Tribalism, Politics and Branding

I read the political headline online and my anger bubbles up. I can't believe the "other side" is doing what they are doing. My fear gets in on the act too and I start imagining scenarios if this comes to pass. So I click.

I know that someone crafted that headline just to make me click so they could get page views and ad revenue, but I click anyway. So what's going on? My humanness kicked in.

Our human instinct for survival by forming groups makes us eager to embrace an us against them mentality. In an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, Harvard professor Edward Wilson stated “the drive to form and take deep pleasure from in-group membership easily translates at a higher level into tribalism … and can spark religious, ethnic and political conflicts of breathtaking brutality."

Headline writers know this and write to invoke our "us against them" tribal feelings. And it works.

As mission-based entrepreneurs, I suggest we capitalize on these human behaviors as a force for good, by spreading our business' message and helping more people.

How can we use this human attribute for tribalism in branding our business?

1 - Know your tribe and make it specific

Who is your tribe? Are they divorced women or people trying to heal from chronic illness or healers who use the chakra system? Get specific here and if fear is holding you back, my article on getting clear might help.

2 - Speak directly to the dreams and values of your tribe

Dig deep and think about the dreams of your tribe. What do they lie in bed at night imagining? What would they love to see happen in the future if all went perfectly? What's important to them? Speak to that.

3 - Make clear who you don't help

Talk about who is not part of your tribe. In clearly building your tribe, make them feel like part of an exclusive group. One way to do this is to get clear on who you don't help, and speak about that. People will feel satisfaction from being included in your tribe.

4 - Build community among your tribe

Tribes love to come together over a united ideal. What is that for your people? Have a place for them to come together, virtually or in person. You can give them a group name and talk to them using it, have swag for the group that identifies them as a member of the tribe, or even your product can be a unifier.

Although tribalism can get divisive and ugly in politics, use it for good in your business by bringing people together.

Bethany is a brand consultant with a weekly inspirational blog under her own name. With degrees in Economics, law and graphic design, she has followed her joy toward helping others with their branding. Bethany helps coaches and mission-based entrepreneurs who want their brand to be a reflection of themselves. They have a vision but it's all over the place. She helps them state what they offer and what makes them special in a short clear way so they can get more clients. Find her at

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