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How to Feed the Consumption Cult

I spotted an article the other day about all the great things marketing proffesionals can learn from cults, Although the content of the article itself seems rather benign and perhaps even helpful, I have to say my stomach was turned by the braisen aproach to a quite evil and self destructive social structure when trying to build community around products. See for yourself. Imagine if the word cult was replaced with a specific cult or other destructive group with a following.

In Building Communities, Marketers Can Learn From Cults

Not all members of cults are the victims of mind control. Few are socially inept or psychologically flawed. In fact, most cult members tend to be well educated and come from stable and loving family backgrounds. They tend to be "normal" like you or me or your neighbor. I wanted to find out why and how people can become so committed. And I wanted to apply the insight from the most intense form of belonging (cults, such as Krishna) to lesser and newer forms (brand cults, such as Apple, and online communities.)

That was six years ago, and those insights were published in a book: The Culting of Brands: turn your customers into true believers. Since then, brand communities have mushroomed. And so have the technologies that are enabling them. So now I think it's time for a review:

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Comments

In Building Communities, Marketers Can Learn From The Manson Family

It's too late. If you have had the displeasure of meeting an Apple or Toyota fanboy you'll find someone who has a slavish devotion to the product and an idolization of the god-like company that bestowed it upon mankind. Like any other religion, criticism is not allowed and any who dares to blaspheme the name of the product is in for the wrath of the fanboys. It is a bit scary.

RJK55, maybe I don't get out enough, but I have yet to meet a Mac user who comes close to fitting that wild stereotype. I think your beef is mainly with Jobs. We agree that he's basically nuts.

If anything, as Mac gradually enters the mainstream, I seem to be observing the expansion of a sort of anti-Apple religion. Guys like you will shit on literally anything related to the company just to dissociate yourself from it, regardless of merit. To accuse Apple of being nothing more than a shallow cult is ignoring a good chunk of legitimate industrial and software innovation over the last 30 years.

Visit the AppleInsider forums (or practically any other sizable Mac-centric site) and you'll see floods of nitpicks and complaints about Apple products and practices, made by Apple users -- e.g. locked systems, hardware limitations, pricing, etc, etc. I assure you plenty of people are holding royal feet to the fire. No wonder we expect a high standard in return.

You can pretend we're drones slurping whatever comes out of Cupertino, but I think you know that's disingenuous. I've worked IT on both Windows and Linux machines for more than 9 years and I still come home to a dock. I really wonder if you've ever sat down with OS X for more than a few minutes at Best Buy.

The Cult of the Anti-consumer?

Yay! Apple bashing!

Visit the AppleInsider forums (or practically any other sizable Mac-centric site) and you'll see floods of nitpicks and complaints about Apple products and practices, made by Apple users -- e.g. locked systems, hardware limitations, pricing, etc, etc.

So, what's been the progress of that, over the years?

I am an iPod user, but only because of the accessories!

I don't like how Apple hijacks my browser with quicktime, puts like 5 startup entries, trojan-horses Safari and other programs into Apple Update, etc. etc. And that's just in my Windows usage!

I think both of you are missing the point.

isn't norm an apple guy?

You can't mention Apple in a blog post (especially in the same sentence as the word "cult" and not expect us pro- and anti- cultists to battle it out in a SIWOTI ultimate fight!

Can I just be an Apple moderate, or will I be accused of being an accomodationist?

Actually, I got that wrong. If you say its OK for me to be an Apple moderate, it'll be you who is the accomodationist.

Did I mention? "Ahhhhhhhhhh!"

Did you all read the article? The whole idea is that marketers link thier product very closely with socializing so that both those for and against will take a clanish mentality for and possibly against their products.

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