Branding Matters

How to Foster a Community of Users with Chris Kneeland

January 29, 2021 Branding Badass Season 1 Episode 9
How to Foster a Community of Users with Chris Kneeland
Branding Matters
More Info
Branding Matters
How to Foster a Community of Users with Chris Kneeland
Jan 29, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Branding Badass

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode I'm sitting down with Chris Kneeland, the Co-founder and CEO of Cult Collective; North America's leading marketing engagement agency. Chris is also the founder of The Gathering - a Forbes top rated business summit and a master class for brand and business leaders looking to reap the benefits of a "cult-like adoration".

This celebrated author, speaker and marketing maestro knows that true customer engagement isn’t about getting people to buy—it’s about getting them to buy in. He believes when customers get involved, contributing their voice, and not just their dollars, they are worth their weight in gold. 

I invited Chris to be a guest in my show to learn about cult brands and what they do differently to foster a community of users. I also wanted to get his point of view on loyalty programs and what, if any, their role plays in branding.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a 5-star rating along with a brief review. And don't forget to order your BADASS T-shirt here.

About Me
Hey there, I'm Joelly - the Branding Badass. My badass superpower is helping you build a brand that matters. From branded merch to brand consulting, when you work with me, you get results!

Need help telling your brand story?
Learn more

To advertise on the show
click here

Let's stay connected!
instagram - @Branding_Badass
linkedIn - Joelly Goodson
website -

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode I'm sitting down with Chris Kneeland, the Co-founder and CEO of Cult Collective; North America's leading marketing engagement agency. Chris is also the founder of The Gathering - a Forbes top rated business summit and a master class for brand and business leaders looking to reap the benefits of a "cult-like adoration".

This celebrated author, speaker and marketing maestro knows that true customer engagement isn’t about getting people to buy—it’s about getting them to buy in. He believes when customers get involved, contributing their voice, and not just their dollars, they are worth their weight in gold. 

I invited Chris to be a guest in my show to learn about cult brands and what they do differently to foster a community of users. I also wanted to get his point of view on loyalty programs and what, if any, their role plays in branding.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a 5-star rating along with a brief review. And don't forget to order your BADASS T-shirt here.

About Me
Hey there, I'm Joelly - the Branding Badass. My badass superpower is helping you build a brand that matters. From branded merch to brand consulting, when you work with me, you get results!

Need help telling your brand story?
Learn more

To advertise on the show
click here

Let's stay connected!
instagram - @Branding_Badass
linkedIn - Joelly Goodson
website -

inaudible> hi. I'm Joelly you're Branding Badass and welcome to my new podcast. Branding Matters today I'm sitting down with Chris Kneeland the co-founder and CEO of Cult Collective North America's leading marketing engagement agency. Chris is also the founder of The. Gathering a Forbes top rated business summit and a master class for brand and business leaders. Looking to reap the benefits of a cult-like adoration. This celebrated author speaker and marketing Maestro knows that true customer engagement, ISN about getting people to buy it's about getting people to buy in.

0 (51s):
I invited Chris to be a guest on my show to learn about Cult brands and discuss what they do differently to foster a community of users. I also wanted to get his point of view on loyalty programs and what if any, their role plays in branding. Chris welcome to Branding Matters so thanks really for being here. I really appreciate it. Marketing advertising. Has that always been something you wanted to pursue? You knew that from young age,

1 (1m 18s):
I, I, I didn't know my dad was in marketing, so my, you know, he was my first sort of a role model. I I've said before. They didn't really ever understand what he did. He just seemed to always like his job. And as a kid, you know, I didn't appreciate then how special it is to have a job that you value they go to work to do. So

0 (1m 37s):
Let's get right into your company. Now, can you tell us about how you started that and what was the impetus and where'd you come up with a name?

1 (1m 46s):
If I was King for a day, you know, the kind of business that I really wanted to not only sell, but work at what would I do? And they did some introspection and, and had some Sherpas sort of guide me along a new journey that led to my business partner and it led to our positioning and it led to the creation of a whole different type of species of agency that we call an engagement from. And we were trying to punch above our weight and become noticed that the idea of Cult was a very provocative, but it also very descriptive because that's what we wanted to do. We didn't want to help businesses get more customers.

1 (2m 26s):
We wanted to help businesses create a Colt like followers. And there was some ideology that was already existing at the time about the culting of brands and how businesses were transforming in the communities. How religion was dying, but brands were filling that void purpose and that the associates socializing with others. And so we were kind of just fascinated by that. And so we kind of went all in and birth that in 2012.

