“Why does my company exist?” is not a question most business owners are in the habit of asking themselves. In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek explores the question of why some brands are so successful. His conclusion is that ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’
Sinek challenges business owners and marketing professionals to reflect on why their company exists so they can develop a strategy that works. He gives the example of customers who sent money to Southwest Airlines in the aftermath of 9/11 because they were worried about how the company would survive.
Attracting Loyal Customers
Sinek believes brands like Southwest Airlines achieve this level of loyalty by focusing on the ‘why,’ of their business. In other words, they communicate what they stand for rather than simply what they do. Apple is another brand which has used it’s ‘why’ to create an image of itself as a challenger to the status quo, attracting a passionate following in the process.
Drawing on neuroscience, Sinek points out that emotions play a major role in driving decision making and behaviour. Customers identify strongly with brands that reflect their ideals and fulfil their primal need for connection.
One of the biggest mistake marketers make is to focus on their products and services at the expense of their purpose. Often a company’s vision or ‘narrative’ plays a limited part in advertising and promotions or is left out entirely.
Finding an overarching answer to the question ‘why?’ is not easy, but in a competitive marketplace in which businesses are struggling to differentiate themselves, communicating your company’s ‘why’ will add a whole new dimension to your marketing.
How Can You Find Your Why?
To uncover your company’s purpose, ask yourself these questions:
Why did you become involved in the industry? Money is the obvious answer, but as Sinek would point out, beneath every rational decision is an emotional one. Tapping into the emotions and ideals that drove you to start a business or work in the industry will create a connection with customers.
What problems do your products or services solve? Think very carefully about how you meet your customers’ needs and how this relates to the ‘why’ of your business. You can also ask your customers why they have chosen you over your competitors to get a clearer insight into your appeal.
The next steps are to:
Refine your message. Come up with a statement that clearly expresses your company’s ‘why.’ Display it somewhere prominent so you’re frequently reminded of the bigger picture.
Put it into practice. Start small with some blog and social media posts, and monitor the reaction. People love sharing inspirational stories and content, so make your answer to the question ‘why’ uplifting and emotive for the best impact.
To find the why in your brand you need to dig deep and come up with an answer that people will love.