Are Cult Brands Recession-Proof?


With leading economists fairly confident that the recession will occur in the US during 2023, it seems prudent to discuss what brands can do to stay strong and vibrant during economic downturns. My work with Cult Brands goes back over twenty years now, and in that time, we’ve witnessed the following:

Brand Loyalty transcends economic circumstances. Organizations that stay loyal to their customer by delivering the best possible experience even when those customers aren’t necessarily in a position to buy are rewarded with customers who love them. When the funds are available to make a purchase from a favorite Cult Brand, it’s often seen as particularly meaningful or as part of a personal comeback.

During times of hardship, people need something to believe in. Right now, with trust in government and media at very low rates, the public is transferring its need to believe onto brands. The relationship between the individual and the brand can feel fairly equal, especially given the instant reach social media gives both fans and critics. Cult Brands thrive by meeting this need for trustworthy consistent performance. When people are uneasy about their finances, they’ll pay more for a brand they know won’t let them down. They will be less willing to take chances on lesser-known brands, even if those brands offer lower pricing. 

Cult Brands thrive by staying the course. Economic pressures can lead brands to consider cutting corners or cheapening the experience, but that’s not how Cult Brands do it. Instead, Cult Brands navigate recessions by doubling down on those aspects of their operation customers love the most. Focus on the best, most essential portions of the customer experience – this allows for cost control while maximizing customer retention. 

Cult Brands may not be entirely recession-proof, but they do a good job of weathering tough times. 

So what if you’re not a Cult Brand right now? It’s not too late to start shifting to the mindset and techniques that help strengthen the love and loyalty your customers have for you. We know a recession is coming, soft landing or not. Anticipating and planning a strategic response to this recession can result in a stronger and more resilient organization in the long run.

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About Author

BJ Bueno

BJ Bueno has built a reputation based on his insight and expertise into building brands. Bueno founded and operated his own successful advertising agency before becoming a partner in Nonbox, a national agency, and opening Nonbox Consulting in Orlando, Florida. Nonbox Consulting is consumer think tank that offers consumer insight strategies, leadership coaching, brand education and training, and creative development services. B.J. is the founder and managing partner of The Cult Branding Company, a boutique retail consulting and marketing strategy firm located in Orlando, Florida.

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