The Power of Tribes

Published: March 19, 2016

The Power of Tribes

In a presentation we are giving at the upcoming IHRSA International Convention entitled, “The Power of Boutiques: Leveraging the Power in a Traditional Club Setting”, one of the powers we discuss is that of tribes.

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 business landscape, tribal-driven brands rule.

What is a tribe? A tribe is a community of people bonded by a deeply shared sense of purpose, a compelling and shared ideology around a given topic or practice, and a shared belief in each other. Tribes require leaders who model the aspirations and ideology of the community that is the tribe. Tribes require transparent, honest and trusted communication. Tribes will defend their beliefs in the face of enormous challenges and are apostles for the ideology that binds them together.

Seth Godin indicated 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 does Harley Davidson and Lulu Lemon. In the fitness industry, CrossFit and Soul Cycle are all about the tribe. In fact, not having a brand that fosters a tribal ideology can lead to a slow death, and at the very least, the loss of relevance in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

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

Elements of a Tribe

A community of people with a shared sense of purpose, passion, values and lifestyle pursuits; and

A leader who inspires the community to come together to celebrate their similarities and disparities; and

An ongoing open dialogue that fosters trust between the members of the tribe; and

Rituals and traditions that honor the tribe and encourage it to celebrate who they are: and

The passion to defend the tribe while also unapologetically promoting its mantra!

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