Brand a Living Experience

Cult-brand marketers know that they must colonize every single moment of everyday life. Their mission is to brand a living experience, to create a unified meaning system that transforms every possible touch-point between the company and the customer into symbol that refers back to a single idea of belief.

Douglas Atkin, The Culting of Brands

“I’m the type of person who…”

What a powerful phrase.

“I’m the type of person who avoids new technology.”

“I’m the type of person who flies first class.”

Very few brands get to play at this level.

“I’m the type of person who only uses a Mac,” is common. “I’m the type of person who always buys a Lenovo,” is not so much.

The brands elevated to this level get there by embodying an ethos, an attitude, & a belief system that transcends the mere usage of the products. They get there by becoming the embodiment of a worldview - so much so that their usage becomes a physical expression of an individual’s identity.

“I’m the type of person who believes in eating organic, non-GMO foods, even though they’re more expensive. That’s why I only shop at Whole Foods.”

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to go to all the same tourist traps. That’s why I use Airbnb.”

The brands that get there don’t do so by simply creating the best products & hoping it all works out. They get there by recognizing a basic, commonly-held need (to belong, to feel creative, to demonstrate status, etc.), & then build an entire brand ecosystem around it - products, marketing, positioning, partnerships, culture.

“I’m the type of person who pushes myself & who doesn’t shy away from difficult things. That’s why I do CrossFit.”

Apple, Whole Foods, Airbnb, CrossFit - they didn’t create the emotions or desires they trigger. They embraced them. They said, “If you believe what we believe, then we’ve got something special for you.” Equally as important, they said, “If you believe what we believe, here are others who are just like you.”

Patrick Cummings