One of the keys to better communication is to understand the way that groups of people around you and especially our/your customers view the world.

When we speaking with our customers we need to align ourselves with their needs, goal and desires to better serve them. When we are aligned with our customers we can save a lot of time and energy by knowing what will make the most sense in their particular universe.

But how do we get there, how do we become aligned to our customers?

Sales thinking has long identified  different roles in buying process and devised particular methodologies to satisfy those different roles and/ specialised groups.  In the wider context we are also dealing with different regional, historical and social factors as well.

To win business we also need to understand the wider social issues as well. We already recognise some of this thinking by bringing in industry and subject matter experts who “speak the same language”.

One way of looking at a market is to get some form of social demographic read on which factors might be more important to a particular group.

However that’s easier said then done or in this case, known as no one group of people is exactly the same as the next. The trick is how to find out what those needs, wants and desires are within the context of each new group that we engage with.

Perhaps we need to also know which tribe our customers belong to as well?

What makes sense to a customer in Auckland or Sydney is not so valued in Dunedin or Canberra / Wellington.

Now there is a book that can give us some insights into which NZ “tribe” we might belong to which could be different from the one our customers are in. Certainly when you are in presentation in Dunedin (as I have been) it is wise to remember that Auckland latte drinkers might seem a tad smug and superficial in the heart of Otago. (Bring on the Aussie tribe survey!)

However – now you can get a latte anywhere the local tribal characteristics and customs need a much smarter decoder. And just because someone lives in Dunedin doesn’t mean they don’t belong to the Grey Lynn tribe for example. In fact to extend the idea a bit each group translates the message that is most meaningful for them to their “tribe”.

Which is why a couple of consultant/ researchers* in Wellington have come up with a new book on the subject . It is called ‘The Hidden Classes of New Zealand’ by Jill Caldwell and Christopher Brown.  *About the authors.

8 Tribes calls an end to the myth of the “typical New Zealander” and gives us a new vocabulary to talk about New Zealand in the twenty first century. This snapshot of contemporary New Zealand explores our unspoken class system and the hidden social boundaries that separate us from each other. “

I did the test on the site (this link to try it out-automated) and apparently I am predominantly a member of the Grey Lynn tribe which values culture and ideas most highly. I also have a high percentage of Cuba St avant garde which is funny and more accurate than I’d like to admit.

I do admit that I am contrarian and like to delve into the margins of art, film and music for example. Once things reach the mainstream I have already moved on so that fits the Cuba St profile. Not sure what a negative rating menas and a total zero in the North Shore column is worth thinking about as well.

For a more recent update go here.

My profile result is shown below. It is a great concept and perhaps we can gain some business insights from this as well.  Thanks to the 8 tribes authors.

8 Tribes result

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