The Power of Boutiques – Fostering a Tribal Ideology

Published: May 4, 2016

The Power of Boutiques – Fostering a Tribal Ideology

In a presentation we recently gave at the 2016 IHRSA International Convention entitled, “The Power of Boutiques: Leveraging the Power in a Traditional Club Setting”, one of the powers we highlighted was tribalism.

Seth Godin, in his book entitled Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, says, “Smart organizations assemble tribes”. He later goes on to say, “And it turns out that tribes, not money, not factories, that can change our world, that can change politics, that can align large numbers of people.” His point, and one espoused by many others in the business world is, that in today’s highly competitive and copycat business landscape, tribal-driven brands rule.

What is a tribe? A tribe is a community of people bonded by a deeply held sense of purpose, a compelling ideology around a given topic or practice, and a shared belief in each other. Tribes require leaders who talk and more importantly, walk the ideology of the tribe. Tribes are enriched by rituals and traditions that celebrate their achievements, but more importantly, reinforce the common beliefs and purpose of the tribe. Tribes will frequently defend their beliefs in the face of enormous challenges, and are most often evangelical in sharing their love for everything tribe. The philosophy of the tribe, and ultimately the brand, becomes the philosophy of the individual, and ultimately, the ultimate expression of self.

Seth Godin has said tribes can change the world. Well, if tribes can change the world, just think what they can do for a business. Apple knows the power that tribes wield, so do Harley Davidson, Lulu Lemon and Nike. In the fitness industry, CrossFit and Soul Cycle are all about the tribe. In fact, not having a brand that promulgates a tribe, clan or cult in today’s world of karaoke brands is the surest way to achieve anonymity in the mind of consumers. As Jane Howard stated, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

So, when you think of your club, or your studio, ask yourself, “Does my brand cultivate and/or appeal to a specific tribe?” If not, maybe it’s time to begin!

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