A 3 Minute Lesson in Branding: How To Figure Out Your ‘Why’

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Ethnographer Simon Sinek popularised the importance of finding your Why, and I’m going to explain it’s significance in creating a long-lasting brand:

“In identifying your Why, you give everyone connected to your brand something to aspire to; you offer values people can follow.”

So what is your Why and how do you find it?

Your Why expresses the unique contribution and impact your business is striving to have. Let the impact reflect the difference you want to make in the world, and the contribution reflect the action you are taking towards making this impact.

It’s the core belief of your business; the articulation of why your brand exists. It’s the intrinsic reason why you do what you do.

If you understand your Why (and can communicate it clearly), everyone else can understand it too. Your Why gives customers a motive to embrace your company; people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

It’s the value proposition that will differentiate your brand from your competitors. What makes you stand out? What can your audience see in you that they also see in themselves? What beliefs and values do you share? Can you lead in a way that encourages your audience to follow?

Apple’s Why is to ‘Think Different’, which appeals to the non-conformist population. By carrying an Apple device, I am showing the world I am innovative and tech-savvy.

When finding your Why, I advise looking inward:

  • What was the ‘eureka’ moment that motivated you to launch your brand?
  • What problems where you excited to solve?
  • What do you love about the work your brand does?
  • How do you hope to inspire all the people connected to it?

Within all great organisations is a clear Why, one that every employee lives by. It’s a focal point for motivating a culture built with purpose, and a reason that customers become loyal followers and dedicate themselves to brands.

I’ll finish with a wonderful anecdote of just what a great Why can look like:

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy was on a tour of NASA when he happened upon a janitor carrying a broom. Stopping in his tracks, he said to the man:

“Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

Without a flinch, the janitor responded:

“Well Mr President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

The janitor wasn’t just cleaning buildings, he was working towards something much bigger than himself; he was playing his part in making history.

Incredible things happen when people feel inspired by purpose, so go find your Why and start building a brand that people can fall in love with.

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Brand Voice Specialist. Amateur Ethnographer. Curious blogger. Check out my website at davidcowancreates.com, or say hi at david@davidcowancreates.com

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David Cowan

David Cowan

Brand Voice Specialist. Amateur Ethnographer. Curious blogger. Check out my website at davidcowancreates.com, or say hi at david@davidcowancreates.com

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