Brands are spheres of influence, and the most magnetic brands win in the marketplace. They get repeatedly chosen over the competition, not once or twice, but week after week, year after year.
Cult Brands are a special class of magnetic brands that command super-high customer loyalty and almost evangelical customers or followers who are devoted to them.
Cult Branding Can Work On Anyone
Most people refuse to believe that they can become part of a cult, but this is far from the case. Jerry Whitfield, a former Scientologist and thought reform expert describes the typical cult member in a way that probably sounds a lot like you and those you know: “The general profile of a cult member is a person who has above average intelligence, is open and honest with other people, and anticipates that people will be open and honest back to them. This person has the ability to think in abstract terms and is probably altruistic. They want to help and change things. They want to improve their life and the lives of others.”
www.cultbranding.com “ They want to improve their life and the lives of others.”
An Environment for Cult Branding
Today's society is the perfect environment for cult branders and cult brands. It is full of fragmentation, with increases in divorce rates, broken homes, and violence. As this fragmentation continues, the basic human need for feelings of security, belonging and social interaction does not go away. It can't be replaced. We all need to belong to a group.
Cult brands aren't just companies with products or services to sell. To many of their followers, they are a surrogate family filled with like minded individuals. They just happen to sell products and services.
What Makes A Great Cult Brand?
Time spent researching cult brands in print and through field work revealed that although each of the nine brands investigated were clearly different, their individual formulas for cult-branding success shared many of the same core ingredients.
These formulas can be broken down into The Seven Golden Rules of Cult Branding.
#1 – The Golden Rule of Social Groups
Our society is addicted to communication. We use these devices to form and maintain distinct social groups, since as human beings we are inherently social animals. We not only enjoy being part of groups made of like-minded individuals, but we all enjoy being different and standing out from the rest of the pack.
www.cultbranding.com Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different.
“ You can be weird together and basically feel weird no more.”
- Rick Ross, cult intervention specialist
#2 – The Golden Rule of Courage
Consumers embrace cult brands and are loyal to them because their creators pushed the limit, took significant risk, and produced new and different things. Consumers are tired of being bombarded with products and services that all look the same, feel the same, and act the same. They want surprises. Cult brands stay with us. Bland brands fade from memory.
www.cultbranding.com Cult brand inventors show daring and determination.
“ This odd little egg shaped car is just plain ‘Ugly.’ It won’t sell.”
- Early Critics
#3 – The Golden Rule of Fun
Human beings want to have fun. At their core, cult brands are always fun. They make us happy. They cheer us up when we're down; they help us enjoy life. Not only do they provide escape, but the companies develop and sell tools that allow followers to pursue their dreams and celebrate new lifestyles.
www.cultbranding.com Cult brands sell lifestyles.
Jimmy - The King of FUN
#4 – The Golden Rule of Human Needs
Cult brands focus on serving the customers they already have. They don't try to attract hypothetical new customers. They look to the congregation, value their opinions, and reward them. Do extraordinary things for them, and they'll become incredible evangelists.
www.cultbranding.com Listen to the choir and create cult brand evangelists.
#5 – The Golden Rule of Contribution
Brand companies continually find new ways to give back to their customers for their passion and devotion. They remain humble and personable. They develop strong relationships through developing and supporting customer communities.
Cult brand companies don't build imaginary profiles of ideal customers. They don't' discriminate. They openly embrace anyone who is interested in their company. Exclusivity doesn't exist.
www.cultbranding.com Cult brands are inclusive.
Cult Brands help their customers fulfill feelings,
dreams and aspirations that are timeless and ageless.
#7 – The Golden Rule of Freedom
Human beings cherish their freedom, and cult brands promote this freedom and nonconformity. Cult brand companies work hard to create memorable experiences for their customers. They stay fresh in the minds of the faithful with brand consistency.
They draw strength and unity from identifying and targeting an archenemy-a group that conflicts with the company's values and goals.
www.cultbranding.com Cult brands promote personal freedom and draw power from their enemies.
Vans embraces the “outcasts.” They champion their lifestyles.