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CULT BRAND IN INDIA AND YOUTH

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					    CULT BRAND IN INDIA AND
            YOUTH
         Management research project




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Table of Contents
Executive Summary .............................................................................................................................. 3
Acknowledgement ................................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.6
Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 4
   What is brand?........................................................................................................................................ 4
   What is a Cult? ....................................................................................................................................... 5
   What is a Cult brand? ............................................................................................................................ 5
   Objectives of the study .................................................................................................................. 15
   Methodology and Sources ............................................................................................................. 15
Limitation of the study ....................................................................................................................... 15
   Why the Hierarchy of Needs Is a Crucial Tool for Branding ............................................ 16
9 Magnetic cult brands ....................................................................................................................... 17
   Volkswagen Beetle ........................................................................................................................... 17
   Apple Inc. ............................................................................................................................................ 18
   Vans Inc............................................................................................................................................... 19
   Harley Davidson ................................................................................................................................ 21
   World wrestling federation ........................................................................................................... 22
   Linux ...................................................................................................................................................... 23
   Star trek............................................................................................................................................... 25
   Jimmy Buffet ...................................................................................................................................... 26
   Oprah Winfry ...................................................................................................................................... 27
Indian brands: a comparison ........................................................................................................... 29
   Hindustan Ambassador .................................................................................................................. 29
   Liberty shoes ...................................................................................................................................... 30
   Bajaj Pulsar......................................................................................................................................... 31
   Pehlwani ............................................................................................................................................... 32


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   Kyuki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi ..................................................................................................... 34
   A.R. Rahman ...................................................................................................................................... 35
   Amitabh Bachchan ........................................................................................................................... 37
Cult Banding in India .......................................................................................................................... 39
   Cult Brand status of “Bajaj Pulsar” ........................................................................................... 39
   Cult Brand status of “The Hindu” ....................................................................................................... 42
   Cult Brand status of “Kingfisher” ............................................................................................... 44
   Cult Brand status of Fastrack: One for the fast generation ............................................ 45
Finding of the study ............................................................................................................................ 48
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................... 49
Abstract .................................................................................................................................................... 50
   Indian perspective and specialist comment on cult branding in India ........................ 50
Meet Mister Maslow—the Father of Cult Branding ............................................................................. 54
Annexure ................................................................................................................................................. 56
   Figure 1 ................................................................................................................................................ 56
   Figure 2 ................................................................................................................................................ 56
   Figure 3 ................................................................................................................................................ 57
   Figure 4 ................................................................................................................................................ 57
   Figure 5 .............................................................................................................................................. 581
   Figure 6 .............................................................................................................................................. 581
   Figure 7 .............................................................................................................................................. 592
   Questionnaire ..................................................................................................................................... 60
Reference ............................................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.655




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                                 Introduction
Ever more firms and other organizations have come to the realization that
one of their most valuable assets is the brand names associated with their
products or services. In our increasingly complex world, all of us, as
individuals and as business managers, face more choices with less time to
make them. Thus a strong brand’s ability to simplify consumer decision
making, reduce risk, and set expectations is invaluable. Creating strong
brands that deliver on that promise, and maintaining and enhancing the
strength of those brands over time, is a management imperative.

                                 What is brand?
Branding has been around for centuries as a means to distinguish the goods
of one producer from those of another. In fact, the word brand is derived
from the Old Norse word brandr, as brands were and still are the means by
which owners of livestock mark their animals to identify them.

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA),

A brand is a “name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of
them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of
sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition.”

Technically speaking, then, whenever, a marketer creates a new name, logo,
or symbol for a new product, he or she has created a brand.

In fact, however, many practicing managers refer to a brand as more than
that- as something that has actually created a certain amount of awareness,
reputation, prominence, and so on in the marketplace.

Thus, the key to creating a brand, according to the AMA definition, is to be
able   to   choose   a   name,    logo,   symbol,   package   design,   or   other


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characteristics that identifies a product and distinguishes it from others.
These different components of a brand that identify and differentiate it are
brand elements.

                               What is a Cult?
Cult refers to a cohesive social group and their devotional beliefs or
practices, which the surrounding population considers to be outside of
mainstream cultures. The surrounding population may be as small as a
neighborhood, or as large as the community of nations. They gratify
curiosity about, take action against, or ignore a group, depending on their
activities, perception of people about them and other factors like reputed
similarity to cults previously reported by media.

Cults can be divided into two types based on their activities and perceptions
that the outside population forms about them:

Negative cults

These are the cults that harm, hurt, manipulate, and often brainwash their
members. The leader of a destructive cult doesn't really care about the well
being of the members. Some of the examples of such cults may be Ku Klux
Klan, Nazism etc.

Positive cults

These are the cults that help fill the emotional needs and wants of their
followers in a positive way. They and their followers enjoy a mutually
beneficial relationship, with both receiving a real sense of satisfaction,
accomplishment, belonging and enlightenment from the relationship. Some
of the examples of such cults may be Red Cross, PETA etc.

                            What is a Cult brand?
Bolivar J. Bueno, the co-author of ‘The Power of Cult Branding’ has defined a
mentality that he says plagues most of the companies’ brand managers.

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According to him, most companies try to build brands that no one will hate
instead of brands some people will love.

He further says that most marketers live in a world where they are
constantly searching for the flashy, the splashy—in short, the trivial, often-
meaningless brouhaha that has very little to do with the core of the brand.
Cult Brands understand that their brands belong to the customers. Only the
customer’s voice counts. A successful Cult Brand embraces its customers by
anticipating their basic human and spiritual needs. As a consequence, Cult
Brands achieve a level of customer loyalty unprecedented in traditional
business.

Cult Brands therefore focus and embrace their existing customers and
deliver   such an exhilarating experience     to   them that they become
evangelists of the brand. However, doing this is not easy, as on every touch
point where the brand interacts with the customer, the distinct experience
has to be preserved and delivered. Now, we will try to differentiate among
different businesses that are there in the market from the customers’ point
of view and put those with similar characteristics into same segments so as
to get a broader idea of what kind of brands exist in the market.

   1. Companies with no brand
   This is perhaps the most crowded category out of all the categories we
   are about to define. These are companies that are undifferentiated and do
   same type of work like thousands of others. They may have no proper
   idea of what they stand for and what their objectives are and even if they
   have it, they do not communicate it. These companies are very
   vulnerable as their consumer recognition is very low and in case of tough
   competition, they may be completely eroded from the market.

   2. Companies that just have a name


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  These are companies who may have a brand name, logo or a tagline but
  do not know what they mean to their customers. So many kirana and
  medicine stores in the vicinity of our homes come in this category. Most
  of these companies are similar in nature and similar in their product
  offerings and therefore are dispensable for their customers. These
  companies do not practice the idea of differentiation.

  3. OK brands
  These are the companies that are not specific in their message to the
  target audience and therefore confuse them. They advertise themselves
  but due to inability to focus on what the target customer expects, the
  brand dilution occurs. For e.g. Vimal, Liberty etc.

  4. Good brands
  These are the brands that we all love. They are a part of our culture and
  enjoy great brand recognition. They are the top of the mind brands and
  constantly monitor their target customers’ expectations and perceptions
  and monitor their image. They are generally the market leaders in their
  categories. Some of the eg of these brands are McDonalds, Pepsi,
  Microsoft, Britannia etc.

  5. Great brands or Cult brands
  These are the brands that make us feel special whenever we buy their
  products. They do not just sell us a product. In fact, they sell us
  something that enables us to achieve our goals and fulfill our ambitions.
  These brands go to great extents to give us an exhilarating experience
  and find out ways to make us feel special. Some of these brands are
  Apple, Southwest Airlines and Harley Davidson etc. These brands are
  profitable even in the most adverse market conditions because of the
  powerful relationships they have forged with their customers.



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  Now, we will look at the seven golden rules of cult branding laid down by
  Mathew W. Ragas and Bolivar J. Bueno in their book ‘The Power of Cult
  Branding’. The rules offer insights into how brands can go even closer to
  their customers and develop meaningful relationships with them and turn
  them into loyal brand evangelists. So, the seven steps are:

                    The Golden Rule of Social Groups

           Consumers want to be a part of a group that is different

  This rule has come from the Maslow’s hierarchy theory of needs and is
  the third basic need of human beings after physiological and safety
  needs. Why is it that social networking websites like Orkut and Facebook
  get so much traffic? Why is it that a simple question like ‘What are you
  doing’ can spring up a multimillion dollar Internet portal called Twitter?
  The answer to all these questions is simple. The answer is that we human
  beings have an inherent social need to talk to each other and form social
  groups. We need social groups to enjoy ourselves, share our fortunes and
  misfortunes, and show off and what not.

  But in today’s changing circumstances, the traditional social groups like
  family and neighborhood are not that strong. We are witnessing a
  continuous increase in divorce cases and home violence. People do not
  even know the names of their neighbors in many metropolitans. But the
  need for social interaction and social groups is still there. In fact, in such
  circumstances people look for other sources of social groups and
  communities.

