People don’t buy “what” you do, they buy “WHY” you do it. – Simon Sinek
It’s true. Think about Apple and Starbucks. We love them because of what they believe about the world and what they stand for. We are comfortable buying from them because we believe their cause aligns with ours. The fact that they make stunning computers or an awesome cup of coffee is merely secondary.
Every organization in the world knows “how” and “what” they do, but very few know “why” they do it. Even fewer are able to successfully communicate “why” they do what they do.
Being able to successfully communicate “why” you do what you do is the difference between a good company and a great one.
Simon Sinek, a brilliant marketing consultant and the author of Start with Why, believes that all great organizations think, act, and communicate in the exact same way — and this is opposite of how most of us think, act, and communicate. He believes great companies and leaders communicate and inspire with a methodology he calls The Golden Circle.
Rather than just talking about the “how” and the “what” (yawn, boring) great leaders inspire by focusing first on the “why” or their cause.
Sinek uses this example in his TED talk (I highly recommend watching the whole video).
If Apple were like everyone else their marketing message would be, “We make great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. Want to buy one?”
However, this is how Apple actually communicates, “In everything we do we believe in 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?”
The way Apple communicates is drastically different that the way the majority of businesses communicates and is the primary driver for their continued success.
Sinek also says that you don’t want to sell your product to everyone who needs it. You want to identify and sell your product to those who BELIEVE what you do.
So what does all of this have to do with social media and digital marketing?
Well first of all I can’t think of a better communication platform than social media to explain “why” your business does what it does. Secondly, social media is an ideal method to identify and connect with those people who believe the same things you do.
If you look at both Apple and Starbucks you will find that each has an extremely strong social presence and that’s not a coincidence. They both recognize the need to communicate the “why” of what they do and identify social media as the most effective platform to do it.
I know for me personally, Simon Sinek and The Golden Circle have forever changed the way I think about marketing and business.
We all want to be inspiring leaders and have successful businesses. I think that if we can make this small, but fundamental shift to focus on “why” we do what we do rather than “what” we do, then we too will be able to inspire others.