In the first of three reports, Digital Vision winner Allison Saur explores the power and role of Naming in building a digital community. Using the template of native tribes, the report outlines best practices for when and how to use naming to increase the loyalty of group members.

By the author, Allison Saur;

From social media users to best selling authors, ‘tribe’ has become a social marketing term that hints at a deeper human experience. Using Native American tribal characteristics to examine this concept reveals a substantial framework for building stronger, more fulfilling and highly committed online communities.

A part of the Digital Vision Project, the three reports in this series outline the implications and potential in that tribal reference, including specific techniques for digital communities. Download this first report on naming here.

As a member of the Chickasaw Nation and long time digital marketing professional, my research into a definition of tribe began with my own heritage. The indigenous peoples of North America know a lot about community, identity and loyalty. Native American identities been assaulted for hundreds of years of assault on their tribal existence, but they persist, and even thrive.

When American Indians are asked about being “Native,” themes of pride, commitment and a “we” identity rise to the top of the discussion. This sense of community and identity is not exclusive to indigenous peoples; it arises from practices that are found throughout human interaction, and even in online communities.

There are three Pillars that support a tribe: Language, Culture and Organization. Under each of these are a several tools to support strong community development. Each article in the series will address a Tribal Pillar and review a single technique in more detail.

The first Pillar, Language, is so fundamental to our experience of communal identity, we often overlook it. However, we consistently gravitate to those who “speak our language” as a first anchor of shared experience and perspective. As community builders, being intentional in our use and support of insider jargon, symbols and naming conventions will increase the tethers of the group identity on very basic levels. The report outlines three Naming tools from Native American tribes that marketers can begin exploring with in their tribe immediately.

The two subsequent reports will look at Culture and Organization.

Culture is complex to define, yet we know it when we see it. Community cultures emerge and grow, but as community builders and marketers we should be more than passive observers. This report will discuss actions that support vibrant community cultures that captivate its members.

The third report in the series discusses the Organization Pillar. This Pillar starts with tribal examples to understand the role of governance, hierarchy and resource management in the cohesiveness of online communities in digital age.

Click here to download the first report in the series, Digital Tribes I: Naming