  The task for managers is to create involving and creative brand
  communities for their target customers. The communities can be real or
  virtual. The idea is to make the consumers feel that they are a part of a



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  team or a special mission. Some of the points to be kept in mind while
  forming communities should be:

         It should have a shared consciousness that connects members to
          the brand and one another. For e.g. Mac user’s value aesthetics and
          creative lifestyle that differentiates them from others.
         It may be a good idea to uphold rituals and traditions that involve
          public greetings to recognize and acknowledge fellow brand lovers.
         It should preserve a sense of moral responsibility among the
          members. For e.g. Mac User Groups is a rewarding way for you to
          share your expertise. Someone may have helped you learn about
          technology; now you can repay the favor while meeting new people
          and making new contacts.
  We should also remember that brand communities exist in the minds of
  the customers and therefore a sense of belonging can transcend both
  physical as well as virtual spaces. This is important for global brands as it
  shows that if Internet is used effectively as a medium, an engrossing
  brand community can be created for the target audience across the
  globe. To sum up we can say that brand communities are both social and
  psychological. The communities may be created by the brand or by the
  users but in any case, the brand should promote them. Some of the steps
  that brands need to take before forming brand communities are:

     Determine how your customers are emotionally connected to your
      brand. For e.g. Hide sign understand that their customers’ handbags
      are an extension of self, keeping life’s necessities within reach.
     Determine what your brand symbolizes in the minds of your best
      customers. For e.g. the Harley icon showcases a flying eagle—a
      dynamic symbol of power, choice, and freedom.
     Support the community so that it reinforces the psychological
      attraction customers have towards your brand.
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       Whenever possible, create a space where your customers can meet
        and interact with one another—either in person or online.
       Sponsor social events that reflect your brand’s mission. For e.g. Pulsar
        Stunt mania.
       Set up conditions for a fun, playful environment where friendships can
        be made. The stronger the bond members have to one another, the
        stronger the bond members will have with your brand.
       Don’t control the community. Instead, participate as a co-creator.
                         The Golden Rule of Courage

                Cult Brand inventors show daring and determination

    Cult Brand inventors are courageous people. They are high-risk takers
    and high reward seekers. They believe in their ideas even in the face of
    stiff opposition or neglect. They are willing to work hard and stare in the
    face of convention. It is their courage and ability to challenge and defeat
    the system that inspires so many people and makes them their followers.
    They believe in the product or services they provide and their courage
    makes their products stand out in the marketplace. Let us consider Apple
    founder and CEO Steve Jobs as an example.

    Steve Paul Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is an American businessman,
    co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. He has always been courageous and
    has challenged the system. He started 30 years as no one but dreamt of
    challenging the ‘big brother’ IBM that was the king of the computer
    market at that point in time. Steve Jobs, had a tough start in life - he was
    put up for adoption at an early age, dropped out of college after 6 months
    and returned coke bottles for 5 cent deposits to buy food. Despite all of
    that he went on to start Apple Computers and Pixar Animation Studios,
    and is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. He even
    had to resign from his own company’s CEO position after a power

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    struggle with its board. Jobs' history in business has contributed greatly
    to    the   myths   of   the   idiosyncratic,   individualistic   Silicon   Valley
    entrepreneur, emphasizing the importance of design and understanding
    the crucial role aesthetics play in public appeal. His work driving forward
    the development of products that are both functional and elegant has
    earned him a devoted following.

                             The Golden Rule of Fun

                              Cult Brands sell lifestyles

    To become a cult brand, rather than selling the product, the companies
    should focus on selling a lifestyle to people. Cult brands focus on people’s
    high level need for self-actualization in order to fulfill the dreams of their
    customers. The aim is to make a customer think better about himself.
    They inspire people to chase their dreams and provide them ways to
    make the journey easier. They assert a certain lifestyle. According to
    Wikipedia, a lifestyle brand embodies the values and aspirations of a
    group or culture. A successful lifestyle brand speaks to the core identity
    of its customers. Individuals each have their own sense of self, based on
    their background (e.g. ethnicity, social class, subculture, nationality,
    etc.). A lifestyle brand provides a powerful supplement to this core
    identity, by allowing the individuals to publicly associate themselves with
    the brand.

    Let us take an e.g. of Harley-Davidson to explain this. Harley-Davidson is
    an American motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    during the first decade of the 20th century, it was one of two major
    American manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. Harley-
    Davidson sustains a loyal brand community that keeps active through
    clubs, events, and a museum. Licensing of the Harley-Davidson logo
    accounts for almost 5% of the company's net revenue.

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    But what exactly is Harley selling? Is it selling motorcycles? Yes of course,
    but what Harley is selling is not only a motorcycle but also something
    much bigger than that. It is the opportunity to experience the feelings of
    raw freedom and empowerment that one receives from strapping on
    some leather and riding a bike down the open road. These are feelings
    common to Americans of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Harley knows
    how to appeal to this inner desire of the customer. That is why Harley is a
    cult.

                         The Golden Rule of Human Needs

                Listen to the choir and create cult brand evangelists

   Cult Brands focus on serving the wants and needs of the customers they
   have. They don’t get sucked into the trap of building products and services
   to attract new customers—they serve the congregation of customers their
   brands already have. Respect your choir. Value their opinions. Reward
   them. Listen to them. Never ignore an enthusiastic follower of your brand.
   Remember that core followers all want to believe, but first they need to
   see      miracles in the    form of unexpected gifts and          surprises. Do
   extraordinary things for your choir, and they’ll become incredible brand
   evangelists.

                         The Golden Rule of Contribution

                 Cult Brands always create customer communities

  According to Boliver.J.Bueno, Cult Brands always give back. They are
  adamant about continually finding new ways to show love and appreciation
  for    the   passion   and   devotion   of   their   customers.   Unlike   faceless
  corporations, Cult Brands are humble and personable. They never take
  their customers for granted. Cult Brands build strong, ongoing relationships
  with their customers by developing and supporting customer communities.

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  Cult Brands aren’t afraid to use today’s profits to create customer
  communities for generating powerful long-term goodwill for their business
  and their brands.

  These brands always try to do something extra that goes beyond the
  expectations of the customers that generates customer satisfaction and
  ensures a long-term relationship of the customer with the brand.

  These brands are extremely customer centric and make products as per
  the requirements of its customers. They are open to any changes that
  should be made in the product. These brands interact with the customer
  directly and on-line through customer communities. The example is
  Sunsilk which created a community for its customers where Sunsilk users
  interact among themselves and share their problems and solutions. We do
  not want to say that Sunsilk is a cult brand.

  An individual after physiological and safety needs always looks for
  belongingness and love as per Maslow’s need hierarchy. People exhibit
  these needs by become a part of a community, a member of a gang, or
  joining a club. This is the level where the support systems of modern
  society begin to break down and fragmentation increases.

  To marry a brand, customer’s social needs should be fulfilled. For example
  “Harley Davidson In 1983 CEO Vaughn Beals announced the launch of the
  Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), which he saw as a grassroots way to
  reconnect Harley’s brand and lifestyle with its most faithful customers.


  Despite an initial lack of acceptance, within a few years H.O.G. chapters
  started appearing around the country. The spread of these groups was
  gorilla marketing at its best: membership was generated primarily from
  inexpensive promotions at dealerships and word-of-mouth. H.O.G. groups



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  gave enthusiasts a structured way to meet, swap stories, and schedule
  rides with other evangelists.


  Harley made a wise move in requiring every H.O.G. chapter to have a
  dealership sponsor. The result of this stipulation was a tighter relationship
  between Harley dealers and the customers, as well as an increase in parts
  and merchandise sales.


                          The Golden Rule of Openness

                               Cult Brands are inclusive

Cult Brands are incredibly open and inclusive. They don’t build imaginary
profiles of ideal customers. They don’t discriminate. They openly embrace
anyone who is interested in their companies. In fact, exclusivity isn’t even
in the vocabulary of the Cult Brander. Instead, Cult Brands welcome with
open arms customers of all ages, races, creeds, and socioeconomic
backgrounds. This openness gives these brands a point of differentiation
from other brands. There is an aura of friendliness in such brands. Cult
Brands prove to their customers that they are indeed open and inclusive by
helping to fulfill the deep human needs that we all share, including
belongingness and self-esteem. Cult brands become giant support groups
for like-minded individuals.

                          The Golden Rule of Freedom

Cult Brands promote personal freedom and draw power from their enemies

The need for freedom is a product of self-actualization: we all cherish our
freedom.       Cult   Brands   promote   underlying   themes   of   freedom   and
nonconformity with memorable sensory experiences (like holding Apple’s
sleek, cool products and packaging; or watching the Oprah show) for their
customers. Additionally, they stay fresh in the “diary of the mind” with brand

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consistency and nostalgia marketing. Cult Brands draw strength and unify
their brand lovers by identifying and targeting an archenemy—an opposing
brand, person, or group—that conflicts with the Cult Brand’s values or goals.

