Thursday, February 08, 2007

 

Are you a cult brand in waiting?

When you think about cult brands, you probably think about companies and brands such as Apple, Harley Davidson, Linux and Star Trek. These brands have highly-active customers, all of whom go the extra mile to evangelize and protect to brand. Apple users volunteering their time to work at retail stores, convincing others to also buy Mac. Star Trek fans spending thousands a year on costumes, conventions, collectibles and more.

A “cult following” is an enormous advantage that companies and brand managers work hard to protect and leverage.

But aren’t we all cult brands in waiting? Do we all have the potential to reach the cult status of Apple? Or Harley Davidson?

Yes. But first thing’s first.

You start with a great product, and a great experience. If your products aren’t good, or don’t serve a fundamental customer need, you have bigger problems than trying to create a cult brand.

But let’s assume you have good products, and a strong fundamental business.

You are a cult brand in waiting. You merely need to identify, energize and mobilize your passionate customers.

Every business has detractors. But every business also has Promoters – rabid fans who love the product or service, and tell others about it. The problem is, most companies don’t know who those promoters are, don’t know where to find them, and therefore have absolutely no way to accelerate the word-of-mouth and impact those promoters can generate.

If you can find your promoters, you can make them stronger. You can make them “insiders,” give them extra information, samples of your products to give others. You can create tools that effectively give those passionate customers a microphone to communicate to others the passion they have for your products.

Create your own customer brand army that works side-by-side with you to protect the reputation of your company and brand. Make them insiders, make them feel part of the family, and they’ll work harder for you.

I believe most companies are at various stages of becoming cult brands. Most are just relatively far away from realizing true cult status.

But with focus and work, you can get there.

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