Archive | June, 2011

Tribe Marketing

16 Jun

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I think I was meant to share this with you because on the same day that I found and watched Seth Godin’s video* on the marketing concept of tribes, I read an op-ed in a local publication by David Taylor, president of Taylor Brand Group, referring to the exact same topic. Coincidence?

Remember my concept of”fangelism“? The idea is that existing volunteers, constituents and customers – who already have a passion for the cause/product, etc – engage people, initiate conversation and, ultimately, ignite excitement, promote action and stimulate change. Well, I would equate this to the the tribe movement. 

Identifying with a brand/movement/product gives people a sense of purpose. “…[B]rand power boils down to self-esteem. In other words, how a brand makes us feel about ourselves determines its strength and success,” says Taylor.1 Building your brand around something innovative, something that changes the way we think, is the basis of assembling fangelists. According to Godin, tribes “lead and connect people and ideas”.Essentially, brand loyalty equals tribal behavior, and “aligns large numbers of people”.Godin uses the example of pirates. Think about it: They have their long-standing traditions (enthusiastic marauding), identifying uniforms (i.e. eye patches and peg legs!) and memorabilia (flags, anything with a skull and crossbones, etc). 

Generating a tribe movement happens over time and through lots of nurturing. It takes patience and skill. But the true beauty is that, if you’re well branded, it’s not forced; people naturally want to be part of a group and identify with a cause. So how do you do it exactly? Godin offers 3 contrasting views in his video:

  • Factory Cycle – The factory cycle is the idea that you can “change the whole world if you had an efficient factory that can churn out change.”
  • TV Cycle – The TV cycle refers to taking an idea and pushing it upon the audience and doing it in large volumes; spamming the masses with information. “…If you could buy enough ads, you could win.” It’s mass marketing at its core that “requires average ideas and plenty of ads.” 
  • Leadership Cycle – “The way we make change is not by using money or power to lever a system, but by leading.” The leadership model is much more efficient and, ultimately, more effective. 

I love how Godin refers to fangelists as heretics. Here’s why that’s so effective: heretics look at the status quo and stand up to make change. They’re not rule followers. If you want to start a movement, you need to be asking and answering these questions:

  • Who are you upsetting?
  • Who are you connecting?
  • Who are you leading?

Obviously, being a leader is a key component to this. So what follows are some characteristics that make a good leader.

  • Challenge the status quo
  • Build a culture
  • Have curiosity
  • Connect people to each other
  • Commitment
Other Qualities:
  • Inspirational
  • Forward-looking visionary
  • Creative
  • Assertive

And so I ask, What is your brand doing? I’ll leave you with this quote from Guy Kawasaki. He is speaking about the relevance of social media, which has initiated countless movements. 

“Now, nobodies are the new somebodies—if enough nobodies like your product, then the somebodies, too, have to pay attention to you.
So now the A-listers don’t make a product, they report on made products. The key is to get a lot of people to try your product because you don’t
know who will make your product tip.”

* You can find Seth Godin’s video on my Podcasts page.

1 – “Brands, tribes, cliques and cults. How belonging to the group makes a difference”

2 – Godin’s Tribe video  ~ 8:00 minutes

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