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The Culting of Brands : When Customers Become True Believers Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 3, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
According to Atkin, what he characterizes as the "cult paradox dynamic" is best understood in terms of a four-step process:
"1. An individual might have a feeling of [in italics] difference, even [in italics] alienation from the world around them.
2. This leads to [in italics] openness or to [in italics] searching for a more compatible environment.
3. They are likely to feel a sense of [in italics] or [in italics] safety in a place where one's difference from the outside world is seen as a virtue, not a handicap.
4. This presents the circumstances for [in italics] self-actualization within a group of like-minded others who celebrate the individual for being himself."
Atkin asserts that the same paradox can be found at the heart of cult brands.Read more ›
Kudos to Atkins for a well researched book. He draws very compelling parallels between typical cults and brands. The book is very easy to follow and is extremely engaging especially because a lot of the examples he uses are common to our everyday lives, and draw from classic human needs and behaviors. This is definitely an interesting book for anyone inhabiting the marketing/branding bubble although I must say; I did not find his philosophies and recommendations to be a far throw from rudimentary loyalty/CRM principles. It is the perspective and not the solution that wins the four stars.
This, of course, is not a new idea. Marketers have always tried to get people to love their products with religious devotion. But Atkins articulates the similarity between brand cults and traditional cults and does extensive research into both, with the end goal being that marketers can apply the techniques of traditional cults to build brand cults. The traditional cults he uses (again, remember he has a broad definition) include the Catholic Church, Mormon Church, Unification Church, Hell's Angels, and a few more. On the brand side of things are the usual suspects: Apple, Ebay, JetBlue, Mary Kay, Saturn, Harley-Davidson--brands that have communities built around them.
The comparisons are interesting, but there is nothing shocking in his findings. People gain some of their identity from the groups, social or otherwise, to which they belong. Groups are formed around shared causes, interests, or philosophies. Therefore, it is only natural that as brands have come to create their own stories, characters, and philosophy (oftentimes independent of the functional benefit of their products), groups start to form around them.
I always find the case studies to be the most interesting part of these kinds of books. There's a lot to learn from brands that have done it right. Where the book falls a little short for me is when Atkins tries to define the rules for creating a cult brand.Read more ›
what i love about the book, having read tons of them over the years, is 1) it talks to you, not at you and 2) it's not just an idea, it's evidence based. on the first point, so many latter day brand experts are brilliant but also have brilliant egos. they write dogmatically as if they love their own ideas more than their readers. this book is written in almost a conversational style that makes you part of the dialogue not a prisoner to it.
to the second point, this book is based in research, not just a new paradigm or metaphor for much of the same old thinking. the author spent several years studying and interviewing his subjects. hearing (reading) cult members talk in their own words, makes them less scary and more relevant than i could have thought.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This might be the most helpful book I have ever read for my business. I especially liked the ideas that the Mormons use to make new converts feel included. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Margaret Livingstone
You know all about cults: They are these manic groups of easily-led people who fall under the spell of a charismatic but demented leader. Right? Read morePublished on August 10, 2009 by G. Perera
This book is out of print. I don't even recall where I heard about it. As a whole it's an interesting look at brand loyalty. Read morePublished on May 5, 2008 by P. McCormack
Douglas Atkin is revered as a brilliant account planner for a reason - he is one of the sharpest minds in marketing. Read morePublished on October 13, 2007 by David Vinjamuri
Doug Atkin reveals what "cultism" really is (not funny Kool-aid for the mind-numbed) and why we should aspire to having our customers "cult our brand. Read morePublished on November 3, 2006 by Craig Jennings
I will go straight to the point: This book came out a long time after The Power of Cult Branding, by M. Ragas and B. J. Bueno, in my opinion is just a cheap copy. Read morePublished on May 20, 2005 by Jane Doe
Douglas Atkinks, like Guy Kawasaki and others, have talked about evangelism and viral marketing - make viral marketers - evangelists from your base of satisfied customers. Read morePublished on November 4, 2004 by Bill Fitzpatrick
the truth be told, author Atkin began his research on cults and brands more than seven years ago. then his premise was discovered by Forbes about four years ago and eventually... Read morePublished on October 8, 2004 by RipcurlNYNY