The sixth law of cult branding is:
The Visionary Leader
Great leaders are present in every industry and category, but it is often the founding entrepreneurs and visionaries that are the ones recognized for changing entire industries or categories. The most compelling brands have been driven to exceptional heights because of the efforts of their visionary leaders to brand the company and build a cult following.
One example of a Columbus-based company that built a cult following is Quantum Health. Its founder, Kara Trott, was a lawyer specializing in healthcare who saw firsthand the inefficiencies of the healthcare system. Kara realized that consumers did not know how to best navigate their healthcare journey, especially after suffering a serious healthcare incident.
When Trott founded Quantum Health 20 years ago, the founding principle was based on this need. The company’s mission is to help its “members” navigate their healthcare journey. Today, the Quantum Health “Healthcare Warriors” relentlessly serve over 1.5 million members. Kara had the vision to create an entirely new industry and has also created an amazing company culture, consistently listed in the Best Places to Work rankings. Kara’s leadership is so compelling that if she cannot attend a meeting, associates have created a life size cutout poster that they place in the room and ask “What would Kara do?”
Another Columbus, Ohio company, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, was founded in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer who currently serves as the brand’s Chief Creative Officer. She is nationally known as the main driver of the artisan ice cream movement. Her 2011 cookbook won a James Beard Award and was hailed “the homemade-ice cream-making-Bible” by the Wall Street Journal.
Jeni is possibly the most notable ice cream authority in the world. Her penchant for organic and fresh ingredients is legendary, and the company has expanded to include just under 50 scoop shops in 14 cities across the U.S.
When you talk about visionary leaders, internationally-recognized leaders like Steve Jobs come to mind for his ability to build a cult following for his brand, Apple. But, another current example of a true visionary that has changed the landscape of several industries is Elon Musk.
Musk has started and/or funded industry-changing companies across verticals such as Tesla, SpaceX, and X.com (the predecessor to PayPal). As of mid-2020, Tesla is worth $210 billion and is valued above all other automobile companies, as well as Coke, Disney, and Exxon Mobil. Musk is known for his relentless innovation, and this quote may embody his fearless attitude more than anything, “If things are not failing,” Musk says, “you are not innovating enough.”
From homegrown heroes like Kara Trott, to internationally-recognized Elon Musk, these leaders reveal valuable insights for you to emulate in order to maximize your brand’s impact.
- Solve a pain point for customers in a “hard to copy” way
- Strive for continuous innovation to keep elevating your products and services
- Embody your brand and create a focused vision for your team
Maximize your company’s impact with strategic leadership and thoughtful branding.