The highly anticipated prequel The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powe has been released, and new as well as old fans are ecstatic. However, a significant portion of this joy may come not from the quality of the new show, but from the opportunity to reconnect with their “microtribe” of fellow fans once again. With that said, We will not discuss the mixed opinions about the show.
Microtribes are a surrounding community centered around a specific niche interest or topic and are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. These communities are influencing consumer behavior, disrupting industries, and impacting society as well as politics.
In order to remain relevant, brands ought to consider the impact of this trend and find ways to adapt to it. Otherwise, they risk being left behind.
Why is this trend gaining so much attention now? Tribalism has been a driving force in human behavior since the earliest days, when groups of hunter-gatherers were on the savannah, in the mountains, or on the plains. However, the rapid growth of today’s digital landscape and the explosion of choices and access has intensified this natural tendency in just the last few years.
As society becomes increasingly fragmented, people are choosing to associate with smaller and more specific groups, a trend that is being reinforced and accelerated by social media algorithms. No matter what your interests or beliefs may be, there is likely a group or community out there that shares them. Whether you identify as a vegan bodybuilder or an extreme fan of 1980s J-pop you can find a microtribe that caters to your specific interests out there.
As a company grows and acquires more resources, it is able to effectively target a larger number of microtribes. Disney, for example, has organized its content to appeal to specific audiences such as teenage girls or young adult men. The success of shows like “Ms. Marvel,” which features a Pakistani-American superhero girl dealing with her dual identity and using phrases that are familiar to Muslim Americans demonstrates the company’s ability to connect with niche communities.
In today’s market, companies need a strategy for targeting specific microtribes in order to succeed, whether they are selling coffee or streaming services. This represents a significant shift for businesses that used to prioritize appeal to broad audiences.
For instance, the success of Tesla that initially appealed to younger conscious consumers who worked in new segments and industries but later became popular with both librarians and soccer moms. Or Facebook which started as a college hook-up service before becoming a global conglomerate platform, may not be as assured in today’s market. Mass appeal is no longer as effective as it once was.