0 (2m 54s):
Wow. That's awesome. So when you talk about Cult, I mean, I love that word. I think you're right. I think it's a very, did you ever come across anything or have you ever thought that there is a negativity attached to it?

1 (3m 4s):
We thought that we would lose some employees. We knew that we would lose some clients and we love that. We think the world is way too vanilla, the mint chocolate chip with that, you know, I remember frequently, ah, in the first couple of years in talking with potential clients, them saying, I just don't know that my board or my boss is going to be, you know, how are they going to feel about working with a company called Co right. And I, and I would say then let's part ways now, because our name is the least controversial that we're going to ask you to do.

1 (3m 46s):
So it was a great sort of a litmus test early on of who was really interested in making a statement and being bold and being provocative versus who just likes to play it safe. It was not looking to disrupt anything. And we only wanted to work with the most courageous sort of disruptors they call called the surgeons. Ah, and so yeah, our name and even our process, I mean, everything about us was weird and inconvenient. At one point we'd even joked about not Joe, we had seriously considered like answering the phone, like hello. And they'd be like, yeah, is this called? And we'd be like, how do you get this number? We'd be like, who are you like making it like a no kidding?

1 (4m 28s):
Where are you adding? Oh, the password or the hand shake in order to get past the gatekeeper.

0 (4m 33s):
And you already is that, you know, people want to be part of that. I mean, they sort of, all of a sudden now you're in this, you know, uses the word cope, but you know, are you talking about the speakeasy? Like how do I get in? Right. And so there's that aspect to it. So you talk about Cult, In, you know, you talk a bit about the eight specific marketing beliefs and behaviors to reach cult-like status. So what are those and are these things that you go through before you decide whether or not you want to choose a client or do you do it after you choose the client?

1 (5m 2s):
They don't have to be currently adhering to these eight principles. It's just essentially there has to be an, a, a willingness to explore a different playbook. So the two things that are not very cult-like is an over-reliance on mass media and the overuse of markdowns are discounted. And that is where 90% of marketing budgets go today is in the advertising and the sales promotions. So if that's how you're choosing to compete, you're just basically saying I have no ambitions to be a special, I just need to be on sale and drive traffic in an attempt to be successful.

1 (5m 47s):
And we liked people that are much more motivated. I want to be significant. I want to be special. I hope that that materializes into financial success, but I'm here to create a legacy. I'm here to be part of that movement. I'm here to disrupt. I'm here to challenge. And so for them, financial rewards are an outcome, but not the goal. And so these eight principles were simply observation from looking at brands that had achieved inviable levels of significance and success, and then comparing and contrasting them against brands in the same category that we're a very mediocre.

1 (6m 27s):
And it was amazing how the playbooks of the mediocre brands are very similar. And the playbooks of the Cult brands were very similar, but they were two completely different paradigms and practices within those companies. So we simply tried to codify it. It's the foundation of our consulting practice. It's the, it's the criteria upon which we evaluate brands to honor the Gathering it's the, it's the research that has gone into our book. I mean, there's no, there's no crazy, you know, a silver bullet in there. And I think most people would say would give lip service to, yeah, I want to do that. But the reality as they don't, they don't actually have the courage to stray from the historical precedents that kind of got them to whatever level of success and taking the risks.

1 (7m 13s):
So can you share what those are? Of course, if there's always the there's, I'll give you a three of the AME that we can do as a whole podcast. All I've kinda like to talk to you about the, the newest, the most popular or the most of the newest, the most important. Yeah. A and the, I think the most controversial. So the, the most important deals with remarkability and really getting marketing back into a, the conversation about products and services and customer experience. Unfortunately, within most organizations, marketing has very little input on product service or customer experience.

1 (7m 53s):
Somebody else's can concocting those. And then they're going to their marketing department and asking them to promote it, communicated storytelling discounted or whatever it might be. But, you know, going all the way back to Philip Kotler's classic four PS of marketing marketing used to be about product, price, place, and promotion. And now it's just a promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, and product, be faulted to other departments, accounting, operations, research, and development, or whatever it might be. So we, we try to get the organization to appreciate, and to elevate the role of marketing within more important things than just the superficial words and pictures that they put on packages or in advertising.

