Know Your Tribe
I have to admit, it was a pretty cool idea for a birthday present for my wife Michelle.
She was turning thirty, and I had heard somewhere that Duran Duran was on tour. When Michelle was a teenager, she had been a huge Duran Duran fan, in the way that only a teenage girl can be. Posters on her bedroom wall, all of their music, fan club memberships, the whole deal.
So I got four tickets for Michelle, me, and our friends Brad and Alison to see Duran Duran live on what had been their first tour through North America in quite some time.
The night of the concert came. And while Simon, the Taylors, and the other guy in the band were no longer in their youth, Duran Duran started strong. With hits from Rio to Hungry Like the Wolf, everyone was singing along, and having a great time.
But after a while, the concert started to get boring (for Brad and me, anyhow). So being the marketing geeks that we are, we started looking around the arena.
The Air Canada Centre in Toronto is built for basketball and hockey, and normally accommodates about 17,000 people. On the night of the Duran Duran concert, it was packed. As Brad and I surveyed the audience, we observed something fascinating about the people in the crowd: they were nearly identical.
If we lived in a dictatorship, and the dictator had said, “Send for the thirty-something, Caucasian, quasi-suburban, college and university-educated women who have gained a few pounds since their teenage years, from across the land!” they could not have done as effective a job as simply hosting a Duran Duran concert.
This was a tribe.
And the tribe had assembled en masse.
A tribe isn’t just similar physically or demographically, they also share attitudes. Values. A common world view. And similarities in how they want to feel about themselves, and how they want others to feel about them.
Rarely does a tribe as homogenous as the Duran Duran fanbase gather. But when it does, the Gathering in and of itself proves insightful.
Capturing that insight requires looking beyond the obvious. Going deeper than simply acknowledging the tribe’s likely purchase patterns given its age and stage of life.
Which brings us to the first question of what we call Magnetism: What are your tribe’s values and aspirational personal identity?
The answers to this question helps reveal two things.
First, values link to the emotional levers related to your tribe. Once you understand a tribe’s values, you can show the tribe that you share their values. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty wasn’t about moisturizing. It was about the shared value that beauty on the inside mattered more than looking like a 15 year-old supermodel.
And second, a genuine understanding of your tribe’s aspirational personal identity is an asset. It answers the question: “How do members of your tribe ideally want to imagine themselves, and how do they want others to perceive them?”
That knowledge serves as a guide in shaping your organization’s message, actions, and strategy.
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