We all belong to a community. We strive for a sense of existence within a group of like-minded people, where we are able to express ourselves freely without judgment. A brand tribe refers to a group of people who share the same beliefs in relation to a brand. These people unite under ideas and feelings to form a strong bond, negative or positive, towards a brand.

In the past, the brand tribe has confined itself into cliché groups such as religion and race, however, with the rise of individualism and anti-consumerist culture, brand tribes have morphed themselves to revolve around groups with common interests, such as hobbies or ideas. As a designer, understanding brand tribes can allow a much more specific target audience to be identified. For example the demographic of 16-24 is broad and includes an extremely diverse range of people. Crowd DNA for Channel 4 understood this and have carried out extensive research and have been able to classify the 16-24 age bracket into at least 23 smaller “tribes” based on interests and lifestyle choices.

Brand tribes allow us to do something, become someone and belong to something. During an interview by Isabella Burley with Peter Saville he said “Brand has become folklore; culture, new tribalism, people belonging to different brands”. Tribes formed off the back of brands ideas and can be both beneficial and cause issues for the company. If we look at a brand such as Tupperware, who first introduced the marketing technique of ‘The Party Plan’ to the industry, they used the idea of creating a tribe through the marketing of their product, to allow consumers to interact with both the product and like-minded people. Given that we live in a society where we are influenced by the opinions of others this method of marketing lends itself to buying into peer pressure and immersing into the brand as an experience or society rather than just the product. In the 50’s when Tupperware first introduced the marketing strategy it was revolutionary and whilst the idea of party plans is clever it could also be portrayed in a negative light as you may end up buying excessive amounts of Tupperware “just because your friend did”.

Being part of a brand tribe could stretch as far as being attached to a brand in the same way that someone follows a religion. It becomes a way of life that defines who you are and what you stand for.