Now, we will evaluate the cult brand status of Apple to understand how a
cult brand behaves in respect to the rules that have been mentioned before.
This is being done in order to get a better understanding of what a cult
brand stands for and what are the factors that make it a cult brand.

                           Objectives of the study
The objective of the project is to search the reasons why India has not been
able to produce a cult brand yet and the opinion of the youth about it.

                          Methodology and Sources
Secondary data: - Information would be collected about different cult
brands like Harley Davidson,              Volkswagen, Apple computer, ESPN,
Starbucks, and Justin Timberland, and would be compared with emerging
India brands.      Sources used will be book, internet, published reports,
management journals, research papers and articles.

Primary data: -Views of Indian youth which will purely dependent on
primary data would also be taken in to consideration. Number of respondent
to the primary research will be 100 in number.

                            Limitation of the study
       Most part of the study is based on secondary data, which might not be
        completely correct.
       The study may not be an overall exhaustive analysis of the global
        market mainly because of the time constraint.
       Some part of study is also based on primary data which may not be a
        true picture due to incorrect filling of questionnaire.




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     Why the Hierarchy of Needs Is a Crucial Tool for Branding
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from Maslow’s Hierarchy of
Human needs is his theory that all human beings start fulfilling their needs
at the bottom of the level of pyramid. In short, we fill our low physiological
needs first. Higher needs like safety, esteem, and social interaction basically
do not exist at this point. Logically, survival comes first. However, once an
individual has satisfied his or her lower level needs, the higher level needs
become in uential in motivating behavior. As Maslow notes time and time
again in his work, “Main is a perpetually wanting animal.”

This quick refresher on Maslow and his hierarchy of human needs is
important, because many of Maslow’s findings lie at the core of what makes
companies with cult brands so successful. Maslow’s writing break down the
underlying drivers of human behavior and decision making. Maslow never
mentions the phrase “brand loyalty” in his books, but his hierarchy of human
needs and concepts like self-actualization are key to understanding why
consumer consistently chooses one brand over another and enjoy such
strong relationship with them.




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                      9 Magnetic cult brands
                            Volkswagen Beetle




How popular has the Beetle been over its more than fifty year life span? So
popular that in 1981 it passed Henry Ford’s model T as the world’s best
selling automobile. Over 22 million of the original beetle has been sold since
its first went into mass production in Germany in 1938. Of course, sales and
popularity alone do not make a cult brand. What interests us most about the
Beetle is the enduring passion and zeal that people everywhere still have for
it. Why is the Bug the world’s most loved car?

Even before the release of the New Beetle by Volkswagen in 1998, there
were literally hundreds of active Beetle clubs and organizations all around
the world dedicated to restoring and driving old Bugs and meeting with other
Beetle owners. While the vast majority of other out of production cars
quickly fade from memory, the Beetle’s hold on the passion and enthusiasm
of millions of its followers has ever wanted. Rallies and meets for classic
Beetles regularly still attract hundreds of enthusiasts, even though VW
stopped importing the original bug into the U.S back in 1977. Today, Mexico
is one of only four countries that still make original Bug.

The Beetle also fascinates us because it is the brand that managed to stay at
the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy for nearly fifty years. The staying power of the

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Bug brand cannot be understated. Ownership of the Beetle is just as much a
statement of individuality and self- expression today as it was back in the
fifties and sixties. How many other brands can we point to that have
managed to stay cool for multiple generations? There simply aren’t many.
The Beetle brand continues to make and maintain strong emotional
connections with many of its followers. To understand the strong memories
that cult brand create, we couldn’t help but study the Bug!

                                Apple Inc.




How many times over past decade have technology commentators written
off Apple and lest the company dead? To put it simply, this is a brand that
its millions of loyal followers love their Macintosh computers too much to
ever let it die. As we write this, Apple Computer is as strong and healthy
today as a company and a brand as it has been in years. While pioneering
company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a cramped garage in
Silicon valley in 1977 now controls only 5 percent or so of the worldwide PC
market, it retains the most loyal group of customers of any technology
company in the world today.

While saturation of the PC market has forced many major tech companies to
either merge or leave the PC market all together over the past few years,
the incredible customer loyalty among Mac followers keeps Apples sitting
pretty. It will crank out annual sales of over $5 billion. Even as niche PC

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player, it still finds itself setting and defining many major trends in the
computing business. Cult brands are the leaders- not followers. At no time in
recent memory was this more evident than, after the release of the wildly
successful new iMac in 1997, much larger PC companies like Compaq
launched their own iMac-looking PCs.

Brand loyalty in the technology word is virtually nonexistent in our opinion.
While there are well known and powerful brands in this sector, notably
Microsoft, there is very little true customer passion and excitement
surrounding other technology brands. Can you picture a diehard Microsoft
user donating time at a local store to show perspective customers how the
newest version of Windows works? We don’t think so. Yet thousands of Mac
users show up at computer stores and other public places all the time, for
free, to evangelize about Apple’s products and their love of the Mac. That’s
customer loyalty! Apple has successfully cracked the customer loyalty code
for the past twenty years, and our exploration of cult branding wouldn’t be
complete unless it included Apple Computer.

                                Vans Inc.




Founded in 1966 by entrepreneur Paul Van Doren and his partners, the vans
story is a combination of American dreams and the David versus Goliath.
While Van footwear may not be familiar to many people at the age of thirty,
Vans has enjoyed an incredible lock for decades now on ten-to-twenty-four-
year-old Demographic, particularly among skateboarders, BMX bikers,

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surfers, and participants in other extreme sports that Vans refers to as “Core
Sports”. Even in the face of constant attacks from tremendously larger
multinational rivals like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas, Vans continues to retain
its core followers and to find new ways to expand its business and grow its
sales.

Today, Vans operates a growing universe of unique lifestyle branding
enterprise, including over 160 retail stores in the U.S and Europe, nearly a
dozen large Vans skateboard parks around the U.S, its own record label
(Vans Records), the Vans Warped Tour, and a number of Core Sports
events. And this all up, and Vans has grown over the past thirty-five years
from one small struggling retail shop and shoe factory in Anaheim,
California, to a powerful and growing cult brand with millions of loyal
followers that now generate annual sales of over $340 million.

As we will discuss in detail later, cult brand companies don’t simply sell a
product or a service, they sell their customers the tools for building and
creating unique lifestyles. Few management teams have done as effective a
job over past six years in building a comprehensive lifestyle environment
around their brand. How strong a relationship does Vans have with its
customers today? So strong that shoe giant Nike, one of the world’s largest
corporations and over fifty times the size of Vans, can’t gain any meaningful
market share in the Core Sports market. Customer loyalty can’t just be
bought, and the Vans brand is full of good cult-branding tactics.




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                             Harley Davidson




Even though enough business books have been written about Harley to fill an
entire library, there was absolutely no way we could write a book on cult
branding and not include Harley-Davidson. To us, Harley is without a doubt
the largest and most powerful cult brand in the world today. After all, what
other brand do you know of that people regularly feel compelled to tattoo on
their skin for life? That’s customer loyalty! What started out as a small
motorcycle manufacturing company in a shed in Milwaukee back in 1903 has
evolved into the sole remaining American motorcycle maker, the top
worldwide seller of heavyweight motorcycles, and a company with more
successful brand extensions than any other brand we know of.


Today, the Harley logo can be found not only on its legendary chrome-
covered motorcycles, but on everything from clothing (Motor Clothes) like
jackets, T-shirts, jeans, and panties to off-beat items like Harley-branded
leather toilet seat covers, playing cards, wall clocks, and coffee mugs. HD
also operates Harley-Davidson Cafés in New York and Las Vegas. In recent
years, HD has partnered with Ford to manufacture the Harley-Davidson Ford
F-150 pickup truck that has sold like hot cakes among Harley enthusiasts.
The Hog nation just can’t get enough of anything and everything HD. In spite
of the fact that Harley has continued to ramp the production of its bikes each
year, waiting lists to buy new Harleys are still com monplace at many Harley
dealerships around the country The undying brand loyalty Harley’s followers


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have for the company became perhaps most apparent in the past two years
during the bitter economic recession when Harley’s sales continued to soar.
The stock market now values Harley’s business at a princely $16 billion.
Forbes magazine recently named HD its Company of the Year. It is hard to
believe that this is the same company that nearly disappeared into
bankruptcy in the mid-eighties. The lessons for marketers and business
people to take away from Harley-Davidson could easily take up two or three
hundred pages. However, we will concentrate primarily on exploring HD’s
incredibly successful creation of its lively “customer communities.”

