  • Sell cosmetic items
  • Sell lootboxes
  • Sell re-usable items
  • Sell mounts

By making you feel like you are above others, video games can make billions of dollars selling virtual items to millions out of the billions of gamers worldwide.

With Web3 coming up, I would only bet that the value of a number of things sold on the metaverse will one day top $1 trillion dollars.

5. Betting businesses

Most people bet with their egos. What makes a person believe that they can bet successfully, is the pride in themselves that makes them believe that they know better than others. When you bet and you win, you brag. Bragging is the epitome of flaunting one’s ego. Savvy businesspeople capitalize on this. Looking at just how much they splurge when creating their ads, you can tell that betting businesses make quite the bag.

An African betting ad.

Marketing a business using pride

To market a business using pride, you will need to have a good grasp of people’s egos. One way to go about it is by making people feel as though their ego is threatened and then providing them with something to massage their ego. This is the basis of most advertisements that sell you items you don’t need. They either create a new problem then sell you a solution or show you how what you currently have is just not good enough. Then your ego kicks in and you go like “Pff, I’m good enough!” then you buy the new item. Most tech hardware companies continuously advertise all the improvements they have made in a bid to convince you that what you have simply isn’t good enough. It all works out in the end though; as customers we get better products and the businesses make more money.

As with every other cardinal sin, pride in and of itself is not a bad thing. It just so happens that it can be a strong motivator for doing “bad” things. Fuel people’s ego and you will have a solid foundation for a business.


Some say pride is the devil while others don’t even know that they do what they do because of it. Pride is what makes people revenge but it is also what makes people strive to do better. Everyone wants to be associated with success and everyone is “proud of you” when you succeed. So, as with other cardinal vices mentioned before, do not fight pride, embrace it. Feel free to share examples of other instances where pride is used as well as any edit suggestions.

With that, until next time!

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