Thou shalt worship false idols!
Many modern brands have become mini-religions or achieved cult status. Social media has allowed brands to offer themselves up to be worshipped.
Brands have followers, fan pages and every retweet effectively makes you a preacher for your brand of choice.The passing of the collection plate has been replaced by subscription fees, and baptism by loyalty schemes as brands encourage consumers to commit and to spread the gospel of their brand.
Brand values have become the new commandments, the foundations every brand scribes to define their faith. A recognisable brand mark adds value to what you offer, it allows you to stand out from the crowd, and it can build relationships with your customers. But it doesn’t stop there, consuming a brand has become an experience, a lifestyle choice, a way of saying this is what I am all about, I believe in this.
Consumers tend to align themselves with like-minded brands. It says:
“Hey, I believe in what you’re doing, let’s do it together”.
Apple has achieved this by constant innovation and projecting an über cool attitude towards design innovation and customer service. They believe they can change the world, their believers think they can change the world, some believe they already have. As a result their customers are loyal and freely share their love for the brand, they are Apple ‘disciples’ if you like. They wear the brand like a badge of honour, with sense of pride and belonging.
This trust and loyalty allows Apple to drive the brand into new areas applying the same Brand philosophies as they go. The consumers now automatically believe their products WILL be better and WILL be cooler.
This blind devotion is THE ultimate in brand loyalty, it is the promised land.
Like any religion, brands want people to have faith in what they have to offer. This faith leads consumers to have a life-long devotion to the quality of their brand. This leads to a sharing of beliefs and a growing following of devoted disciples.
The most successful brands try to be visible everywhere and to everyone. Many of the world’s most recognisable brands have achieved this. For example, the ‘Golden Arches’ of McDonald’s are arguably more widely recognised and prominent in modern society than many religious symbols.
Deities and Iconography.
Endorsements are big business, many icons of sport and entertainment align themselves with brands they believe in, or not. In fact, many of our modern ‘icons’ like Tiger Woods (fallen icon) and David Beckham have become global brands in their own right.
The Place of Worship.
You may have noticed that people still worship on the Sabbath day, just not in the same place anymore. The buildings still tend to be tall and instantly recognisable by the iconic signs and symbols. But, these temples are no longer made of grey stone and covered in crucifixes. They are the brightly coloured monolithic structures of B&Q and IKEA. These are now the weekend pilgrimage for many consumers.
Many technology brands perform what many would consider modern ‘miracles’.
When Sony launched the Walkman in 1979, people were able (for the first time) to carry music around in their hand. Many doubted it, but it changed the music industry and went on to become the biggest selling electronic consumer product in history. This made Sony a global super brand. Apple performed a similar miracle when the late Steve Jobs (God bless his soul) turned the muddied water that was portable music into the fine wine that is now iPod and iTunes.
A Sense of Community.
The unstoppable rise of social networks has seen brands like Facebook become the worlds fastest growing ‘religion’, it is the already the biggest and most diverse community on the planet, it transcends race, language and geography. It brings more people together more than any other faith. It is so high and mighty that even the biggest brands worship it, even to the extent where they display their faith proudly in the form of a LIKE button.
So if new ‘religions’ are merging, talking, sharing values and faiths, is the world heading towards one divine super religion called the internet?
To discover the secret to brand worship for your business, let Truth show you the way!
Founder / Creative Director – Truth