Oh, The Wonderful, New Places You’ll Go


Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!


You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Dr. Seuss


Welcome to the land of the Pivots

They pivot here. They pivot there.

They strategically pivot everywhere.

They’re the Pivots.

Sounds like something out of a Dr. Seuss story, doesn’t it?.

And it’s oh so popular these days. The pivot, that is.

It’s the buzzword du jour used by charlatans everywhere to make change easier to swallow.

You don’t have to leave your comfort zone. You just have to make a little pivot.

You don’t have to change what you do. Just pivot.

Pivoting in a world of change

The problem is the world is not pivoting. It’s changed and is changing.

Message-driven marketing no longer works. As a result, the traditional way of communicating is in a world of hurt.

In fact, it is screaming for help louder than Roger Daltrey in thumbscrews.

And the answer is not to pivot. It’s to change what we do. And how we do it.

Don’t pivot, travel

The answer is to leave our comfort zone. And travel to new places. Places where new ideas prosper. Where seeing things differently brings new opportunities.

And while we’re at it, let’s start our journeys with a different mission. Lets begin with the idea of helping people instead of hyping people.

That will take us to wonderful, new places full of new ideas, new inspiration and new ways of doing things.

Ready? Okay


Today is your day.

We’re off to six great, new places.

We’re off and away.

1. Traveling From Focusing On Audiences To Leading A Tribe

Tribes are everywhere.

Tribes you work with. Tribes you travel with. Tribes you buy with. Tribes that vote, that discuss, that fight. Tribes where everyone knows your name.

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.

A tribe is very different from an audience

Tribes are not about stuff and messages. Tribes are about connection.

Tribes are not determined by demographics or psychographics.

They are defined by a shared worldview. That is, a common belief about how the world works. What’s important. What’s of most value. And what needs to be changed.

Biases unite us

This common view of the world connects tribe members together. And most importantly, it unites them all in a shared purpose. A cause that is grounded in changing something about the world.

The cause gives those who lead tribes a huge opportunity. An opportunity that’s bigger than messaging ever was.

It’s the chance to help the tribe by creating experiences. Experiences that help them fulfill their cause. Experiences that help them make the change they seek in the world.

2. Traveling From Developing Messages To Creating Experiences

For years, communicators have focused on describing the value that the organization created.

They did this through a system of audiences, messages, media and brand touch points.

Describing is not enough anymore

But then the Internet came along. It invited every organization and every dweeb with a smartphone to come on in. What’s worse, it invited them to influence other people’s behavior by sharing information.

And lo and behold. Every brand, every organization, and every Internet dweeb took up the invitation. And they all came to the party.

All pushing their messages out through more and more media outlets. Dumping their talking points all over us through new technology.

Until we’re so overwhelmed with messages, sound bites, and information we can’t find what we value. It’s buried in a shit pile of media and messages. All professionally integrated together.

Don’t describe, create

Now we can create value using both content and experience. Not just describe it.

Today, that value is created by emotionally connecting with tribe members. Then by connecting them to one another and to their common purpose and passion. And finally helping them make change in the world.

That happens through experiences. Not through messages.

Make experiences, tell stories, create value

In a tribe, experiences and the stories that emerge from them drive movements. And these tribe-driven movements change things.

As a result, the focus is no longer on messages and media.

Now, it’s about creating delightful experiences. The kind of experiences that engage, inform and help the tribe do things they could not do on their own.

3. Traveling From Building Touch Points To Making Emotional Connections

Traditional marketing has always been driven by touch points.

First, you defined places where the audience came in contact with the brand. Then you assigned messages to each one.

Then you determined ways to link and integrate the touch point messages. It’s all devised to move people to the next stage of decision-making.

The old pipeline and funnel trick

That was great when people had the time and the attention span to attend to all that messaging. And to follow the complex message maps devised to move them down the touch point pipeline.

That was before we started inundating people with sound bites. Overwhelming them with ridiculous claims. And pummeling them with a new offer every minute. Before messaging became a very weak way to move people.

Before messages stopped working.

A more human view

What happens when we stop focusing on mass audiences that need to be prodded down the line of touch points?

The world starts to look different.

It starts to look like a human place. A where people naturally connect with others who share their passion.

Human beings can’t help it

We need to belong.

One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe. To contribute to and take from a group of like-minded people.

We are drawn to leaders and to their ideas and we can’t resist the rush of belonging and the thrill of the new.

We need something bigger

We want to belong to a tribe that stands for something bigger than ourselves.

In fact, we’re willing to become emotionally involved. Connecting with others who share our purpose.

We do this because we believe that together we are smarter than any one of us is alone.

High-quality connections like these are the glue that holds a tribe together.

