This presentation is a review of Seth Godin’s “Tribes” for my Public Relations Practicum course.
Known best for his bestselling books, blogging, and speaking, Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, leader, and innovator. He is also the founder of Squidoo, a fast growing recommendation Web site. For a more in depth bio, visit his website: www.sethgodin.com.
Godin is known for his innovative marketing ideas and his works have changed the way people everywhere view marketing. His blog was named the “#1 Business Blog” by AdAge Top 150 blogs. He has a huge online following. You can find him at any of the links above. He also has some Ebooks online if you are interested.
What is a tribe anyway? Godin defines a tribe as something that connects a group and a leader with a common idea. Tribes are far from new. Human beings have been putting themselves in tribes like these since the beginning of time. We are all a part of a tribe. Actually, we are all a part of many, many tribes. As a member of the Georgia Southern University chapter of PRSSA, I am in a PRSSA tribe. Godin’s trade book notes that you cannot have a tribe without a leader, nor a leader without tribe to lead. Our advisor, Lisa Muller, leads the PRSSA tribe at Georgia Southern.
Tribes must have two things to exist. They must have something in common that connects them, other than their leader. Tribe members are connected through a common interest, whether it be public relations, Georgia Southern University, or running triathalons. Members of the tribes are brought together with that common interest and a leader. Tribes must have leadership because they are diverse and they grow. Once tribes are formed, they must have a means of communication to continue these relationships.
In his book and in his blog, Godin states that the customer and the tribe are what matters. He stresses not to look for customers to purchase your product but instead look for and develop products/services that will benefit your tribe. Seek out what your tribe wants and needs instead of trying to sell a product to them their not interested in. That is sucessful marketing. Steve Jobs and Apple are an example of this.
Once tribes have a leader, an idea, and a way to communicate they need faith. Tribes need faith in an idea, in their community, and in their leader. Godin talks about believing in what you do. If you believe in what you do everyday, you are going to be more satisfied. He also says that the old product central idea of selling products and services is no longer an option. The marketplace is changing and so must we. Consumers are spending money on products and services they believe in, want, and need.
Times are changing. The status quo is no longer acceptable or a means to be successful. People crave new ideas, not old, boring ones. The truly successful leaders and organizations today thrive because they take risks. The catch: you have to get people to believe in your idea and take those risks with you. In “Tribes,” Godin admits that the status quo doesn’t cut it anymore. Leaders make a ruckus.
Using Senator Bill Bradley’s “Anatomy of a Movement” to describe how tribes work. It is necessary that the movement tells a story of who we are and the future that we are trying to build. A movement needs a connection between and among the leader of the tribe and its members. Then the tribe needs something to do, and the less limitations that are given the more the tribe can thrive. With these three elements, a movement can begin and start a change.
I was surprised by Godin’s book. It is so innovative but… so surprisingly simple. The idea: people want growth and connection and something new. We have known that for a long time. “Tribes” reminds readers that people matter. Tribes matter. It’s no longer about what the companies want, but instead what the publics want. We want growth, we want connection, and we want something new.
Godin taught me more than just the concept of tribes. Every tribe is different. Some are similar but each tribe has different members, leaders, and ideas. Some tribes get stuck in the status quo. They don’t get anywhere. They don’t make a change. Godin says that these tribes are boring. But in each tribe that is stuck, there is an opportunity for a movement to happen. How do you make the movement happen and get unstuck? Leadership. As I said earlier, tribes cannot exist without a leader.
One person can make a change. One thing I learned from “Tribes” is that organizations often care too much about the quantity and not enough about quality in numbers. Numbers and fans are two different things. An organization wants fans, not numbers. True fans deliver commitment to your company or organization. True fans will be around long after those numbers will. A handful of true fans can do more than a large group of “numbers.”
Tribes need followers. Followers help the tribe grow and become what it is. In “Tribes,” Godin explains that followers are like microleaders. The followers do a variety of different tasks that help keep the tribe alive. Followers engage. Followers improve. Followers interact. Followers recuit. Without the followers helping to microlead and build the tribe alongside the leader, the tribe would not be around for very long. It’s the followers who make the organization.
