Keeping consumers happy has become as important as the products brands are designing. Many cult brands now do intensive research to find out what we ‘think’ we want before they begin to brainstorm the next big idea. Even the top-level management gets involved in keeping consumers happy. We see many of them in the store to assist with complex sales, deal with issues or turn frowns into smiles by offering the Manager’s Special. To some, if there’s no manager it’s equivalent to not having a product in stock. It’s now no longer acceptable to not have a boss in the store. Especially when we’re unhappy about something.
Stores like Apple Stores, Ikea and Target are designed to help seduce the shopper, no matter their age. Restaurants are increasingly providing a Kids Menu and Kids Eat For Free opportunities to ensure they don’t lose that segment of the market. I for one always want to take the family out but it turns out that I almost always have to buy an adult serving for my five-year-old. The bit that hurts most: buying without a discount, when both the chef and I know that the average preschooler would struggle to finish an adult serve of fish and chips, and most definitely ignore the salad. When restaurants offer smaller options, that’s just bliss! I go back and I also tell my mates about it.
Such artistic moves like redesigning an indoor playground or bookshop make it more appealing and comfortable for those who want to spend a longer time indoors but not at home. Going into a dark and dull playground is just depressing. Being able to say “Wow!” and having the option to buy quality coffee while my child bounces about is a bonus in itself.
Help your staff help you win us (cult brand followers)
Staff can be cult brand followers, too. The best brand ambassadors should be the staff. Having staff on board who believe in your brand is a key to its success. They obviously know that it’s not their company and that they will only get the incentives that come with the salaries.
In order to encourage consumers to be ‘into’ your brand and to help turn it into a success with us, I’ve been told by several people in retail that it most often starts with the mood of the staff on duty at the time. When the staff is unhappy, that negative vibe or energy could discourage consumers and leave a bad taste in our wallets.
Several people I’ve spoken with in retail also mentioned autonomy being key: even if the boss is in, they should stay in the back office until staff ask for their help. When the boss is micro-managing and nagging, staff are not motivated (their words, not mine). This autonomy, they said, also gives space to grow, personal and professional development opportunities, and the chance to move to a higher position once they have accumulated enough experience.
In return, I assume, the bosses surely get a supportive staff who are into their brand and staff proud enough to promote and sell the idea outside of work.
Innovate to give more for less
Everyone wants to make a saving, but it’s rare that a consumer would take from a brand that compromises standards of quality just to make a few extra bucks. We seek what we can get for less but at the same standard or higher. If your brand can afford to surprise consumers with a sale or deal, you will definitely get plenty of thumbs up and word-of-mouth from us cult followers.
Are you part of a cult like this or have successfully grown one?
Image by Nicolas Fleury