Genres: Marketing, Branding, Research, Behavioral Science

Rating: 3/5

Recommend to: Marketers, Start-up founders, Entrepreneurs, People in sales.

Number of pages: 184 pages


Tribal marketing takes us on a journey of co-creation and nurturing of a brands tribe. Most marketing books talk about how to create a brand and its tribe, and how the companies are the ones making events for its consumers based on the message the companies want to convey. But as the author points out in the book companies are not always successful at creating a real tribe, or to move the existing tribe to think and act as the companies want them to. So why are some successful and others are not? Is the tribe the one who has to do what the companies say or do the companies have to adjust their marketing actions to their tribe?

In the book you will get to read about until where and when the companies set “game rules” and from which point on the tribe is in charge. It is also very important for the companies to understand why and how their tribe was formed, what are the accepted traditions and customs and to let the the tribe know the company/brand is doing their best to be authentic and loyal to them.

There is a big difference between a consumer and a tribe member. So the strategies a company takes to nurture each one of them is very different. There is a conflict of interest between a company and its tribe members. Tribe members have certain rules and customs of what it takes for others to be accepted to the brand name, while the company welcomes each consumer. On the other hand many times tribe members don’t accept regular consumers and they even look down on them. Because of that a company could be losing its market share, but we should also keep in mind that consumers come and go, while a true tribal member will not only be a consumer but also an advocate for your brand. It is not that easy to say what will work and what will not. In this book you will not read about fast and cheap tricks how to get people to like your brand, instead you will get to read about the process of researching, understanding and co-creating with your followers/tribe members why they use your brand and “where to go” in the future.


