- 1) Differentiate Like Crazy
Many potential consumers will bond to your product or service if you provide a wildly and insanely different experience from all other products or services that portend to be like yours.
In our day-to-day work with our clients, we urge them to write down how their offerings are already perceived in the minds of their consumers. Then we begin an interactive process that helps them to generate more and more points of differentiation from competitive brands. This is the true “No Bad ideas” exercise. If you have not held one of these brainstorming sessions recently, gather together the clouds as soon as you can to see what rain falls out.
- 2) Take Risks to Stand Out from the Pack
Conventional wisdom is for other guys. To win big in the Cult Branding world, you must possess courage of your convictions. If you don’t believe, who will?
At Valley Forge, Revolutionary War soldiers followed George Washington because their General demonstrated that he believed that he could win, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Would those same soldiers have believed so intensely in your conviction? Washington showed no fear in public, nor did NASA’s Gene Krantz.
When it was “go time,” these leaders led by the mantra that they could only learn from mistakes, not fail because of them. As a result, their group of followers grew and became worshippers rather than minions. That example was set time and again in the businesses that we most respect today for disruption of the marketplace; Apple, Space-X, Tesla, and Google.
Get noticed and you, too, will enjoy those fruits. Are you risking enough to collect big rewards from your consumers?
- 3) Knowing Your Consumer Creates Brand Endorsement
We all want brand evangelists. But guessing is not the way to attract them or to stand out. Steve Jobs didn’t think that the iPod would be a hit, his research proved that his consumers highly valued design, simplicity and mobility. Jobs forced Apple to accommodate them because he knew they would buy his product.
Mark Zuckerberg not only valued input from his early adopters, he hired many of those who offered suggestions.
Both Jobs and Zuckerberg acted on their knowledge that their consumers want to be pleasantly surprised and reinforced by their user experiences. They listened to their customers because customers eventually always tell us how to be extraordinary.
Once a consumer experience is associated with emotional excitement, intense personal pleasure or interaction, or just a simple sample of customer service, that customer often becomes an avid fan for a lifetime.
In the early years of MBMI, our owner chose to spend money on those who had available resources to invest in our expertise. We found our customer base to be located primarily in Europe, and we noted that they consumed a wide array of marketing messages. When we reviewed those marketing messages, it became clear that our competition often demonstrated less knowledge than those companies they sought to advise. So we advertised, too, at industry conferences, in trade publications, and in other venues.
We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars only to learn that our consumers, the men and women who lead companies at the very top, often from the boardrooms, and the people in the trenches, engage with our brands most often when we provide lifestyle changing ideas and products.
When MBMI introduced Career Rehab, our one-to-one service that helps career-minded people reach new heights, response was enormous from sectors we had no reason to expect. When we launched Safe 360˙, our VIP protective service managed and executed by former Secret Service bodyguards, concert promoters, managers and the VIPs, themselves, came out of the woodwork.
Our customers love these products but like the main consulting services and products we offer, those who use MBMI guard their secrets carefully. Nonetheless, they speak excitedly to other people with whom they are close in their respective industries, and it is those referrals that have made MBMI a very quiet success story.
Acting on our own advice, MBMI gets to know our potential customers and their level of appetite for a product before we put it into the field. We target the different and extraordinary, and we settle on nothing less than delivering the best possible products and services.
Our goal, and yours, is to create the means for your customers to chase their goals and tackle them with excitement and vigor. After interacting with your brand, customers should feel good about themselves.
This is not hard. Create a database. Design an exclusive club, complete with membership privileges. Write emails and use the telephone.
Every customer should feel that he is both your only customer and a member of a giant support group that he or she may call on at any time to create more business, discuss new ideas or methods, or work together to generate more customers.
There are dozens of ways to build this type of brand loyalty. Get creative or call us. We’ll help.
- 5) Give Customers Their Freedom
We’re all hippies at heart. Give us our freedom, man. Take me back to the good old days, or make me an avid fan of what I anticipate from you next, but appeal to my sense of choice.
Don’t force feed your consumer, create experiences from which choices come. Be consistent, but be fresh. Be smart, but don’t be know-it-all smart. Accept that part of freedom is the freedom of your customer to take business elsewhere. It will happen and perhaps it will be a growing experience for both of you.
Regardless, do everything in your power to remain friends, because we may not have the freedom to choose our relatives, but we do have the freedom to choose our friends and those with whom we do business.
The best Cult Brands are those that invite everyone to the party. Imagine being the only house on the block that isn’t invited to the neighbors’ house for the cookout. You would be unlikely to offer a smile when you see them at the grocery store.
Take great care to invite all potential clients to your party. Remember that “exclusive” is a bad word in the Cult Brand world. The entire consumer world is your potential customer.