The Building of a Cult Brand and Following

Photo by Michael Competielle

The terms cult following or cult classic are used frequently to describe innovators of products, brands or companies that have developed a faithful, dedicated and passionate fanbase. These cult innovators unique brand identity builds a loyal fanbase that exhibits brand loyalty by purchasing the companies current and future products while discounting competitors moves in the market.

Companies such as Apple are a prime example of an innovative tech company with a cult following producing luxury tech products and services. With multiple annual announcements on product developments and releases, early adopters lineup outside stores awaiting the opportunity to be one first to showcase the lastest offerings often by creating product unboxing videos, published articles in tech forums and blogs.

Competitors will race to reverse engineer the products in an attempt to develop similar products often purchased by the early majority and late majority.

With the innovators making up 2.5% of the market, early adaptors 13.5%, early majority at 34%, late majority at 34% and the laggards taking up the remaining 16% it’s essential for cult brands products to live the entire lifecycle.

Photo by Michael Competielle

So Why Join the Cult?

  • The products just work
  • Product support and updates even after product EOL
  • High Resale Value
  • Market Dominance

Cults followings are created by users of great products. Who’s best in action cams? GoPro and why? They work, they work well, they are supported, maintain a resale value and dominate the market.

Need proof ask the likes of Casey Neistat.

Casey is an innovator and a brand influencer. Does that mean you send Casey a product and you’ll receive instant sales? Well yes if your products work. If they don’t…. Not a wise idea.

Enter Lululemon

Cult following? You bet your yoga toned ass. Not a question Lululemon has placed a severe dent into the world of Technical Athletic Clothing. And just to be clear since 2017 in Men’s clothing as well. Marketing to brand influencers like yoga instructors and gym trainers, Lululemon has a cult following that fills a healthy share of the.. wellness/ health/ fitness clothing market. And for men there are active offerings including the Warpstreme active dress pants.

With a high concentration on a quality product and/or service, not discounting products, ensuring the entire product chain from design, marketing, sales and service is of uniform importance brands can obtain cult followings.

Deeply discounted goods, deceptive sales tactics and poor customer service or experiences are the demise of a brand and subsequently the possibility of achieving cult status.

Develop Your Brand to Sell Itself For Life

Photo by Michael Competielle

Recently I found myself in need of a new computer. Actually it wasn’t for me but my wife who recently acquired her real estate license and is a dual career sales agent with Weichert.

Mobility was important, access to listings while on the road, databases, contact forms were some of the primary computer requirements. Graphics and CPU were of some importance as some listing include virtual tours.

We decided on a base model 15” MacBook Pro which costs around $2,399. Walking into the Apple store we were greeted by a friendly sale associate that asked if we needed any assistance. We told him our interests in the MacBook which he responded with a basic question of who the computer was for. Responding that it was indeed for my wife he questioned what were her plans for the computer. We responded with our primary list of thoughts and amazingly the sales associate told us “you can get buy with an iPad and save a ton of money”.

Huh? Yes of course we could however a lack of keyboard, ports to install additional displays or thumb drives made it a no go. We then discussed the MacBook Air coming in at around $1k, we again explained we appreciated the MacBook Pro’s additional GPU, processing power and display size.

He seemed satisfied that we were certain of what we wanted and he began to ring us up. We chatted a bit a he explained he only wanted us to be happy with our purchase acknowledging it was a large purchase. I reassured him that this our 5th MacBook Pro purchase in the last 4 years he seemed to be convinced we knew what we were doing.

I started to think of the reasons why the computer had sold itself to us and reasons were as follows:

  • Ease of use, interfacing we peripherals is a breeze
  • Apples post track record on updates, service and product life expectancy
  • General lack of Windows based system issues such as viruses,drivers and costly OS upgrades

Our Apple purchases have been G3, G4, eMac, G5, iMac, MacBook Pro’s, AirPort Extreme, iPods, iPads, AppleTv’s, software such as Logic Pro, Shake, Aperture and most importantly Apple Stock.

For over 15 years I’ve been running on Mac’s starting with a used G3.

With a strong connection at the time to the creative sector Mac was a no brainer as I was into audio recording. Hooking up Midi peripherals and integrating into my then current Cubase was simple. At that point I was sold and with every new purchase, I’m sold again.

Mac computers are definitely not a “buy it for life product” but they are a buy it for life company.

Looking around our home I see similar Brands we follow. Both of my children have large Nike collections, I buy Avid, Sennheiser, RME, JBL, Merrell, Kuhl, Orvis and my wife loves Coach and Vitamix.

Working as a Brand Designer for a startup events business, I’m studying the brands and products we buy and attempt to analyze each product, experience and attraction.

Understanding some products sell themselves based on the “cool factor” I’m studying user experience, product design and repeat business.

This article was written on my MacBook Pro, wearing my Orvis shirt in my Kuhl Silencer pants while barefoot.