Brand tribalism – A guide to creating your own brand community

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

We, humans, are social creatures. Belonging to a tribe gives a purpose to our existence. What is brand tribalism, then? A tribe is a group of people who share the same views and beliefs about the brand. People within a brand tribe, or brand community, don’t simply consume the product. They play a significant role in the brand’s promotion.

From a retail perspective, going for the community-focused approach is the way forward

“It used to be that 80/20 rule — [malls] would be 80% shopping and 20% experience. It’s got to go the opposite now, because all the shopping you can do faster, cheaper, etc., online.” Angela Ahrents, former head of retail at Apple

Let’s get something straight. Your brand tribe isn’t your target market. Yes, the people who buy from you may become part of your tribe, but it’s about connecting people at an emotional level. Moreover, your brand tribe has nothing to do with your social media followers. Social media is only one of the many tools you can use to create your community.

We have identified some key elements that we believe are important in establishing your own brand community. The key lies in understanding why you do what you do and expressing it to appeal to those who share the same values as you.

Identify your brand personality

What are your business values? What do YOU believe in? What is your ultimate goal in life? What do you want customers to feel when they are interacting with your products? It’s about articulating a statement that summarises the totality of your actions.

Take the Australian tea brand T2 for example. Their tribe celebrates the love of tea because, with tea, the world comes together. It is a message that is immediately loud and clear when stepping into a T2 store. There is an abundance of choices of teas to choose from – and each has a unique story and taste, that is told by the friendly shop clerks. Their passion for tea is real and tangible. This creates rapport with the customers and consequently, a relationship is created by the love of tea.

Exude your personality through your brand

Ensure what you believe in is screaming obvious when people are interacting with your brand. Whether it’s visually, in the look and feel of your brand and your packaging, or in your customer service, you must be living and breathing your brand personality and values.

Take the global cosmetic company Lush for example. Lush community claims to be united to make a difference on Earth. Their products are carefully handmade, their packaging is practically non-existent, their products are self-preserving, zero-waste, and strong policies around ethical buying and animal testing. They practice what they preach, and their customers – by using their products – make a difference to the environment and the Earth.

Attract people to do something communally

Whether it’s by creating events, newsletters, social media incentives, or workshops, it’s about getting your messages and values out there and creating experiences that will ultimately create word-of-mouth.

The energy drink company Red Bull has nailed this. Their high-octane filled tribe includes extraordinary people who can do extraordinary things. A lot more than an energy drinks company, they are an institution that enables people and ideas to get to the next level. For this, they consistently attract people who relate to their brand personality by creating and sponsoring extreme sports events, athletes, artists, and stuntmen. Through time, we have associated Red Bull with anything intense – because it’s how the brand makes us feel – and consequently, they have attracted a worldwide community of thrill-seekers to do collectively thrill-seeking things together. What emotion are you associating your brand with?

Be patient, consistent, and persistent

Brand tribalism is achieved when your brand stops being only a transaction and starts being a lifestyle. Through the community created, brands make life better, and people consume products or services through their lifestyle.

We think the key to brand tribalism is in developing a sustainable long-term strategy. Think of it as a marathon. It is definitely not a sprint. Building a tribe takes time and your community will build through all the little things you do over a long period of time.

Want more?

If you’d like to discuss how you could utilise brand tribalism as a strategy for your brand or develop a community-focused approach, we’d love to have a chat. Feel free to book a consultation here.

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