                       World wrestling federation




Daring to be different and the willingness to take significant risks are the key
components of every cult brands. Perhaps no cult brand better epitomizes
this   philosophy   than   World   Wrestling   Entertainment   (formally   World
Wrestling Federation). WWF founder Vince and Linda McMahon have always
been risk takers, and their fans love them for it. While it would be easy to
try to brush aside professionals wrestling as just some gimmicky side
attraction or fad not to be taken seriously studied by other marketers, the
WWF brand has been rock solid for nearly twenty years now. In fact, it easily
has the most loyal and devoted fans base of any major entertainment brand
we have encountered.

How loyal are the WWF’s fans and how large are their numbers? Really loyal
and really big. For starters, over 2.5 million people attended the WWF’s 350

22 | P a g e
live events during 2001 alone. The WWF delivered eighteen consecutive
sellouts at Madison Square Garden in New York. WWF television shows like
Raw are consistently rated the number- one regularly scheduled cable TV
program. And unbeknownst to many, the WWF is the largest and most
successful Pay-Per-View provider in the world. WWF also has two monthly
magazines with a combined circulation by WWF wrestlers have turned into
the bestsellers.

The voracious appetite that WWF’s fans have for “all things WWF” has
helped propel the company’s market value over $1 Billion in recent years. A
truly amazing feat for what started out as a small regional wrestling
company. WWF’s relentless drive to dare to be different and significant risk
in its business clearly played important roles in the company’s evolution into
a cult brand. We believe that the WWF brand is filled with cult branding
ideas that deserve to be recognized.

                                   Linux




Much like Vans Inc., Linux is a David versus Goliath story. For those of you
not that familiar with Linux, it is a relatively young operating system that
was created in 1991 by a twenty one year old Finnish programmer Linus
Torvalds. While Linux started out as a small side project and hobby for
Torvalds, it has grown over the past decade to become one of the most
popular and well known operating systems in the world. In fact, recent
research suggest that Linux now powers 33 percent of all Web servers in the

23 | P a g e
world today, putting its popularity only behind Microsoft’s Windows. Want to
make computer programmers break out into big smiles and think os you as
more than just a “suit?” Just ask them about Linux.

The amazing thing about Linux’s growth is that it is a brand and product not
even controlled by one company or organization. It never had millions of
dollars behind it for marketing and development. The software codes that
make up Linux is written entirely by volunteers. Many of the smartest
programmers in the world donate their time on an ongoing basis because
they love the product so much. They believe in it. Like any good cult brand,
Linux helps empower its followers. Unlike Windows, Linux has been
developed under the philosophy of “open source,” which allow developers to
freely exchange and modify the intellectual property (code) that comprises
the system.

Linux is a powerful differentiator and motivator for software developers.
Spend some time in the same room with a group of Linux advocates, and you
will feel the same sort of electricity and excitement that must have existed
among the American colonists during the Revolutionary War. In the minds of
Linux followers, they are fighting a revolution for freedom from shoddy
software and building a product “for the people, by the people.” It is
fascinating to watch. While virtually every other product we can think of that
has tried to compete directly with Microsoft has failed, all indications are that
Linux will continue to increase its market share in coming years. With a
decade of history under its belt, Linux is a unique cult brand that we couldn’t
pass up in this book.




24 | P a g e
                                  Star trek




While the original Star Trek TV show lasted only a short time, it has spawned
one of the most successful television and motion picture franchises in
entertainment history. Star Trek seems to age like fine wine. It has spawned
five separate televisions series and nine different movies over the past thirty
five years and in the process has become one of the licensing ingenerated
roughly $2 billion in retail sales since creator Gene Roddenberry had his
great idea.

None of this success would have happened without the underlying support of
the Trekkers, the legions of the loyal Star Trek fans that consistently scoop
up both new and old merchandise, watch the TV shows, go to the movies,
and attend the hundreds of Star Trek conventions held around the world
each year. The loyalty of the Trekker nations truly amazes us. While there
are other TV programs and movies greater number of total fans (Star Wars
comes to mind), none exude the same level of excitement and passion that
Trekker regularly demonstrate for their brand. NASA even named it first
space shuttle The Enterprise after receiving 400,000 requests from Star Trek
fans!

As you’ll see throughout this book, cult brands always established strong
emotional connections with their followers. Few brands do this better than
Star Trek. Talk to any Trekker, and you will quickly find out that Star Trek is


25 | P a g e
much more to them than a TV show or a motion picture. Star Trek’s
storyline react many of the feelings, values, and ideals of its followers and
mirrors the wants and needs of its customers. Of course, lots of brands have
tried to mirror customers wants and needs, but they have failed, so , what
makes the Star Trek brand works so beautifully? We had to know. We
wanted firs answers to these important cult branding questions and Star
Trek seemed like an ideal place to start.

                               Jimmy Buffet




The record industry is notorious for having one-hit wonders and brands that
enjoy success for few years, release one or two popular albums, and then
quickly fade into history. This scenario could be easily happened to singer-
songwriter Jimmy Buffett. After all, the only top ten hit that Buffett ever
happened back in 1977. And his island inspired music has always been
difficult for the record industry to categorize and figure out how to properly
promote. Yet over twenty years later, Buffett couldn’t be doing any better as
an entertainer. Now in his fifties, Buffett has become a one-man cult brand
with few equals.

While he doesn’t has the promotional benefit of the music video on the MTV,
and his songs rarely get played on the radio, Buffett regularly finishes each
year among the top twenty earners on the concert circuit. An artist without a
current mega hit simply isn’t supposed to be able to sell out entire arena in a


26 | P a g e
matter of minutes. Yet it’s safe to say that as long as Buffett continues to
tour each summer, he will remain one of the top grossing live acts in the
world. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that his fans (just call them
parrot heads) collectively spend some $50 million a year on Buffett concert
tickets, albums, merchandise, and food at his four Margaretville restaurants.

Buffett’s Parrot Head legions are so loyal that not only do they continue to
purchase hundreds of thousands of copies of his albums each year; they
have also sent two books he authored right to the top of the bestseller list.
In fact, Buffett is only one of the six writers ever to reach the top spot on
the New York Time’ fiction and nonfiction bestsellers lists. To say that Parrot
Heads have a deep love for Buffett is drastic understatement. Parrot Heads
are addicted to the Buffett brand. They can’t get enough of it. But why is
this? What brings thousands of fans back to Buffett’s concerts year after
year? We were enchanted by the secrets of the Buffett brand.

                               Oprah Winfry




Is there anyone alive in the world today who doesn’t know who Oprah is?
Probably not, considering that the Oprah Winfrey show now airs in more
than 100 countries around the world and reaches more than 26 million U.S
viewers per day. Oprah just maybe the strongest one-person cult brand in
the world today. Just the fact that everyone refers to Oprah on a first name
basis demonstrate the personal relationships she has been able to form with

27 | P a g e
millions of her viewers over the past fifteen years. Even if these relationships
do exist largely through a TV screen. Like or dislike Oprah, we all feel that
we “know her” in some way. The Oprah brand oozes strong emotions and
feelings.

How loyal are Oprah’s followers? So loyal that Oprah has hosted the highest
rated television talk show in TV history for over a decade. Her ratings
longevity and dominance is virtually unheard of in the TV world- let alone
the talk show business! So loyal that her two-year-old magazine. The Oprah
Magazine is the most successful magazine startup in publishing history. So
loyal that 8,500 of her followers paid $185 per ticket last year just to hear
her speak at one of her four summits. So loyal that every single monthly
selection (over forty-five different books) of Oprah’s book club since its
inception have amazingly leapt onto the bestseller’s list.

Without a doubt, Oprah has single-handedly taken the concept of turning
customers into lasting loyal followers to the next level. And it hasn’t gone
unnoticed. In 1998, Time magazine named Oprah one of the hundred most in
uential people of the20th century. Fortune magazine estimates that Oprah
today controls a “$1 billion empire.” The break-away success of this self-
described “colored girl from Mississippi” is all the more amazing given that
she came from quite humble beginnings (a broken family, child abuse, and a
house with no running water). One cannot successfully learn the full power of
cult branding without studying the Oprah phenomenon in depth.




28 | P a g e
                      Indian brands: a comparison

                            Hindustan Ambassador




The Hindustan         Ambassador is        a car manufactured         by Hindustan
Motors of India. It has been in production since 1958 without much
modifications or changes and is based on the Morris Oxford III model first
made      by   the Morris   Motor   Company at Cowley,    Oxford in    the   United
Kingdom from 1956 to 1959.

Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered the definitive Indian
car and is fondly called "The king of Indian roads". The automobile is
manufactured         by      Hindustan     Motors    at       its Uttarpara plant
near Kolkata, Bengal. It is the most popular car in India and is perceived to
be best suited to the harsh Indian terrain. Its iconic status was helped by
the fact that it was the preferred means of conveyance of India's political
leadership, including the Prime Minister of India, before they moved to
other cars and SUVs. In 2002, then-Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee started
traveling in an armored BMW 7i vehicle for security purposes. However,
some prominent Indian politicians, such as Sonia Gandhi, continue with their
preference for the Hindustan Ambassador.