1 (8m 37s):
And we used the word remarkable. That's a very intentional word 'cause it doesn't mean exceptional. The synonym to remarkability is not exceptional. It is noteworthy or a buzzword, or what would people remark about and what are the attributes of co-brands as they, they reaped benefits of a word

2 (8m 56s):
Of mouth, an advocacy, if a C-suite can not agree on the single most remarkable thing about their PR their, their company, and rarely do they ever than how are you going to ever get the marketplace to associate that, you know, you're a brand at that level of remarkability. So it has to start with the upper management and then it has to go to the rank and file and the frontline employees and the customer service agents and all those people. And then you have to take it out of the marketplace. And it's just the opposite of how most advertising is done today is they say, you just tell us what you want us to say, we'll make it funny or emotional or clever, and we'll shout it out to the masses. And you don't even know how to care if it's as awesome

0 (9m 38s):
On the opposite, it could affect you because if the advertising a marketing, everything is so out there, but then the actual product, isn't it remarkable. It could actually backfire

2 (9m 46s):
The fastest way to go bankrupt is to do superior advertising on an inferior product. Exactly. You know, and I think Groupon is the poster child of that as a group on introduced everybody to try everything once a dry, cleaner, a restaurant and a card, and nobody ever went back. And it's why a lot of those companies went out of business. And that's why it grew bonds a, a F you know, a shadow of its former self 'cause. It was a flawed premise. So that was one. Can you share, so then the M so that's the, I would say the most important. Yeah. So the newest is this idea of co-creation. So it really enabled in the past decade via social media and mobile devices, marketing has shifted.

2 (10m 31s):
So from 1950, to say, 2010, the single most important thing a marketer could do is talk well, you know, a, a clever ad, a radio script of a TV commercial, I I'd say around 2010, the paradigm shifted to now the most important thing a marketer can do is listen and respond. And so the idea of listening and not just through, you know, comment cards dropped into the box of the front of the store, but whether it's a passive or active listening on social media co-creation groups, you know, I look at somebody like a Lego Lego fired their research and development department created a community of Lego master builders.

2 (11m 13s):
It's now 10,000 people strong and get all of their new product development ideas from customers. On many, a times, none of them are even compensated. They are doing it as a hobby. And so I think that marketers have got to learn how to create better listening skills. And then how are they more quickly react to what they hear? And you see, you know, there's, there's modest examples of the Tim Horton's abscess to pick which donut we want Gatorade as CIS to vote for what flavor we want EA sports SS to vote for which player do they want on the cover of the Madden video games. And those are not fat, but their, their, their, their, the superficial layer. This is an onion that deeper you peel.

2 (11m 55s):
The more you can start to bring the voice of the customer into the boardroom. And we subscribed to the idea that a customer engagement metrics are actually even better than sales or financial metrics because sales metrics are always historical. The proper customer engagement metrics can be both predictive and prescriptive of what you need to do. And the next six months is not, how well did you do in the last six months? Just stay relentlessly relevant. So we're huge fans of co-creation and we don't think most organizations are doing it well. There's four ways to make money, get more customers to buy more product more often at higher margin. One of those is effective at advertising.

2 (12m 35s):
Go get more customers or the other three, get existing customers to buy more product more often. It's all about retention and marketers have gotten distracted by putting most of their energy into the go get more customers bucket, as opposed to go spend more time nurturing, mutually beneficial relationships with your existing customers. And if done well enough, they'll go get more customers for you. And that's where you can lean into the power of word of mouth.

0 (13m 3s):
And that's your whole advocate versus advertising, right? And we'll talk about that. And your third one.

2 (13m 9s):
So the third one is kind of fun, cause it's the most controversial, but it's called picking a fight. Most brands create some lip service, mission, vision values thing about what they stand for. A, we think a far more interesting exercise is to articulate what you're fighting against. Who's your villain, what's the bad guy in your story. And the, the better you can articulate that villain, then you can start to rally other people to your cause. You also despise that villan politics in particular, we've just come off of the U S election have bastardized this principle. So they have taken the principle of picking a fight and it's turned into mudslinging and it's, they've created a villain who is their opponent.

2 (13m 53s):
That's not, that's not inappropriate. It's just executed poorly because it and Canadians hate it. Americans are more comfortable, this idea of the personal attacks, but you can think of more tactfully executed attacks would be, I'm a Mac European PC. I'm a Pepsi drinker. You're a Coke drinker. I'm a burger King. You're a, McDonald's, I'm a, a Popeye's chicken sandwich or a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. I'm a Mercedes, you're a BMW. I'm a Ford, you're a Chevy. So there are many, many brands that have been Deard themselves by not just talking about what they do, but by putting their opponent in an unfavorable light and by picking a fight against that.

2 (14m 36s):
And then there's other brands that don't, there are a villain is not an opponent is not a competitor. They're a villain is an injustice. So you get like swell water bottles. They are villain is plastic water bottles that are ruining the planet. Patagonia's villain is government and corporations that are destroying open, you know, nature and open places. You know, Tesla's villain is not general motors. Tesla's villain is the combustible engine, right? And, and so we've really like conversations that help brands to define what they are fighting against because now you have the one-two punch of you should like us and you should like us because we, we, we despise the thing that you do.

