What Makes a Brand a Cult Brand?

Welcome to Cult Brands, where we explore brands across a variety of media that have devoted and fanatical followings. The word ‘cult’ brings to mind images of devoted followers in a compound, but in the world of today’s consumer and branding, the word has expanded to mean any group with a devoted following, its own vernacular, and a product that the following is fanatical about. From television shows such as Star Trek, to grocery outlets such as Trader Joe’s, to a mass market electronics company such as Apple, some companies today have managed to develop followings that are passionate and loyal beyond what seems likely in today’s world of fickle consumers.

A cult brand doesn’t have to involve physical consumer products – it can be a celebrity, such as Oprah or Ron Paul whose followers passionately follow the ideas and products recommended by the person, or a personal development program such The Landmark Forum. Whether it’s a computer or a movie, a sports franchise or a celebrity, cult brands are unique in their ability to resist the vagaries of fortune and thrive in all climates. After all, the Red Sox were a cult brand event when they went 80 years without a championship..

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