Brigadoon Weekly: Tribes, Paul’s Boutique, Psychedelic Mushrooms, Digital Wellness, Cord Cutting

Brigadoon Weekly Aug 2018.png

Tribes, Paul’s Boutique, Psychedelic Mushrooms, Digital Wellness, Cord Cutting

Brigadoon Weekly
October 21, 2018
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Atlanta, Georgia

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Brigadoon is Education + Events + Engagement for Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders.

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Never buy a surfboard from a surf shop owner who doesn't surf

I love to surf, but I am dreadful.

I love to be in surf shops, but I am a poser.

I would love to run a surf shop, but I would be a fraud.

I lack the knowledge, the skills, and the language to be a successful surfboard salesman.

It’s not my tribe.

Developed by Seth Godin, the concept of tribe is a significant force for brands. Describing a tribe as a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, or to an ideal in which they have a deeper connection. Godin says, “Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.”

A tribe is more than a customer base.

Sure, every member of a tribe is a customer, not every customer truly belongs to a tribe. A richer connection is fostered when a service or brand generates something more unique—with the identification of the group by characteristics that bind key customers together, such as a collective passion, vision, stage of life, or a desired long-term objective. 

These shared attributes make these people more than just customers. They not only embrace the brand identity; to a significant extent, they help expand and define it.

For marketers, the goal is to discover the shared characteristics that define a tribe, speak to the changes and challenges that its members are experiencing, and create insider language and mystical stories that will strengthen the bonds of the tribe and stoke its passion for the brand. In turn, tribe members will help humanize messaging, evangelize products, and amplify the service.

REI is a great example. Many of their customers live and breathe the great outdoors and express this identification with an REI co-op membership. REI gives their tribe what they need to live out their passion, from gear to workshops which inspires them to new adventures.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes his company's future will be about getting its people into homes. Joly explains the importance of this strategy: “That lets you have a real conversation. You can talk about what’s possible, be human, make it real.”

Best Buy has mantras like “Be a consultant, not a salesperson.”

Best Buy uses phrases like: "How would you like it if," "Do you think it would help if you could," "Have you ever thought about." 

For Best Buy, they want to establish long-term relationships with their customers rather than chase one-time transactions. 

Best Buy is providing solutions, knows the gear, and is building a tribe. 

It doesn’t just want to sell your electronics. 

It wants its in-home consultants to be “personal chief technology officers.”

Nordstrom has long enjoyed a reputation for personal customer service and quality goods.

Nordstrom has gained credibility as a high-end destination, upper-middle-class, if not glamorous retail operator where loyal customers enjoy attentive service and a liberal return policy. 

Embracing technology in the rapidly changing retail shopping environment, Nordstrom sees shopping coupled with delivery innovations that will build more loyalty and serve the tribe.

This approach to technology will more than offset their costs—especially if they lure e-commerce customers to brick-and-mortar locations, where they might shop more.

Nordstrom shoppers today can pick up online orders and try on items selected from its website. They can meet a stylist or get an alteration (Nordstrom is the largest employer of tailors in the country, with 1,300, and alterations encourage more store visits).

The tech-plus-touch formula is helping Nordstrom move further upscale, generating more revenue, and further cementing the connection between brand and tribe.

Next time you go shopping, ask yourself if the retailer has the knowledge, the skills, and the language to make you feel like you are a member of the tribe.

-Marc A. Ross | Brigadoon Founder + TLC

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and event production. Working with doers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, Marc helps them create compelling communications, engaging events, and powerful connections. 


The making (and unmaking) of Paul’s Boutique: The Beastie Boys made a masterpiece. And then they were foiled by Donny Osmond.

Ryan Holiday: Your work is the only thing that matters: There is a story about an exchange between Jerry Seinfeld and a young comedian. The comedian approaches Seinfeld in a club one night and asks him for advice about marketing and getting exposure. Exposure? Marketing? Seinfeld asks. Just work on your act.

Psychedelic mushrooms are closer to medicinal use (it's not just your imagination): NYT reports, researchers say the active compound in the mushrooms should be reclassified to treat anxiety and depression. But any such move would be years away.

The bullish case for bitcoin

9 highlights from Snapchat CEO’s 6000-word leaked memo on survival 


Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = November 1, 2018 | Only 5 spots available

Brigadoon Miami | Salon Dinner = January 17, 2019 | Save the date

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 = February 24-26, 2019 | 45% of the tickets claimed

More details and ticket information @ 


“If you are a CEO and someone is coming to you with a blockchain project, beware. Blockchain is a technology, not an outcome. You need to start with a business problem.” -- Accenture North America CEO Julie Sweet 

Popularity: Adults aged 18 to 21 are nearly as likely to say that Major League Soccer is their favorite sport — 12 percent — as they are to say that Major League Baseball is, 15 percent. The favorite league of the young is the NFL (37 percent of 18 to 21-year-olds, 43 percent of all adults) followed by the youth-skewing NBA (28 percent of 18 to 21-year-olds, 17 percent of adults). Hockey remains steadily niche, with 9 percent of both groups preferring the game most.

Musicians: An analysis of the gender composition of 22 of the world’s top orchestras found that of 2,438 full-time musicians, 1,677 were men or 69 percent. 

Cord cutting: By the end of this year, the number of US households that will have stopped subscribing to pay television is projected to hit 33 million.

MIT reshapes itself to shape the future: MIT will invest $1 billion to address the rapid evolution of computing and AI — and its global effects. At the heart of this effort: a $350 million gift to found the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing.

The lost art of concentration: Being distracted in a digital world: Guardian reports, we check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behavior is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to the hit the pause button.

"Digital wellness" is having a moment. 


Pulp - Common People 

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Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.