There’s a reason no one is posting pictures of Burger King coffee cups on Instagram, or sweaty selfies in front of Planet Fitness on Facebook. These brands may be successful in their own realms, but they have not established cult followings. Maybe that’s not their goal. Or, maybe their brand strategies haven’t set them up for that type of success.

Nevertheless, if you are in pursuit of a cult following (a group of loyal clients who are not only emotionally attached to your brand, but who will go to great lengths to mention your brand name, promote it, and associate themselves with it), there are steps you can take to set your brand on the path toward it.

And here we go…

Brand Strategies for a Cult Following

The branding and marketing plans used by the big brands with cult followings vary from brand-to-brand; however, most of them have these 3 brand strategies in common:

  1. Make it Personal: You’ve heard a lot about personal branding (the branding of YOU); however, shift that to highlight your followers, and you’ve got the foundation for cult following success. Cult followers feel something deeper than just a business connection; they feel that they are experiencing a relationship. They feel they know the humans behind the brand and that they are being acknowledged by those humans. They feel certain that if they “go to bat” for your brand, you will back them up, appreciate them, and give them credit for their brand’s success. Make people feel this way—offer them an opportunity to build a relationship with you— and they will go to great lengths to nurture a relationship with your brand.
  2. Give them Material: Everyone’s looking for small-talk material. And everyone wants to have the answer. So give them what they want. Do something controversial (like put out a red cup at Christmastime), do something unexpected in your market, or release a surprising product, service, or story. You can also look into your target market to find out what your ideal clients complain most about (regarding brands like yours), and then do exactly the opposite of what they’re currently getting. The point is this: Give people something interesting they can bring to the conversation, and they will.
  3. Build the Clubhouse: There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but in short, you’ll want to make people who have bought into your brand feel that they are part of an exclusive club—which will, in turn, make others want to be part of it. You can offer “secret” items that aren’t on your product list—items that only your most loyal clients know about. You can create a special language, to which only your most dedicated customers are privy. Create a “club,” and people will want to come in; and once they’re there, they’ll want to let everyone know they’ve gotten in. It’s human nature.


There a number of brands I can think of that enjoy a cult following, including Zappos, The Hunger Games, Vans, Starbucks, CrossFit, Harley Davison, Mini, Pottery Barn, Apple, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Lululemon, Oprah, In-and-Out Burger, Chipotle, The Grateful Dead, Southwest, Star Trek, WWE, and Chick-Fil-A.

Pick out a few of your favorites and ask yourself how many of the above brand strategies they have employed. I’ll bet that challenge comes pretty easily now that you know what to look for, model, and build into your own brand.

And now that you have the brand strategies necessary for building a cult following of your own, you can begin to work them into your everyday branding activities.

Want to learn more about building visibility, credibility, and profitability for your brand? Then you’re ready for our FREE B.R.A.N.D. Kick Starter Online Masterclass, available at Don’t waste another moment; as we speak, another brand could be seizing the cult following that should be yours.


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