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The Power of Cult Branding: How 9 Magnetic Brands Turned Customers Into Loyal Followers (And Yours Can, Too!) (2002)

By Matthew W. Ragas​ and Bolivar J. Bueno
Prima Venture
Hardcover, 224pp.

The Power of Cult Branding
Like religious cults that can attract thousands of devoted disciples, is it possible for company brands to build legions of loyal followers? In a marketer's dream come true, can certain products—with the right combination of positioning and branding—take on magnetic characteristics and galvanize die-hard customers who become walking, talking viral marketers? Can your company harness the power of cult branding without blowing a fortune on advertising?

According to authors Matthew W. Ragas and Bolivar J. Bueno the answer is yes. In fact, you need not look much farther than a Harley-Davidson rally, a Star Trek convention, or a Jimmy Buffett concert to see the cult branding phenomenon at work: thousands of passionate, faithful fans spreading the good word and spending lots of money. Not all brands have the dash of edginess, the devoted fan base, or the niche positioning to be cult brands. But those that do tend to share similar characteristics that make them successful, what the authors call the Seven Golden Rules of Cult Branding. Through meticulous research and scores of interviews Ragas and Bueno have uncovered the remarkable and oft-untold stories behind nine very successful cult brands:
  • Star Trek
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly WWF)
  • Apple
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Vans Shoes
  • Linux
These nine brands follow the Seven Golden Rules and have millions of fans and billions of dollars in revenue to show for it. Now you can learn first hand what these special brands did to set themselves apart and how to apply the Seven Golden Rules to your own marketing strategies.

Written for advertisers, marketers, sales executives, and business owners who want to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace, The Power of Cult Branding is the ultimate guide to creating a loyal core of repeat customers and winning the positioning battle.

Matthew W. Ragas is a professor on the Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD) faculty, where he helps develop the next generation of communications leaders.