Where Status and Belonging Overlap

by Jim Stein

Feeling like you belong. Belonging. It’s a sense of acceptance in a group. Your self-identity is derived from being a member in many groups. You have a role, sometimes several, in each group—a position. You may be a parent in a family group, a business manager in a company group, a friend in a bowling group and so on. As your activities and thoughts change during a single day, you jump from group to group, filling different roles in each. You’re inclined to think about and engage more often in groups where you feel a greater sense of belonging.

You have status within each group. Status is our position relative to others. You gain in status when you do good things as judged by the group. “But I don’t seek status!” Yes, you do. We’re hardwired to unconsciously calculate our status and act to defend or change it. Sometimes earning a membership in one group elevates your position in other groups. It’s an example of where status and belonging overlap. Belonging lifts status.

Earning Diamond Certified means you belong to a group of local companies rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®. As you maintain your high rating and your Diamond Certified group membership becomes known, your status elevates in many of your other groups: with your employees, your customers, your prospective customers, your vendors, and even your family and community groups. Belonging lifts status.

Your work group includes many people. You know from experience that team members who feel a greater sense of belonging perform better and are more loyal. Customers who belong return and refer. Prospective customers become regular customers if they sense their status will be improved by joining your customer group. We have 182,000 Diamond Certified Preferred Consumers in our group who love Diamond Certified companies. Belonging lifts status.

Elevate Your Group’s Status—Add to Your Members’ Sense of Belonging
Think about your past, present and future customer group. Each member belongs to their own family, friend and work groups. Improving their sense of belonging in your group influences members (your potential customers) in their other groups. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Meaningful Purpose. While member benefits make your group attractive, a meaningful group purpose elevates each member.
  2. Personal Invitations. In a world of bots, your team’s personal touch makes a new member feel wanted, which connects inviter and invitee.
  3. Rituals and Celebrations. Honoring members with acts that are unique to your group shapes your group brand in each member’s heart.
  4. Do Good Deeds. As a group, do something of goodwill. Invite members to participate. All members will feel the lift in their status, even those who didn’t participate. Report on the outcome to plant a valuable seed: “My group did this good thing.”
  5. Communicate and Engage. It’s been said that 90% of success is just showing up. In this context, being a caring, consistent communicator wins the day. Most companies don’t consistently communicate, and those that do often spoil it with a deluge of company promotions.

How would it be if you improved your group’s fundamentals and helped them build your company for the future? It doesn’t happen overnight. Start implementing these fundamental components of your group’s framework. Take a mental “before” snapshot now and think how the richness of your customer group will improve during the next two years. We don’t know what the economy will look like in two years, yet we can agree that through thick and thin, it will be wonderful to have your customer group more engaged and solidly on your side.