  • Tribes affiliate together first and foremost due to a sense of shared values and emotions. They are not held together by some sort of need to remain in a community purely for the sense of social connection. Instead, the social connection stems from the shared emotion, the shared belief, that a particular object or practice really matters.
  • Tribal branding is an ongoing process whereby a relationship with the tribe is built up and maintained over time.
  • Tribal marketing seeks to establish what it is that holds meaning for consumers, and it seeks to support those things. It is about relationships, not coercion. It is about allowing people to post about your product or service on social media because they feel like it, not because they were solicited into it.
  • Members of brand tribes strongly affect each other’s perception of brand quality. Things that otherwise might be perceived as problematic can instead turn into ways in which members of the tribe reinforce one another loyalty to the brand (for example Harley-Davidson: Members strengthened their bond when helping each other solve mechanical problems).
  • Very often, people can be drawn to brand tribes because they sense that by doing so they can experience a fulfilling sense of community.
  • Each tribe tends to have its own specific sence (linking value) of what makes their identity meaningful. Tribal marketers need to support this sense of distinction, while at the same time exploring ways of making the tribe accessible.
  • Members of brand tribes are advocates for the brand. Messages from them will be perceived as an authentic, unbiased, non-commercial source.
  • Keep in mind that the tribe does not exist to generate benefits for you the marketer. They exist as a collective to generate mutual benefit for one another.
  • Give your tribe an opportunity to share/upload their own content. The presence of novel content which the tribe provides on its own gives other members something new to talk about and that lures member of the tribe back to the website.
  • Tribal marketing involves learning how to support product and consumption meaning as created by tribes, rather than carrying out market researches deciding on a brand personality and messages, and aiming that message at a target audience.
  • Consumers initiate brand tribes for their own reasons, not for marketing – related reasons. They do so because brands allow them to form social links and engage emotionally with one another.
  • Marketers can facilitate special experiences for their consumers, and because of the special experience the consumer experienced they are likely to interpret them via the prism of not only the brand, but also the community of people with whom they have shared this special experience.
  • The principle of tribal rules is welcomed because it allows you to express your chosen self in the company of your chosen tribe.
  • Tribal marketers should first seek to understand the tribe’s view of the world, before they begin to try to cater for it and support it via brandfests, social media, or any other formal means of promotional activity.
  • Authentic tribal marketing is predicated on the need for co-participation. Brand offerings from a non-participant are, ultimately, outsider offerings.
  • As a tribal marketer it is important to remember that the topic of mutual interest is not your job, but rather it is whatever shared passion has brought the community together in the first place.
  • Any marketer who tries to sell products and services to the tribe without sharing in tribal performance will not attain credibility or status within the tribe. The whole point is to share authentic experience.
  • In terms of research anything that has the potential to “obscure”/reduce the capacity to attain a feeling of empathy with your tribe should not be used at all.
  • Taking an active, fully immersed part in community discussion forums will give you much higher credibility with the community. Full participation can improve your status in the community, give you access to richer levels of cultural understanding, and open up more data collection opportunities.
  • When interviewing people use phrases like “What I hear you saying is…” or “I hear anger in your voice”. Responding like this helps “play back” to them not only what they have said, but the emotion with which they have said it.
  • When interviewing people assure them that it is their answer, their perspectives, and their feelings that are important, and that there is no wrong answer.
  • Remember that it takes time to access insight and the best insights are usually not acquired through direct questioning.
  • It is important to note what you think you are looking for in advance, as well as noting why you think it will prove to be important.
  • The point of observation is not to continue to view the world through your own eyes, but to begin to learn to view it from the point of view of the tribal participants.
  • You should assume that every pattern is of potential importance in unlocking, or breaking the overall tribal code. So instead of prematurely zoning in on those things that seem to be of obvious commercial relevance, be patient. Try to assume that each pattern, each relationship, can potentially shed light on the underlying, uniting themes that, when developed, will reveal to you what makes the tribe tick.
  • When researching try to expose yourself to contrasting phenomena, thus giving yourself the chance to notice things you haven’t noticed before.
  • You as an aspiring tribal marketer must bring yourself down to the level of the individual participant and experience the activity and the brand through their eyes.
  • In tribal event mementoes matter a lot, because they are symbols of something each individual accomplished personally. The key for the marketer in doing enough to facilitate the marking of these accomplishments, without trying to over-prescribe for their marking.
  • The right things will happen if you create a climate that allows people to retain their passion for what all this is about.
  • Let the tribe build the brand for one another while you quietly continue to support them in this. You do this by allowing members of the tribe to share their stories with one another.
  • In some cases tribes want to refrain completely from any form of relationship with the company and this is something the company has to respect.
  • Tribes will have their own ethical standards and norms and sometimes seek to enforce them in ways that individual customers may find offensive.
  • When people engage in online conversation with each other on your social media pages, then you’re implementing tribal branding.
  • From a tribal marketing perspective, social media needs to be used not to primarily promote products, but to serve as a community hub whereby both aspiring and experienced members of the tribe are encouraged to contribute and interact.
  • Tribal branding is not about pushing messages in the hope that these messages will be relayed. It’s about encouraging and supporting the tribe to compose, relay and re-negotiate their own messages and practises. Channels must be created to facilitate genuine interactivity not just between consumer and marketer but between consumers.
  • Ideally your brand’s website and/or social media pages should be a space where people share their preference, their experiences, and so on without anyone trying to coerce them into buying things.
  • Tribal branding means that the marketer seeks to contribute to the tribe’s agenda, and not take over responsibility for it.
  • It is essential to allow consumers to develop their own sense of what is different, unique, special and important about the tribe. You don’t seek to impose your sence of these things on each member of the tribe.


  1. An unanticipated peak experience must be shared by a number of people. Those people found the experience personally meaningful and they wish to share it with others.
  2. Repeat experiences must be accessible within a reasonably compact timeframe.
  3. Marketers should not seek to confine the tribe to consumption on their brand only, as actions like that might harm the brands credibility.
  4. Marketers need to focus on providing opportunities for consumers to have an experience that they can make it their own – example: Beamish: People had the opportunity to engage in the ritual of pulling one’s own pint, doing so the experience created the feeling of ownership.

The Ducati case study: Developing the

  • They  studied only conversations that motorcyclist had with each other. Not just “ducatisti” but devoted of all motorcycle brands.
  • They found that they were exchanging advice on maintenance, comparing different brands, advising one another on what to buy, engaging in brand comparison, helping each other to organize events, sharing information on the history of different models of motorcycle,…
  • As a result their website was designed to not only give free access to wealth of content relevant to community interests, but also to allow members to upload their own content and interact with one another.
  • To encourage participation ducati awarded points to contributors that could be redeemed in the website’s online store.
  • Hyperlinks helped to drive traffic to the store.
  • Te website became a natural place for the tribe to gather.


martin Lindstrom Brandwashed



Thank you for your time. I hope you have found this book review helpful. Talk to you in the comment section.

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