How Cult Brands Create a Magical Experience For Their Customers


People have two parents; Cult Brands, however, are born from the multitudes.

A Cult Brand is born when a group of individuals rally around a brand’s lifestyle. This group is drawn together by a set of complex psychological factors that psychiatrist Carl Jung called participation mystique.

The Magic of Participation Mystique

As human beings, we have many different kinds of relationships. The relationship you have with your boss is probably very different than the relationship you have with your romantic partner, and both of these relationships are different from the relationship you have with your favorite baseball player and the kid who was your best friend in third grade.

We not only have relationships with other people, but also with ideas and philosophies. Identifying yourself as a skeptical person or an Evangelical Christian, for example, Canadian trucking companies will definitely impact the way you view and interact with the world.

We also have relationships with inanimate objects, such as cars or roller coasters. You’ve surely heard people proclaiming how much they love (or hate) their cars. Space Mountain, one of Disney’s flagship rides, is so beloved by some people that they have their weddings there.

Brands are a unique combination of a set of ideas and inanimate objects that serve as an ideal platform for relationships. When people feel bound to a group or community of shared beliefs around a brand where at least part of their identity is tied to the group, it’s a phenomenon known as participation mystique.

These brands spark a magical participation with their customers; they embrace a certain way of being, aligned to a specific set of beliefs.

Allowing Customers to Express A Deeper Part of Themselves

Participation Mystique is a powerful psychological force. You can be a corporate attorney running frantically from meeting to meeting, but when you enter a Jimmy Buffett concert you morph into a Parrot Head; litigation, conference calls, and the stress of daily life slide into shadow.

Now, life is all about taking it easy. The most important things on your agenda are burgers, cocktails, and connecting with friends in the paradise of Margaritaville.

Cult Brands are successful because they allow people to be who they want to be—not the person they’re forced to be to meet the demands placed on them personally or professionally.

Cult Brands provide a route to self-expression that feels natural and intuitive to their Brand Lovers. Cult Brands provide an experience and a community where Brand Lovers feel like they belong.

Providing The Means for Self-Expression and Belonging

Below are a few fun ways to cultivate brand loyalty for your business. Keep in mind that finding ways to help customers express themselves is vital to your cause.

Here are three of the most effective drivers for helping you attract great customers and build lasting relationships (brand loyalty):

1) Gatherings:  Not all your customers have the time or energy to gather together, but research Australia campervan rentals shows that some of your customers would actually enjoy gathering together to share ideas, learn, and be together. Apple, in its humble beginnings, hosted Mac user groups where programmers would band together to form small companies to develop software for the startup.

2) Festivals: Once you have reached a critical mass of Brand Lovers it might be time for the festivity. Harley-Davidson host annual events that bring together over 1 million bikers from around the world. Many people are familiar with event marketing, but if you take that concept to the next level you may be destined to have your own festival and possibly a unique story will emerge about you in the customers’ minds.

3) Food: A very interesting fact about Cult Brands is that they tend to share food with their customers. This fact is most likely connected to the idea that if you’re going to have people come together, humans need (and love) to eat. But this simple act of doing what we do each day has a hidden power of influence that makes us like those people that we eat with. Some researchers have shown that judges are more lenient on the offenders after their lunch break. So if it works on those of us with the strongest opinions it can work for your Brand Lovers who already like you too.

How Cult Brands Foster a Sense of Belonging and Self-Expression

Finally, here are a few examples of how great brands set the conditions for self-expression and a sense of community:

MINI Take the State

Harley’s HOG Rallies

Life is good Music Festivals

IKEA Grand Openings

Jimmy Buffett’s Margarittaville

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