Why are Friendship, Community and Tribe so important in engaging golfers?
In an era where time is money and where loyalty is on the decline, time spent on leisure activities should yield multiple benefits. Feeling part of a tribe or community will be a strong motivator to be committed and to be loyal. In the end people are not loyal to an activity or venue: people are loyal to people.
Retention = Challenge
Why is that? The most common answered reasons in surveys are “Time and Money”. However, people still spend time and money on their hobbies. What makes them choose one over the other? Many researches that look a bit deeper point in the same direction: The main reason is that newcomers are not engaged enough into the golf community. Social is the biggest challenge in golf.
“Clubs need to provide the right welcoming environment. We need to make people feel welcome in golf clubs – and we need to do better at that.”
Tribal acceptance of newcomers
''People need people---Their Tribe, unique, welded together through experience, amplified through stories told “round the campfire”. Some primitive part of our brains craves people, herd, the gang experience, the unique, the different, the exclusionary. People hunger for The Magic great tribes provide---a powerful intangible something that transforms the routine into the exceptional and the ordinary into the profound.''
Probably it is the tribe not accepting newcomers. A good procedure should be in place where newcomers are made comfortable with the existing golfers and the other way around. Etiquette are an excellent tool to help the newcomers feel more part: they want to know how the “rules” of the group are to feel more at home.
The existing group wants to make sure newcomers understand those “rules” also. So a big focus on managing the connection between newcomers and the existing community should be in place to keep the future golfers on board.
This trend resulted as one of the top trends out of EGCOA questionnaire and development sessions.
Individualisation, Tribe & Community
On the contrary: with the use of information and telecommunication technology, it has become quite easy for individuals to bond and to share. The same happens in the off line society where people are beginning to re-discover the importance and power of sharing and communicating, resulting in a series of local activities and initiatives
The foundation of this trend is rooted in basic human needs. The good old pyramid of Maslows Hierarchy of needs helps us understand it better
Maslow's Hierarchy of Golf Needs
E.g. If you played a good round of golf you want to share the achievement you’re proud of. You want to share this with your friends and family, the ones you have a good relationship with. Without these people having this achievement is a lot less fun.
''When people are financially invested they want to return. When people are emotionally invested they want to contribute''
Below we have listed several researches that underpin the importance of social aspects in engaging golfers to the game: focussing on the social side & most importantly identify the WHY factor.
Share your research with us, click here to submit.
So how do we put all this theory into practice? Below we have suggested a number of tools and models to engage your customers and creative an environment of loyalty & tribe.
What are tribes?
”A tribe is a group with deep interpersonal connections build through shared experiences, rituals and traditions. (Druker, 2011)”
There are two types of tribes, an old (Tribe 1.0) and a new (tribe 2.0) version. (Mulier Instituut, 2014)
In the change process from Tribe 1.0 to Tribe 2.0 there is a decreased meaning of origin and an increased meaning of life choices. We choose our own identity. The church is a typical Tripe 1.0 environment, a role the golf facilities can take over with the new Tribe 2.0 environment. Golf is the new church!
- Shared language, age, values and norms
- Traditional local communities
- Shared interests
- Accession by ‘life choice’
- We belong to many tribes
- The spaces we occupy are not necessarily physical
Why do people join tribes?
Involvement in a tribe is an expression of self-identity.
Belonging to a tribe can be very helpful in guiding one through life, as well as increasing happiness (Druker, 2011)
The next step to look is on consumer level. Consumers form tribes around a product or service. A so called ‘consumer tribe’. “Group of people emotionally connected by similar consumption values and usage, who use the social “linking value” of products and services to create a community and express identity” (ibid)
Benefits of marketing to tribes
- Social influences play a crucial role in an individual’s consumption decisions
- In addition to sharing moral values and opinions, consumer tribes also share consumption preferences
- This provides opportunity for marketer to access a specific market segment and to create lasting loyalty through establishing both an emotional connection as well as a rational reason for commitment
Building a bonded loyalty through a firm’s support of the tribe:
The ideal social space for the tribe to meet and interact and socialise is a modern clubhouse with a warm welcoming feel. It provides the golfers with an open and social place to meet and socialise.The importance of such a location to enjoy before and/or after playing golf, or even without playing, is enormous. It is all about being social and the clubhouse is key in providing this social space. Instead of intimidating old style clubhouses where newcomers will not feel at home: ity of golfers.
- Getting to know the “chiefs” within the tribe can be achieved by meeting the president of the club. To know the president personally helps people feeling part of the big community.
- When the newcomer feels at ease and chooses for a membership, a next step could be to invite that person for a committee function. People will feel part of the organization and will also become a strong advocate of the association.
- Committees have 2 functions, organizing and engaging, where the last one is probably the most important one.
Tool IVIt is of great importance that the association provide the tribes with sufficient accommodation for activity. In everything that is organised there must be a group/social aspect. Some examples:
- Golf matches for the beginner groups in team setup: scrambles, teams of two, possibly with golf buddies also joining. 9 holes with price giving and speeches: get into the tribal etiquette of the group: we play together and we celebrate after the game with a price giving with a speech of the winner. All to make sure the newcomers will feel part of the group/tribe and understand how that group works.
- Tech: Open thee sheets: members can see what other members will be playing
- Tech: Smartphone applications such as golf Golf Gamebook (social interaction platforms)
- Tech: make sure beginner groups are connected within each other by means like whatsapp to also tribe outside golf
- Junior league -> see best practices/initiatives (http://www.pgajrleaguegolf.com/)
Tool IPeople want to know what is going on and how it works in a tribe (information) and want to meet up with others.
- Beginner groups: biggest opportunity to make the beginner group a tribe, get them to know each other, make sure they are connected, invest time in social: drinking coffee together with the group, let them tell about themselves, make sure they are connected also outside the golf lessons: whatsapp group. This little tribe will make the newcomers at home in the bigger golf community.
- In an association it is all about engagement. The best way to engage somebody to the bigger tribe is to give the person the opportunity to play golf with a golf buddy who is part of the bigger tribe. This golf buddy can make the newcomer at ease with the etiquette of golf, the morality of the group and gives the newcomer a direct line of connection with the existing community of golfers.
Top 5 communication channels in VISION 2020 Questioner
Customer to business communication contains feedback about the products and services, an excellent way to get customer information to update your products and services.
For golf this is a perfect way to implement technology at the facility. These communities can become an extension of the clubhouse. People like to share their experiences with their peers and this is huge opportunity for golf to make the transition from a product offering industry to an experience offering industry. With a bigger group of customers, the amount of possible connections is also growing which increases again the group of possible customers.
What examples can I learn from and what can I do to create tribal community engagement at my facility?
Best Practices and Industry Initiatives
Below we have selected a number of forward thinking best practices and initiatives across the golf and sports industry. These examples are creative ways in which clubs and organisations have created a sense of tribe and community to engage and retain their members.
Share your best practices and initiatives with us, click here to submit.
With technology playing a major role in the development of the golf industry we have selected a number of new online platforms and applications available in the golf industry that can be used as both tools to manage and build social interaction and communities at golf facilities.