Learn how to grow your brand by creating a close knit tribe that is much beyond a mere social media fan page, and is instrumental in creating a strong sense of connection with consumers that grows your brand healthily and profitably.
A BIG WATCHOUT
Please avoid typical influencers that are only motivated by money and prefer a transactional relationship.
Random Strangers don’t make for great tribe members!
WHO ARE YOUR TRIBE MEMBERS?
Brand Tribe comprises consumers who are most loyal, most responsive and most vocal.
It is the intersection of the above 3 that constitutes the core of your Brand Tribe.
Following characteristics define a loyal consumer:
1. Most frequent buyer
2. Has the biggest shopping cart sizes
3. Has been one of the oldest consumers
4. Buys maximum number of different products offered and not just fast moving SKUs
Following characteristics define a Vocal consumer:
1. Consumers who write reviews on social media and website and also offer unsolicited suggestions on improvement.
2. Usually call or email company for clarification, sharing concerns or thanking
3. They are very active on social media pages mentioning your brand frequently
Responsive is different from being merely vocal.
1. They are quick to buy any new launches
2. These consumers are the first to respond to a non-promotional communcation such as feedback, inputs, liking and sharing etc.
The intersection of all three might make the total number of members in tribe very small but that’s the point and just the beginning. You need those who will truly champion the brand, teach you, collaborate with you and carry your brand on their shoulders with a higher sense of meaning.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR TRIBES?
STEP 1: CREATE A PLATFORM/PROGRAM WITH A CLEAR GOAL
You need not create a new platform and could use your website just like MADE.COM does.
BUT you need to have a clear goal.
For example: Made.com’s goal is consumer acquisition.
It launched “Unboxed”, wherein they connect current prospects with existing consumers who show case their MADE.COM furniture on Instagram and on the WEBSITE.
The prospects could interact with existing consumers on Instagram, where MADE.COM furniture images are tagged by existing consumers.
On the other hand, Harley Davidson created HOG to connect existing consumers( fans).
STEP 2: RECRUITMENT
After you have identified consumers who fit the profile of intersection of VOCAL, LOYAL and RESPONSIVE, next step is to recruit.
Note: You could also send messages on social media/newsletter/media to make existing loyal consumers, not in your database, aware about the launch of your BRAND TRIBE. If they respond, that’s a good start and they can self-select as to how loyal they are and you could tentatively recruit them or place them in a tier to be confirmed later based on their confirmed loyalty.
For example, MADE.COM recruits tribe members from Instagram by asking them to tag madedotcom in their pictures. They could easily verify whether a piece of furniture is theirs or not.
STEP 3: ENGAGEMENT AND CONTENT
1. An integral part of a tribe is engagement amongst members. For example, Sephora launched Beauty Insider, a community for the raving beauty fans and specifically launched Beauty Talk as a sub-category.
2. Another important characteristic is higher share of a consumer’s life via both branded and user generated content.
3. Important to build relationship with the members by personalising their experiences like SEPHORA does with the GROUPS feature of BEAUTY INSIDER
STEP 4: ABOVE & BEYOND LOYALTY REWARDS
1. Customised Newsletter for the Brand Tribe Members not accesible to anyone else.
2. Free Samples of New Products-This will also help in getting timely feedback before you scale it up.
3. Limited Edition Products and Merchandising-Think of it as 10X ROI on budget. Your brand will be proudly worn for free by your cult fans.
4. Once a year, organise in-person events for the tribe members and offer to bring in a family member, close friend who is not a current consumer.
HOW TO LEVERAGE YOUR TRIBES?
A great example of co-creation for new products is Glossier, which takes it one step further and actually created products inspired by real people and their inputs.
2. CONSUMER CENTERED STORIES
Glossier shares the real routines of real people on their site. It is so much more believable and real for a new consumer to hear it from the horse’s mouth than a carefully curated narrative by the brand. This content beats any other form of storytelling by miles.
Gallery within Beauty Insider by Sephora also provides a platform for real consumers to share their looks and videos on the platform. It is not Sephora but these members who are at the center of these stories.
3. BEYOND CONSUMPTION REWARDS
MADE.COM offers budding designers a platform to TRIBE FUND their new creations via Talent Lab even if they only have an idea!
4. SET AGENDA AND GUIDELINES
It is important to describe the objective of creating a tribe and define the guiding policies and behaviour expected. Sephora has very elaborate guidelines for conduct in the community. Don’t be too controlling but have boundaries.
It is very important to listen to the tribe’s conversations. They are more inclined to talk freely amongst themselves than directly offer you feedback everytime.
Brand Tribes are an immense lever to not only learn from a close-knit group that wants you to succeed but also to reap the benefits of an unyielding loyalty by your tribe members.
Done well, it could spread a powerful brand story that resonates emotionally with the consumers, both old and new. Something, not possible by money alone.
1. Your initial tribe members are at the intersection of Loyal-Vocal-Responsive.
2. Create a platform and program with a clear goal.
3. Recruit using your shopper data and digital data. Go slow initially and make sure you hire the right leaders.
4. Engagement amongst members is a must. It is not supposed to be a two-way communication between you and the tribe only but a big part needs to be amongst themselves.
5. Create both branded and member generated content to engage the members and use for storytelling.
6. Co-Create with Tribes for shared ownership and refinement of ideas.
7. Make members at the center of the stories both for the tribe and then leverage these stories for prospective consumers.
8. Offer more than consumption rewards by enabling budding members to be creators and help them succeed.
Go Create Your Tribes! Also, Please subscribe, like and share the article!
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ROHIT BANOTA, FOUNDER, STORYSAVES has created and grown dozens of health food and beauty CPG companies brands across North America using proprietary Brand Story and Brand Diffussion processes.
He has over 15 years of marketing and business experience growing consumer packaged companies including startups and MNCs like P&G and AB InBev.