“Let’s go for it.”
Thy sky was threatening. We faced a fifteen-minute walk to the car. Accuweather predicted thirty minutes before the rain would arrive.
Two minutes into our walk the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. We hustled to another building with a covered courtyard.
Within minutes a few dozen others joined us in seeking shelter. Together, we rode out the worst of the storm. I bet this sounds ordinary to you. I get it.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
After a few minutes, someone commented that predictions called for clear skies all day. A few others, including myself, chimed in. I opened up my weather app to look at the radar. I showed the screen to others so we can track the passing of the storm.
Some of our kids ran around and played with each other. The adults huddled around and complained.
When I wrote about this later, it hit me.
We Formed A Group
Yes, this was a brief group. It lasted for thirty minutes. Nobody exchanged contact information. Still, a brief bond formed in a short period. The adults socialized. The kids played. Our mutual distrust of meteorologists and disgust for our situation formed a group identity.
Once the rain slowed down we went our separate ways. A few us exchanged goodbyes and good luck wishes. That was the end of the group.
Creating A Lasting Group
Why does this matter?
You may already be familiar with the importance of in-groups and out-groups. In sales and marketing, we often call this us versus them.
My example shows how easy it is to create this effect. A group of random strangers huddle up under some shelter and form a group with a brief, but real identity. As a marketer, leader or influencer you can create these same conditions to build your own group or community. Here are the steps.
- Gather people. Use an event or idea to gather like-minded people.
- Stand for something. What are the values you stand for? Your group needs a core theme they all rally around. I assume our random group held many conflicting values. I do know we all shared the belief that weather predictions suck. That was the glue behind our flash group.
- Be a cheerleader for your group’s values. Preach, prove and spread your group’s values.
- Identify the opposition – All groups need a “them,” an opposition group. The opposition can be an opposing group. It could also be an opposing idea. Without a “them” your group lacks the emotional firepower to become a cohesive group.
- Keep it going – Groups last only as long as the pieces stay in place. If the group’s goals lose relevance or the opposition disappears, so does your group. Groups often cease to exist once all its goals are met. Why? The reason behind their existence disappears.
- Creating labels help with group identity. A label that identifies the angst behind your group rallies support. You only need to look at Trump’s Make America Great Again label as proof of that.