Who's in YOUR tribe?

Seth Godin has an uncanny knack (after 25 years of marketing success)for making insightful, probing commentary that gets you thinking about why you do what you do to sell your products and services. A small business owner, and others, would do well to pick a copy of Purple Cow, Permission Marketing orMeatball Sundae, to name a few of his best sellers. Or at least read his blog from time to time.

My current favorite is Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Godin's musings on leadership, change and what matters in business and not for profit organizations. A tribe is "a group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader and an idea." A customer is not part of a tribe. Most of us in business today don't know we need a tribe. Coke has a tribe. Apple Computer has a tribe.

In Syracuse, where I live and work, Dinosaur BBQ has built a tribe serving awesome ribs and chicken in a biker atmosphere that draws bikers, families, college students and business people. Customers who value your product above all others, not just for the product but also for what your company stands for, become a tribe. Do you have any customers like that? If you don't, you should. How, you're asking, do you grow a tribe? A tribe grows with great products, but is more likely to grow with leadership and innovation. Take a risk to step outside the box and do something you are passionate about. If successful, your customers will notice and grow to love you. That means they'll think of you before the competition and are more likely to buy from you again and again. If you're not successful, take a deep breath and try something else. It doesn't matter what - just that it matters to you. One by one, a tribe will form when what you do begins to matter to your followers.