Twitter is so much more than a social media site. Twitter helps to build rapport among the people in your tribes. Building relations through Twitter allows you to build trust, strengthen your tribe, and gain committed true fans. As Godin puts it, “most people who see Twitter don’t get it.” I’ve never thought about how the people I follow on Twitter have become part of my tribe. But Godin’s book has opened my mind to see that I have learned to reply on them for more than just my dinner selection. I’ve created relationships, joined tribes, and gained fans that I consider friends. I get it. Do you?
Godin puts the readers in a balloon factory as a metaphor. He explains how simple it would be for a unicorn to wreck havoc on the balloon factory. The factory represents the status quo. The unicorn that disrupts the factory represents the leader who causes a ruckus and changes that status quo. Godin suggests that we step up and be the unicorn. I don’t know where he got this metaphor before but I really like it.I would love to learn more about this theory of Godin’s and see what other metaphors he has.
Fear of failure gets in the way of leadership and success. According to Godin, we are not just afraid of failure, but w are afraid of blame and criticism. We choose not to take risks or speak our opinions because we’re fearful of what others may think. Fear deters us from achieving things we know we can. When criticized, our feelings get hurt. However, when constructive, criticism can benefit you in big ways. You live and you learn. So, don’t be afraid to strike out, or you’ll never win the game.
In closing, Godin asks his readers to do him a favor. If “Tribes” has any impact on you whatsoever to give it to someone else to read. I can say as a PR student I want to recommend this book to all of my peers. If you haven’t read it and you’re even somewhat interested in marketing, PR, or business this book has benefits for you. Get it. Read it. Pass it on.
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Review of Seth Godin's Tribes
Seth Godin’s Tribes Presented by Ashleigh Martin
Seth Godin <ul><li>Bestselling author </li></ul>Blogger Founder of Squidoo Leader Innovator Public Speaker Entrepreneur
<ul><li>“ The Prime Minister of Permission Marketing” </li></ul><ul><li>-Promote Magazine </li></ul>“ #1 Business Blog” -AdAge Top 150 Blogs “ America’s Greatest Marketer” -American Way Magazine Website: www.sethgodin.com Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/seth Facebook: www.facebook.com/sethgodin Twitter: http://twitter.com/thisissethsblog
<ul><li>“ A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Seth Godin </li></ul>
<ul><li>A group only needs two things to be a </li></ul><ul><li>tribe: </li></ul><ul><li>1. a shared interest </li></ul><ul><li> 2.a way to communicate </li></ul>
<ul><li>DON’T: </li></ul><ul><li>look for customers </li></ul><ul><li>for your products </li></ul>DO: seek out products and services for the tribe
<ul><li>Tribes are about faith… </li></ul>* faith in an idea * faith in community * faith in the tribe leader
Leaders make a ruckus… Good-bye to the status quo!
The anatomy of a movement: Three elements- 1. A narrative about who we are and the future we’re working on 2. A connection among the leader and the tribe 3. Something to do- the fewer the limits, the better
“ People want growth and connection and something new.” -Tribes It’s surprisingly simple.
* A thermometer indicates something is broken * A thermostat changes the enviornment with the world outside <ul><li>Thermometer vs. Thermostat </li></ul>
It’s simple. Twitter tightens the relationship you have with your followers. <ul><li>Twitter = trust + tribes + true fans </li></ul>
* The balloon factory represents the status quo. * The unicorn represents the leader who changes the status quo. Be the unicorn. <ul><li>What happens when you put a unicorn in a balloon factory? </li></ul>
Fear- the only thing holding you back. <ul><li>The F Word. </li></ul>
As Godin says in conclusion, “You can chose to lead, or not. You can choose to have faith, or not. You can choose to contribute to the tribe or not. You get to make the choice.” <ul><li>Get it. Read it. Pass it on. </li></ul>I say pick up the book and learn something. I did.
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