October 17, 2008
note to my “tribe”: where are we all headed, anyway?
Crystal from Ohio sent me this picture last night. Apparently she liked one of my cartoons so much, she went ahead and got it made into a tattoo. Thanks, Crystal! That’s a huge compliment.
This is the second time I’ve seen this happen with my work. The first time was with the Microsoft Blue Monster.
So if people permanently embellishing their own human skin with my work is anything to go by, it seems my “Tribe” is building (with all these thousands of people seeing my work online every week, I suppose it’s to be expected).
And as our mutual friend, Seth says, every tribe needs a leader:
The next frontier of marketing is in leading groups of people who are working together to get somewhere.
I concur. So I’m guessing that “Leader” job now falls down to me.
Don’t get too excited. I’m not Gandhi, I’m just a cartoonist in West Texas with a few crazy ideas up my sleeve. I find the prospect of leading a “tribe” a bit daunting, to be honest.
Leadership does not exist in a vacuum, you need somewhere to actually lead your tribe to. Moses had the Land of Milk & Honey. MLK had The Promised Land. Thomas Jefferson had the newly-formed United States. Putin has a strong and proud Russia. Doc Searls has The Cluetrain. Steve Clayton and his friends within Microsoft have The Blue Monster.
Me? I have no idea. Like I said, I’m just a cartoonist…
The good news is, to lead a tribe you don’t necessarily have to have a promised land, a utopian vision, or a new world order to lead a tribe. You simply need what my other great marketing friend, Mark Earls calls “The Purpose-Idea”, which as a bona fide Social Object, is THE REASON why people are joining together in the first place.
I’ve been telling my clients for years now, if you’re going to have a following, a community, a “tribe”, it can’t just be about you and your lovely product. It’s got to be about something higher than, and beyond… yourself.
What is true for them is, yes, also true for me. Like I told my good friend, James Governor on Twitter the other day,
If I’m to lead a “Tribe”, it needs to be for MUCH better reasons than “Please buy my lithographs, they’re very nice etc.”
Or my original drawings. Or my book. Or my consulting services. Or my speaking gigs. Or whatever.
So WHAT IS my Purpose-Idea, beyond getting people to read my cartoons and hire me for the occasional paid work? In spite of all the advice I’m always giving to other people, I’m not always 100% sure, myself.
Yes, it’s still a work in progress, though I DO know that doing what I can to help other people and companies learn “How To Be Creative” figures heavily in the equation.
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