Some of the most successful marketing strategies were inspired by cult theory.
Disturbing but true.
If you have your doubts then consider this one word: Apple.
Apple has spurred a fanatical cult-like following around their brand and products.
Think people sleeping in cardboard boxes while waiting in line overnight for their newest product release — People carving the Apple logo into their flesh and displaying it proudly.
Or people drinking the infamous purple Kool-Aid to make the ultimate sacrifice for their Apple-approved identity…. OK that hasn’t happened yet — but I wouldn’t rule it out.
Do these people get paid for their unwavering dedication? Nope.
So the real question is why? WHY would a person commit himself or herself to that level of dedication to a brand?
Social identities can heavily influence our decisions, especially if they support our perceived identity in a positive way.
The people willing to go to extreme lengths to purchase the latest iPhone or provide Apple with free advertising are not simply captivated by a cool product.
In fact, I am personally not convinced that Apple offers a truly superior product…
Yep. Feel free to gasp as you shake your fists in outrage 😉
Identity is at the core of these Apple fan’s enthusiasm. Apple has created a brand that has a well-defined, positive image with just a hint of exclusivity. People who associate their identity with Apple are not just owners of Apple products. They are “Apple People.”
The Apple brand has become an extension of their identity, which is responsible for their zealous loyalty and devotion.
Inspiring even a fraction of the fervor that some brands have managed to achieve with their customers could transform your business.
The key to this accomplishment is to understand one thing about human beings:
They are odd.
We have deep-seated and competing needs — The longing to be unique and the desire to belong to a group or community.
So, how well does your marketing cater to your target customers’ identities? Does it unite your customers against the ‘mainstream,’ ‘inferior,’ or even ‘oppressive broader culture?
In addition to Apple, a few brands that you may want to model your approach after include:
– Harley Davidson
– And ‘Oprah’ (AKA One of the Most Beloved Cult Leaders)
Attaining the status of a cult brand might be the best thing that could ever happen to your business.
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