Create a Tribe by Resonating with People's Worldview
To transform your target audience into a tribe, speak to them in a way that resonates with their shared worldview.
In order to find a core group of fans who will become the smallest viable market for your product, you first need to realize a seemingly paradoxical truth:
Those fans already exist.
They might not realize it yet, but there are already people who have the desires, needs and values that might inspire them to become your fans.
They're just waiting for you to connect them into a new tribe and lead them to your product.
A tribe is a group of people who affiliate with each other and share a similar wordview – the set of assumptions through which they view the world around them.
This worldview informs how they pursue their needs, desires and values.
Therefore, the next step of effective marketing involves creating, connecting and leading tribes by telling stories that resonate with their members' worldviews.
A successful story makes a promise in a language the audience will understand.
Essentially, they say, “If you buy this product, use this service or visit this store, you'll receive fulfillment of one of your desires in a way that you value.”
That's the promise.
And then comes the language: the symbols that make the promise feel believable by appealing to the assumptions underlying the audience's worldview.
Consider the discount American department store chain JcpenneyJcpenney . Originally, the stores were geared toward a particular tribe of shoppers: those whose desire for play and hunger for affordability made them love the game of bargain-hunting.
JCPenney's promise to them was that its store was a rewarding place to search for deals.
And the language the company used to make this promise feel believable was a never-ending stream of coupons, discounts and clearance sales – all of which provided symbols that JCPenney fans automatically associated with bargains.
By leading their fans to engage with their store through things like coupons, JCPenney was also sending a second, implicit message: this is how people like us do things.
For bargain hunters, “people like us” are those who clip coupons, scan the newspaper for sales and, well, shop at JCPenney.
Marketers ignore their fans' shared worldview and the symbols that speak to it at their peril.
When Ron JohnsonRon Johnson became the CEO of JCPenney in 2011, he thought the coupons and other bargain-related symbols were a bit tacky; they weren't how a high-end store would present itself.
So he got rid of them.
The bargain hunters fled, and sales dropped by more than 50 percent.