The Amby, as it is affectionately called, has been in continuous production
since its inception, with very few changes to its frame.




29 | P a g e
In 1948, Hindustan Motors shifted its assembly plant from Port Okha in
Gujarat to Uttarpara in West Bengal's Hooghly district and strengthened its
manufacturing capacity in the automobile segment.

The 1954 Morris Oxford series II in India was license-built at Uttarpara,
(Hooghly dist.), West Bengal, three years after its debut in England and
labeled as the 1957 Hindustan Land master. It had a rounded rear squab
and a curvaceous sloping hood.

Engaged in the manufacture of the Ambassador, Contessa and utility
vehicles like the Trekker, Porter and Pushpak, the plant also has to its credit,
many innovations and improvements in the automobile industry in India.
Hindustan Motors is the only manufacturing facility in the world to
manufacture parts for Bedford trucks currently. The car was briefly imported
to the United Kingdom in 1993 in a disastrous attempt to bring the
Ambassador "home." The cars were retrofitted with a heater and seat
belts in order to comply with European safety legislation, but only a tiny
number were ever sold, and the importer went into liquidation. Despite this
failure, from 2002 the Ambassador has again been available new in the UK
from Merlin Garages, an importer in Wales.

                               Liberty shoes




Liberty Shoes Ltd. is the only Indian company that is among the top 5
manufacturers of leather footwear in the world with a turnover exceeding
U.S. $100 million.




30 | P a g e
We produce more than 50,000 pairs of footwear a day covering virtually
every age group and income category. Products are marketed across the
globe through 150 distributors, 350 exclusive showrooms and over 6000
multi-brand outlets, and sold in thousands every day in more than 25
countries including fashion-driven, quality-obsessed nations like France,
Italy, and Germany

With 50 years of excellence, today Liberty produces footwear for the entire
family and is a trusted name across the world. In the domestic market it is
one of the most admired footwear brands and holds the largest market
share for leather footwear.

                              Bajaj Pulsar




Bajaj Pulsar is a motorcycle brand owned by Bajaj Auto in India. The two
wheeler was developed by the product engineering division of Bajaj Auto in
association with motorcycle designer Glynn Kerr Tokyo R&D. Currently there
are four variants available -with engine capacities of 150cc, 180 and two
variants with capacities of 220 cc. More than a million units of Pulsar were
sold by November 2005. A Pulsar 200 variant was discontinued in July
2009. With monthly sales of more than 48,000 units in June 2009, Pulsar is
the leader in the 150 cc segment in India with a market share of 43%. A sub
150 cc variant of Pulsar is scheduled to be launched in December 2009.




31 | P a g e
Before the introduction of the Pulsar, the Indian motorcycle market trend
was towards fuel efficient, small capacity motorcycles (that formed the 80-
125 cc class). Bigger motorcycles with higher capacity virtually did not exist
(except for Enfield Bullet). The launch and success of Hero Honda CBZ in
1999 showed that there was demand for performance bikes. Bajaj took the
cue from there on and launched the Pulsar twins in India on November
24, 2001. Since the introduction and success of Bajaj Pulsar, Indian youth
began expecting high power and other features from affordable motorcycles.

The project was faced with internal resistance, reservations by Mckinsey and
doubts on its effects on Bajaj's relation with Kawasaki. The project required
approximately 36 months for completion and cost Bajaj Rs 1 billion.

The Bajaj Pulsar is a package for young brigade and is a powerhouse with
sensational top speed. The bike performs well at all speeds and cornering is
something commendable. The bike is using Digital Twin Technology Ignition
(DTSi), Ignition with Digital CDI; Twin Spark Plugs and a third-generation
Throttle Responsive Ignition Control System.

                                       Pehlwani
Pehlwani is        an Indian style     of wrestling popular   in India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh. It was developed in the Mughal Era throgh a synthesis of
native malla-yuddha and Persian Varzesh-e Pahlavani.

A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a Pehlwan, or a Pahalwan, while
teachers are known as Ustaad, or guru for Hindu teachers. The undefeated
champions of India hold the title Rustam-i-Hind, meaning "the Rostam of
India", denoting Rostam the hero of the Persian Shahnameh.

Through        time Western training    methods    and   nomenclature   from   Iran
and Europe were introduced into Pehlwani. Wrestling competitions, known
as dangals, held in villages can have their own rules variations. Usually a win


32 | P a g e
is awarded by decision from the panel of judges, knockout, stoppage
or submission.

The     ancient South      Asian form    of    wrestling        is   called malla-yuddha[2].
                                                         [3]
Practiced at least since the 5th century BC                    and described in the 13th
century treatise Malla Purana, it was the precursor of modern pehlwani.[1] In
the 16th century India was conquered by the Central Asian Mughals, who
were of Mongol descent and officially patronized Persian culture. They
brought the influence of Persian and Mongolian wrestling to the local malla-
yuddha, thereby creating modern pehlwani.
In the recent past India had great wrestlers of the class of the Great
Gama and Gobar Goho. India reached its peak of glory in the IV Asian
Games (later on called Jakarta Games) in 1962 when all the seven wrestlers
were placed on the medal list and in between them they won 12 medals
in freestyle   wrestling and Greco-Roman             wrestling.      A   repetition   of   this
performance was witnessed again when all the 8 wrestlers sent to
the Commonwealth Games held at Kingston, Jamaica had the distinction of
getting medals for the country. During the 60’s, India was ranked among the
first eight or nine wrestling nations of the world and hosted the world
wrestling championships in New Delhi in 1967.

Pehlwans who compete in wrestling nowadays are also known to cross
train in the grappling aspects of judo and jujutsu. Legendary wrestlers from
the bygone era like Karl Gotch have made tours to India to learn the art of
pehlwani and further hone their skills. Karl Gotch was even gifted a pair of
"mudgals"      (exercise     equipment        used    by       the Indian wrestlers).      The
conditioning exercises of pehlwani have been incorporated into many of the
conditioning aspects of both catch wrestling and shoot wrestling, along with
their derivative systems. These systems also borrow several throws,
submissions and takedowns from pehlwani.



33 | P a g e
The popularity of this sport seems to be withering away. The "milked sand
wrestling pits" (20X20 deep stone courtyards, filled with clay and water or
milk), which served as the traditional arena for both training and
competitions are now giving way to wrestling mats and rings. The wrestlers
are pursuing the sport as a hobby and not as a full time profession, and
popular professional wrestling promotions have pushed pehlwani to the brink
of obscurity.

                    Kyuki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi




Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is Asia's 1 Most Watched and Awarded
show till present date.It was a Hindi television Indian soap opera, produced
by Balaji Telefilms, that revolves around the lives of the fictitious Virani
family. The show went off-air in November 2008 due to its falling popularity.
However, the show had been the longest running serial in Indian Television.
It also made records of getting the highest Television Rating Point for
multiple years.




34 | P a g e
                                  A.R. Rahman




Allah Rakha Rahman born 6 January 1966 as A. S. Dileep Kumar is an
Indian composer, record, musician and singer. His film scoring career began
in the early 1990s. He has won thirteen Film fare Awards, four National Film
Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards. He has
also been nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Working in India's various film industries, international cinema and theatre,
by 2003, Rahman, in a career spanning over a decade, has sold more than
100 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide, and sold
over 200 million cassettes, making him one of the world's all-time top selling
recording artists.

Time magazine has referred to him as the "Mozart of Madras" and several
Tamil commentators have coined him the nickname Isai Puyal(Tamil
English: Music Storm). In 2009, the magazine placed Rahman in the Time
100 list of 'World's Most Influential People'.

Skilled        in Carnatic   music, Western      classical, Hindustani   music and
the Qawwali style of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahman has been noted to write
film songs that amalgamate elements of these music systems and other
genres, layering instruments from differing music idioms in an improvisatory
manner. Symphonic orchestral themes have accompanied his scores, where

35 | P a g e
he has employed leitmotif. In the 1980s, Rahman recorded and played
arrangements on mono, synonymous with the era of predecessors such
as K.     V.   Mahadevan and      Vishwanathan–Ramamoorthy,            but   later    his
methodology changed. Rahman               worked and       experimented on fusing
traditional instruments with new electronic sounds and technology.

His     interest   and   outlook     in    music   stems       from    his    love     of
experimentation. Rahman's         compositions,    in   the     vein   of    past    and
contemporary Chennai       film    composers,      bring      out   auteuristic      uses
of counterpoint, orchestration and the human voice, evolving Indian pop
music with unique timbres, forms and instrumentation. By virtue of these
qualities, broad ranging lyrics and his syncretism style, his themes appeal to
several sections of Indian society.

