In this article we’ll uncover what a cult brand is, what makes them so loved and how brands are creating their very own cult following.
What is a Cult Brand?
A cult brand has an incredibly loyal customer base. Customers have a vested interest in the brand. They feel a level of relatability to what the brand says, does and sells, more than a traditional brand might not experience. When we refer to traditional brands we can think of banks, service providers, restaurants etc. This customer base has an interest in, and a desire for, the brand to succeed and grow in popularity.
When brands build relationships with their customers, it can create a want to be associated with the image and idea of the brand. Those with vested interests in the brand are willing to buy the products and services provided. This behaviour allows customers to ‘fit in’ with the brand’s culture aligning with the individual’s image. This not only has a direct effect on the customer, but they are more willing to encourage others to follow their actions.
When Does a Cult Brand End?
Typically the brand has a history and is unlikely to be a short-lived fad. However, what happens if the brand becomes too popular? Apple was considered to be a cult brand for many years, becoming even-more of an aspirational brand after the release of their first iPhone —, but does it still hold its cult-like status? Yes, it is extremely popular, with 55% of the American market using iPhones, of which a smaller cult following remains that will only buy Apple products.
Brands can stand for a cause that their core customer base supports and works to grow. Building community by creating content that is relatable to a key customer demographic can also help to increase popularity on social media networks. Communities surrounding a brand are developed through image, relatable values and brand transparency that is displayed through social media, marketing and brand campaigns as well as ever-green content
What Makes a Cult Brand So Popular
If a brand can create a cult following, they will have a loyal customer base that is willing to buy their products and share the brand with people around them. As we’ve mentioned before, this cult following wants others to love the brand as much as them, giving it powerful marketing value.
Word of Mouth
As we’ve mentioned, a cult brand has a fan base willing to share and inform others of the products the brand provides. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and an extremely encouraging marketing method building greater brand awareness. However, this can be over-marketed to others and seem over-hyped.
Pricing & Profits
Typically a brand’s customer base is price sensitive, meaning if prices increase, they may see a fall in demand for their products. However, a cult brand can often charge almost anything while maintaining and growing its loyal customer base.
A prime example of this is Supreme. Supreme has a cult following, with customers who are willing to invest large sums of money to be associated with the brand and the culture that they depict..
How to Create a Cult Brand?
In order for your brand to achieve cult status, you need to create a consumer culture. This should be a long-term strategy that gives your customers a sense of belonging. Here are some of here are some ideas to help create a cult brand:
Every brand has a founder, or someone who embodies the brand’s ideology. Elon Musk is a leader for several brands, from Tesla to Space X. He gains publicity, positive or negative, for everything he does. This may be divisive, but it can create a cult-like following for those it resonates with.
Make a Difference
Successful brands stand out for several reasons, one of which is the story and difference they make. Simple acts of kindness can create customer loyalty and help brands sell more. Brands like Patagonia have mass appeal for many reasons, but they’ve recently gained a cult-like following. This has come from their goal of being environmentally sustainable and giving back..
This act has created a consumer culture that people are willing to stand behind. They have achieved a unique connection through their image that consumers want to be aligned with.
Regular brands we see daily don’t have a cult-like following because they stay within what is expected of them. The UFC has stood out and gathered a cult-like following by moving away from the traditional sport of boxing and opening up to MMA. They were not the first to create an MMA fighting championship, but they broke the mould by being different.
For your brand to gain a cult audience, it needs to have a unique connection with its customers. Harley Davidson supports community bike clubs where members share insight into their motorbikes. They gain a community spirit that represents the image the brand wants to show and be known for. In turn, those who are part of the club want to be seen in this same way.
Rounding Up What a Cult Brand is?
A cult brand has strong foundations with a specific set of consumers that adore the brand products and want to be aligned with the image that is represented. They have power over this consumer base which helps market their products and services leading to more sales. Consumers gain a feeling of belonging and association and feel a sense of success through their brands’ achievements.
Cult brands are hard to create and even harder to maintain. If you’re looking to grow your brand’s image and reach a wider customer base, view our brand identity page.