Names can be tricky – even when it comes to children. After preparing a list of boy’s names we ended up having three girls. So, when it came to choose a name for the business, I expected it to be much harder than it was. I’m often asked about the story behind the name “Tribal Impact” so figured it was time to share it.
Celebrating 10 Years
This year the name “Tribal Impact” is celebrating a 10-year-old birthday even though the company officially formed in 2015. Weird, huh? Here’s why.
I joined SAP in 2009 and was given the incredible opportunity to explore how social media would impact B2B marketing (I have a lot to thank SAP for). Think back 10 years ago – celebrities were on Twitter, Facebook was becoming mainstream and Instagram didn’t exist.
Whilst I was responsible for the brand social media channels for SAP EMEA, I never personally followed them. Instead I followed and connected with my colleagues. That’s where I had a lightbulb moment.
Social media is about conversations and people don’t talk with logos…they talk with people!
I decided to start writing a blog to record my thoughts as I explored the emerging world of Social Business. If you check out our blog, you’ll read some of my very early thinking.
It was at this point that I decided that I needed a name for the blog so after reading books and speaking to several people, my first ever manager and I kicked around some ideas and came up with Tribal Impact.
Tribes are collectives. They’re communities. They’re not forced together but naturally grow as a result of a strong purpose. There are a number of reasons why I feel high performing cultures behave like tribes.
- Tribes have elders. Leaders who earn their place in the tribe through experience, knowledge and respect. Modern organisations recognise this. As Seth Godin explains in his book “Tribes”
“You can’t have a tribe without a leader—and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.”
- Tribes create movements. Anyone can lead a tribe. It takes belief, passion and a sense of purpose. People will follow this with conviction.
- Tribes have structure. Not in the formal hierarchical sense but in the informal sense. Imagine a campfire at the center – some sit closer and others move away and that’s okay. Organisations are always changing and adapting
Tribal Impact Explained
1.a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader
I believe tribes are special. Brands have tribes and individuals have tribes. Tribes are simply communities of people that are brought together by a common purpose and set of values.
When I look at high performing organisations, they’re often centred around a strong people-centric culture. A place where employees understand how their role contributes to the wider brand story.
Beyond Your Core Impact
What I love about the tribal concept is that it goes beyond your employees. I look at it in layers from core to fan.
Layer 1: Your Core Tribe
These are the people closest to your customers - your employees. At Tribal we’re transparent. We talk about our financial performance and lofty aspirations openly and honestly. We keep our core tribe close to our business. We trust them, implicitly.
Layer 2: Your Extended Tribe
I consider the next layer of the tribe to be your customers, partners, suppliers and contractors. We choose to partner with companies that match our culture and values and as a rule, we prefer to hire talent via referrals.
Layer 3: Your Fan Tribe
There will always be people who will follow your brand. They may not be your customers, employees or partners but are fans of your purpose and will support you. We’re often tagged in articles or sent research because our fans think of us. It feels great to know people have your back.
Building A Culture Of Impact
As the business has grown, Tribal Impact has become a way of being rather than just the name of the company. Our culture is centred around “The Tribal Way” of doing things.
It’s quite difficult to explain. Having spent over 20 years in corporate cultures I know what I like and what I don’t like. Now I’m lucky enough to embed that into the fabric of our business.
We embrace folks who want freedom, flexibility and fun in their work. I recognise that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to growing a business. I know that growing a business isn’t easy and it won’t be all rainbows and unicorns – much to my daughters’ disappointment.
That said, I’m confident we’re creating work that works – not just for our core members but our extended tribe. A tribe that I’m proud of. We attract best-fit talent, customers and partners via our holistic inbound approach to business.
Evolution Of Tribal Impact.
So, the story of Tribal Impact has evolved over time. From the title of a blog, to a company name to an ethos and way of being.
When businesses trust and empower their employees to tell their own stories in the context of the wider brand story, it humanises the company and creates a credible, authentic voice that differentiates the brand.
At Tribal we talk a lot about putting employees in front of the logo and showcasing the true talent behind what makes brands so great. For me, this is what defines Tribal Impact.