Tribalism: Group Loyalty

Have you heard the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together”? This proverb states that people with similarities will be found together. It’s easy to be with people who share something with us. There is a natural tendency to group loyalty. I explored that topic in a panel discussion on the Client Loyalty Summit. I gained some great insights.

Group Loyalty Within Gender

Group Loyalty

Buffie Blesi

Buffie Blesi is the managing director of her local NAWBO chapter, as well as a business coach and owner of the Women’s Expo. She is a champion for women. I wondered how gender can influence loyalty. Buffie shared, “typically when you’re a female entrepreneur or business owner. . . you want to be able to support more and more of those women . . .”

Group Loyalty in Race and Ethnicity

Group Loyalty

Tai Goodwin

Ethnic background is often used to divide people. However, you are probably naturally attracted to people who are “like you” when it comes to demographics like race or ethnic background. Whether you are African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Caucasian, it’s easy to relate to others like you. Tai Goodwin, an African American business coach had this insight, “there’s that loyalty that when you do see someone that looks like you, that you want to support them, and you want to find out more, and you want to be in the same space.”

Faith-based Group Loyalty

Group Loyalty

Teri Johnson

Religion may not be a common topic of conversation in your line of business, but Teri Johnson leads a Christian women’s community called REFINE. It’s a place for women who share the same faith to come and grow personally and professionally. Because of this commonality, the women are eager to be loyal to one another. “It’s just a different layer of connection,” she says. You may come from a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Agnostic background. Others who share that belief system will resonate with you. It can be a stepping stone to loyalty.

Alumni Group Loyalty

Group Loyalty

Lelia Thell

College alumni communities are often loyal to their schools. Lelia Thell is an alumni of Carleton College, one of the most loyal alumni communities in the country. Even though the school is small, the network is great. And, according to Lelia, she would be more likely to hire an alumni because of the shared experience. Knowing what kind of people attend Carleton, (people like her) makes her more trusting of them when it comes to doing business together. “I do feel like there is a bond … and probably everybody has it with their own college.”

How can you apply group loyalty to your business?

Sharing who you are can attract people to you – people who share those qualities. Because of the shared similarities there is often an increased level of trust and loyalty. We trust people like us. We want to support people like us. You don’t necessarily, “wear it on your sleeve,” as Teri Johnson pointed out. Just be yourself and it will shine through.

The Flip Side

Buffie pointed out that sometimes similarities have an opposite effect. She sees women who are afraid to do business with other women because they don’t want to ruin a friendship if the business relationship goes south. While this is always possible, it is important to support the people in your circle. Don’t be afraid to show some loyalty.

Use your unique identity to build loyalty in your business. Whether you were born into a category or chose it later in life, it can be a unifying force with your clients and connections. How have you seen tribal loyalty play out in your life or your business? Share in the comments below.

If you missed the Client Loyalty Summit, you can still purchase the recordings, transcripts and Loyalty Tip Guide here.

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