Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brand vs. Tribe

An absolutely brilliant post today by Seth Godin (the author of the book Permission Marketing, among others) about moving away from the concept of brand, and towards the concept of tribe.

I've copied what I think is the key section of his post below -
Brand management was top down, internally focused, political and money based. It involved an MBA managing the brand, the ads, the shelf space, etc. The MBA argued with product development and manufacturing to get decent stuff, and with the CFO to get more cash to spend on ads.

Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world.

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.

This is a wonderful way for non-profits to internalize the idea of branding - something that is often considered foreign at best, and superfluous at worst.

By focusing on the idea of tribe instead of brand, it becomes much clearer that an organization first connects people around an idea - and that idea then creates community. The organization is a means to create connections. Once the connections are made, and the tribe is formed, the organization has a responsibility to act in the best interests of the tribe as a whole.

More from Seth's post:
...product development and manufacturing and the CFO work for the tribal manager. Everything the organization does is to feed and grow and satisfy the tribe. Instead of looking for customers for your products, you seek out products (and services) for the tribe.
What have you done for your tribe lately? And what does your organization do every day that has nothing to do with the tribe? Your answers to both questions are critically important.


The Love Collective said...

I'm very interested in branding. Wish I could make some money from it.

Leyla Farah said...

Whether you're a for-profit, or non-profit, branding is the one thing that *can* help you make money - or win supporters. Without it, you risk being unable to keep, and hold, the attention of those in your target audience.

I took a look at your site and it doesn't look like you've made an effort to brand yourself - although the artists you have on your site each seem to have their own brand.

It appears that you're acting as a curator of a certain type of art. If that's true, look for a way to allow that message to rise above the artists you're showcasing, and unify your message.

Good luck!