Understanding Club Culture

Gregg Patterson, President

Tribal Magic

Creators of WOW—Builders of Community


Needing Heat

Lots of clubs have “stuff”——-great clubhouse, lots of amenities, marble everywhere.

But lots of clubs with “stuff” don’t have——HEAT.

Members visit and ask—is this space Combustible???  Will I feel THE HEAT???

Some clubs with beautiful “stuff”—thousand dollar chairs, sculptures by Michelangelo, fifty foot ceilings, world class mixologists and gold filigree on the walls—don’t have THE HEAT.  Cold as ice.  A tomb.

Yet other clubs on the “wrong side of the tracks” with a funky space, plastic chairs, a bartender with missing teeth, a dog on the floor—have THE HEAT!!!  A raging inferno.

Clubs with THE HEAT find that members pay more, visit more, spend more and brag more that their club’s got —THE HEAT!”

THE HEAT—an energy, an excitement, a warmth that delivers The Buzz and satisfies that innate hunger for companionship and intimacy.    People know HEAT when they see it—laughs, smiles, conversation, crowds and profits.  Places with HEAT have The Buzz, The Love and The Glow.  Excitement.  Relationships.  Humor.

It’s easy to hire an architect to design a clubhouse.  Easy to find a designer to decorate the clubhouse.  Easy to find staff to pour the booze and cook the food.  But it’s tough finding managers who’ll put “club” into “clubhouse” and “HEAT” into “place”.

In these uber-competitive times, clubs and managers who generate THE HEAT—win.   Those who don’t— lose.

HEAT’s needed.

Here’s how.


Step One—-Identify The Heat Seekers

Everybody needs HEAT.  Everyone’s a “HEAT SEEKER.”

But there are lots of different “HEATs”—delivered differently.  Mozart HEAT.  Football HEAT.  Bingo HEAT.

Some people want THE HEAT you deliver—and lots don’t.

Know THE HEAT you deliver and The HEAT SEEKERS who want it.

And get focused.


Step Two—Find the Oven

Heat needs an “Oven” to contain the fire and amplify The HEAT.

The Oven needs “territory” — marked out, known, accessible with a predictable “feel”.   A destination.  A location.  Unique.   Different.  Memorable.

The Oven has to be “Right Sized”—small enough so everyone can see everyone, small enough to create The Low Rumble of background noise, cramped enough to allow for lots of unplanned “bump into others” opportunities and small enough so that people know “they’d best get there early” or there’ll be no room for them and their friends.

The Oven needs “Right Aesthetics” for the HEAT Seekers you’ve targeted.   The Right Smell—popcorn, stale beer, sea breezes.  The Right Sound—television, music, laughter.  The Right Visuals—photos on the wall, view out the window, cat on the counter.

Know The HEAT you deliver, the Heat Seekers who want it and The Oven that’s needed.


Step Three—Gather the Fuel

Once you’ve found your Heat Seekers and located The Oven, you’ll need to gather The Fuel that’ll feed the fire.

Heat is fuelled by Connectors.  Unifying Activities.  Bingo.  Music.  Dancing.  Comedians.  Prize speakers.  A television that’s focused on The Big Game.

Heat is fuelled by People, the Herd, the Tribe, the Gang, a critical mass of bodies, psyches and hormones, jammed together, ready to ignite.  People to look at and comment on. Crowds filled with HEAT SEEKERS looking for others seeking their type of HEAT.  Football.  Music.  Dancing.  Drinking.  Sex.

Heat is fuelled with looser rules than HEAT SEEKERS find elsewhere.   A place where “No Can Do” is “Can Do.”  Where “edgy activities” are acceptable and borderline is “inside the box.”

HEAT’s fuelled with “Social Lubricants”—libations that lower the inhibitions and loosen the tongue.   Bud, Gallo, Jack Black.

