Humans are social creatures. They have an innate desire to be with others. To belong.
Facebook, Skype, Twitter are technologies that have tapped into this basic human need. Developing services that are creating a more social world of interactions. A world where it’s easy to find and tap into a group of likeminded people no matter how niche the topic of interest may be. And in this social world of interactions, consumers are less and less interested in brand relationships. Instead they are more satisfied with relationships with other people. Case in point, Millennials and the fact that they’re less materialistic than generations past.
This focus on social interactions and desire for “human” interactions has ushered in a new era for marketers: The Era of the Kinship Economy. A time when marketers are freely calling out relationships between people rather than relationships between brands and consumers in their advertising. They are still talking about their brands. But instead of just listing out product or experiential attributes, brands that have embraced the Kinship Economy are talking about social attributes. Brand is secondary to the social attribute it’s touting to the consumer. And these social attributes are turning into compelling sources of differentiation for these brands. Check out work from Publix and Budweiser where relationships are front and center.
Here are 3 simple exponential ideas that can springboard your brand into the Kinship Economy.
In the last post, I outlined how the first of eight strategies for creating conversation-worthy communications: Make New Rules. This time I’m writing about a different strategy: Creating Belonging. People have an intense desire both to stand out and fit in. Feeling a part of something is often how people form their identities, express their interests/values and form relationships with others. Brands can capitalize on this by being part of the identity of a specific tribe of consumers. When the success of a brand depends on it being adpoted by a specific consumer tribe, then this is a good strategy to employ. Marketing to a tribe is different than marketing to many individuals. There’s power in numbers, and when consumers feel a part of something, when they collaborate or unify, they can create true change. And that change will be a tide worthy of riding.
So what’s important to know when trying to create a sense of belonging for a brand?
First, identify the tribe(s) of consumers that must adopt the brand for it to be successful. Understand everything about them: What drives them? What binds them together? What are their aspirations? How do they want to be perceived? What do they want to achieve? A keen understanding of the tribe is a must.
Second, the brand has to give them a way to act together. This could come in many forms. It could be a movement that consumers in the tribe can join. There can be a collective goal that the brand enables them to reach. The brand can enable the members of the tribe to better connect with each other. Or, it could give the tribe a platform from which to speak or gather. Organizing collaborative consumption can create a sense of belonging and connect the tribe.
The Great Schlep: A movement created by Droga 5 targeting young Jewish Democrats with grandparents in Florida.
Nike Plus: Nike targeted runners and gave them a the means and the place to compete, share and connect online.
Levis: With its “We Are All Workers” campaign, they helped a small city while connecting with a nation of struggling workers.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Acts as a social hub for sports fans who want a place to hang out together.
Brands who serve as platforms for connection and belonging earn WOM from both their customers and consumers. Next strategy for making consumers the media: Market a Belief. Stay tuned (via RSS feed or whatever).
Credits to David Yeend and Anna Lipmann.