The Cult Brand Index: Rankings Part 2

In Part 2 of the Rankings; we’re going to cover off the top brands in Personal Care, Retail, Spirits, Tech, and Travel. Let’s hop to it.

Last week, we were privileged to present the The Cult Brand Index to the TMRE conference in Orlando. The Cult Brand Index is a scoring rubric upon which any brand can be assessed on its proficiency in the elements that drive cult fanaticism, in other words, deep and lasting customer loyalty. Using this Index, we ranked 106 brands across 10 industries, to determine which brands have built the best cult followings in America.

In our last blog post, Part 1 of the Rankings, we went over the results of the top 3 brands in Auto, Beer, Clothing & Apparel, Financial Services, and Food & Beverage.

This is Part 2 of the Rankings; we’re going to cover off the top brands in Personal Care, Retail, Spirits, Tech, and Travel.

Personal Care

1 / Tom’s of Maine
2 / Burt’s Bees
3 / Johnson & Johnson

Among personal care brands, Tom’s of Maine, Burt’s Bees, and Johnson & Johnson succeed because they have a strong sense of self. Tom’s and Burt’s Bees have positioned themselves as part of an all-natural and earth friendly way-of-life. They are recognized as companies with social missions that are not just out to make a profit. Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, has become a household name by delivering consistent quality and value.


1 / Tito’s Vodka
2 / Jack Daniels
3 / Johnnie Walker

We swear we didn’t doctor the results. The client that commissioned the original research really did end up 1st in their category. Tito’s, Jack, and Johnnie all do well on product reception, but Tito’s separates itself from the pack in two ways: firstly, value – it’s perceived as an excellent product in its price range. Secondly, Tito’s has an uncanny ability to turn its customers into evangelists for the brand. Jack, and its Scottish fellow Jonnie, both excel at understanding their target consumers, and interact with them in ways that are meaningful (Exhibit A and Exhibit B).


1 / Apple
2 / GoPro
3 / Google

The tech industry did very well, overall – it’s the best performing category, tied with auto. Apple, at #4 overall, is arguably the best example of a mainstream cult brand. There’s a lot to say about the Cult of Mac, from their meticulously designed products to their effective branding, but one thing Apple does exceptionally well is listening to its core customers and incorporating their feedback into product enhancements. GoPro has done a fantastic job at turning a product into lifestyle and aligning itself with like-minded organizations and individuals, and user generated videos serve as free advertisements for the company. Google performs well on product, listening and interacting with its users, as well as staying true to its values.


1 / Uber
2 / AirBNB
3 / Virgin America

Travel game-changers Uber, AirBNB, and Virgin America reign atop travel industry cult brand rankings. These brands have shaken up the taxi, lodging, and airline industries by launching innovative ways of travelling. Uber makes it easy to quickly call a taxi, AirBNB to rent and find lodging, and Virgin America to book a cheap long-haul flight. These brands’ unique value propositions have incited noticeable disruptions in traveler behavior, winning them loyal fans along the way.

And so, our journey into cult has reached a pit stop. We’ve learned a lot about cult brands – how they’re defined, how they’re carefully crafted, why they’re so successful, and what brands of all shapes and sizes can learn from this to foster customer loyalty. This won’t be our last foray into cult, however. So stay tuned.

In the interim, reach out to us here if you have any questions about what we’ve learned, how your brand ranked, or what you can do to create a cult following – we’d be happy to chat.