HEAT’s fuelled by “Wow Moments” and “Upside Surprises”—stuff that “just don’t happen” out there in “The Real World”.   Jengo for money.   Fireworks at 5:00.  A cat on the counter.  A bonfire on the beach.   Canons at sunset.

HEAT’s fuelled by “A Reason to Gather”—something to be experienced, together.  The BIG GAME; The Great BAND; the Kid’s POOL; the biggest, loudest “fills the entire wall” television; a crowd of singles hungry for love.

HEAT is fuelled by Pied Pipers—the Queen Bees and Alfa Dogs of Social Interaction who attract the “Wanna Bees” to “The Happening Place”.  Where they go, others follow.

Know The HEAT you deliver, the HEAT Seekers who want it, The Oven that’s needed and The Fuel that’ll feed the fire.


Step Four—Prime the Pump

You have The Heat Seekers, The Oven and The Fuel—now you need to prime the pump before lighting the fire.

Priming needs Reputation—enthusiastic “word of mouth” and social media endorsements from those who’ve “been there-done that”, from the Alpha Dogs, the Queen Bees and the Wanna Bees who’ve visited and enjoyed, letting others know that there’ll be HEAT, that it’s a happening place, controversial and edgy, and “you’d best be there ‘cause it’s hot”.

Priming needs Publicity—–planned, structured, coordinated, communicating what’s happening, what it’s like in The Oven and who’ll be there to experience THE HEAT.  E-mails.  Flyers.  Posters.  Handbills.  Websites.

Priming needs to publicise The Shortage—that there’ll be slightly less of what The Heat Seekers want (a seat, a table, a view) ‘cause it’s busy and popular and limited.  “Want” increases when people think—“there ain’t enough.”

Know The HEAT you deliver, the HEAT Seekers who want it, The Oven that’s needed, The Fuel you’ll use and The Primer that’ll insure ignition.


Step Five—Light the Fire

An IGNITER’s needed to light the fire that’ll make heat happen.   A BIG PERSONALITY.  Someone who’s HOT, a dancing monkey, a Miss Personality, a Mr. Enthusiasm.    Someone who’ll reach out to others, connect with The Heat Seekers, bring people together, spark the adventure, turn on the television, talk the talk.  Someone who thinks a little quirky, a little” outside the box”, a little fringe.  Someone who’s willing to experiment, to look a little stupid, to flop and fumble then get up and laugh at the gods.

An IGNITER provides the The Buzz—a passion for people and an enthusiasm for the HEAT that’s being delivered.   The Manager.  The Bar Tender.  The DJ.  The Golf Pro.  Someone who’s eager to bring The Torch to light The Fire.

Know The HEAT you deliver, the HEAT Seekers who want it, The Oven that’s needed, The Fuel that’ll feed the fire, The Primer that’ll insure ignition and The IGNITER that’s right for the fire you’ve got.

Then—Light the fire.


Step Six—Fan the Flames

You started the fire.  You’ve generated The HEAT.  But to make more HEAT, to generate “Red Hot”, to keep the fires burning, you’ll need to Fan the Flames.

You’ll need to create The Fan—Myths, Stories, Rumours that dramatise The HEAT you’ve got and the Buzz you’ll deliver.

You’ll need to leverage the Social Network, tell people to “spread the word,” encourage the Alpha Dogs and the Queen Bees to shout their approval.

You’ll need to write the articles, Tweet the comments and feed Face Book.

Starting the fire “ain’t enough.”  If it’s long term HEAT you’re after, you’ll need—The Fan.

Know your Heat Seekers.  Find the Right Oven.  Load the oven with Fuel.  Prime the pump.  Light the fire. Fan the flames.

And feel——The HEAT.


Start Generating

People are hungry for HEAT.  The social experience with—The Buzz.

HEAT doesn’t just happen.  Managers are needed to put HEAT into place, club into clubhouse.

So——-identify your Heat Seekers, find the Oven, fill with fuel, prime the pump, light the fire, fan the flames, feel the heat, collect the cash…………

And enjoy the journey————-

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