0 (15m 20s):
Do you think that you could do that without necessarily knocking down your opponent, but by talking about your positives and then just bringing up sort of the pain points or the negative aspects of what that other brand represents without cutting down.

2 (15m 34s):
If the principal is the most controversial, 'cause when done poorly your taken to court.

0 (15m 40s):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right.

2 (15m 42s):
And there's just a lot of people who are a few who are easily offended, there's way too many C-suites fight of any negative conversation. But like when, when Nike puts Colin Kaepernick in the ad and Nike is not attacking Reebok, Nike is attacking a social injustice around black lives matter, and they know 49% of their customers are going to get pissed and they don't care. And that's why Nike is that one of the greatest brands on the planet, because they understand the pros outweigh the cons. And so one of the exercises that we do with pick a fight is we'll talk to the C-suite about their tolerance for negative press their tolerance for a customer that is going to complain.

2 (16m 28s):
And if that gives them hives, we move on. It's like don't even attempt to, this is the darker arts of Cult Branding. It is not for the faint of heart. You can still achieve Cult status. You know, and when I think of Airbnb, one of my favorite Cult brands, their villain, or the stereotypes and discriminatory practices that prevent us from wanting to have a world where you can belong anywhere. So they go after they are very vocal around lb G TQ issues. They are very vocal. When you remember when Cuba got opened up, Airbnb was boots on the ground first and allowing Americans to go back to Cuba because that's the ethos of their business is the create a world where you can belong anywhere.

2 (17m 10s):
And we will fight against policies, laws, practices, prejudices that prevent people from doing that. And so there's a lot of people that particularly millennials that are very excited about interacting with companies that don't just exist to transact or to make a dollar, but they are trying to make a difference in the world. The, the, the, the more important a, or I should say that the more egregious sin I think is not Cult brands trying to become Cult like, and, you know, clumsily achieving their way to that status. It's brands that have opted out that shouldn't have there's there's way too many brands that have settled for a degree of mediocrity.

2 (17m 52s):
When I look at them oozing with potential, I think of them is like my teenage children. Like, I look at my kid's with so much potential, and it just kills me getting up there, you know, wasting their hours away on mindless activity and not striving for excellence. And, you know, I can't find, I didn't either as a 16 year old, so they're figuring things out, but I mean, it, it really almost breaks my heart when I go in to organizations that are oozing with Cult brand potential, but either out a fear or a lack of creativity, lack of courage, lack of imagination, they're just playing defense.

2 (18m 32s):
They're they're happy. Hey, we grew 6% last year. Like, who decided that that was the goal? Why didn't you double it last year? You know, like you, could've done so much more, but you settled. And so I, you know, I try and I'm very ineffective at it, but because I don't know exactly how to motivate some people need a good kick in the butt. Other people need a, you know, a social proof. Other people need to be coaxed and coddled along the way. And I don't know how to, you know, I, I'm kind of one way, I'm kind of a one, one tone, which is poking people to stay more, more a drill Sergeant and a good, I grew up in that Texas football mentality at the best way to get something out of your players is to, you know, and yell at them and, you know, kind of convince them that they can't.

2 (19m 20s):
So they find that internal fire to prove you wrong. And I've come to appreciate that only motivates a small percentage of the actual population, but, you know, my my message to most brands is you don't opt out until you have exhausted every possible. What if it gets the chance that if you could be more Cult light and not only is going to result in a better business performance, I was going to result in a better career. You're going to be happier, a Colt brand leaders and their cultures and their team members, because you're, you're going to work with a spring in your step, because you're not just trying to make your shareholders rich. You are literally trying to make the world a better place when you're trying to do something that hasn't been done before.

2 (20m 2s):
So it's more stimulating and it's more rewarding. So my message to your listeners, and to really everybody, I could get my head. It's a, hands-on, let's go on a journey together. Yeah. Either in C you know, almost like to think of it like a high school career, aptitude tasks, like let's, let's have a take you through the process to see, do you actually have, like, are you more, Cult worthy that you have given yourself credit for it? You're very passionate about it. You can tell, well, it's my life. It's a, you know, and, and, and, and unfortunately, like I said, it, sometimes it comes across the wrong way, but it is, it's my belief in the, the, the power of these tools.

2 (20m 42s):
This is kind of like, if I had discovered the ice cream for the first time, and I'm talking to you and you're like, no, I'm fine. My, you

0 (20m 48s):
Know, you gotta try, you understand how delicious is. I know.

