As a marketer, it is your responsibility to make people of different demographics, geographical locations, and socioeconomic statuses feel like members of one collective whole—your brand tribe.
Brands need values that hold their community together, and as a smart tribe builder, you must show these values through both words and actions.
By identifying the interests and values that your ideal customers share and demonstrating that your brand shares those values through the conversations you start, join, and share, you bring about stability and growth for your brand.
Richard Branson provides a great example of digital tribal leadership. When you go to the Virgin website, instead of finding goods and marketing slogans, you find a regularly updated blog with Branson’s environmental initiatives, startup tips, political commentary, and more. There’s virtually nothing about what Virgin sells—in fact, linking from www.virgin.com to anywhere you can buy stuff is challenging. You get the impression that Branson is trying to save the world rather than convincing you to buy something.
By spreading awareness of Virgin’s values, beliefs, and actions, Branson allows people to identify with Virgin and feel like part of the imagined community.
Listen & Contribute
Before you waste time churning out unwanted content, spend time figuring out what your ideal customer wants. Otherwise, you’re going to feel like that outsider in a group of friends who doesn’t know the inside jokes and stories.
As a tribe leader, you should be the guy creating and sharing those jokes and stories with content, events, and other experiences. You can stay tuned to what your tribe members are thinking by identifying them and listening to them on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks with social listening software.
It’s up to marketers to align themselves with consumers, not the other way around. When we identify and claim values to help people distinguish themselves as a community distinct from others—when we listen and help that community strengthen its bonds—members talk to each other. Giving to your digital tribe motivates them to discuss and share what matters to them. That’s the most powerful form of marketing.
This article originally appeared on FastCompany