Page 2: Affinity
Most of us are gregarious and clubable. In forging our social links, we look for people with whom we feel we have something in common e.g. people who share our interests, our enthusiasms, our concerns, our values, our views, our beliefs, our past experiences. These are people with whom we have an affinity.
In every advanced community there are individuals whose common link is:
- a recreational activity - golf, football, rugby, bowls, rambling, knitting, dog breeding
- a particular team - Arsenal FC, Middlesex CCC, London Broncos
- a shared concern - for animal welfare, poor and disadvantaged people, human rights
- a shared belief or persuasion - in politics, or in religion
- a shared experience – attendance at the same school or university, or war service
- a shared lifestyle - always using a caravan to go on holiday
- a shared attribute – intellectual ability, physical disability, age.
Many people formalise their affinity by joining a relevant club or society or organisation e.g. the local golf club, Arsenal Supporters Club, RSPB, NSPCC, Amnesty International, the Liberal Party, the Salvation Army, Old Etonians, British Legion, Caravan Club, MENSA, SAGA.
There are also people who band together to protect their own position e.g. trade union members, consumer groups, members of an institute of directors. Not all affinities are binding enough to lead to groups being formed: in the UK, for example, there is not as yet a group exclusively for people with green eyes.
Groups are a fact of society. In an economy the size of England, a community of people with a shared interest can run into millions. To sell a product to such groups, a company must do two things: make contact, and have a good product. The Bank of Scotland was able to make contact. It also had a very good product: an affinity credit card.