2 (20m 54s):
I feel like I'm that way most the time. Yeah.

0 (20m 56s):
I, I totally get it. You know? So I read a quote that you said, when you said 80%, 82% of consumers are disappointed. My brands and 77% of brands could disappear and nobody would care. So tell me about that. Quote, why is that? That's a really interesting

2 (21m 13s):
Research done. One of them was by Havas and one was by foresters. It's just data that we found. We didn't do it. You're seeing some of that right now with Co. I mean, businesses are going out left and right. I can still find a restaurant. I can still go to a store and get a haircut. I could still go and buy it. Well,

0 (21m 32s):
If you don't get haircuts, <inaudible>,

2 (21m 38s):
You know, and I can still go get a good burger. So, I mean, you know, part of it is a first world nation, probably we just were over saturated with commoditized goods and services. But I think what they're, what it's really saying is two things. It's, it's consumers screaming be more important to me than you are, because you're just irrelevant. It doesn't mean that I'm not shopping you, but like, I don't go to London drug because I love London drug. I go to London drug cause it's on the street corner closest to my house. So Lennon drug might think that I'm a really loyal advocate. I'm not, I'm not referring people to London drug. I'm not, I'm not loyal to them. If I'm going home past a Walgreens, I'll hit that one instead.

2 (22m 21s):
So they have these false senses of security that somehow transactions equals advocacy in it, it doesn't, but it's also saying they, the being disappointed by brands, how much have you literally thought through all aspects of your customer experience? We have a client that one of us is they spend millions and millions of dollars on advertising to get more people into the door. And yet they had a two and a half minute IVR hold system. When you call them, it was mind numbing and obnoxious. And we kept saying, take $60,000 out of your multi-million dollar ad budget and get it to where I can talk to somebody in sec or, you know, are answering the phone.

2 (23m 4s):
And it would be still sit in a horrible waiting rooms. We still, you know, I worked with a Cadillac Fairview. I remember one of the things they did. And this was even before COVID is that you can go online to reserve your appointment with Santa it's. Something that Disney taught us years ago, the idea of a FastPass and, you know, the least enjoyable part is waiting with your three-year-old whose hyperactive, you know, for 45 minutes to get on Santa's lap. So somebody just thought let's be more thoughtful about what that experience is and to, you know, take some paid media money out of paid media and put it into customer experience. And I mean, there's literally hundreds of examples of this tiny things that marketers should be doing to improve the interaction with the brand that they're not doing, because they're using their money to promote sales and discounts.

2 (23m 53s):
Thinking that bribery is a better, a motivator than actually an enjoyable.

0 (23m 59s):
If you go online and you can't get a freaking live voice, do you have to press nine and three and then eight? And then, you know, I mean, it's in that. And then you hang up

2 (24m 6s):
Eight years ago, Amazon came out with one click to order, and this is how many websites can you go to with one click to order? It's like, how was the name of the innovation is not a secret. Amazon success is not a secret. And yet most businesses are not copying the way the Amazon has made it easy to order, easy to ship, easy to recommend to other products to return. It's like, guys, this is the playbook is right. They're in front of us. And yet you refuse to do it. And a lot of people will say, but we don't have enough money to do it. And I'll first say how much money are you giving away in margin by discounting the hell out of your product and how much money are you spending on mass media.

2 (24m 49s):
Those are two buckets of money that you can start to deplete to create a better experience for it.

0 (24m 54s):
How many customers do you think they are losing? Because people are on hold and they go screw this and they hang up and they go to the next one or they go on a website and I can tell you, I work with my suppliers. I'm on websites all day long. And I do everything with on websites. And if I go on a website and I'm looking for like a jacket or something and I go on it and the website is brutal and I can't find it, you know what, I go off of it. And I go to my competitor and I do that. And if there is this easy, I go with them. So if it's not easy, fun, get experienced. They've just lost potentially. Who knows how big of an owner, right? So this is also the last thing and that they're not getting it. So you talked about loyalty, loyalty programs, and you say, you know, you're not gonna get my loyalty by being the cheapest. What's your take on loyalty. And give me an example of a good loyalty scenario.

2 (25m 36s):
Well, I think it's really important to distinguish. There's a huge difference between the loyalty and loyalty programs. The most businesses say, okay, it's, you know, as a competitive differentiator or frankly, what we're seeing more and more nowadays is out of a competitive or category necessity. Everybody in my category has a loyalty program. So I guess I have to have one too. They are creating these programs. And they're assuming that my signing up for your program or my opting in for your email is translating into loyalty. And it's not, it was saying is if you're willing to allow me to buy stuff cheaper, I would rather spend less money than more money.

