This is an anthropology report. We’ve found this tribe: the people all wear the same multi-coloured clothes. They paint their faces with symbolic colours before going to the battlefield. They sing war songs. They shout. The cheer on their warriors. Animal instincts are high. The sense of identification with the tribe is enormous, practically above everything else in their lives. When successful in the battlefield, the indigenous people get inebriated on mass and often lose control. When the battlefield expedition does not go well, there may be thousands of natives crying, men, women and children. In these circumstances, the tribe leaders are blamed even beyond the confines of the tribe. This all works through a strict tribal, prime-animal, collective code. And the natives pay a monthly fee to belong to the tribe. This tribe also has a curious ritual: they sell their warriors to other tribes for astronomical quantities.
It’s a football club! (AKA soccer in parts of the world with less tribal traditions of this type).
Are football club brands the prototype of brands? The Mother Of All Brands? Judging by the emotions and the almost blind stickiness of belonging to a cause, surely they must rank pretty high in the Brand Cult System.
A few years ago, a Spanish club, not in the premier league, was going through a tribal bad patch, it applied modern social network analytical tools to master massive support across the tribe and beyond. It had the full components of a social movement, with the identification of influencers, their networks, their pull effect, etc. I know this, because the masters of the tribe contacted me after being told by external advisers that what they were doing was pure Viral Change TM in action.
In my discussions with them, I found a level of understanding of ‘people mobilization rules’, knowledge of tools and network strategies, and clarity of purpose, which I wish I could find in the average business organization. Of course they are a business as well! But they are genuinely and seriously looking at the business as a social movement, tribal, mass mobilization and with full mastery of social network sciences. So far they are the best business anthropologists I have come across.