We live in a society that love brands, need brands and worships brands so much that there is indeed a cult of some of these brands. Google and Apple are the new champions of the brands, however this is not a new phenomenon. Hopalong Cassidy was a child phenomenon in the fifties, the Star Trek fans started a long road a long time ago in the sixties and Star Wars in the seventies. The Volkswagen Beetle, Harley Davidson and… Oprah. The word for this affinity is not loyalty, is cult.
Cult branding is a marketing phenomenon recently understood, that comes from understanding that consumers want to be part of a group that is different from another. While the Cult Branding can be identified since sixty years ago, is only during the last twenty years that we have worked on strategies to that purpose.
Cult Branding is wonderful (but dangerous)… can build more loyalty than any other tool but can cause serious falls. How much you love Facebook? How do you identify with Android? Why do you want an iPhone? Why don’t you change your Blackberry? (no, really, why?) What does it mean to be a Trekkie (or Trekker)? The keyword is lifestyle, cult brands sell lifestyles. Cult Brands always create customer communities and are inclusive.
The strategy (simplistic) is to give your users freedom and defend them from enemies. Be there for them, listen to their needs and let them become evangelists for your brand. Let them loose to be the ones who build the power of your brand.