His first soundtrack for Roja was listed in TIME's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all
time in 2005. Film critic Richard Corliss felt the "astonishing debut work
parades Rahman's gift for alchemizing outside influences until they are
totally Tamil, totally Rahman."[38] Rahman's initial global reach is attributed
to the South Asian diaspora. Described as one of the most innovative
composers to ever work in the industry, his unique style and immense
success transformed film music in the 1990s prompting several film
producers to take film music more seriously. The music producer Ron
Fair considers Rahman to be "one of the world's great living composers in
any medium".




36 | P a g e
                           Amitabh Bachchan




The trademark deep baritone voice, the tall, brooding persona, and intense
eyes, made Amitabh Bachchan the ideal "Angry Young Man" in the 1970s,
thereby changing the face of Hindi cinema. The son of the late poet
Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan, he was born in Allahabad in
Uttar Pradesh. After completing his education from Sherwood College,
Nainital, and Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, he moved to Calcutta to
work for shipping firm Shaw and Wallace. Later, he moved to Bombay and
struggled for a while to get his foot in the door of the Hindi film industry.
The lanky, dark, and intensely brooding persona did not go down well with
directors who were looking for wise-cracking, fair, loverboys - the trademark
of the Indian hero in the 1960s. Starting with the low key Saat Hindustani,
Bachchan struggled through many roles and was relegated at times to doing
voice-overs and in one instance playing a deaf-mute (his deep baritone voice
might have overshadowed the other actors!). He broke through with Zanjeer
(the Chain) in 1973 playing opposite his real-life love interest and future
wife Jaya Bhaduri. His persona seemed apt for the 1970s, capturing the
resentment of underemployed youth and the increasing cult of violence.
Bachchan reworked the image of the Hindi film hero with major hits like
Deewar, Sholay, Trishul, Don, Kala Patthar, and Shakti. Adapting former
screen idol Dilip Kumar's mannerisms and adding his own flamboyance, he
popularized the violent melodrama. He proved that he had an equal flair for


37 | P a g e
tragedies (Deewar, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Shakti) and comedies (Chupke
Chupke, Don, Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony) as well. His most memorable
performance was as the renegade against a harsh society in Deewar. After
Amar Akbar Anthony in which he reveled in the role of the Cathlolic
bootlegger - he played similar "masala" roles, movies that required action,
comedy, tragedy, and romance in one character. This had disastrous
consequences later with movies disintegrating into Amitabh variety shows
rather than plot-driven stories. Bachchan was dubbed the Superstar, taking
over that title from Rajesh Khanna, something he hung on to until the mid
1980s when the floor widened after his temporary departure. At the height
of his popularity he was injured in an accident while shooting for the film
Coolie - long lines of people prayed for his recovery at the Breach Candy
hospital, underscoring his megastar status. He left films in 1985 to become a
Member of Parliament from Allahabad constituency as a Congress party
candidate, as a favor to his family friend Rajiv Gandhi - the new Prime
MInister of India. A report of involvement in financial irregularities (of which
he was completely cleared later) made him decide to step down as MP. His
return in 1987 was lukewarm as the Hindi film industry had moved on and
newer, younger heroes essayed the part of Angry Young Man with more
conviction. Bachchan seemed to have lost his heart in making films as his
later roles did not show the flicker of passion that had marked earlier efforts
in the 1970s. In 1989, for the first time since 1976, three of his films were
flops i.e. they could not recover their money (in the Hindi film industry a flop
is a film that does not recover a distributor's price, not the producer's cost).
A series of lackluster films in the 1990s pointed to a long overdue exit,
common to many other stars. A seemingly well-thought out venture to start
a production company ABCL landed him in immense debts. Astonishingly, he
burst back with a double act: one, playing the stern patriarch (the kind
against which he had rebelled in the 1970s but which role was suited to his


38 | P a g e
gravelly voice), and two, reinventing himself as a brand that in turn, could
market anything. He began the latter by hosting the Indian version of Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire (Kaun Banegaa Crorepati) and is now back in
demand for endorsements, advertisements as well as many movie roles. At
sixty plus, Amitabh Bachchan is a greater icon than he was at the height of
his popularity three decades ago. His son, Abhishek is considered a talented
actor who has not yet broken out as a star.


                         Cult Banding in India
Now, we plan to discuss cult branding with respect to some of the well-
known brands from India from across the industries. We have attempted to
classify each of these brands on the basis of seven golden rules. These
brands have been selected keeping in mind their popularity among the
targeted customers and steps that they have taken that may enable them to
be a cult brand in future. These are the brands that we feel may have the
potential to make it big if they play their cards well. However each of these
brands still has a long way to go. Some of these brands are:

                   Cult Brand status of “Bajaj Pulsar”




 The Bajaj Pulsar is a package for young brigade and is a powerhouse with
 sensational top speed. The bike performs well at all speeds and cornering is
something commendable. The bike is using Digital Twin Technology Ignition
  (DTSi), Ignition with Digital CDI, Twin Spark Plugs and a third-generation

                Throttle Responsive Ignition Control System.


39 | P a g e
Rule 1: Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different

Pulsars are designed for guys that love high-speed action on road. These are
the group of bikers who distinguish themselves as style, look and speed
conscious people. The Bajaj Pulsar provides this group with these features
and makes them more associated not only with the brand but also the
group.

Rule 2: Cult brand inventors show daring and determination

The Pulsar portrays itself as a brand that is daring and has determination. It
comes out with newer models with improved technology and better looks
which appeals the target consumers. The man behind Pulsar, i.e. Raiv Bajaj
is a very courageous person. For somebody who rose up the ranks to
become joint managing director, Rajiv's frequent clashes with his father are
well known.

With the company's research & development (R&D) department being his
favorite       hangout,   he   was   against   the   company   hiring   management
consultants McKinsey & Co. And when McKinsey advised Bajaj senior to
scrap Rajiv's pet project --the Pulsar -- he is said to have threatened to quit.
Today, with the Pulsar's fantastic run, Rajiv stands vindicated.

Rule 3: Cult brand sell lifestyles

The target consumers of this brand consider that Pulsar has not only created
a lifestyle of its own but also has influenced the users to change their
lifestyles. The consumers actually enjoy and relish their new lifestyle by
owning the Pulsar. Pulsar stands for speed, thrill and enjoyment in the minds
of an Indian consumer. Pulsar is not just pulsar, it is a way of speeding up
and being ahead of the competition for Indian consumers.

Rule 4: Cult brand will make the customers as brand evangelists


40 | P a g e
Pulsar focuses on serving the customers they already have. They don't try to
attract hypothetical new customers. They look to the congregation, value
their opinions, and reward them. Do extraordinary things for them like
providing improvised technology, looks and style, and make them incredible
evangelists. This group of users influences their friends not only in the
purchase but also in creating the desire in owning a Pulsar.

Rule 5: Cult brand always create customer communities

Pulsar customers have created several Bikers’ Clubs in several parts of India,
where the bikers meet and share their common interests. Bajaj Pulsar
conducts various events like Stuntmania etc. that give a chance to all the
brand enthusiasts to come together and celebrate the spirit of speed and
freedom. This deepens the affection that these enthusiasts have in their
mind for Pulsar and they start loving the brand even more.

Rule 6: Cult brands are inclusive

Since Bajaj Pulsar does not discriminate its ideal customers, therefore it can
be referred to as an inclusive brand rather than an exclusive brand.

Rule 7: Cult Brands promote personal freedom and draw power from
their enemies

Pulsar is a brand that stands for freedom. It not only gives its customers an
ability to move from one place to other but also provides them a way of
escaping the troubles of life and attaining freedom by carefree biking.




41 | P a g e
                       Cult Brand status of “The Hindu”




The Hindu is a leading English-language Indian daily newspaper. With a
circulation of 1.27 million, The Hindu is the second-largest English daily in
India after Times of India, and slightly ahead of the Economic Times. It has
its largest base of circulation in South India, especially Tamil Nadu.
Headquartered     at Chennai (formerly    called    Madras), The   Hindu was
published weekly when it was launched in 1878, and started publishing daily
in 1889.

Rule 1: Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different

Throughout nearly a century of its publication The Hindu has exerted wide
influence not only in Madras but also throughout India. Conservative in both
tone and appearance, it has wide appeal to the English-speaking segment of
the population and wide readership among government officials and
business leaders. These customers would like to discuss about the issues
published in The Hindu regularly.

Rule 2: Cult brand inventors show daring and determination

The Hindu can be proud of having the image of daring & determined
Newspaper.     The Hindu has been through many evolutionary changes in
layout and design, for instance, moving news to the front page that used to
be an ad kingdom; adopting modular layout and make-up; using large
photographs; introducing color; transforming the format of the editorial page
to make it a purely 'views' page; avoiding carry-over of news stories from
one page to another; and introducing boxes, panels, highlights, and briefs.


42 | P a g e
Rule 3: Cult brand sell lifestyles

The customers of The Hindu believe that it has greatly influenced and
changed the lifestyle of its readers.

