All Posts By

Aaron Shields

Top 5 Cult Branding Blogs of 2020

Cult Branding's Top Loyalty and Crisis Blogs of the Year

In a year that’s been filled with a lot of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, we’re especially thankful for your continued readership during this challenging year.

Taking into consideration your opens, shares, and clicks, below are our five most popular blogs of 2020.

We wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and fantastic New Year.

BJ, Salim, and Aaron

5 Strategies for Leading During a Crisis (or any change)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw most crisis articles focus on the importance of resilience. But, that’s only one piece of what’s required to overcome the challenges that come with a crisis.

“5 Strategies for Leading During a Crisis (or any change)” combines the latest in both research and practical experience in managing a crisis. It is a comprehensive guide to understanding the dynamics of a crisis and what you can do to pivot with purpose and overcome the challenging conditions that come with a crisis.

What to Do When You’re Worn Out

Something we consistently heard from both readers and clients was how difficult it was to not feel burnt out this year.

This blog presents four effective strategies for combating burnout.

How to Build Customer Loyalty in The Age of Skeptics

In January, we published this blog on how to turn increasingly skeptical consumers into loyal customers by building trusting relationships. Little did we know how relevant it would be for this year.

The pandemic has highlighted to more businesses how critical it is to maintain a loyal customer base as they have been the difference between success and closure for many businesses.

Beyond Loyalty Programs: 5 Ways to Create Loyal Customers

Loyalty programs are par for the course in many businesses today. Yet, most of them look the same.

This blog contains 5 ways businesses can create loyalty by doing what their customers really value in a way that is unique to the business.

How to Get Customers to Choose You Instead of Your Competitors

Businesses always battle for customers from their competitors. But, this year the value of those individual purchases to the businesses has increased.

In this blog, we explore how focusing on customer needs can make you an unstoppable force against your competition.

The #1 Reason Most Vision Statements Fail

A company vision helps you think beyond the company of today in order to build the company of tomorrow.

You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.Alvin Toffler1

The reason most vision statements fail is that they’re as statements. 

Instead of treating a company vision as a North Star—something that is used to guide decision-making—most companies attempt to codify the vision in a brief statement that’s treated as an endpoint. They treat a vision statement as a magic tool: it’s as if just by having one, they’ll be imbued with some preternatural power that supercharges their business.

But, company visions aren’t magical talismans. Company visions are tools.

Continue Reading

3 Ways Taking a Break Improves Performance

Again, it is well that you should often leave off work and take a little relaxation, because, when you come back to it you are a better judge; for sitting too close at work may greatly deceive you. Again, it is good to retire to a distance because the work looks smaller and your eye takes in more of it at a glance and sees more easily the discords or disproportion in the limbs and colours of the objects.Leonardo Da Vinci1

When things are busy or stressful, it’s easy to get caught up in the doing and lose perspective. And, when you lose perspective, it’s hard to connect your day-to-day actions with what you desire over the long-term

Here are three ways taking a break can help you achieve long-term success.

Continue Reading

Brand DNA: Understanding Customer Motivation

Understanding the needs you fulfill best is important so that your messaging and strategy emphasizes what motivates your customers to do business with you.

Our approach to understanding customers is founded on what we call the Brand DNA. Brand DNA is the root of developing all long-term strategies and short-term tactics. The Brand DNA consists of three interlocking parts:

  1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  2. Jungian Archetypes
  3. The Cultural Story
Continue Reading

How To Stay Motivated By Your Company’s Vision

WHAT YOU DO TODAY DETERMINES THE TYPE OF ORGANIZATION YOU CAN BECOME TOMORROW.

When you visualize daily, you align your thoughts and feelings with your vision. This makes it easier to maintain the motivation you need to continue taking the necessary actions.Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning

Developing a vision creates energy and momentum in a company.

But, that energy usually fades over time. The pressure of the now takes over. The vision becomes something that will happen in the distant future.

The vision loses the power it was designed to have: create a passion to motivate you through anything in service of the better future you want.

Continue Reading

Are Your Core Values Really Core Values?

When you create a list of core values, you have to create a list of the values as they are, not as you want them to be.

Perhaps the most popular corporate exercise of the last decade is creating a set of core values, those beliefs that form the foundation of the organization.

Unless this is done by the founder early on in the organization’s life— when the organization is close to a blank slate—chances are the list created by executives aren’t really core values.

These lists usually end up being the way the executives think they want people to behave and not the values that are actually guiding day-to-day behavior.

At their heart, true core values are the beliefs that guide behaviors. The values become internalized to the point of habit. They guide the way people naturally react to situations.

Continue Reading

From Purpose to Brand

A company’s purpose flows expressly from its heritage and leads directly to its values. —James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine  III

A company’s purpose flows expressly from its heritage and leads directly to its values.James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine III, Authenticity

A brand is a living entity with three elements: vision, culture, and customer. Leadership creates a vision that inspires employees whose behaviors—through direct interaction and marketing— translate your brand to your customers. These elements influence each other and collectively create a perception of the company. That perception is the brand.

Underlying all three of these elements is your purpose: what your brand stands for beyond profits. A purpose is why you exist.

Continue Reading

Advertising Isn’t Just For Customers

People must be motivated by a deeper Cause....I believe that people don’t come to work to earn money for themselves and the company. They come to work because the product does something worthwhile, and this is what gets people inspired. —Bill George

People must be motivated by a deeper Cause….I believe that people don’t come to work to earn money for themselves and the company. They come to work because the product does something worthwhile, and this is what gets people inspired.Bill George1

With increasing competitive pressures from existing businesses and industry disruptors, corporations have turned to place greater emphasis on satisfying their employees to maintain or gain a competitive edge.

This has resulted in everything from Google-esque compensation packages to creating—or more often attempting to create—cultures and business practices based around unique core values, all in an effort to engage and retain employees with more than a paycheck.

Continue Reading

How Short-Term Wins Can Lead To Long-Term Failures

short term wins don’t necessarily translate into long-term company health.—

Can the sum of a row of many victories over many years be defeat?General Löwenhielm in Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast

New customers! More revenue! Huge ROI!

Immediate, positive results are attractive and addictive. It’s easy to understand why: People get praise from their bosses. The current market rewards quarterly capitalism with most investments currently being held somewhere between four and eight months—a big change from the average holding of over eight years during the 1960s.1 And, many people’s jobs depend on these immediate results.

Continue Reading

Pivot With Purpose

Purpose carries you unwavering and committed through not only the high points but also the difficult times.
Business purpose helps you get through difficult times.

These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven; for nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose,—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.Robert Walton in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Talk of pivoting is popular. But, most companies don’t have a place to pivot from.1

When a company only chases profits or market share, they only have the whims of the market to anchor their business. And, when those whims change, their anchors get dislodged and they have to scramble for a new spot to give them stability.

Continue Reading