Always start with the WHY
How can companies explain when things don`t go as expected? Their potential customers want to buy brands, not products. That is the reason why in order not to lose out on these people, a company has to articulate not what it does, but the reason why it exists. Therefore companies should start to ask themselves:
- Why do we do what we do?
- What do we truly believe?
Answering these questions, enable companies to have a clear vision and purpose, inspiring the organization to be aligned in terms of strategies, business goals and objectives. The lack of having a shared vision results in lack of focus, not having a differentiated value proposition and in most cases, bad decision-making.
Simon Sinek explains the concept of The Golden Circle, of Why-How-What, showcasing how successful companies such as Apple, inspire costumer to behave beyond what they are currently doing. He explains how all organizations know WHAT they do, in terms of products or the services they offer. Some companies know HOW they do it, referring to the things that differentiate them from their competitors. But few organizations know WHY they do what they do, the cause or the belief why the organization exists.
A company transmitting to its stakeholders the core beliefs, attracts customers who share those same beliefs and creates a more emotional connection to them, driving behavior of brand trust and ultimately purchase. Customers today take a great number of decisions, like whether to buy something or not, mostly on emotion. Only afterwards do they rationalize those decisions based on actual facts such as: product features or price.
To clarify the concept, Simon Sinek takes the example of Apple and highlights the reason why it is so innovative on long term, while being a computer company, like all other. The thing that allows Apple to sell products beyond computers, is the fact that selling computer is not the thing that defines them, but the belief they stand for. Here is what Apple transmits:
Everything we do, we believe is challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?
For this reason every person is comfortable buying a computer from Apple, but they are also comfortable buying an MP3 player or a phone. Because when a company communicates from the inside out, from the WHY they are doing what they are doing, they talk to the part of the brain that controls the behavior and allows people to rationalize all the tangible things the companies says or does.
Take time to define WHY of your company. Align strategies and objective with it. Engage employees with the same beliefs. Transmit your vision to your customers. And remember: “People don`t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek.
- TED Talks – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
- Inspire action: Start with WHY
- Inc Magazine (2012) – Great companies start with WHY