Rule 4: Cult brand will make the customers as brand evangelists

The customers of Hindu consider the brand as one among member of their
family. They don’t even consider other newspaper to read. They also
influence their friends to read it.

Rule 5: Cult brand always create customer communities

In this aspect, though there is a huge customer base but there are hardly
any customer communities where the readers meet and discuss their
readings. Hindu needs to improve in this regard. They can create
communities on the net as slowly we are moving towards an age where we
read most of the news from the net.

Rule 6: Cult brands are inclusive

The Hindu gives News for all ages and across various income and occupation
categories. Most of the customers believe that it is universal and inclusive.
They do not identify with the particular group.

Rule 7: Cult Brands promote personal freedom and draw power from
their enemies

The Hindu is considered a daring newspaper that is willing to talk tough. This
ability gives their readers a power to exert influence and at least talk about
events that affect their life thereby promoting personal freedom.




43 | P a g e
                     Cult Brand status of “Kingfisher”




Kingfisher beer is an Indian Beer brewed by United Breweries Group. With a
market share of 29%, it is India's largest selling beer and is currently
available in 52 countries outside India.

Rule 1: Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different

Kingfisher Beer has portrayed itself as a young, vibrant and stylish brand
over the years. Its consumers believe that the brand provides them with the
same feeling and make them different from users of other brands of beer.

Rule 2: Cult brand inventors show daring and determination

Vijay Mallya, the inventor of the Kingfisher brand embodies the spirit that
the brand stands for. He comes up as a smart and stylish individual who
believes in getting the best things in life. He bets on horses, buys Formula
one and ICL teams and therefore portrays a lifestyle that includes passion,
thrill and courage as necessary traits for success.

Rule 3: Cult brand sell lifestyles

Kingfisher Beer has created a particular lifestyle for its consumers. Its
consumers are generally visualized as the fun loving, young and vibrant.


44 | P a g e
Rule 4: Cult brand will make the customers as brand evangelists

The brand serves its existing customers by providing quality products at
affordable prices.

Rule 5: Cult brand always create customer communities

The brand had created a community in its consumer base, as
they prefer KF Beer to several other brands. The company
organizes several events that help in attracting and creating
new communities.

Rule 6: Cult brands are inclusive

In this aspect Kingfisher beer scores less as it has a well
defined target group and it reflects the energy, youthfulness
and freedom that are characteristic of the brand's target consumer and
reiterates its contemporary positioning. So it is more exclusive as a brand.

Rule 7: Cult Brands promote personal freedom and draw power from
their enemies

Kingfisher promotes personal freedom as a part of the lifestyle it associates
itself to. It talks to people who are young and vibrant and who want to enjoy
their freedom. However, Kingfisher has failed to draw power from its
enemies as they have failed to recognize what stands against their culture.
Defining an enemy will give the brand more edge in the market place.

Cult Brand status of Fastrack: One for the fast generation




45 | P a g e
  Fastrack, the accessory brand from Titan, continues to be non-committal.
 For a brand that was re-launched four years ago, Fastrack has come a long
way. After the agreement between Titan and Timex was dissolved and Timex
 moved out independently, Titan had a gap to fill in the contemporary wrist
   wear space, which is when Titan Fastrack was first launched in the year
  1997. In the year 2005, after some introspection on the part of Fastrack,
 certain changes were brought about; the wrist wear brand was re-launched
     as an accessories brand, without the name of the mother branding its
                                  branding.

Rule 1: Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different

All Fastrack users take the credit of belonging to a special category. Basically
they feel energetic, youthful, dynamic and fast. It provides them a sense of
fulfillment.

Rule 2: Cult brand inventors show daring and determination


Fastrack tends to be a fighter and winner, the quality inherited from its
parent company Titan or Tata. It helps Fastrack knock customer’s general
attitude and liking to be associated with winners.

Rule 3: Cult brand sell lifestyles


Owner of Fastrack satisfy their innate passions by owning Fastrack Watch.
The sense of being youthful and being different from the lot takes the
customer into a fun zone.

Rule 4: Listen to the choir and create cult brand evangelists


Fastrack has been continuously focusing on the needs of their existing
customers and gives regard to their feedback. Fastrack is even going to the
extent of involving customers in designing the product.
46 | P a g e
Rule 5: Cult brand always create customer communities


Cult brands always create customer communities. Fastrack is trying to forge
a strong relationship with the customers. It is trying to provide them what
they should get for their loyalty towards the brand.

Rule 6: Cult brands are inclusive

There is no discrimination of the customers. It is a brand for all in a vast
country like India. Any new customer is greeted to the community of
Fastrack user group.

Rule7: Cult brands promote personal freedom and draw memorable
sensory experience


Fastrack promotes the underlying themes of freedom and non-conformity
with memorable sensory experiences. It is always an experience in itself
using a Fastrack accessory.




47 | P a g e
                          Finding of the study
Following are some important observation done on the basis of study made
on the youth about their perception about cult brand:-

Definition of Cult Brand according to them:

    1. Cult brand fulfill the demand of the customer.
    2. It represent youth.
    3. Majority of them strongly believe that a brand which is extremely
        popular and reputed is cult brand.
    4. It is fashionable and trendy.
    5. It gives satisfaction to the customer.
    6. It seeks great attention and loyalty from customer at large.
    7. People religiously follow it.
    8. It is for niche and very expensive.
    9. It is a high quality product.

Beside above mentioned points there were some respondent who doesn’t
know about cult brand. It is also discussed graphically further in the report.

How India can generate cult brand:

In this section almost everyone agreed that India doesn’t lack potential in
terms of human resources, other resources and technology. We just lack
that drive to make the brand a cult brand. More awareness should be
created among youth. More creative people should be pump in the industry
for the new and revolutionary ideas and also proper utilization of all the
resources is also very important. We also need to change the mentality of
the people. Most of the Indian families look at their pocket before spending
so it is better for the companies to take all this into consideration. There
were some respondents who were quite negative about cult brand as well
and said that it is not for India because such products are high end products


48 | P a g e
and India being a nation where more than half of the population are middle
class families cannot afford such products.



                              Conclusion
At the end we would like to say that Cult brands are brands that become a
religion for the individual. We saw all the seven parameters to test if the
brand is a cult brand. We discussed foreign brands that are cult brands and
why are they so. There are no cult brands in India right now though there
are brands which have the potential to become one. We’ve taken examples
of Bajaj Pulsar, The Hindu, Fast track and Kingfisher beer. We tested them
on all parameters and saw how they are trying to get closer to their
customers and have the potential to become cult brands. The parameters in
which these brands are failing can be achieved and these brands can emerge
as cult brands in future. We have also seen a direct response from the
Indian youth and what they perceive about the product. The parameters
discussed above are more easily said than executed because it requires
every individual to feel the same way about the brand and every customer
should feel that the brand they are using is the correct representative of
their personality and it fulfils all the needs discussed above. It can also be
noticed from the various responses we have from the people. So to make a
brand a cult brand, make it a customer’s brand.




49 | P a g e
                                 Abstract
Indian perspective and specialist comment on cult branding in
India
Anmol Dar, managing director, Superbrands India
"To make cult brands possible we need a complete overhaul of the way we
view things"

The Oxford English Dictionary defines cult as "something fashionable or
popular among a particular group of people".

In this context, it would suggest a brand that has migrated to various parts
of the world, finding in each a place in the hearts and minds of its people.
Pushed to a logical conclusion it would imply a manufactured product - not a
religious worship or a service. It would also suggest that the brand is
possibly youth driven.

One look at the changing face of urban India would indicate that all the
parameters for the creation of a cult brand are in place. And that a cult
brand from India could be here any day now. So what does it take to create
one?

Brilliant brands don't happen because someone, one morning, said, "I want
to create a cult brand." Harley-Davidson or Starbucks weren't created with
the intention of becoming a way of life.

They all began life as products - sometimes as unique offerings such as the
iPod or the Walkman - with huge potential. Along the way they did
everything that was in sync with market needs and trod a path not explored
by others. They created strategies and supporting communications that
nudged people towards the view that the offering was a fashion statement.
The chemistry happened here.



50 | P a g e
Can India create its own cult brand in the foreseeable future? The short
answer is no.
India has the managerial expertise and marketing brilliance to manage and
create brands. What it needs is the magic that happens when corporate
leaders buy into a vision that is not their own. This requires a profound
appreciation of the potential and pockets deep enough to support that
dream.

At the core of India's economic boom are two types of enterprises: the large,
family-driven businesses and the country's huge public sector undertakings.

The former almost necessarily bequeaths management to its progeny, when
at a small price highly trained, professional talent could have easily been
hired. While this practice has helped retain businesses within the fold (and
why not!), it has also created controls in which brands simply didn't become
strong enough to survive beyond visual range. As a result, Indian brands
remained small in terms of sheer volumes and remained confined to a
market that was at best diminutive.