2 (26m 19s):
So I'll take you up on that offer. And on one end of the spectrum, you have the bed bath and beyond which ironically just went out of business within the republics or the old Navy's of the world, right? I would argue you are a fool to ever shop those stores without a coupon because they are sending five a week. We're doing a project with Chili's bar and grill, and Chili's was sending out, I think the of 300 offers per customer per year to come in and get a free appetizer or a free dessert or a free drink, a free margarita, whatever. Its just like, just please come, please, please see, you know, I'll basically pay you to come into my store.

2 (26m 60s):
That's not loyalty, right? That is just people that like to have it. It's the people that are like to have a deal. You know, I think of something like that. I think the greatest loyalty, both, I don't know, I'm torn between Starbucks and a. Amazon is the greatest loyalty programs. I mean, Amazon, you pay to join their loyalty program and you can do the math to say that membership was going to pay for itself after X number of shipments. Our butts is loyalty program is more about convenience. Just pay by tapping the phone and put it on the card. You know, they get some extra little perk. So I just, I'm not anti loyalty programs. I just think most businesses that have loyalty programs have really just created an incredibly expensive discount program that now it requires points, adjudication and administration and a new currency and all of the CRM activity.

2 (27m 49s):
When in reality that money would have been better, spent doing things like Tesla, Tesla doesn't have a loyalty program. Lexus doesn't have a loyalty program. They just have experiences that result and unbelievable off the chart. Not only repeat purchase, but advocate referrals and a so I think they have to just think differently about what a program is it's and the average consumer now is 29 plastic cards in their wallet or their purse. And they are disengaged with more than half of them, but yet it's created a false sense of hope or security that those brands that administered those cars now somehow think we've got 8 million members on our loyalty program. That doesn't mean you have 8 million loyal customers. It just means you have 8 million people.

2 (28m 30s):
They figured having a deal is better than no deal.

0 (28m 33s):
Yeah. Can you think of a Cult brand that has that loyal following using the cop sort of I'm doing quotations? No one can see me

2 (28m 40s):
And many of them do, but I mean that the crown jewel is a Harley Davidson owners group, a hog program. That's one of the oldest, it, it does not offer points or a currency. Ah, the data is off the charts in terms of the hog members spending more on the brand. But it was because it was because Harley realized that the best way to get Chris Kneeland to buy a motorcycle. Do you have like, no, I don't. I actually, what we've worked with Harley for many years and they, they offered me an amazing deal on one of my wife's that I had to choose the biker.

0 (29m 18s):
And you kind of a pause for a second three days later on. Yeah.

2 (29m 25s):
So it wasn't a bit Harley, you know, it's get Chris his friends to ride bikes, bike riding in particular is a social activity. That's why, you know, there's biker gangs. It was just actually started watching sons of anarchy the other day. It's like, there's a culture of it. And you see it with lots of things. You see it with yoga, you see it with high-end performance cars, you'll see it with the bike riding and see it with paintball. You see it with fishing, you know, mountain climbing, all of these groups. These are not solitary things. You do them with other people. So the best brands, you know, and one of my other favorite groups is ready. You know, yet is selling a $400 cooler.

2 (30m 6s):
There are competitors are selling a $49 cooler, a coalmine at Walmart, right? So it's not even in the same league, but yet he is about facilitating an outdoor lifestyle. Coleman is about keeping cold beverages cold. And so, you know, it Yeti, Atrax a community of people and their ability on Nike did the same thing with their running community, right? Its like, if you're going to run marathons, one of the things you love to do is track your time with other people and running can be lonely running. It can be dangerous if you were a bunch of women. So you go and you know, there's a group in a park and Saturday morning or whatever it might be. So Cult brands think about how do you foster that community of users and then allow them not only listen from a co-creator standpoint, but then there's the brand extensions into that groove.

2 (30m 52s):
You know, the reason why Apple bought beats by Dre was because Apple had something started with, I mean, you've got to remember the iPod kicked off the Apple revolution, not the iPhone. So they were already into the new iTunes music and the co-creation of listening and allowing people to put a playlist together. Can you give me a dog?

0 (31m 13s):
And it's okay if

2 (31m 16s):
It's an obnoxious, a little, a terrier pug mix, I don't know about you, but we have a stupid number of packages that get delivered to the house nowadays. It's like a dog. The dog is a, you know, is guarding us from those evil, Amazon do it.

0 (31m 33s):
Well, this is the world we live in today. So it's okay. So anyway, continue on, sorry. You were saying about loyalty.

