Posted by Franklin Mills,
Aug 15, 2011
Hello everyone, my name is Mehul and I am one of the strategists here at Total Media. I’ve been at the agency for a few months now, and having recently embarked on my IPA Excellence Diploma, I have decided to nominate myself to write the Insight blog.
As I started digesting the three page reading list sent to me by the IPA, I stumbled upon a video seminar by Seth Godin that resonated. Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur who has written many books (such as Linchpin and Poke the Box) on theories surrounding marketing and organisational behaviour. His seminar on ‘The Tribes we Lead’ particularly stood out for me.
He explains how brands’ futures rest in the ability to assemble communities, or tribes around a brand. We already invest a lot of time in deciphering audience segments, we have a Facebook page, we run blogger outreach – what else can we do to engage our tribes? Seth Godin, amongst other marketing gurus, explains that we need to get our fans and tribes involved in our products and brands, get them involved in how the brand evolves, ask them what they want from our products in the future and to co-create with us. Granted, this process is not the easiest to implement, and as marketing folk, we do not always have the end decision, but some brands have begun their journey to engage tribes through their media activation; Talk Talk’s consumer generated ads, the Ben n Jerry’s Festival, and Linda McCartney’s search for Britain’s most tasty vegetarian dish.
He explains that there are simple ways to do this;
- Innovation: Embracing change
- Evolution: Move with the times and be relevant
- Leadership: Ensure that the brand behaves as a leader to those tribes, is respected and admired
- Heresy: Be different, and make that difference a virtue
It is a very simple notion that helps connect people and ideas (or in this case brands and products) by speaking to silos of interest, uniting them, and get them involved in brands’ future. There tribes out there that want to connect, we as brand guardians just need to find the right way to do this, and make it accountable.
At Total Media, we have identified an emerging dynamic in sync with Seth Godin’s theory around building tribes; Me vs. We, where we have identified a need to create shared brand experiences and ‘I was there’ moments to get people talking and getting them to feel part of a movement (the movement doesn’t necessarily need to be huge!). We have seen that in this digital age, consumers have adopted multiple personalities depending on which tribes they are engaging with, and this reinforces the Me vs. We dynamic that consumers are constantly looking to belong, and if need be change their identity to fit in.
The truth is that with the ever growing and influential Generation Y, who is constantly looking to get some form of added value and entertainment from brands, we cannot just get away with pushing advertising. I believe the key to engaging tribes is to treat them as business partners, an innovation team, and reward them accordingly, and these are practices we are looking to adopt with our clients.
Written by Mehul Ashra