“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
~ Seth Godin
It’s part of our DNA. People need to belong. We are always finding ways to belong. We seek out other people who are like us. When we find others like us, we are more comfortable and can quickly build trust. We join the “Tribe”.
Tribes form around concepts, passions, and pains. Think iPhone owners, marathon runners, and Brest Cancer survivor groups.
Some Tribes are big – consider Apple enthusiasts or Barack Obama’s grass root supporters, while others are very small or exclusive like a little league baseball team or a military covert ops unit. The common element of a Tribe is usually very narrow in focus: a ski club for example only deals with skiing and a Mustang car club is open only to Mustang car owners.
Think about the Tribes to which you belong. If you are an Android owner, when you see another person using her “Droid” don’t you feel a sense of connection or validation? Even if you have never met her?
People have craved connections since the beginning of time. In early times, it was more for survival and companionship. Technology has made finding your Tribes faster and easier than ever before because Tribes are no longer geographically bound. You can find your fellow Tribe members from around the world to discuss and resolve your issues and challenges pursue your passions, and discover countless others who share your goals and interests.
Okay, so how does this relate to your business? Your customers are part of a Tribe as well. Not just because they are your customers. No, because they all had a problem or pain and found the solution to it in your product or service. The problem or pain brought them together. How well you solution resolved it directly influences how passionately loyal this Tribe is to you and your organization. When you removed the pain, you improved their life and they will naturally tell others in the Tribes they belong to, thus creating a word-of-mouth marketing campaign of recommendations. Think back to the last great film or performance you saw. Maybe it was on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, did you talk about it with your friends or co-workers? What about that cool new app you just loaded onto your smart phone? Did you download it because you heard about from you coworker or read about it on that tech blog you follow? Did you tell someone else in the Tribe about it?
Just Like a Virus
The free marketing created by “infected” Tribe members travel fast. Very fast. This type of marketing is either good or bad for you and your organization, based on the experience you provided her. The deeper the emotional connection she experienced, the further she will push the message of how you helped (or hurt) her within the Tribe. And, depending on her position within the Tribe, this could create a Tipping Point for your organization.
Tribes Have Leaders
As with most every group, there is a hierarchy. The people who find a way to personally engage and provide the most to the group receive the most respect and typically carry the most influence with other tribal members. These people invest in the Tribe and develop a personal relationship with the Tribal membership. Because of this relationship, the members inherently trust their Tribal leaders.
While the structure may not be formal or obvious, it is there. Smart business leaders understand the importance of investing time and energy to build their reputation within the Tribe by contributing valuable content and solutions to the group. By giving and strengthening the relationships within the Tribe, they build respect and become one of the Tribal experts and key influencers. Then, they can ask the Tribe for input on how to improve or what else the Tribe needs. Allowing the Tribe to guide and mold the product and service offerings of the organization provides opportunities to not only provide a “can’t miss” solution, it also deepens the relationship with the Tribe itself.
So what does this mean to you? Everything!
Well, maybe that is an exaggeration. Tribes form with or without your participation or acknowledgement and just like gravity, are there even if you accept it. Tribes can be a wealth of knowledge for you and your organization. Connection with and cultivating the Tribe or Tribes that you serve can be the spark that pushes you to the next level. Engaging with the Tribe, your Tribe can make all the difference in the world.
Maybe saying that Tribes should mean everything to you is not such an exaggeration after all.
If you are looking for your Tribe or want to position yourself as the expert within your Tribe, contact us and we will tailor a program to help you and your organization meet your specific needs.