Consider this fact: the US greetings card market is nearly twice as large as
the Indian sanitary ware, kitchen appliances, apparel, writing instruments,
mattresses, plywood and automotive battery industries in the organized
sector, combined!

The public sector undertaking, on the other hand, has its own political
compunctions. Between these two polarized positions the sharp Indian mind
is inhibited and reined-in.

This explains why Indians can create and manage cult brands abroad and
why despite several years of free enterprise not one Indian brand has
managed to make a serious impact in the world's developed markets.




51 | P a g e
To make cult brands possible we need a complete overhaul of the way we
view things. But when that happens, it will first impact other priorities and
imperatives before it can cast its mind to creating a cult brand.

Moon B Shin, managing director, LG India
"If companies can forge distinct, attractive identities, cult brands are sure to
emerge from India"

When the success of a brand transcends boundaries, challenges every rule of
marketing and attains followers who worship every intricate detail, it
becomes a cult.

The essence of creating a cult brand lies in sustaining its aspirational value
over the years and contemporizing it without losing its essential originality.
You know you have a cult brand when customers become the ones following
your brand, generation after generation.

But before setting on to the path of cult branding, a company needs to
answer many pertinent questions.

How does a brand cross the line from ordinary to heaven-sent, to be one
that customers will really champion? Should every brand be groomed for
potential cult status? What are the pleasures and perils of managing a cult
brand and its sometimes-obsessive customers?

Companies need to be in tune emotionally with its customer base, allowing
them to glean superior marketing insight without spending millions of
dollars.

Indian companies are mature enough to cultivate popular brands, but to
make them achieve cult status; they need to take popularity to a different
level through inventive and revolutionary tactics.

Indian brands have the potential, but management and marketers behind
that brand do not have a risk-taking mentality and understanding of the

52 | P a g e
potential pay-off. Since the first and foremost rule cult branding is "dare to
be different", companies need to shake things up when everyone at the
organization is feeling most cozy.

Most cult brands have been created and continue to flourish through
consumers who actively form larger communities around their favorite
brands. A case in point being 101-year-old Harley-Davidson Inc, which is
more iconic than ever, with its 886,000-member Harley Owners Group. They
don't call themselves a cult but believe they are a family and that's how they
treat each other.

This is the biggest challenge and if Indian companies can forge distinct,
attractive identities, creating bonds beyond the point of purchase, and
reinforcing those bonds through constant contact, cult brands are sure to
emerge from India.

With the power of the Internet and the cultural and demographic shifts in
India, it is not so difficult to get consumers to actively form larger
communities around their brands.

Any Indian brand, from a lighter to a plane, can become iconic and achieve
cult status. However, marketers need to build brands that help give people
an identity. People like to be different. At the same time, they would like to
be part of a group that acts different.

Indian companies need to hit on that fine line. If Indian brands can find the
right way to do it, in a way that is entertaining and interesting, perhaps
delightful, and makes people talk to each other, that would be the beginning
of an Indian cult brand.

Mithileshwar     Jha,   professor    of   marketing,   Indian   Institute   of
Management, Bangalore

"Marketing Mahatmas required!"

53 | P a g e
Meet Mister Maslow—the Father of Cult Branding
The connection between customer loyalty and cult brands is an area that up
until now has been filled with lots of questions and relatively few answers.
For example, we all know that certain brands enjoy incredible customer
loyalty and devotion. And that the most loyal customers of certain brands will
do seemingly almost anything to support their cherished brands. But why?
Why are certain brands so important and meaningful to some customers that
they feel compelled to tell the world about them? What makes them go that
extra mile?


Successful brand owners will tell you that a solid grasp of human behavior—
what motivates people to do certain things and act certain ways—is at the
very core of successful marketing. That is why the research for this book
included reading many writings on the topics of human behavior and human
motivation. This eventually led to study in the field of humanistic physiology,
and particularly the work of the late great psychologist Abraham Maslow.


Chances are that if you’ve ever taken freshman psychology or consumer
behavior or business school classes, you may remember Abraham Maslow
and his “Hierarchy of Human Needs.”
Maslow postulated that we humans have an ascending order of needs and
used a hierarchal pyramid to prioritize them. At the bottom levels of the
pyramid are our physiological needs, which include basic things like food,
shelter, and clothing that we all need to survive. At progressively higher
levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy are the needs for safety and security, social
interaction, and self-esteem. At the very top is self-actualization, a term
Maslow coined to describe the ultimate human need to learn, grow, and
reach one’s full potential as a person.
His book Maslow on Management is one of the seminal works about human
behavior and motivation in the business world. In it, Maslow describes self-


54 | P a g e
actualization as follows:
A musician must make music, and an artist must paint, a poet must write, if
he is to ultimately be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
This need we may call self-actualization. . . . It refers to man’s desire for self
fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is
potentially; to become everything that one is capable of becoming.


In other words, we all desire on some level to self-actualize, both to be at
peace with ourselves and to try to be the best we can be. As humans, we are
drawn to people, places, groups, causes, companies, and, ultimately, brands
that we believe can help us towards our ultimate goal of self-actualization
and total fulfillment.




55 | P a g e
                                  Annexure
                            Age group of respondents
        35


        30


        25

                                                                        17-20
        20
                                                                        21-24
                                                                        25-28
        15
                                                                        28-31

        10


         5


         0


                                    Figure 1
               Educational Qualification of the various respondents




  4.5

    4

  3.5
                                                           post graduates
    3
                                                           graduates
  2.5
                                                           under graduate
    2

  1.5

    1

  0.5

    0


                                    Figure 2


56 | P a g e
               Definition of Cult brand according to the respondents



                                                           demand
                                                           represent youth
                                                           popular/reputed
                                                           fashionable
                                                           satisfaction
                                                           loyal/follower
                                                           religion
                                                           costly/expensive
                                                           Niche
                                                           quality
                                                           other




                                     Figure 3
                               Are you brand loyal?




   30

   25

                                                                          yes
   20
                                                                          no
   15

   10

     5

     0


                                     Figure 4



57 | P a g e
                 Awareness of various cult brands among youth




                                                        harley davidson
                                                        volkwagen beetle
                                                        apple inc
                                                        linux
                                                        world wresling fedration
                                                        Vans inc
                                                        star trek
                                                        oprah winfry
                                                        jimmy buffet




                                    Figure 5
                Does India have potential to generate cult brand?




       40
       35
       30
                                                                            yes
       25
                                                                            no
       20                                                       no
        15
        10
            5
                                                  yes
            0




                                    Figure 6



58 | P a g e
    Possible reasons of why India is not being able to generate cult
                                brand

                                              ignorance of youth


                                              huge family driven busniess


                                              public sector undertaking


                                              lack of customer oriented firms


                                              missing risk taking mentality


                                              brand profoliferation


                                              lack of inventive and
                                              revolutionary tactics
                                              lack of creativity


                                              brain drain




                               Figure 7




59 | P a g e
                                       Questionnaire


         SURVEY ON AWARENESS OF YOUTH ABOUT CULT BRANDS

         The purpose of this survey is to identify the level of awareness among Indian youth
         regarding cult brands. The Oxford English Dictionary defines cult as “something
         fashionable or popular among a particular group of people”. In this context, a brand
         is that has migrated to various parts of the world, finding a place in the hearts and
         minds of its people. Pushed to a logical conclusion it would imply a manufactured
         product — not a religious worship or a service. It would also suggest that the brand is
         possibly youth driven. It will also throw light on the perception of the youth
         regarding why India has not been able to generate the Brands like Apple, Harley
         Davidson or Volkswagen Beetle.


What is a Cult Brand according to you?



Are you Brand Loyal?

    a) Yes             b) No


Which Indian brand do you follow most?




Do you know about any of the following brand?

    a) Harley Davidson
    b) Vans Inc.
    c) Star trek
    d) Apple Inc
    e) Jimmy Buffet
    f)   Volkswagen Beetle
    g) Linux
    h) World Wrestling Entertainment
    i) Oprah Winfry

60 | P a g e
Do you think India has the potential to generate any cult brand?

    a) Yes            b) No


What are the reasons about India not generating any Cult brand yet?

       a) Ignorance of youth                     b) Brain Drain

       c) Huge family driven business                 d) Public sector undertaking

       e) Lack of Customer oriented firms           f) Missing risk taking mentality

       g) Brand proliferation           h) Lack of inventive and revolutionary tactics

       i) Lack of creativity

Your views or suggestions




Name:

Age:

Contact Number:                                             Email address:

Educational Qualification:




61 | P a g e

				
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Description: Ever more firms and other organizations have come to the realization that one of their most valuable assets is the brand names associated with their products or services. In our increasingly complex world, all of us, as individuals and as business managers, face more choices with less time to make them. Thus a strong brand’s ability to simplify consumer decision making, reduce risk, and set expectations is invaluable. Creating strong brands that deliver on that promise, and maintaining and enhancing the strength of those brands over time, is a management imperative.