Traditional marketing philosophies divide people into two groups: “Us” (executives, employees, etc.) and “Them” (customers, leads, etc.). The notion of “tribal marketing” removes these distinctions. Everyone involved with the brand is a member of the tribe.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting that tribal marketing applies not just to consumer-facing marketing, but also to internal business operations. It’s just as important and relevant to paid employees as it is to paying customers.
There are several degrees of membership in tribal marketing:
- Chief: single individual ultimately responsible for guiding and protecting the brand tribe; should be fully dedicated to the living tribe’s beliefs and values; typically a CEO
- Elders: group of individuals responsible for advising and assisting the chief in guiding and protecting the brand tribe; usually comprises executives or managers
- Priesthood: individuals who are responsible for developing and promoting the beliefs and values of the brand tribe to its followers; typically paid employees of an organization
- Evangelists: tribe members who may not be formally responsible for promoting doctrine, but who do it out of personal love for the brand; can include engaged customers, dedicated fans, contractors, strategic partners, and others
- Followers: individuals who are not actively engaged in promoting the doctrine of the brand tribe, but who appreciate and support its beliefs and values; includes customers, potential customers, and new fans
- Inactives: members on the outside edge of the brand tribe, who may not yet be fully converted (or even aware of ) its beliefs and values; may include low-engagement customers, potential customers, vendors, etc.
(Not every brand tribe follows this structure, of course. Some tribes are formed spontaneously by Evangelists and Followers, for example.)
In tribal marketing, the lines between “us” and “them” are ideally blurred. There should be one unified tribe around your brand, with people engaging with it in a wide variety of ways.