Before you create a brand or retail presence around your product or company, you should identify the tribe that you are hoping to engage. With that identified, you can more accurately communicate to them and work to authentically engage them.
A tribe is a group of people who are linked by a shared belief around a brand. Its members are organically and voluntarily formed through individual identification with a brand. You cannot create a tribe around your product, but with good branding, a tribe will form.
A tribe member is more than just a customer, they have a deeper affiliation to your brand that comes when you unlock something more special. They relate to characteristics that bind, such as a collective passion, vision, stage of life, or desire for change.
For marketers, the goal is to discover the shared characteristics that define the tribe, speak to the changes and challenges that its members are experiencing, and create folklore and stories that will strengthen the tribe and stoke its passion for the brand. In turn, your tribe members will help you socialize your messaging, evangelize your products, and amplify your brand.
Gone is the idea of mass marketing. Consumers now have more power and marketing must respect that power. Key factors that contribute to the formation of a strong tribe are:
- Perceived authenticity
fulfill the promise of the brand, no deceit
- Experiences through brand interaction
no spam, be remarkable
- A collective sense of belonging to the community
In short, live up to the promise that the brand communication makes and people will talk – building the tribe – creating a market for your product.
The marketing needs to be personal and relevant. The brand needs to be authentic and provoking. The product needs to live up to the promise.
So what does this look like?
When the way in which society was shopping and communicating started changing, you could see brand tribes beginning to pop up and marketers taking advantage of it. Think Pepsi vs. Coke or Ford vs. Chevy. These are serious tribe rivals of over 30 years and the advertising surrounding these brands have played off of those rivals. More recently there is Mac vs. Microsoft rival or the beliebers of Justin Bieber that are great examples of tribes.
Here is where I challenge you to start to identify what your tribe looks like.
How can you unlock its folklore, help its members connect, listen to its stories, and activate its passion for your brand? Answer these questions to start to identify the tribe you hope to create with your brand or product. This completed profile is just scratching the surface, but it will be helpful as you start to create communications, marketing material, and ultimately, your visual brand.
- What is your promise to your customer?
- Define your product’s personality in 3 words.
- How is your product different from the competition?
- What mood or emotion does your product evoke?
- Try to profile the person that uses your product. – age, sex, education, income, geography, style, values, stage of life, hobbies, interests, etc.
At it’s very essence, your logo should speak to this profile, your packaging should engage the person that lives this lifestyle and your product should provide that tribe with an authentic experience.
Check back next week when I talk about what your retail presence says about your product.