Understanding the Unique Idiosyncrasies of a Cult Brand

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A cult brand garners loyalty from customers and in return delivers a consistent product or service that keeps them happy. Creating these types of brands is a lot different than simply creating an effective company – though this is certainly part of it. There’s a lot of unique ways a brand has to behave in order to reach cult status. Read how a cult brand comes to be and ways a business could aim to develop one. Here’s an in-depth guide.

What Is a Cult Brand?

A cult brand captivates its customers at a dogmatic level. It has such a loyal following due to the fact their target market believes the company, product or services are a lifestyle choice rather than a mere purchase. A cult brand creates strong feelings of inclusion for customers.

An example of a cult brand is Harley Davidson motorcycles. Buying a Harley Davidson bike is like entering a family of loyal riders who share something special together on the road. Their base would never buy a motorcycle other than a Harley. They also bond with one another as if they’ve grown together as people due to the fact they both have bought into a culture. Harley Davidson also brings to light the idea that this isn’t a short-term craze, like a fad diet. Their customers are fanatical over a lifetime of purchasing, rather than a few short years.

Bikers traveling on the road in a pack.
Harley Davidson is a good example because of its loyal followers.

How to Reach the Status of Cult Brand

Most companies share the goal of reaching cult brand status, even if subconsciously. The idea of creating such a powerful brand that customers choose it out of pure loyalty seems like a sound business decision. However, developing one takes out-of-the-box originality and higher-level understanding. A brand can be successful without being a cult brand. This happens when a brand has recognizable logos and strong brand recognition but fails to reach levels of fanaticism. For example, a lot of people trust the Coca-Cola brand to deliver a delicious product but if Pepsi products are on-sale at the grocery store for the month, they have no problem switching over for the time being to save money.

A cult brand found a way to elicit powerful emotions and allowed customers to find meaning in their brand or product. They did this in numerous ways – through publications that painted vivid life pictures and subtly tied in their product, or by creating a service that was massively different from other similar companies. The common denominator is the idea was unique and set it apart from other companies.

A woman shops at a grocery store.
Unique ideas are typically at the forefront of brands with loyal followings.

Why Would Developing One Be Beneficial?

A cult brand maintains a long term loyalty of customers to your brand and yours alone. Rebranding becomes less of an issue, and your direct competitors pose much less of a threat to you. It also means your efforts to come up with new ways to renovate your product or methods of branding is less important. Certainly things like rebranding, aggressive marketing and product renovation will still be part of your company. However, they will be on a much smaller scale than average businesses.

By the same token, any product changes won’t be met with as much skepticism from your target market. Often times change is necessary due to the climate of a product or service. Similarly, explaining its value is time-consuming and costly. A strong brand maintains its customers with minimal marketing campaigns designed to justify a decision.

A cult brand is hard to create, due to the many unique circumstances surrounding each one. However, if you have a business idea that potentially stands out, you could progress your brand into a fanatically-followed enterprise.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.