People have an intoxicating desire to believe in something greater than themselves. They also have a herd mentality and look for a group of “like-minded” individuals to conform with. Some example’s of the most prominent cults in history are the KKK and The People’s Temple of The Disciples of Christ led by Jim Jones. Wether you support these movements or not, in all cults, religion included there is only one common denominator; a large amount of influence. There is no denying the trance like power of those who are involved in a cult or an organization with cult-like behavior. While many cults are formed around a religious ideology I believe that in modern times, largely due to social media and the internet, there are now more “cults” than ever before. We see them everywhere; feminists, vegans, crossfitters, republicans, democrats, etc. Many in these herd mentality find a sense of pride by being unified in a group of people who have the same ideology as themselves and begin to identify and find a sense of self worth with them. Even in the business and media field certain influencers like Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk and Tai Lopez have created massive followings for themselves with followers who will sip the Kool aid for them and look up to them as God’s. So, how do we create a cult like following (and in my opinion, the greatest way to have a massive amount of influence).
- Keep it vague and keep it simple: Give your followers the promise of something great and transformative but do not go too deep into details as to keep them curious and chasing whatever special “knowledge” or “skills” you may possess. I think Tai Lopez did a great job at this when he got his start with his YouTube Ads. Before your daily cat video you saw an ad from a guy you have never seen before standing in his garage with a Lambo and huge shelf of books talking about getting rich and acquiring material possessions like exotic cars by doing something so simple: reading books. This was the perfect hook and bait for the millions of people who saw these ads and offered a hell of a promise to them: I got rich by reading books and here’s how you can too (for the small price of $999.95). The ambiguousness of Tai and the promise of the life many believe they deserve enticed hundreds of thousands to begin talking about him buying his programs and ACTUALLY making him rich and famous.
- Emphasize the visual and sensual over the intelligent: There are two dangers when you begin to draw in attention: boredom and skepticism. These are both deadly to your level of influence if not dealt with quickly and correctly. Surround yourself with an extravagant aura or inflated sense of lifestyle. Allow your followers to pick up on visual cues so subconsciously they believe that by following you, soon they will have everything you have as well as what they desire. As humans we are wired to believe what we see, not what we hear. By loading your audiences brains with visual splendor you are constantly sending them subconscious signals of success, wealth, health or whatever agenda you are trying to promote.
- Structure your group like an organized religion or large corporation would: Create rituals for your followers, organize them into a hierarchy, ask them for sacrifices. Talk and act like a higher power. We see this a lot right now with the fitness industry and its dominance in the social media platforms. One company that is a great example would be Herbalife or Shredz. They both contain a huge core following and have a strong base of consumers who would die by their products. In each organization their is a hierarchy of pseudo-celebrities who push their shitty products but since they look good thousands of people follow their every action and word and even though they aren’t getting the same results they continue to follow their misleading and for the most part completely inaccurate advice. They are living the dream. They have the nice physiques, the nice cars, material possessions and seem like they are surrounded by fulfilling work and happy relationships. Most people are willing to do or spend whatever amount they need in order to attain the smokescreen they perceive as reality for many of these influencers.
- Disguise Your Source of Income: Never seem hungry for money or the power it brings. By surrounding yourself with luxury you become living proof of the soundness of your belief system. Never reveal that your wealth actually comes from your followers pockets. This is another one we can perfectly correlate with Tai Lopez. Some random guy no one has ever heard of who used to live in a trailer has a mansion in Beverly Hills and drives a Lambo but no one knows how he did it. He claims it is from reading a book a day and that he is more proud of the knowledge he attained through books than his material possessions. (Cue: knowledge= money, power and fame). Next here come’s the solution. Buy my course the 67 steps to work your way to health, wealth, love and happiness. (Trigger: plays on basic human needs and says if you learn as much as he did you can have a lambo too). Then destiny is sealed. Subconsciously you believe the more you learn the more you are going to earn and you sign up for his program making him rich off of his programs.
- Set Up an Us-Versus-Them Dynamic: make your followers believe they are a part of an exclusive club, unified by a bond of common goals. Manufacture the idea of an enemy who surely opposes of you. A good example of this is pretty much every single sports team in the world. As human’s we love to have a “tribe” to identify with and it shows when it comes to sports. In every city there are die hard fans who will go to any depth for their team to win. Another example that is more of a genius marketing strategy and less cult-like: iPhone vs. Android. I have personally watched people get into full blown arguments and sever relationships over which platform is better. Though both have their pro’s and con’s and do the same things at the end of the day, people love to be a part of a tribe and if you attack it you are subconsciously attacking their ego as well.
Too many people try to romanticize the truth about change. They do not want to accept the reality or the responsibility that true change is a long, hard process. The truly best influencers achieve power by opening the possibility of a quick fix that the person consuming the material already wants to believe in anyways. By hinting at a mystical source of tremendous personal change and wrapping it in rose bright colors that seem easy to implement; a cult like following will form around you.