Good brand communication is all about engaging directly with people, understanding what makes them tick, responding to their needs and then consequently turning them into fans. These people then become brand advocates and do something every comms professional dreams of; they tell your brand’s story for you. The MD and founder of independent communications agency Tribe PR Holly Pither, explores 3 ways that will help you build an iconic brand through tribal marketing.
Know what your tribe stands for
Spend some time working out what your tribe’s shared belief is. Consider what people will get out of being part of your tribe. Likewise, when someone buys your product or service, how can you help reinforce their sense of tribal belonging? Once you have figured this out, make sure all your written and social communications are consistent. Be sure too that all employees, spokespeople and key brand influencers you work with also sing from that same hymn sheet.
You can’t be everything to everyone
If you are clear about your brand and what it stands for, then you will always find that some people will be left out. And that’s ok. Think back to Harley Davison. Sometimes the nature of your tribe being exclusive can be even more of a reason to want to join it. You will find that you lose your brand message and purpose if you try to be everything to everyone. Instead, focus in on your message and make sure you are clear about what you do and who it’s for.
Know the difference between loyalty and advocacy
These two terms often get mixed up. Loyal customers are people who keep returning to your brand, but they might not actively be talking about your brand to other people. On the other hand, brand advocates are people who are both loyal to your brand and proactively share it. Your advocates will tell your story for you. As such, it’s essential to turn your brand loyalists into brand advocates.
Consider this scenario. It’s a hot day and you are thirsty. You pop into a shop to buy a drink. When faced with a fridge full of juice, which product do you choose? It’s a hard one because today we don’t just buy a product simply because of what it does, its health benefits or how it makes us feel. Rather we buy from a brand because that brand can help us define who we are. Furthermore, we buy it because it makes us feel part of something bigger; a consumer tribe. This is why, for example, we may decide to buy an Innocent smoothie over and above a Sunny Delight. Because on that day, in particular, we want to join the Innocent tribe and feel free, optimistic, wholesome, pure and happy. Most of all, on that day we want to keep things simple, so we buy an Innocent smoothie.
When you think of it like that, you suddenly realise that so much of what we do and what we buy into is because we want to feel part of something bigger….
For example, we may buy our outdoor kit from The North Face because we want to feel like we are part of an explorer tribe. We might feel the need for reassurance through our brand choices, like buying a family car from Volvo. Or perhaps you worship the open road, adore rebellion and exploration. Then you may well buy into the Harley Davison tribe. A tribe that is so loyal that many of its fans get a Harley logo painfully tattooed into their skin!
Finally, these examples highlight that customers don’t just buy brands for their features, but rather they join them to be part of something bigger. This means brands need to consider how best to find their tribe. Just take a look around you – be it on social media, in the street, whilst watching TV – you can spot these tribes everywhere.