There are some dubious words flying around when it comes to branding. Two examples are viral and cult following. These terms are nothing new to most brand builders and marketers; however, they still come with some old stigmas attached.
Viral makes us wonder who's sick (and should we stay away?), whilst Cult Following makes us wonder if we should avoid cracking the seal on something dangerous.
Am I right?
Well, I can attest to the fact that when it comes to branding, going viral and establishing a cult following are the best things that could happen to you and your brand.
So let's dispel with the sentiments of wickedness and give these terms a new, more positive life.
Viral Content, Cult Following…of the Best Possible Kind
There is a noted shroud of mystery surrounding the brands that get it right. How do they do it? Who do they know? What's their secret?
And how long did it take them to get it right?
Every brand journey is different; however, you can start to create a cult following today—and you can do it with these tactics:
- Give them an experience, not just instruction. You can preach at your target audience all day long—even give them invaluable information—and unless you hold them accountable and take their hands to get them started, they are unlikely to feel what your brand can do for them. Put them in a situation. Compel them to move out of their comfort zones. Make them accountable for getting sh*t done. Your brand will always be the brand that caused them to try something new, feel something different or create an unforgettable experience. How could they possibly forget you?
- Give away parts of your intellectual property; hint at the rest. I always recommend that you give freely of your knowledge, so that people can learn to trust you. However, there's also immense value in making them understand that there's more where that came from. Maintain some mystery in this realm. Keep them coming back to see what's next.
- Maintain an air of tranquility. Leaders aren't typically running around, scared and confused. Sages aren't hyper, and they're certainly not scatter-brained. If you want people to trust and follow you, you have to give them reason to believe that you've got this thing completely under control, and that you know everything will turn out well. Not only will people feel that you have the solution they need, they'll want to experience the same peaceful, easy feeling you've found.
- Be immune to distraction. In many ways, leaders with cult followings portray a higher level of consciousness—something that others aspire to and want to learn from. You can achieve this in a business setting, giving your audience the idea that you've got knowledge valuable enough to lead them along that same path. You could call this persona "all-knowing" or "sage."
- Maintain humility. It can be easy to play the role of sage and get too big for your britches. That's a mistake many leaders make. Instead, maintain a sense of humility, making it clear that you are fortunate to have been gifted with the knowledge you have, and the hard work you've put in is something you feel you're destined to do. You've been called to help them, and you are at their service.
- Demonstrate an enviable perspective. We've all met those people about whom we think, I wish I had their positive outlook and perspective. Now is your chance to be that person and to attract lots of people with your uplifting, unshakeable worldview. Be that person that people think they could throw anything at and you'd field it with grace, confidence, courage…whatever you wish to be known for.
- Fulfill your ideal customer's needs with your image. Does your ideal client need self-belief? Or community? Or joy? Dig deeply into your ideal customer's mindset and then embody that advantage or value with your every word and action. You, as a person, can be the full representation of what they need right now, in this minute. And when you're the immediate answer to an urgent need, the business you represent will reap the benefits.
- Make yourself available, on a limited basis. In order to give people the experiences that will create a cult following, you'll have to work directly with them. That doesn't mean, however, you have to make yourself available to everyone, all the time. Choose times when you're at their disposal; and make special time for your uber-ideal customers. This will keep them interested; waiting for their chance to tap your resources.
The Responsibilities of Creating a Cult Following
If you're planning to take your brand viral and develop a cult-like following, get ready. You're going to have significant responsibilities assigned to you, including…
- meticulous promise-keeping
- fastidious reputation management
- gracious handling of criticism
- constant demonstration of expertise
- endless trust-building
- relentless brand advocacy
The good news? All of that will come with abundant benefits—particularly if you surround yourself with a team of powerful, professional brand advocates.
Need help starting or managing a cult following? Members of the Brand Builders Club are on the same journey as you are—and others have been there and have established viral, cult-like presences in their industries. You can learn from them and be supported by them, as well as gather knowledge from the international speakers and global experts we get in the club. Simply email [email protected] to set up a call to determine if the club is right for you.