2 (31m 40s):
It should be measured in it strengthens the community and the end, the benefits of that community in terms of their ability to repurchase or refer, not in terms of number of likes, number of email addresses, or even, you know that the number of transactions, because it's not about how much you transact. It's more about, it's more about share of wallet, right? Like, so McDonald's might think I'm super loyal because they get three visits from me a month. What they don't know is it with three teenage boys in the house, I'm going to a burger joint three times a week. So they are not, I'm not very loyal to McDonald's I there's other fast food places that are getting my business.

2 (32m 20s):
They need to think more about the total spin in the category. Not just my transactions versus a household that only goes twice.

0 (32m 27s):
Pride has a big part in it too, right? I mean, you talk about Yeti. I sell on a Yeti. Most people come to me and say specifically they want to co-brand their logo with a Yeti mugs. And because there's that sense of pride people collect the Yeti stuff to that. They're part of that culture of that tribe.

2 (32m 41s):
There are a social species. We thrive on human connection. So we start seeking other places to get that fixed for us. So it's not about going to church on Sunday. Maybe it's about tailgating at the football game on Sunday so that I can associate with like-minded people as we are, we are tribe seekers and the clothes we wear, the jewelry we wear, the cars we drive the venues that we frequent become shortcuts to say, well, we have this in common. Maybe we would have that in common. Awesome. So by walking around with a swell water bottle, which is 50% more expensive than the one that I'm able to say, you haven't in a certain aesthetic for design, you have a certain philanthropy about making the world a better place.

2 (33m 27s):
You get to a certain health consciousness about your water intake. So I can make these assumptions about you. It may or may not be accurate, but they are better than everybody just walking around and bland lists, label This things where I wouldn't know, are we going to maybe hit it off? When you say Carhartt is a culprit? Absolutely. We honored Carhartt our second year of the Gathering.

0 (33m 46s):
So here's the thing with Carhartt. I have a lot of corporate clients and guy's in the field that like the Carhartt Jack, the rugged, they use them in the work where, and everything. And all of the sudden, my 14 year old son wants a Carhartt tube because in that they're trendy and cool and everything else. And there is a Cult brand in my mind, I think they are. And how do you know, how did it go from these older guys out in the field work, get to know that these young, I guess generation Z, I don't know when you're 14, what's your take on that?

2 (34m 14s):
Well, it it's wonderful. Two things are wonderful about that. So that is the benefit of standing for some time is that people who want to associate and we see the same thing with a North base. We've seen the same thing with vans and converse shoes and Levi's jackets. I mean, Levi's was a product of the first of all, Levi's has been around it also for over a hundred years with the gold rush. And they were almost uniform for the military in the world Wars, but really kind of the fifties and sixties was the heyday of Levi's as rebel culture. W when I put on my Levi's today, I just think of him as they see my denim jeans. Like I don't think of myself as a rebel, a wearing Levi's, but the way that, that was the ethos of that brand and they, they pride themselves in Levi's headquarters.

2 (34m 55s):
They have a great picture of the Berlin wall coming down. And a lot of the Germans on the wall with sledgehammers were in Levi's because that was their way of embracing, not just America, but just democracy and freedoms and liberties and things like that. So Carhartt did a brilliant thing in the sense of being super committed to Who. They stand for their blue-collar American work or the guy that has the grease under his fingernails or dirt under his fingernails and being unapologetic about the lack of sex appeal. And then when this urban culture came around and embraced it, they actually spun off a division. It just caters to that group now because they realized it. We don't know enough about that audience.

2 (35m 37s):
We're not listening well to what they want. And so rather than just be grateful that somebody else started buying their stuff, they said, let's lean into that and start servicing this new community with some of our tips and tricks and tools and what not that we have with in the marketing department.

0 (35m 53s):
Well, I mean, I just love talking about the stuff we can do it all day. So Chris just, before we go, can you quickly tell us about <inaudible> and the Gathering to things that you sort of co-founded tell us about the gathering, first of all.

2 (36m 6s):
So the Gathering is a society we're really trying not to call it an event. 'cause it is an event that's a three-day event that happens in bath every day. We don't want to just be in this wonderful three days in this magical place. We wanted it to be a group, a community, if you will, we call it the society of COVID brand leaders. And if you come to the Gathering, you're sort of initiated into that society, but we have a social content. We have podcasts, we have micro events, we have a one-on-one coaching and training. So if there's a whole ecosystem kind of around the Gathering, but simply the premise is don't take Chris's word for it. You hear firsthand from the most cult-like brand leaders on the planet, as they are candidly and transparently, tell the tales of how they built the most remarkable iconic businesses that we adore.

