Fine Tune Your Cult Brand

I have observed and quantified the phenomenon of Cult Brands since 2001, and Crown Business published these findings in 2002. One thing that I quickly learned is that Cult Brands have mastered the art of building meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers. Continue Reading

Ten Countries and $200 Billion Later…

By the former Chief Marketing Officer of Walmart, Paul Higham

I suspect that most 13-year-olds are curious about their future—I know I was. One day, my mother brought home a little black and yellow hard-backed book called Careers (I’m not entirely sure of the title, as this was nearly 50 years ago). I found a quiet place and devoured the book. Continue Reading

Happy Employees, Happy Profits


“I have often blamed you in my mind for treating this or that person differently and reacting to this or that situation differently from how I would have; and yet the outcome usually showed you were right. ‘If we just take people as they are,’ you once said, ‘we make them worse; but if we treat them not as they are but as they should be, we help them to become what they can become.’”

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How To Think Like a Business Genius


Salviati: Now you see how easy it is to understand.

Sagrego: So are all truths, once they are discovered; the point is in being able to discover them.

— Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

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Treat Your Customers Like Family

Last week, we wrote about the power of the individual customers to transform your business. The intensely-devoted customers we highlighted—the Brand Lovers—seek out like-minded individuals to form brand communities. These groups become close-knit with ties that resemble family—or in modern parlance: they become framily.

Here’s a secret: they can treat you like framily too. When we were interviewing customers for Life is Good, they spoke of founders Bert Jacobs and John Jacobs as if they knew them and spoke about their mascot Jake as if he were a real person. Jake was imbued with all of Life is Good’s good deeds and Bert’s and John’s personalities and he became an honorary framily member at their barbecues.

A hallmark of family—and framily—is doing good deeds without expecting anything in return. This can take the form of surprise gifts or surprise shipping upgrades. But, one of the best and easiest ways is simply saying thank you.

In August, BJ wrote about the power of saying thank you, and meaning it, to your coworkers. The same is equally true for your customers. About a decade ago, after shopping at Cole Haan, I received a handwritten letter in the mail from the sales associate, thanking me for my business and telling me it was always good to see me. I’ve always maintained a few pairs of Cole Haan shoes in my collection since.

Thank you for reading our blog throughout the past year.