How I Joined a Cult and Didn’t Know It

Culting of Brands

I think most of us are members of cults and we don’t even know it. Is that you? Are you a member of a cult? Usually, we immediately shake our heads and say, “Absolutely not!” Being a member of a cult is not really something you put on your census form.

Play along and see if this is you… I’ve got a series of questions for you just to get a sense of how you relate to some of the brands, and the objects, and the groups and the society at whole, to see whether you, actually, really are a member of a cult, and you don’t know it.

Which gadgets make you feel cool?

Do you have a pink fridge? A uber-cool phone cover or a super stylish car? What does your car say about you?

What do you strut in?

Some of you may be old enough to remember John Travolta doing his Saturday Night Fever strut. He had a white suit with an open neck shirt. And you? What do you strut in? Do you strut with your Gucci bag, or your Pierre Cardin tie, or do you strut in your Fendi shoes?

What are your must-see, must record TV shows?

And this one cuts right to the core of me. I’m really devastated at the moment. The Simpsons are no longer on at six o’clock every night. I used to organize my day around The Simpsons, and when it turns six o’clock, I used to quit work for the day and basically not answer the phone for half an hour. So, what are your favorite TV shows? And, more so, when do you not answer the phone?

When did you last get dressed up?

In the US, the Green Bay Packers are a famous football team and their fans are known as the cheesemakers. And their fans dress according. Plus, they worship their own god, called Vince Lombardi. That shows how serious they take their football. So, when did you last get dressed up? Did you go to the football last week and put on the scarf and beanie, or did you go to the cocktail ballroom, and put on your fancy frock or your suit and tie? Do you get dressed up to go to work? Is that part of the culture you’re in?

When were you last part of a mob?

Did you attend a protest rally? Cheer for a TV celebrity? Or attend a sporting contest? Queue for concert tickets or an Apple product?

What could you not live without?

I’m happy to admit I’m an Apple tragic. I have my laptop and my computer screen, and my iPhone. I don’t have an iPad yet and I’ve been using Macs incessantly for the last 20 years, so, I certainly can’t do without my Macs. Can you live without your phone?

So, what did you notice? Have you decided whether you’re part of a cult or not yet? Maybe the distinction of ‘cult’ versus ‘cult-like’ needs to be made. Most of us probably wouldn’t admit to being in a cult because this has such a negative connotation. However, answering yes to any of the above questions is a demonstration of cult-like behaviour around a brand. And that’s the new future of branding.

In future posts we’ll explore how you can promote cult-like behaviour around your business, your products and your services.


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