2 (36m 56s):
It will be happening next April, knock on wood, COVID permitting, ah, the loss would be a virtual event that motivates. So anybody can go to Cult Gathering dot com. Get more information about that. It's in its ninth year.

0 (37m 9s):
I love that because you know what, honestly, that was the motivation for me doing this podcast to get all the brilliant minds like yourself, to come together and share what you're sharing. I totally love that idea.

2 (37m 19s):
It's been, I mean, it's my favorite three days of the year and what it started as vs. What it has become has been a pleasant surprise, and a Testament to a great team members that have kind of taken it on and do the Gathering is a, it's a manifestation of co-creation. The sponsors has been attendees. It's a big brands that have chosen to participate all volunteering their time and effort to be a part of it, to kind of make it what it's become

0 (37m 43s):
And then coming out. Is that how you

2 (37m 45s):
Pronounce it? Nope. It's a communal it's not like it it's like a commune thing with comments. We have a coach.

0 (37m 53s):
Why is it called? And one's a commune. Okay. That's it.

2 (37m 55s):
And then, you know, is simply a it's the talent management platform. We, we are firm believers that the single biggest macro socioeconomic trend over the next decade will be the rise of the entrepreneur and the demise of the traditional, not only the traditional employee, but particularly within the advertising and marketing space, the devise of a traditional holding company. So it used to be, you know, for over 50 years, kind of a big businesses that wanted to get good work done had to go to big Madison Avenue agencies and to have that accomplished. And the reality is now everything's been democratized the best talent in the world.

2 (38m 35s):
It doesn't want to work for an agency or don't want to live in New York. He doesn't even want to work for a brand full-time they kind of are hired guns. And so can, you know, is, is simply a, a, a platform, but allows people that are looking for amazing and temporary creatives, digital talent can find the practitioners of the best talent so that, you know, those types of platforms have been around for a long time. And like the it space, you pull that off shore and you work to the Philippines or India or whatever it is. It's more novel to do it for your copywriting or your video or your brand strategy or your television commercials. So we're really excited about that because he knows about three years old COVID has been a huge benefit for Camino a downsize.

2 (39m 17s):
So they still need to get the work done, but they fired their people. And a lot of agencies have gone out of business. And so there's just more talent city on the sidelines than ever before. And there's more open-mindedness of remote workers, non-traditional employment contracts, et cetera. So we're, we're thrilled to the community as well.

0 (39m 33s):
And so that's growing. And so do you bring the customers and the talent together on this platform? What's your role in that?

2 (39m 41s):
And we like to say if tender and LinkdIn had a baby, you know, so LinkedIn is the professional sense of it in Tinder is the ease of that looks good. It looks good. It doesn't look good. Let's find each other with hook up and have a date.

0 (39m 55s):
And do you vet out if anybody's

2 (39m 58s):
Able to create a profile and to go on there, once you start making claims, we'll get you out so that you are claiming you're a ten-year designer that worked on these brands will want to see that portfolio, those case studies get some professional references, but I mean, things like art designer or a copywriter, we kind of that the accuracy of the profile, but I'm not here to say you were a shitty, wow, that's a great,

0 (40m 22s):
And like you said, I mean with COVID right now, I'm sure the must be a great opportunity and people can work from home and do it all remotely. So that's awesome. Well, thank you so much. I really enjoyed talking to you and Chris, if someone wants to learn more about you and about what you're doing and how that you can help them, what is the best way to, for them to get ahold of you?

2 (40m 38s):
You know, you can follow up on my daily Rantz on my LinkedIn, or you can just reach out to me at the Cult is our website, all of the eight Cult brand principles articulated there. And you can do a score card to see how well you think that you're doing, and then you can reach out to us for a consultation.

0 (40m 56s):
Awesome. Well, that was great. Well, thank you again and good luck with everything and with your kids at home, how are your kids doing?

2 (41m 2s):
And I really empathize with this generation that you know, that it's a struggle. I think that they are having to develop new routines and find ways to be self-motivated and certainly social connection.

0 (41m 12s):
Well, thank you again. And hopefully next time I see you will be in person.

2 (41m 16s):
Thank you so much. Bye

3 (41m 18s):

0 (41m 24s):
And there you have it. Thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed the conversation and maybe even learn a few things to help you with your branding. And most of all, I hope you had some fun. This podcast is work in progress. So please make sure to rate and review what you think, and please subscribe to Branding Matters on whatever platform you listened to. And if you want to learn more about the Branding Badass that's me, you can find me on social media, whether it be Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn under you guessed it. Branding Badass thanks again. And until next time here's to all you bet us is out there.