The Perils of Building a Tribe

Tribe building is a funny thing.

Can it be wildly effective for your business?

Absolutely yes.

Will you have to intellectually grapple with some weird concepts in order to make it work?

Absolutely yes again.

Tribe building is just like fictional world building. You have to set imaginary parameters like hierarchy (who’s in charge), mission (what are we doing), and language (how we identify outsiders from insiders).

Where the mental gymnastics start is when you remember that the participants are real world flesh and blood humans. Because building a tribe is just like fictional world building, until it isn’t.

For those of us not born natural overlords, this is when the seeds of doubt are most fertile. We’ll usually either question the morality of it, (Should I be doing this?) or we’ll question the validity of it (This won’t actually work, will it?). Or we’ll get down the road of having successfully implemented tribal marketing and suddenly be frightened at the level of fanaticism the tribe members have.

If you start going down one of those paths then pause. You should make peace with it and yourself before moving on.

Will your, or is your, tribe harming anyone or thing? You have to ask this because, often, a key point of tribal marketing is what you stand against. As long as what you’re standing against isn’t causing harm, then proceed with a clear conscience.

But what about imposter syndrome? What if I’m grappling with my own success?

Ah, an excellent question.

And one we can talk about next week.

– Zac Smith, VC