The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin
When Customers Become True Believers

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A fresh and original look at the phenomenon of "cult branding" -- how companies cultivate fanatical customer loyalty.

At first glance, companies like Apple and Nike have little in common with organizations like the Hell’s Angels and the Unification Church. But in reality, they all fulfill the main definition of a cult: They attract people who see themselves as different from the masses in some fundamental way. Contrary to stereotypes, most cult members aren’t emotionally unstable—they’re just normal folks searching for a sense of belonging.

Marketing expert Douglas Atkin has spent years researching both full-blown cults and companies that use cult-branding techniques. He interviewed countless cult members to find out what makes them tick. And he explains exactly how brands like Harley- Davidson, Saturn, JetBlue, and Ben & Jerry’s make their customers feel unique, important, and part of an exclusive group—and how that leads to solid, long-term relationships between a company and its customers.

In addition to describing a fascinating phenomenom, The Culting of Brands will be of enormous value to business leaders. It will teach marketers how to align themselves with a specific segment of the population, how to attract and keep new "members," how to establish a mythology about the company, and how to manage a workforce filled with true believers.

Once a brand achieves cult status, it becomes almost impossible for a competitor to dethrone it. The Culting of Brands will reveal the secrets of fierce customer identification and, most important, unbreakable loyalty.


About Douglas Atkin

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Douglas Atkin is the director of strategy at one of New York's hottest advertising agencies, Merkley Newman Harty. He has worked with numerous clients to increase their cult appeal, including Mercedes, Pfizer, Smith Barney, Fila, and JetBlue. This is his first book.
Published May 31, 2005 by Portfolio Trade. 256 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Atkin, a strategy director for a New York ad agency, believes the process through which consumer brands build customer loyalty is equivalent to the way religious cults recruit members—and, he says, that's a good thing.

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