We need a purpose

In large part, people join tribes to fulfill their need to feel connected. Tribe members need to feel connected to the tribe leader, to each other and to the cause. The reason for the tribe’s existence.

The depth and the width of those connections determine tribe effectiveness. The more tribe-member-to-tribe-member connections, the tighter the tribe.

4. Traveling From Internal Belching To Tribal Storytelling

We now live in a world of relative plenty. We are swamped with choices.

As a result, we are also swamped with more and more fragmented messages. Each one vying for attention on more and more fragmented media .

Traditional communications contributes to this world of noise. It encourages the creation of more messages that are essentially the same. From essentially the same internal view. Full of the same data-driven facts and figures and rationales.

It fails to recognize one very important thing.

We do not want more messages

We no longer find our way in the world by searching out information and messages that tell us what to think.

We want to be associated with people who give us unique experiences. Experiences that appeal to our dreams and emotions. Experiences that add meaning to our pursuit of a better world. Experiences that encourage us to come to our own conclusion.

We want to be understood. Known for who we are as people.

Today, we navigate the world using symbols, visual expressions, shared experiences and stories. These are the things that connect us with other tribe members and our common cause.

Stories are the language of a tribe

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 values, 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.

Today, tribe leaders establish their leadership by connecting people. First to each other and then to their purpose. And they do it by creating tribe experiences and by telling stories.

5. Traveling From Executing Campaigns To Igniting Movements

Traditional campaigns are predominately based on four things. Media. Audience as determined by demographics, psychographics and size. Messages. And touch points.

Media campaigns, even social media, are chiefly driven by messages.

And the messages are driven by telling people what to think and what to do.

But there’s a big difference between telling people what to do and inciting a movement.

Empower, don’t tell

Movements happen when people talk to one another. When ideas spread within the tribe. And most of all, when peer support helps people do what they believe is important and right.

So leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to do things through experiences. Then they help them share their experiences through stories.

They create platforms that people can use to make connections. They don’t command people to follow them.

Empower who?

Traditional programs market to a crowd they call an audience. The larger the better.

Movements assemble a tribe.

Instead of big numbers they seek highly committed tribe members. As few as a thousand true fans are all you need to have a tribe.

There’s no quality in quantity

Campaigns care about numbers, not the quality of fans. They care about hits or clicks or media mentions.

Instead of always hunting for one more set of eyeballs, movements focus on turning a casual fan into a true one.

So the leaders of movements focus on tightening the tribe.

There’s nothing like a tight tribe

It’s tempting to make the tribe bigger, to get more members, to spread the word to one and all. But this pales with the effects of a tighter tribe. A tribe that communicates with speed, fervor and emotion is a tribe that thrives.

A tighter tribe is more likely to hear its leader. It is more likely to coordinate action and ideas across the members of the tribe.

Fleeting vs. enduring

Campaigns are fleeting. They have a predetermined beginning and an end.

Movements last as long as it takes to make a difference.

This is an important distinction. Because how you view the timeframe of your work affects the strategies you use.

As a result, leaders of movements help the tribe fulfill their cause by:

  • Transforming their shared purpose into a passionate goal and desire for change.
  • Providing tools (experience platforms) to tighten member communications and tribe connections.
  • Leveraging the tribe, not media, to allow it to grow and gain new members.

To do that they use three elements:

  • A narrative that tells a story about who we are and the future we’re trying to build.
  • A connection between and among the leader and the tribe.
  • Something to do. As in experiences.

6. Traveling From Selling To Serving

You know what’s great about today’s connected marketplace, social networks and interactions? They give us a chance to think differently about what we do.

They open wonderful, new places we can go.

We can create digital platforms that function as interactive hubs. These platform hubs connect people in a new, more engaging way than mere messaging.

The rise of the helping platform

Most important, we can use these platforms to help our tribe. Help them do something that they want to do for the cause, but aren’t able to do by themselves.

Something they want to do but can’t do easily.

Something that makes a difference.

Something that helps them make the change they seek.

Something that supports their purpose and propels the movement.

Something that demonstrates the unique value of your organization to their cause.

For example

Charmin created a charming little platform called Sit Or Squat.

It’s for women with children.

The app helps them find clean bathrooms when they are out in public.

Put in an address and a map appears showing the location and a cleanliness rating for each.


The platform relies on input from its potty tribe members to populate the database. So Sit Or Squat gets better as participation increases.

But wait, there’s more

You can find other examples of these interactive, helping platforms here.  Take a minute to meet some of the adventurers who are exploring wonderful, new places.

You’ll see how they help their tribe do something important.

And that’s the idea. To do something. Not to say something.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s your take?