One evening in the car:
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
– ‘Because we’ve only just left.’
– ‘Because I just picked you up.’
– ‘Because we need to go home.’
– ‘Because daddy is waiting for us.’
– ‘Because he’s cooked dinner.’
– ‘Because we’re hungry.’
… … …‘Because isn’t an answer’.
Sound familiar? Why isn’t just a question which children should be asking. The older we get, the more we seem to accept ‘because’ as an answer. And that’s a pity, because a world of opportunities can open up if you just ask one simple question.
For proof, take a look at Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” (check out YouTube for a brief summary by the man himself), a must-read for anyone who works in marketing, communication and PR. Sinek examined what various inspiring leaders have in common, starting with the simplest of questions: Why do people choose Apple, generally without thinking or doing the necessary research? Why do people have themselves decorated – in other words tattooed – with the Harley Davidson logo? Why did people come along in droves to listen to Martin Luther King’s speech?
It sounds simple, but it’s not. Let me give you an example. Hardware producers know what they do: they sell hardware. They know how they do it: by guaranteeing the best quality. But many CEOs have no idea what to say when faced with the question why. Hardly anyone can come up with a satisfactory answer to this question. What is their aim, their motive, their belief? Why do they get up in the morning? And why do other people find that interesting in the first place?
What are the benefits of finding your why?
- You know why your company exists (to be a party pooper: money isn’t a reason, just a result or a consequence)
- You have a clear mission
- You find it easier to identify your target group
- You can convey your message in a consistent manner
- You can focus all your communication channels accordingly
- Consumers trust you and therefore trust your product too
- You get ahead of the competition
And you’re off. Translate your message, filter all your questions, examine every situation through your why goggles. Consistency is key. Everything you do must be in line with your why.
Important questions which you must ask yourself when finding your why:
- Why do you want to set up a company? Or why did you start it in the first place?
- How do you want to stand out?
- What drives you?
- What are you passionate about?
- What drives people/consumers?
- Which of the world’s problems do you want your product or service to solve?
- And so on….
It’s easier said than done to use The golden circle as a communication instrument and to work from the inside out. The example which Simon Sinek traditionally uses is the following:
If Apple were to state its message from the outside in, it would be something along these lines:
We make great computers.
They are beautifully designed, simple and user-friendly.
Would you like to buy one?
Now see how Apple stands out (and also how it works) by adopting an inside out approach:
In everything we do, we believe in changing the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.
We change the status quo by designing our products beautifully and making sure they are simple and user-friendly.
And we also happen to make fantastic computers.
Would you like to buy one?
If you first find the why, your story comes across as more authentic and it becomes a lot easier to convince people to choose you over your competitors.
While we at Outsource are not commenting on whether Sinek’s ‘golden circles’ hold water academically, there is no doubt that it is an excellent way of developing a strong storyline. We organise regular workshops in which the circles form an easily understood guiding principle. The result is a strong narrative which is rooted in the mission and vision of a company and forms the basis of everything which follows. From PR and marketing to communication and employer branding: Sinek’s approach helps you to choose and develop the right stories. The same applies to B2B.
Looking for an inspiring and compelling storyline for your company? Contact Gert, our master of ceremonies.