Global Tribes: A New Way to Connect with Your Audience 

What are global tribes and why are they important?


Everybody knows the key to marketing is understanding your audience. But, with the rise of digital and globalisation, traditional demographics are becoming less relevant. Marketers can no longer rely on age, nationality or location alone when building a picture of their customers. That’s where global tribes come into play. A global tribes is a consumer community with shared tastes, values, passions, etc. which shape their consumer behaviours.  Global tribes are also a new way of segmenting your audiences. Why? Well, as Nikki Baird notes ‘consumers aren’t defining themselves by demographics – they’re defining themselves by interests and activities.’  

There are loads of global tribes out there, each shaped by different customer interests and activities. While most people don’t actively think about their consumer tribe, they probably belong to one or two. For example, their purchasing decisions might sometimes be shaped by a gamer mindset while at other times influenced by an eco-warrior or a fitness enthusiast outlook. Today’s consumers often have more in common with members of their tribes than with many of their neighbours or people of the same age. Think about it: if you try to shop sustainably, you probably relate to other eco-warriors across the globe, despite the fact that they might belong to a different generation and live miles away. 

So, the best way to resonate with your customers is to recognise what tribe/s they belong to and switch up your marketing strategy accordingly… 

For more on modern consumer identity and global tribes, download our latest guide, You Are What You Buy: Marketing to Global Consumer Tribes

Know your values:

Global tribes are often shaped by a certain ethos or set of values, ranging from the more personal to the political. For example, minimalists seek contentment through a less is more approach to life while feminist consumers want to shop from brands who share their views on topics like gender representation. Respecting and resonating with the core beliefs of a global tribe allows brands to make meaningful connections with their customers. 

However, brands should avoid shouting about their strong values or ethos if their actions tell a different story. After all, customers want “authentic wokeness”. Indeed, for eco-warriors, brands who brag about their green credentials but fail to back up their claims are seen to be greenwashing – a big no-no. A lack of transparency makes brands appear inauthentic, so take inspiration from Patagonia, whose mission statement is all about their drive to help the planet but also highlights the areas they need to improve. 

Related read: Keeping it Real: How to Achieve Brand Authenticity

Consider tribe trends:

As with all cohorts, global tribes are influenced by their notions of what’s cool and what’s not. Staying up to date with the latest trends is essential when it comes to targeting these consumer groups. For example, esports is a huge trend within the gaming industry and something that gamers are getting seriously excited about. Lots have brands have recognised this trend, targeting gamers by collaborating with esports teams and releasing esports merchandise; Nike announced their collaboration with the League of Legends Pro League in China, providing the team with their official apparel while Champion have released their own range of esports apparel. 

Related Read: Gamers: Marketing to the Fastest Growing Global Tribe

Choose channels carefully:

Different channels appeal to different consumer tribes, and for different reasons. For example, Twitch is a huge channel for gamers, with 15M+ active daily users (source: Influencer Marketing Hub), equally YouTube is still hugely popular amongst the gamer community. For the young urban creatives (or yuccies), Instagram continues to be the reigning champion. For fitness enthusiasts, Instagram and Youtube are great sources of workout inspiration, while fitness apps are proving to be extremely popular – in fact, according to Polaris Market Research, the global fitness app market is expected to reach over 14.7B USD by 2026. 

Do thorough research to ensure sure you know which channels make your tribe tick. But, before sending your content out into the world, consider your markets. If you’re looking to target your tribe in China, many channels come under the firewall, including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. 

Related read – An Innovative Approach: Engaging Global Audiences Through Video Marketing

Look for local influencers:

It probably comes as no surprise that influencer marketing is an easy and effective way to tap into global consumer tribes. Different tribes look up to different influencers, and these influencers will vary depending on your target markets. 

Opting for micro-influencers in your strategy is a great direction to take; on average micro-influencers get 7x more engagement than all other types of influencer (macro, mega, etc.) combined (source: PR Daily). Unlike bigger influencers or celebrities who often end up endorsing everything, micro-influencers tend to stick to smaller, more relevant fields and have a more localised approach, thus resonating with their followers more strongly. So finding a micro-influencer who relates to a global tribe is a sure fire way to resonate with your customers. 

Of course, some global tribes are shaped by huge, global influencers and less localisation is required. Gamers in Australia, Spain and the Netherlands will tune into Ninja’s livestreams despite him being from the US. As ever, it’s about understanding your tribe and how they’re shaped both locally and globally.  

And finally… be part of the tribe:

The key thing to remember when building global tribes into your strategy is that it’s no use trying to market to a tribe that you don’t belong to. Indeed, brands that get the most back from their audiences are the ones that play an active part in their community. So, don’t talk at global tribes who aren’t relevant, talk with the ones who already view your brand as an icon. 

If you found this introduction into global tribes useful and would like to know more, download our latest guide: You Are What You Buy: Marketing to Global Consumer Tribes.

Natalie Thomas
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