When I think of the All businesses dream of unlimited customer loyalty—the kind of sheer devotion you see in cults—but very few effectively implement the right set of tactics, goals and vision to create a cult following. In today’s global economy, astute branding can be a powerful lever to make money, win market shares and assert competitive dominance. Several ingredients contribute to successful branding, but the most prominent center on inspiration, differentiation, usefulness and consistency.
Here are 10 examples of how you can create a cult-like following for your business brand like Games of Throne.
#1. Create Polarity
Polarity draws on the “us” versus “them” concept, meaning you try to differentiate your brand vis-à-vis rivals through a potent combination of product quality, customer service and pricing. For example, you can create a campaign that contrasts and compares your product or service with those provided by the competition.
Harvard professor Theodore Levitt makes the case that differentiation can bring about marketing success, especially when it comes to goods that are not distinguishable, can be easily substituted and are so-called commodities—such as commercial banking services, legal counsel, isopropyl alcohol and vegetables at your local grocery store.
#2. Create a Catchy Logo
Create an appealing logo to draw the public and prospects to your brand. The goal here is to entertain, sometimes puzzle, followers with snappy symbols, infographics, characters and avatars. Make sure your logo is also informative and in sync with your product and service.
You would want to broaden your brand’s appeal and ingratiate your company with the public at large. To create a catchy corporate logo or trademark, use humor and creativity as well as the proper colors that can create everlasting and positive images in your followers’ minds, said researchers at marketing and strategy consulting company MC&Co.
#3. Create Status
Elevate your brand’s ranking by creating status around it. People relish brands that provide something out of the ordinary, whether it is luxury, status or the more amorphous and indescribable element of “something being in a class by itself.”
This does not mean you position your brand to be out of touch with your target market, though. It simply mean you study your niche thoroughly, identify what customers like, benchmark some success stories in other industries, and implement your own marketing strategy.
Simply put, brand status bequeaths an element of prestige to your followers and customers—as can be seen with iPhone or iPod owners.
#4. Be Inspirational
According to MIT marketing expert Joshua Ackerman, inspirational brands attract consumers beyond the everyday effect of product or service buying and need fulfillment.
In other words, these types of brand make consumers feel part of something big—call it a grand purpose or broad vision—that exceeds the immediate psychological needs of say, hunger, thirst, entertainment or transportation.
Forbes’ recent roundup of America’s most inspiring brands includes Apple, Target, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart and Chick-fil-A.
# 5. Be Relatable
Setting your brand in a class by itself is all good, but make sure potential followers can relate to your company, brand, products and services.
In other words, you need to strike the perfect balance between quality, status and relatability—which means your brand must personify human traits.
Everybody knows brands are not real people, but giving a human touch to your brand can go a long way towards achieving cult status.
The easiest and fastest way to make your brand relatable is advertising. Create ads that are catchy, funny and relatable—and before you know it, you brand is up there in the industry’s competitive firmament.
#6. Be Consistent
To lure followers and customers, you need consistency in the way you do business. A consistent brand is easier to remember and relate to than an ever-changing concept. For example, you can set your brand to embody product and service quality, so make sure to deliver the same attributes in anything your company does—from research and development to product distribution, marketing and customer service.
#7. Be Remarkable
Being a remarkable brand is no easy feat, but you can start somewhere and gradually build upon your portfolio. A remarkable brand provides extraordinary products, services and experiences—not just once, but all the time.
To spur loyalty around your brand, you should have a solid game plan of effective R&D, good product testing, thorough market research and optimal pricing.
The whole idea is to come up with products and services that consistently rank higher in consumer surveys but also are affordable and relatable.
#8. Be Socially Present
Consumers love a brand that is socially involved, not only in terms of corporate social responsibility but with respect to community improvement, says Oxford University branding policy expert Jonathan Reynolds.
You can do many things to make your brand socially present. For example, you can donate time, expertise and resources to charitable causes. You also can formulate an open-door policy that allows the public to learn more about your products and services and how they add value to consumers’ lives. You also can launch surveys and other feedback mechanisms that enable followers to engage more in the way your company makes products, provides services or both.
The idea is to make consumers feel that they are part of your brand—and own it.
#9. Have Purpose
A brand with a purpose is more likely to stick in consumers’ minds than a goal-less brand. Carefully positioning your brand is an effective tactic, but followers need to know what your product or service stands for, so they in turn can identify with that purpose.
A good way to start is formulating a proper vision and mission for your company, and then assigning clear goals to which the public can relate.
#10. Engage Followers Permanently
Use social media—and other available communication channels—to reach and constantly engage your followers. Organize surveys, games, promotional campaigns and any other activity that can boost your brand appeal and make it well known among your fans.
To generate crazy loyalty around your brand, be a proponent of pragmatism over ideology—and show consumers how your company’s products and services actually add value to their daily activities.
Make sure you highlight how your brand is distinct from the competition, how it relates to people’s needs and desires, and how your company continually engages consumers through surveys, charitable activities and other community-oriented programs. Than get your sword and shield for the epic war with Lannister and the White Walkers.
Images: ”Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com“
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