Brand management is so 1999.
Brand management was top down, internally focused, political and money based. It involved an MBA managing the brand, the ads, the shelf space, etc. The MBA argued with product development and manufacturing to get decent stuff, and with the CFO to get more cash to spend on ads.
Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world.
It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.
It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.
And of course, since this is so important, product development and manufacturing and the CFO work for the tribal manager. Everything the organization does is to feed and grow and satisfy the tribe.
Instead of looking for customers for your products, you seek out products (and services) for the tribe. Jerry Garcia understood this. Do you?
Who does this work for? Try record companies and bloggers, real estate agents and recruiters, book publishers and insurance companies. It works for Andrew Weil and for Rickie Lee Jones and for Rupert at the WSJ... But it also works for a small web development firm or a venture capitalist.
People form tribes with or without us. The challenge is to work for the tribe and make it something even better.