So, what are the marketing lessons can we take away from this successful story of natural experiential engagement?
SEPARATE BUT NOT DISCONNECTED.
The Yao tribesmen and the greater honeyguide birds are two completely different species – about as dissimilar and disconnected as you can imagine. This is in parallel to how brands and their target stakeholders are also thought of as being different “animals.” The birds in this case are free-living creatures in the wild – with their own interests and pursuits. The Yao tribesmen are looking to achieve their objectives in order to grow. Marketers and stakeholders almost always have different needs and wants, but they can form authentic relationships built around mutually beneficial experiences.
Finding an authentic and natural commonality is vital for marketing success. In this example, not only was there a mutual benefit in the functional sense of securing food for life, but there seems to also have been an equally important emotional benefit resulting from the unique inter-species communication, friendship and relationship. For every brand seeking to create a relationship with consumer, customer or employee stakeholders – there is ALWAYS a common ground incentive that will naturally connect and inspire engagement.
According to the research presented in the article, Yao hunters found their targeted beehives 54 percent of the time, versus just 17 percent when not assisted with honeyguide collaboration. This amazing, inter-species relationship has achieved results that are three times more successful than when working separately. In nature, just as in marketing, it’s always about the experience. A natural, authentic experience that connects brands with stakeholders through shared passions will most often achieve win-win results.
LONG TERM SUSTAINABLE GROWTH.
According the article, scientists suggest the relationship between Yao tribesmen and the greater honeyguide bird species could be “more than a million years old,” which would absolutely meet anyone’s definition of long term. Growing brands takes time. While rapid acceleration is often required and attempted, creating a sustainable relationship with stakeholders built on mutually beneficial motives will drive steady, incremental growth. When you consider that the oldest brands in the world “only” date back to the 16th and 17th centuries (brands like Cambridge Press, Bushmills and Barclays), this “million year” example of sustainable growth can only highlight the simple elegance and long term approach of nature.