Simon Sinek’s compelling video “Start with why – how great leaders inspire action” reminds us that leaders communicate best when they appeal first to why it’s important to do things instead of simply communicating the ‘what” and “how”.
Communicating your branding message works the same way. The fundamental reason that you are in business is your “Why” and a meaningful “Why” (not based on profit) connects with people’s brains and emotions in a way that makes it easier for them to want your products and services. An article in Driven puts it this way:
“Most of the time we don’t even realize that we’re asking why. Consider the typical retail ad: “We’ve got athletic shoes with a built-in activity tracker that will help you record your mileage, pulse, and speed during aerobic workouts.”
Great, it’s a smart shoe. So? Our subconscious tries to answer, “Why should I buy this?” No answer, no sale. Try this on for size instead:
“You are part of the Information Age. Shouldn’t your shoes be too? Join us. We’re miles ahead.”
Better? Here’s why: 1) The main focus of the ad is on the consumer, not the product. 2) The consumer is identified as being informed. 3) The retailer is identified as being informative. 4) A perfect match is realized and the sale occurs.
When sales are made from that ad copy, the consumers aren’t actually buying shoes. They are buying the belief that they are informed and forward-thinking athletes. They know why you are selling the product, and they can relate.”Source: Why are You in Business? – Driven
Put Core Values ” Into your Brand Message
The “Why” is deeply rooted in the core values of the founder or organizational leaders. And internalized by all staff it becomes an operational tool. As an example, one of my clients has just launched a patented, natural pain reliever product that replaces some of the stronger prescription pain medication. Ultimaxx’s founder, Dr. Lenny Lomax is clear that it’s not just the “what” – pain relief, formulation, patent, etc. It’s really about the “Why”:
“…we have made it our mission to develop innovative solutions to pressing public health problems, with a key emphasis on resolving the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and improving the general health and well-being of humanity“ Naturally”.
Can he be any more clear than that? Can you see how this could help his team make decisions on what to do and not do? In addition, his customers will sense an intent that differentiates Ultimaxx in a very crowded pain relief market.
Link Every Business Element To the “Why”
When I consulted with clients on their strategic and marketing plans, I’d usually start with a discussion of the company’s core values. This often seemed counter intuitive to the hard – chargers, eagerly waiting to create a plan, but developing a shared understanding of core values always turned out to be one of the most important things the group would do. Why? because core values tap into the emotions and the heart of the business, yet they were rarely discussed.
It’s the same way with a brand message. Good brand messages connect core values to products and services in a way that employees, clients, and customers can feel in their bones. Business owners lose out when they don’t take the time to to think about their “Why” and create a meaningful brand message
It’s hard work to get the brand message clear, and to have it flow through product and service delivery, customer service, sales and marketing, and human resources, but it’s worth it. Here’s another view:
“When you visualize your client, what kind of emotions would you like for them to feel when thinking of your business? What kind of adjectives would you like for them to use to describe you?
Successful businesses have an impactful, recognizable brand that clearly communicates the emotions that want to convey to their clients. A brand can be created by any combination of factors, such as product design, mission (the “why we do what we do”), ethical standards, communication style, advertisements, etc.”
Walk into my client’s Garden Cafe, and you instantly get it: a charming slice of old Europe, filled with flowers, soft music, yummy foods, wines, and unique gifts for the home and garden. Elegance, relaxation, and fun seem to come from every corner of the place and each employee – it’s part of the DNA of the place, and it didn’t happen by accident. It took years of consistently building on the owner’s “Why”: “To focus clients on the pure and lovely”. She’s created many loyal fans – just from the consistency of brand message, inspired by her “Why”.
“People like to work with companies that they perceive as being honest about their core values. In fact, 80 percent of customers say that the authenticity of the organization is an important factor in their decision whether or not to become a loyal brand follower. When a brand broadcasts inconsistent messaging, it becomes more difficult for customers to know the genuine brand. Consistency helps to give the impression of an authentic message to which customers can relate”.
After defining your “Why” you may discover a need to make adjustments in the way you do business. One of the common challenges is to let people know new , different and better. Here are two helpful ideas to keep in mind:
Here’s Simon Sinek’s 18 minute video that puts a lot more perspective on this topic. It’s well worth watching all the way through.
Advertising, Marketing, Productivity, and Social Media That Works. The B2B Resource Team helps give their clients a competitive edge in online marketing, adwords and Facebook advertising,, and workplace productivity Sarasota, Florida, www.b2bresourceteam.com