Brand Tribalism

Concept of Brand Tribalism

A brand tribe can be defined as a social network of varied persons – who are linked by a shared belief around a brand; its members are not simple consumers, they are also believers and promoters. A brand tribe does collective action and therefore it is implicated as post-modern business. The emergence of brand tribalism represents tribal consumption’s. Brand tribalism emerges because there is a group of consumers who adore this brand emotionally connected by some values and usage of consumption, using the social “linking value” of products and services to create a community and express identity. The phenomena of tribes can be presented as an expression of both self and social identity. Consumer social identities and consumption choices shift depending on situational and lifestyle factors. So, the phenomena of Brand tribalism can also be understood and accessed through their shared beliefs, ideas and consumption. Due to this point, one individual consumer who has different categories of identity, may be involved in several different brand tribes at the same time.

Socially interconnected groups have been found to act loyally as a group because personal relationships are maintained through shared, regular consumption. Brand just likes an art and consumers just like its diverse audiences bounded by a shared passion for “performance”.  As revealed before, a brand tribe can be seen as a kind of network of societal micro-groups (tribes). Brand tribe is different from historical tribes because it has a new social order, wherein status within a tribe is achieved by different and specific values. In brand tribes, the members are grounded by same self identity, belief, interesting or emotion. In this view, the term of “brand community” may be not an adequate explanation of describing tribes. A brand community is established around supporting a particular brand or product. This community, in some instances, may diminish brand equity, just like a consumer activist standing in opposition to mainstream consumers. In this way, people would not be self-formed as tribes.

Shared consumption (tribe) is the post-modern consumer’s means of creating a social link and building bridges between individuals. Therefore the existence of brand tribes presents a chance to communicate with elusive post-modern consumers who hold meaning and relevance for the individuals within them, rather than attempting to create a homogeneous segment from arbitrary characteristics. In this view, brand tribalism calls that marketers should look beyond conventional brand strategy, such as brand community. Besides because involvement with a tribe is an expression of self-identity, the brand tribe shares not only moral values or opinions, but consumption values and preferences. In this case, it can be seen that when tribal members possess for their tribe, there is an opportunity for marketers to co-create meaningful and “symbiotic” the brand and brand image; the brand community, consumer and brand tribe to facilitate the creation, communication, and the evolution of the brand and build special relationships with groups of consumers.

Furthermore, the post-modern consumption practices and values allocated to consumption of certain products and brands by a tribe provide unique characteristics for marketers to explore and leverage. Tribal marketing scrutinizes how tribes consume and “co-create” products for their own uses. This gives marketer’s another avenue for creating social interaction around their good, service or brand. And also it can be seen that rather than the influence of marketers and common marketing theory, in the tribes social influences are the most important influence on an individual’s consumption decisions.

Brand Relationships and Tribal Behavior on Brand Loyalty

Tribal membership is fluid and can fluctuate according to the involvement of the individual. This poses a challenge for marketers in identifying and building long-term loyal relationships with individuals. Firms supporting consumer-consumer relationships, such as consumer tribes, are proposed to create long-term loyalty through establishing both an emotional connection as well as a rational reason for commitment. Loyal relationship between customers and companies are seen as an investment for the future revenue and competitive advantage and the value of loyalty, a commitment of re-consume is shown by the difficulty other firms have in copying this relationship. However, the concept of loyalty may have limited value in the case of post-modern consumption. The context, product and an individual’s experiences do not produce one tribal form of loyalty that will have re-consumption commitment. In this situation, it is required that aggregate tribal members’ loyalty to a formation of loyalty. And the formation of loyalty should concern the influence of social identity and social context. Social identity theory is used to structure the commitments of repurchase from a social group (tribe) as a form identification with the brand. It is also referred to as “bonded loyalty”, where people show a collective loyalty towards a brand or company.

The concept of “cultural capital” may explain the knowledge, rules and chain of command within a tribe. In the tribal context, cultural capital consists of a set of socially rare and distinctive tastes, skills, knowledge and practices. A tribal marketing approach needs company to act in a support role to the relationships within a group with the aim being to build bonded loyalty, rather than to act as a controller. In this view, an understanding of the specific cultural capital of a tribe, and its symbolic meaning would support marketers to hobnob with tribal people and build a collective, bonded loyalty. And also it could provide insight into ways of engaging members in the co-creation of products and, more importantly, the experiences they deliver.

The social dynamics of tribes also provide insight for connecting with members on an affective level. There are four different roles to exist amongst consumer tribe members. These range from low participation (the sympathizer), to active members, to practitioners and lastly devotees, who possess high level of involvement and emotional attachment. The practitioner in a tribe has a similarity with the opinion leader concept; they influence the exchange of certain information among peers due to their own knowledge and authority in the area. The roles members assume may have implications for whom, and how, marketers choose to communicate with the tribe.