Tribes: kiss you, kill you or be you

The Mockingjay

Somehow life has gotten flipped around on me.

When my kids were young, I was the one who took them to see the movies. Usually it was a movie I could have brought a book to, it was so bad. Never-the-less, I was the one who took the kids to the movies. Kia never could seem to make those outings.

Now my two girls are getting older, and they can see movies that I actually want to see to. The boys being a little young to see these movies can’t go, so guess who takes the girls to the movie? Yep, Kia.

Life has gotten flipped around.

Luckily, there is Netflix, Roku and DVD’s. I recently was able to watch the latest edition of the Hunger Games – The Mockingjay Part 1 – a few weeks ago.

Andy Bondurant on Tribes in the Mockingjay

I was so intrigued by the movie, I had to jot down some notes after watching it. I watched it again with my daughter this week while she was home sick. Again I was taking notes.


How do you build a tribe?Seth Godin, in his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, argues we are entering a period of time where we are no longer JUST marketing. We are now also leading. Godin says the best marketers are actually brands and people who lead people to follow them where they (or their brand) goes.

The Mockingjay, and the Hunger Games in general, is a study in building a tribe. It promotes the idea which has never been more true, that we all have a voice. Both the antagonist, President Snow, and his enemies (two uneasy allies), confederate President Coin and Plutarch Heavensby want to woo teenaged protagonist, Katniss to use her to build their tribe from the same group of people.

President Snow uses deception and fear to rule his tribe. President Coin is tutored by Heavensby to use polish and controlled theatrics to build a tribe. To a certain degree both tactic work. People stay in line to avoid punishment and pain. People also follow highly produced propaganda to stand up to the system.

However, the raw authenticity and emotion of Katniss trump them all. We follow someone because

  1. They have something to saw.
  2. They saw with real emotion.

Kiss you, Kill you, Be you

My favorite line from the movie is actually a line from the book (though said by different characters). As Katniss is prepared for her first propaganda piece, a friend tells her,

“They’ll either want to kill you, kiss you, or be you.”

It was true, but it wasn’t about her appearance. It was what she had to say.

You have something to say, and if you say it with emotion, people will want to kiss you, kill you or be you. It’s how you build a tribe.

What do you have to say?

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