Before you can begin to narrow down the physical elements of your brand, you have to determine the purpose behind what you are doing. If you don’t know why you are starting this business or blog, than no one else will either! According to the popular TedxTalk speaker, Simon Sinek, you need to start your brand with why and move outward towards the hows and whats. If you haven’t watched his talk, “How great leaders inspire action”, you should pause now and go watch it! The concepts he covers will radically change the way you view your business, and I promise it is 18 minutes of your day well spent.
So what exactly does Simon say in this talk that is so impactful? He starts with the concept of a company that tells you what it does: we sell computers, make shoes, etc. and begins to explain that our brains remember companies not for what they do but why they do it. Every company on the planet knows what they do, and so do we! But the companies that seem to be taking over the market or jump onto the scene and become and instant hit are usually the companies that lead with the why of what they do. For example, a typical company would follow this sequence in communicating with their audience:
What: We make great computers. (This is what the company physically does everyday to turn a profit)
How: They are beautifully designed and easy to use. (This is what someone would call the companies unique distinction from the competition or their competitive advantage)
Why: Do you want to buy one? ( Many companies who lead with their how don’t even know what their why is so they stop here and just solicit a sale)
Though the above information is similar to what any computer company would be telling us, we don’t jump out of our seat with interest to buy from them. There isn’t anything that pulls us in and makes us trust this company above others. Simon uses Apple computers as an example of a company that leads with why and compares the above example to this:
Why: Apple states: “We believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently.”
How: We build products that are beautifully designed, easy to use, and user friendly.
What: We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?
The reason why we are more attracted to this statement is because: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!”. If you believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently than you just automatically bought into what Apple believes and you would buy a product from them whether it was a computer or not because it lines up with what you believe. And Apple’s success is evidence of this!
Our goal for our own brands should be to act and communicate with our audience opposite of how examples traditionally teach us to. We should define our why (“The purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do”) first and then move outward to create a circle of safety and attract the right people to our business. Your why is the entire reason why your organization exists and articulating it will attract your ideal customers and ensure the success of your brand. As Simon states, your goal shouldn’t be to do business with the people who need what you have, it should be to do business with the people who believe what you believe.
Now, let’s think of this outside of strictly business terms for a second. Everyone has something they are passionate about, as we would typically call it. Maybe that is what gave you the idea to start a business in the first place! Those things that you are so passionate about, fall in line with your personal why. Just like everyone has something they love, every person in the world has a why statement, its just not likely that they know it. Your why ties into who you truly are down at your core and what drives your actions and decisions day to day. For many companies, their why is simply the personal why of their founder or CEO.
The amazing thing about Simon’s findings is that we live this out every single day. Why do I have certain friends? Why do I spend more time with certain people? Why am I attracted more to certain brands or trends? Under the surface, it is because I believe what that company believes. I would strongly encourage you to browse Simon’s website and try some of the free activities to discover your why with friends. Because your why lies in the part of the brain that we do not have words for, it is not something you will be able to articulate for yourself. It is something that others who are around you will have to verify. Once you know your why, you will begin to communicate and interact with the world differently. I can attest to that myself. It’s like having an “AHA” moment and realizing the reason behind so many of your actions.
My personal why is: “I believe in being a driving force for others so they feel confident in their ability to achieve.” Once I understood this, I realized why I love learning things and teaching them to others. Why I started this blog even! It’s because in everything that I do, I want to share my knowledge and successes with others so they can feel even more confident in their ability achieve the results they want in their life. I feel incredibly fulfilled when I know I have played a part in encouraging and equipping someone to achieve their dreams. That’s why I am sharing this post with you today! I hope that you will take some time out to watch Simon’s video and discover your own why. It will give you incredible insight into your branding process and help you to remain true to yourself. For more information on this subject I would recommend reading Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”.
If you know your why or are going through the process of discovering yours, please share it in the comments below!