Tribes Connect With Emotion

bob-dylen

Tribes don’t run on communications. They run on emotional connections.

Through these connections, tribes create movements.

And movements change things.

For example

Long ago, in better times, a guy by the name of Shepard Fairey made a poster.

It just happened to be a poster of Barack Obama.

And it just happened to be for a cause.

The Internet helped it spread.

In fact, it spread so far, so fast, people started to mimic its style in everything from personal portraits to photos of the family dog.

But it was much deeper than that

The amazing thing about the poster was that somehow it connected one Obama supporter to another on a very emotional level.

As a result, Shepard’s simple, but artistic poster turned into an icon.

It became a freely shared ID badge of a tribe.

3006136343_7ab21e6518_o

And in the center of it all was the artist.

It doesn’t matter that Shepard didn’t make a penny selling the image. What matters is that he connected. And that connection gave his art leverage.

Yes, it became a symbol for a political movement. But it also built a tribe of Fairey lovers that then propelled a resurgence of mural-based art.

We are isolated no more

.We grew up isolated. But the future is connected.

We grew up unable to have real interactions with anyone except a small circle of family and co-workers. Now, we earn the right to interact with just about anyone.

This changes everything. If we let it.

And if we understand it.

Connecting is

How we crave connection. It’s in our genes. It’s part of our DNA.

Connecting is about our ability to find that hidden link to others by sharing our passion for a particular idea. For wanting to learn more about it. For acting together on it.

Based on those interactions – those connections — we seek to change things. And we do it through open networks so that others can mutually benefit from such connectedness.

Connecting is bigger than communicating

When we emotionally connect with others we develop a relationship that’s especially useful. It’s these long-term connections that drive action by the tribe.

Tribes thrive on interconnectedness. In fact, tribes run on emotional connections.

It works something like this. A leader emerges. They set the emotional direction. And then they facilitate ways for the tribe to connect and move forward together.

As a result, the tribe members’ connectedness with each other is at least as strong as their connection to the leader.

The Internet is a connection machine

Virtually every web platform can create connections between humans. And they can do it in a human way that was difficult or impossible to do before.

So take a tip from our friend, Seth Godin:

“When you tell us about your idea, or your non-profit, or public works project, tell us first how it’s going to help us connect. The rest will take care of itself.”

Connecting is deep and wide emotion

Connecting has two dimensions. One deep, one wide.

Most organizations seek to “connect with” their constituents. This kind of connection is a form of permission by your tribe. It allows you to deliver value to the people who request it. One on one.

These vertical connections create deep emotional, empathetic links with individual members of the tribe.

For example, the teachers who made a difference in your life probably spent a lot of time trying to connect with you on an emotional level. They didn’t just communicate with you.

Going wide

Deep emotional, personal, empathetic connections are one thing. But that’s different from connecting the tribe.

When you connect your tribe together, you become a matchmaker. You build horizontal relationships.

These are person-to-person relationships that reach out to many people. They embrace all in the tribe’s purpose.

These two-dimensional connections (deep and wide) are what make a tribe. Because when you get down to it, tribes are people caring about people. Working side by side, multiplying exponentially.

This is not about messaging

Because messaging doesn’t work anymore.

This is much deeper and more powerful than that.

It’s about providing experiences and platforms that allow tribe members to do two things. Connect with one another. And do things together.

That’s why connecting is where the real emotions and change and impact happen.

Before you squeal, check the wheel

So the next time you’re tempted to check your message map or convene a meeting to discuss your message strategy, stop.

Pull out the handy, dandy Wonderful Wheel of Connection and focus on what’s really important.

Focus on the five things that will power your movement in this amazing age of tribes.

the-wonderful-wheel-of-connection

What connects

To truly connect, you have to stop thinking about audiences and start thinking tribes.

A tribe is not the same as an audience, or a market segment, or niches, or even the same as clients, donors or customers.

For one thing, a tribe shares a common worldview. They see the world working in a certain way. And they seek to change it from what they believe is wrong to what’s right.

They also share a passion. A common cause. A unifying purpose.

That cause brings them together and affects their view of the world.

In fact, tribes are only tribes when they are connected. When people are connected to one another through their common cause.

Connection strategies

Leaders connect tribe members by helping them do things for the cause that they want to do or can’t do for themselves.

They do that by making things (interactive platforms, events, online experiences, etc.) that help them act. Not by saying things.

Tribes change things through movements. And movements are driven by two things. The first is the tribe’s passion for their cause. The second is through the stories they tell each other about their purpose and about themselves.

So leaders inspire and empower movements by creating experiences and telling stories. Not by message-driven marketing campaigns.

Because, as I might have mentioned before, messages don’t work anymore.

Movements require purpose, a shared worldview, a connected tribe, and a focus on helping experiences.

Leaders understand that the things needed to create a movement are all bound together by stories.

Stories connect

Narratives help shape the identity of the tribe. They give it values and boundaries and help establish its reputation.

They paint a picture of the tribe’s culture and focus, heroes and enemies.

They define and give meaning to its cause.

By sharing our stories, we define who we are and what we stand for.

Leaders of tribes today show their leadership by connecting people to each other and to their purpose. And they do it by sharing stories.

A connection earned is a connection gained

Leaders also understand that you gain connection by earning it. You don’t earn connection with statistics or messaging or clever copy.

You earn it by being generous, by helping and sharing and being an artist.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

 

 

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