Whether you’re aware or not, brands play an increasingly large role in shaping our identities in the place of more traditional influences like nationality or religion. By selling a lifestyle with their products, a select few brands have developed a deeper relationship with consumers and established cult followings.
Previously, subcultures were what the masses turned to, to form identity. They were built around politically charged initiatives where a community rallied behind common values. And while politics, values and organizations may be the established bedpost of many subcultures, fashion is quickly catching up, finding its place in the world of public loyalty. In the fluid environment of consumerism, brands are capitalizing on this subculture mentality to inspire brand loyalty.
People still crave community, both online and offline. Consumers often look for new guidance and brands are bringing them together. While people lose trust in governments and traditional institutions, brands are beginning to take on those roles.
Creating a community and culture to buy into is just step one on the road to cult status. People are becoming more selective about spending, but brands are becoming more specific about their consumer. What separates the cult brand from others is often the confidence to not appeal to anyone and everyone. It becomes less about the demographic or age, but instead thinking about the mindset you want to connect with.
Cult brand tips:
- Really know your audience
Understand your audience inside and out, and look for ways to inspire them not just reach them.
- Have a clear vision
Develop values and a mission that is specific and targeted. Create a brand with a clear audience that you can connect with.
- Develop brand rituals and build loyalty
Rituals are nostalgic and familiar. Develop an iconic behaviour associated with the brand. This gives consumers a sense of belonging that keep them coming back.
- Have a brand language
From Disney’s “Imagineers” to Apple’s “Genius Bar” — a common brand language connects people and generates awareness.