By Amber Hudson

On Thursday evening the Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing Association inducted four extraordinary people into the Marketing Hall of Legends:  Jeanne Beker, Marshall McLuhan, Joe Mimran and our very own Luke Sklar. 

While enjoying the gala (thank you AMA, you know how to throw a great party!), listening to the speeches and mustering up the nerve to go up to Jeanne Beker and say hi** I looked around and it was pretty obvious, we’re all part of something very cool here.  In Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, he describes a tribe as a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, and to an idea in which they have faith.

Great brands have tribes. 

Each of the four inductees have built tribes that connect their supporters through shared experiences, beliefs and passions:   Jeanne Beker and Joe Mimran believe in the transformative power of fashion.  Marshall McLuhan believed in media as an extension of ourselves and Luke Sklar believes in helping others succeed.  And if you’re a member of any of these tribes you’ll shout your support from the roof tops. 

Great brands are also rooted in authentic stories that strengthen the bond of your tribe.  Jeanne Beker talked about how her parents, Holocaust survivors, taught her to never fear and never give up.  Joe Mimran talked about how his mother’s sewing machine was the background music to his life as a budding fashion designer. Luke talked about his father-an Olympic weight lifter-whose incredible work ethic and kitchen table chats were a huge influence.  

Marketers, does your brand have a tribe?  Do you have the values, beliefs and stories to generate a passion in your consumer that will have them evangelizing for your brand?  Apple, The Grateful Dead, Harley Davidson, Star Wars….for many it’s almost a religion.  Speaking of religion, Ben Mulroney, the night’s MC, had one of the best lines:  “Some people go to church on Sunday.  I go to Canadian Tire.”


**[to say “hi”?!?  Who goes up to Jeanne Beker just to say “hi”?!?  Thankfully my nerve never mustered, saving me from a lifetime of ‘okay, so that was the most embarrassing moment of my life’ flashbacks and saving Ms. Beker from having to extract herself from a very uncomfortable situation.]