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Brand Loyalty: 20 Brands with a Cult-Like Following (& What You Can Learn From Them)

Brand Loyalty

Posted in Brand Loyalty, and Editor's Pick. 10 min read

In today's competitive environment, building a company is tough. While inbound marketing has created numerous opportunities to develop your brand identity, to develop brand loyalty takes work.

Creating a cult-like following is part art and part science. The goal of your marketing efforts and corporate philosophy needs to provide consumers with a feeling of belonging to a family, or club. This feeling gives them a sense of shared community, supported by an almost ritualistic behavior when interacting with your brand.

True fanatics will not only remain loyal to your brand, but will tell their family members, friends and social networks why. There are many way to build that type of brand loyalty, from simple acts of kindness, like donating a portion of profits to organizations that are important to your consumers, to creating a social sense or organization around the brand.

Here are twenty examples of companies that embody the term Brand Loyalty.

1. Amazon

Amazon Prime

Amazon has grown into the largest online shopping destination by creating a magnificent customer experience. From allowing customers to provide feedback, to free returns and fast shipping, Amazon embraces the phrase “the customer is always right!”

2. Apple

Apple's website

Apple is the epitome of a cult brand. Since the beginning, they've built machines that are designed around their customers needs. They're constantly seeking feedback and engaging in conversations with customers about new products. As a result, Apple provides users with the features they want and has built a loyal community.


3. Jimmy Buffet

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

Sure, he's a musician and an entrepreneur, but he's also a 100 million dollar a year brand! Buffet has created something larger than simply music, he's created a lifestyle. “Parrotheads” enjoy a temporary escape into the land of fun! Whether it's from his albums, concerts or restaurants.

4. IKEA

IKEA's website

IKEA designs products based on customers needs. They don't just conduct surveys, they visit people's homes to see how they live. For example after visiting customers in Italy and the US they determined that US customers rely on drawers for clothing storage more than in Italy. The result? Deeper drawers in their American products.


5. Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson

This iconic American brand uses grassroots, guerrilla advertising to make their customers feel like a part of the family. In 1983 the launch of the Harley Owners Group (or H.O.G.) was a grassroots way to connect Harley's brand and lifestyle with its most fanatic customers.


6. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

For Southwest, brand loyalty starts with their employees. In fact, they're profitable because of them. Customer's on Southwest are treated well and the employees state of mind and attention makes them feel like they're a part of something bigger. As a result of their employees, Southwest experiences fewer lost bags, fewer delays, and increased loyal customers!

7. Coca Cola

Coca Cola's website

For decades Coke has garnered a following through its ability to bring happiness to people around the world every day. With 50 million worldwide Facebook fans, Coke engages with them in a quest to find a way to make the world a better place.


8. Star Trek

Star Trek

Star Trek is has produced 9 motion pictures, 5 different TV series, dozens of books and endless conventions. None of this would have happened without the support of the fans. To date, the franchise has grossed hundreds of millions of dollars based solely on the efforts of their fans. Talk about a loyal customer base!

9. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club

This is a relatively new addition to cult-dom. Dollar Shave Club has built their brand into every product they sell. From their logo to their emails to their packaging they are consistent across all media. They sell a message that hits home and builds brand loyalty... quality products at affordable prices.


10. Volkswagen Beetle

VW Beetle

One of the best selling automobiles of all time didn't start out that way. When first introduced to America, the Beetle was not well received. In the 1960's Volkswagen took a novel advertising approach. While the big three were all advertising their vehicles with slick ad copy and boastful claims, VW's ads were frank, honest and direct, winning consumers with their approach. As a result, VW became a magnet for those who saw themselves as being “different” and an icon was born!


11. The Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

Taking a page from the VW playbook, Mini set themselves up as “something different.” In a world of gas guzzling SUVs and cars getting bigger every year, Mini came along and prided itself on being smaller. They've positioned themselves as a cult brand by celebrating individual drivers and building customer communities to bolster the brand experience.


12. The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool

Financial matters are serious and important, unless you follow the Motley Fool! Their brand is based on making financial matters fun. It's written into the mission statement. Lovers of this brand are committed to saving for retirement and managing their money responsibly, but are loyal thanks to the culture of freedom and fun this brand brings to the process.


13. Dos Equis

Dos Equis

The most interesting man in America is a brilliant campaign that created quite the following for Dos Equis. All men envy and strive to emulate him. His life is rich in stories and experiences and consumers can relate.


14. Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerrys

From the humble beginning, Ben & Jerry's has grown to a world-wide brand. With an eye on progressive causes and a social awareness, the brand's consumers love the ice cream and the message behind it.

15. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

When it comes to coffee, there are 2 big brands that come to mind. One of them is Dunkin. They have been serving up their cup of Joe since 1950 and haven't looked back since. What originated as a donut and coffee shop, has evoloved into much more than just your average coffeehouse. With plenty of menu offerings, its clear that Dunkin has evolved and changed with the times to satisfy their loyal customers.


16. Starbucks

Starbucks

The other large coffee brand that comes to mind is Starbucks. Starbucks not only creates a quality product, they make it easy to purchase. Their “Order & Pay” feature creates an in-app experience that can recall your favorite orders, suggest pairings and guesses where you'd like to pick it up making it easier to get your morning cup of Joe. 


17. SoulCycle

SoulCycle

SoulCycle's mission statement says it all: "At SoulCycle we believe that fitness can be joyful. We climb, we jog, we sprint, we dance, we set our intention, and we break through boundaries, The best part? We do it as a community."


18. CrossFit

CrossFit

Another fitness business with a cult-like following CrossFit reaches their customers through great marketing, and like SoulCycle taps into their members desire for community. Their messaging reads more like a “movement” that encourages ownership in their brand.


19. GoPro

GoPro

GoPro makes high quality easy to use video cameras. By using user-generated content on their website they've given users a sense of ownership and built a huge following of loyal fans.


20. Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live

For 41 years SNL has been creating laughter. While the cast may be the backbone of the show, and they've had some weak seasons, their use of special guests has worked to keep the brand relevant and credible. And their fans have stuck around for decades!


Whether it's building a sense of community or providing outstanding customer service, each of these 20 brands have built a quite the following. When thinking about how your brand can stand out from the crowd, look to these methods and brands for inspiration!

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