Matt Ragas, co-author of The Power of Cult Branding, was a feaured speaker at the 2005 ISPA Conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas, TX. www.experienceispa.com. Ragas warned the audience of a "moderating growth rate and "market share shakeout" in the spa industry, and shared the value of a Cult Brand in these current market conditions. (Examples of Ragas' favorite Cult Brands include Harley Davidson, Oprah Winfrey, Star Trek, and Jimmy Buffett.)
Rules for Cult Brands (Ragas' research shows that these are the common characteristics shared by all cult brands.)
Rule#1: Consumers want to be part of a group that's different.
Rule#2: Cult brand inventors show daring and determination.
Rule#3: Cult brands sell lifestyles! Fulfill passions and dreams.
Rule#4: Listen to the choirand create cult brand evangelists.
Rule#5: Cult brands always create customer communities.
Rule#6: Cult brands are inclusive! Humanize your brand.
Rule#7: Cult brands promote personal freedomand draw power from their enemies.
Cult brands develop deep emotional bonds with their customers, through clubs, special events, newsletters, and customer communities. Through this effort, customers become fervent brand evangelists. Ragas confirmed that spas have an opportunity to develop these close personal relationshps better than most businesses, and that the spa industry is ripe for an influx of cult brands.