Cult Branding

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An introduction to cult branding

Text of Cult Branding


Defining CULT A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

CULTS - A social analysis Cult Organisations - Jehovahs Witness, The Moonies, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Scientologists These cults have fine-tuned marketing to hook into the nuances of human nature Cults have a closed boundary.Youre either in or out.This creates passionate solidarity. Its actually not that easy getting into a cult. There is a definite process to joining. Cults have strong central ideology and leadership.This fosters alignment and clarity. Cults are a parallel social universe with their own rituals, relationship structures and experiences. This binds individuals to the cause.How Cults Seduce by Alex Wipperfurth & John Grant

CULT Brands Cult brands are spheres of influence Primarily, they wield an influence over consumers purchasing decision. They get repeatedly chosen over competition They bring higher prices than competition Week after week, month after month, year after year

Cult brand consumers not only use the product, but evangelize to the world about it. Cult brands exhibit a high degree of consumer loyalty Cult brands have a locked-in cadre of consumers who will come back with more business - a core group of happy, repeat purchasersThe Power of Cult Branding by Matthew W Ragas & Bolivar J Bueno

Case StudiesGlobal Cult Brands

Harley Davidson Harley-Davidson stirs passion in its riders, its dealers and its employees, and translates that passion into profit. More than half of new Harley sales are to old consumers trading up 886, 000 strong HOGs community HOG = Harley Owners Group HOGs organise rides, training courses, charity fund-raisers, social events Riders Edge - A 3 day drivers training course organised by dealers for new motorcycle riders Harley's appeal straddles class boundaries, stirring the hearts of Hells Angels and corporate titans alike.

Apple Computers Locked into profitable niches the multimedia community Changed the relationship between human & computer - high emphasis on aesthetics & design 40% of new orders come from first time PC buyers Tag line - Imagine

Use cult media - Apple T-shirts / mugs - to refresh company allegiance T-shirt size field on job application

Thousands of users show up at computer stores and other public places all the time, for free, to evangelize about Apples products and their love of the brand.

Starbucks The cult of coffee... The third place in a consumers daily existence - a familiar & welcoming refuge from work or home where they can relax in a safe public setting and enjoy a sense of community A retail experience that revolves around high-quality coffee, personalized knowledgeable service, and sociability. Consumers in a dozen countries associate the Starbucks brand with: coffee accessible elegance community individual expression control

The Body Shop Famous for creating a niche market sector for naturally inspired skin and hair care products The Body Shop sells a product every 0.4 seconds with over 77 million transactions through stores worldwide, with customers sampling a range of over 600 products and more than 400 accessories Mission - To courageously ensure that our business is ecologically sustainable: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.

Summary Cult Brands are identified by consumer passion & excitement around the brand They are self consciously different from rivals In addition to product / service quality, cult brands fulfil the high level needs of esteem, social interaction and self actualisation found at the top of Maslows pyramid They form deep & lasting emotional bonds with consumers Cult brands project an aura / group identity They beget evangelists - consumers are owners - go all out to promote the brand

Why do cult brands thrive? Fragmented society - break down & distance in relationships Relationships between brands & consumers have become more complex High consumer knowledge Greater choice The death of passive consumption - consumers want their brands to become a form of self-expression Basic human need for security, belonging and social interaction

Consumers look toward brands to fulfil these needs

Cult Branding Activities Clearly differentiate the brand from other service providers Create a strong, central ideology that gives the brand much larger meaning attracts target consumers as they sense a kinship makes fans out of fickle consumers

Build on a mass of loyal consumers who frequently consume the brands services who are unsusceptible to bids by potential rivals willing to pay a premium to access the brand

Create a community of evangelists who actively reach out to new consumers / break the barriers of acquisition reducing customer acquisition costs substantially

In Summary A Cult Branding strategy is expected to fulfill a major set of brand objectives However it entails a seismic shift in thinking & operating The challenges for brands to abandon mass for niche to evolve a focused targeting strategy - Building the brand one consumer at a time delivering on over promises sharing power with consumers

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