A cult is a group of people with an almost unbreakable belief in something: a god or a deity, a personality, a philosophical idea, or a brand.
It is not unusual nowadays for consumers to band together and expresses their support and solidarity behind a brand. Fans of Apple have been likened to a cult because they would buy anything that the technology company sells, even if the price has been inflated or there is a superior product in the market.
Having a cult-like following is good for business because there will always be a portion of the market that will buy the product. When the market becomes too competitive or if new competitors appear, revenue will likely remain stable.
Not all brands, however, have managed to create a cult-like following. It is often easier said than done. Offering something that people want to buy is not enough to make them want to become a die-hard fanatic.
Creating a Community Around Your Brand
If there is something that people want consistently, it is the feeling of belongingness. A brand can give them that by creating a community of like-minded people.
Consumers who buy from a brand already have a few things in common. For example, Lululemon is known for its cute yoga pants, and one can assume that those who buy from the brand like yoga, exercise, and overall healthy living.
All you need to do is to bring them together. Lululemon stores have become a hub for customers and people who are interested in improving their well-being. The Vancouver-born brand often hosts events and yoga classes.
Setting up a community website would help create a sense of community, too. The website could include a forum where consumers can discuss the brand, its products, and any topic adjacent to or even not related to what you sell. It is a way for people to interact with each other and maybe make new friends.
Prioritizing Quality Over Quantity
Excellent marketing will not matter if your products break after one or two uses. It is more important that the brand makes products that have superior quality to anything currently in the market. Even when you slap a premium price tag and have a limited inventory, consumers will be choosing your products over your competitors.
This happened with OnePlus, a Chinese brand that is only a few years old but already has a solid cult following around it. OnePlus set itself apart by creating smartphones that feature a flagship but with a price that did not break the bank. During its first years, consumers can only get a smartphone from the company if they get an invitation from another user or win a contest. Although it was frustrating to those who could not get one, it created a feeling of exclusivity among those who have it, and those who want it became more eager for it.
When OnePlus officially launched in other territories, there were long lines of consumers waiting to buy a unit.
The lesson that an entrepreneur can learn from the OnePlus story is quality trumps quantity. A widely available product does not necessarily mean it would be sold, and it certainly would not create a cult-like following around it.
Authenticity at the Center of the Campaign
Authenticity is one of the traits that consumers value in a brand they support. When influencers and celebrities endorse anything as long as they receive the payment, consumers look for an entity they could trust.
Being as authentic as possible is not a bad strategy in marketing.
Take Glossier, for example. The cosmetics company does not hire famous people to endorse its products and instead focuses on things that will encourage consumers to be its spokesperson.
It does not need a Kardashian’s hundreds of million followers on Instagram for exposure. Fans of the brand share their purchases on social media, influencing family and friends to try out the products for themselves. After all, people trust the recommendation of acquaintances more than what a celebrity endorses.
However, you do not have to completely ignore the exposure that influencers can give you. A brand can still be authentic while having a famous personality endorse their products by hiring those who genuinely enjoy and consume what is being sold.
Creating a cult-like might be challenging, but the efforts and resources put into making it happen will all be worth it in the end. Just be ready to wait a little longer. This kind of thing does not happen overnight. It may take years of consistent branding and marketing to become a brand that consumers think is worth following.