Marketing in a Hyper-Social World: The Tribalization of Business Study and Characteristics of Successful Online Communities

Edward Moran

Deloitte Services LP

Francois Gossieaux

Human 1.0


The authors, in conjunction with the Society for New Communications research, conducted “The Tribalization of Business Study” (“Tribalization”) in 2008 and 2009. Composed of a survey and telephone interviews, Tribalization examined three factors:

  • How organizations are establishing (or sponsoring) online communities
  • How the sponsoring companies measure success
  • How these organizations use their interaction with the communities to improve marketing and other business processes.

The tribalization metaphor captures an element of successful online communities that was not immediately apparent. These communities often thrive because the members primarily are drawn to one another. The importance of person-to-person affinity—and the ability to interact with these other humans—typically trumped the role of the sponsor’s goods or services or the presence of other features in the online communities.