We may not hunt and forage together anymore, but we do rely on tribes to support us, share information with us, and join together to turn an idea (or a business) into a movement.
What exactly is a tribe? (And why are they important?)
The Oxford dictionary defines a tribe as “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
For the majority of us in today’s age, this translates to a group of people connected socially with shared values, interests, and needs.
The idea of tribes, especially when it comes to brands and marketing, was introduced to us by Seth Godin in his book with the same name. As Godin says, “Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.”
While we may no longer being living together on the savanna, the technological era in which we now exist has created an opportunity for leaders and businesses to leverage this all-powerful group of people to spread their message and do some of the heavy lifting for them.
But how many of you know that there is an untapped marketing resource at your fingertips? And all it takes is identifying and engaging a tribe of people who not only desire to buy what you have to sell or hire you to help them solve a problem; they want to communicate with others who will also hire you and buy what you have to sell.
This is the power of the tribe.
Tribes get behind something. They feel connected to a leader’s or business’s vision and values. They long to be a part of something they truly believe in.
As humans, we long for connection and to be a part of something. Today, most of this occurs online. While technology has impacted face-to-face connection, the ability to connect digitally creates quite an opportunity for leaders and businesses looking to connect with others and spread their brand and offerings.
What that means for you is that there is a ton of opportunity to tap into the human desire to be a part of something in a way that can reach millions of people all from the comfort of your desk.
Many businesses want to believe if they identify their target audience, let’s say as “young mothers who live in rural areas,” and target ads to those people, they’ve done enough. But marketing, like all things, is evolving. Tribal marketing goes beyond targeting and engages this tribe of women to start a conversation. A conversation that has them share with one another their passion for what it is you have to offer and get others feeling the same way.
This is the power of tribal marketing.
A few brands who do this exceptionally are TOMS, Apple, CrossFit, and even Soulcycle. These companies have not only created outstanding products and services that people need and want, they have created a slightly obsessive group of people who live and breathe what it is they stand for and offer.
So, how do you go about identifying this enthusiastic group of people just waiting for you to offer them exactly what they’ve been waiting for or solve a problem they haven’t yet been able to solve?
And how do you then get them to do what makes all tribes effective—engage with one another to help spread your products and services?
As you know, honing in on your ideal customers is essential. But you want to go beyond their age and occupation and “who’s going to buy.” You want to understand what makes them tick, what they desire, what they long for. You want to know who your loyalists are, who’s going to be a part of the conversation, who’s going to be a brand evangelist. You want to understand where they feel stuck. Be sure you know the problem you are solving and then find out who is looking for your unique solution.
Next, you need to create content that is tailored specifically for your tribe, positioning yourself as a thought leader so they start talking about you and your brand. You’ll want to be sure that you speak their language, while maintaining your own authenticity. If you are speaking to your tribe, this should be fairly easy, as you will share the same values and passions as they do.
Leading a tribe takes courage, authenticity, and vulnerability. If you want your tribe to share and talk amongst themselves and with others, you need to be willing to model what it’s like to have an authentic conversation. This will establish not only trust with your tribe, but also a deeper connection to you and your brand.
Now that you have identified your tribe and positioned yourself as someone they should listen to, it’s time to get them talking and sharing information with each other (and beyond).
Start to think about what motivates these groups. What are they talking about? How do they desire support? Where do they hang out? Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest? What form of technology do they prefer to use? Do they like to share a quick status update or engage in lengthier back-and-forth discussions?
TRIIB offers a solution to this problem with their gym membership management software. They make it easier for fitness communities to come together, creating excitement for the members and business for the owners. This is just one of many creative solutions.
So, who’s your tribe? Who is waiting for you to step up and deliver a product or service with a story that spreads?
There are many ways to identify and engage your tribe. If you need support identifying who your tribe is and how to best engage them, we’d love to help you out.