The Making of a Cult Brand: 10 Takeaways
After 3 days at The Gathering of Cult Brands, and 2 days skiing to give my brain time to digest all the nuggets, I have made my top 10 takeaways list from the event:
It's time to go back to our roots. Many brands from Tim Horton's to Skittles to Under Armour spoke about the importance of remembering who we were will set the future of who we are going to be.
Dare to be different. This isn't a new concept but good reminder - when others zig we must zag (thanks Jane Hwang from Skittles and Douglas Atkin from Airbnb for this concept).
Let junior lead. Thanks to Alex Bodman from Spotify for this one.
Be relevant and needed. A product is only as good as the need it fills for the customer and those needs constantly evolve - so don't fall behind. Thanks to Bill Neff from Yeti for this very important reminder.
Both Alex, Carlos Gil, and Chris Kneeland reinforced the importance of talking about your customers and not about your brand.
In defining who you are, focus on who you are not. Thanks to Doug and Jane for showing a way to figure this out.
Small teams can get the job done. Seriously, Rachel Ferdinando from Doritos has 6 people on her team!
If you have culture, campaigns will evolve organically - just ask Chris and Alissa from the World Record Instagram Egg, Rachel or Chris.
Consistency, even in this world of instant gratification still matters. Both Doritos and Tim Horton's talked about the long game - 10 years in the making.
Education is the ultimate cult brand. Ok, no one said this at the conference, but it's my big takeaway. Hear me out. What other brands out there, consistently and regularly, have people leave their life savings to them in their will? What other brands do you wear their ring, their hoodie, their coat, and their socks on any given day throughout your entire life? What other brands get to host your wedding and your kids' wedding? What other brands do you pay to play, every time you interact with them, and you ask to play more and more - think about those $100 gala tickets you spend with your Alma Mater just to then donate at the event for that scholarship, while wearing your $250 leather jacket, after spending $65,000 on your degree and $65,000 on your kids degree. Chocolate bar companies - eat your heart out, education may not be sexy but it is definitely in the game of cult branding.