Jonathan Wallace
11-May-2017 16:00:00

Why Market to Tribes at all?




Why tribes

The rapid acceleration of tech developments has resulted in an explosion of data on people's likes, dislikes and behavioural patterns. Everyday there is more and more information online and available to marketers about their audience - making it possible to target people closer than ever before.

But how should we utilise and alter marketing strategies to encompass this development? And how will this benefit your brand? The answer is to take advantage of the increasing avaliability of data and use it to inform content creation and marketing to tribes, instead of broadly marketing to demographic groups.

Tribes are groups of individuals with interpersonal connections, built through shared values, usage, experiences, opinions and traditions. Connecting with others is a basic human need, in doing so we develop deeper relationships and become part of like minded communities.

Online, there are countless groups of people subconsciously forming tribes around nearly every interest, no matter how niche. What’s more is that there is no limit to the number of tribes that can develop in cyber-space, nor the amount of tribes that need leadership. Therefore, taking advantage of this leadership potential as a brand is a great marketing opportunity.  

When marketing to a tribe, brands must focus on the relationship between their audience members, both existing and potential, instead of just their relationship to customers. They can do so by creating content that will not only continue to engage their existing tribes, but engage new tribes - enabling growth and a development of brand loyalty.


3 main advantages of marketing to tribes:

  1. Access to a specific market segment, creating lasting loyalty through establishing both an emotional connection, as well as a rational reason for customer commitment
  2. In addition to sharing moral values and opinions, consumer tribes also share consumption preferences
  3. Engaging with the social influences of your customers through tribes will play a crucial role in an individual’s consumption decisions. This can be achieved through an empathetic marketing strategy - to learn more about how empathetic marketing appeals to and engages tribes, download our eBook here.

A successful case study of targeting tribes as a marketing approach is LuluLemon. As a brand they’ve been empathetically appealing to tribes for years through an innovative implementation of outbound marketing methods.



Case study: Lulu Lemon

With the mission of providing people with the clothing they need for a range of workouts and fitness activities, Lulu Lemon was born. Instead of just pushing sales of their products, Lulu Lemon focuses on becoming a brand leader of wellness tribes. This is most clearly demonstrated through their dedication to hosting interesting, innovative and inclusive wellbeing events - from regular free in-store yoga classes, to outdoor mindful ‘triathlons,’ to their website, which reads more like a yoga resource than an online retailer. Eric Petersen, SVP of Brand Programs, says their tribal following success lies in their focus on the groups they’re going after and being consistent in serving said group with great resources, not just sales pitches.

We’re hyper-focused on whom we’re speaking to”

Eric Petersen, SVP of Brand Programs, LuluLemon


How to identify your tribes

There is huge amounts of data on how people interact with content, and what content specific groups or tribes have higher engagement levels with. However, until recently there has been no efficient way for a brand, agency, or big publisher to actually process and use that data to better marketing campaigns. As a result, it’s hard for marketers to know what content they should make, based on who or what tribe they want to target. This gap was closed by Codec - we input huge amounts of information about the audience group that you wish to target, then map it onto real life tribes that have been proven out in Codec’s system through billions of hours of content analysis. In turn Codec can identify the tribe the brand is looking to talk to, as well as the existing audience already consuming content. Through this analysis and insight marketers will establish a great sense of who their tribes are, who their tribes could be, and what content to create to keep them interested and establish your brand as a tribe leader.

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