We all know and love unique brands, both large and small for very specific reasons, we choose them over their rivals and often remain very loyal to them for many years.
Something about what they do, the service they provide or the people behind the brand, resonates with us and being associated with or supporting them, we feel better about ourselves.
This all stems from their 'Why'.
If you're not familiar with the obsession that brands have with defining their 'Why', it's down to an excellent TED talk and subsequent book by Simon Sinek. In it, he explains that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
So, if you can define your 'why' and make it as inspiring, genuine and infectious as possible, you stand a great chance of creating a powerful brand that has the potential to dominate your marketplace.
Not only this but a compelling 'why' can help shape your company culture by attracting like-minded talent who will help you along your journey. This culture-customer combination is exactly why your 'why' is so important.
The trouble is, it's really hard defining what this actually is. To try and distill down what you do, who you do it for and why you do it, into a succinct phrase is very difficult. There are so many opinions and points of view to consider, that if not managed properly, it can turn into the dreaded decision by committee. Something that should be avoided at all costs as you only end up with something generic and forgettable.
As a Brand specialist and business mentor, I will often work with clients on this specific problem as part of helping them lay the foundation for a successful and powerful Brand.
If you go ahead regardless you can have success, but when if rival enters your market 12 months later and they have clarified exactly what their 'Why' is, they will crush you. They will have a better story, will attract more talented staff and your customers will slowly start to choose them over you.
I understand how difficult this process is, so help you find that elusive, but oh so valuable 'Why' I've put together a few questions and worksheet. Each set of questions is designed to get you thinking about the different criteria and people involved: Your Business, Your Customers, Your Legacy.
About your Business:
Why are you passionate about the business?
What makes you excited to be doing what you do? Why did you want to get into the business? Is there a fascinating story behind it? Was this a calling from a young age or was there a significant event that shaped your decision to start the business?
What service can you provide that others can't?
Can you offer a unique insight into your industry? Maybe this has come from an experience of working with, or for someone your target market admires? Do you provide an exclusive service that your rivals don’t or can’t offer? Are you faster, stronger, first?
How can you relate to your Target Audience?
Have you been there? What do you have in common? Being able to relate with your Target Audience through empathy (because you’ve been there) and being able to offer guidance with authority (because you have moved on to better things) is very compelling and powerful.
About your Customers:
Why do your customers choose you?
What do you offer that perhaps your rivals can't or don't offer? Is your product or service superior? is it stronger, faster or more rarefied? Perhaps your customer service is the reason you stand out? Do you have some influential advocates who recommend what you do? If you're not sure, why not ask some of your more loyal customers, I'm sure they will be more than happy to help.
How do you help them?
What type of service do you offer? What do they purchase? Do you connect them with more customers? Maybe you provide inspiration, guidance or assistance? Think about what you do and why it is important to them. Are you giving pleasure or soothing pain? Once you know how you help your customers, crafting a message to support that, becomes far easier.
What does your product/service allow them to achieve?
What are the emotional, financial, physical and psychological benefits they get from choosing you? How are they more fulfilled? Do they achieve more success? Can they sell more products or increase revenue? Beyond the core qualities of what they purchase, what are the more longer lasting and more compelling results they get from what you do?
About you legacy:
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR?
What separates you from your competition? What do others say about you when recommending your services? How do you want to impact the lives of your target market? If you were asked to give a talk at a conference, what would it be about?
WHY DO YOU WANT TO HELP?
Are there more emotive reasons? Is this something that has been burning inside you for a long time? As well as being able to offer something unique, the reason why you want to do it can be unique too.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO MAKE?
From a more philosophical point of view, what is the bigger picture for you? Are you trying to change lives? What do you want your legacy to be? It’s always very attractive to be part of something bigger than yourself and if your audience can help with that, let them know so they can help.
How to use the worksheets
To help get something tangible down on paper, I have constructed a sentence that will help you to clarify what your ‘Why’ is: This is just a guide, if you can take this sentence and build on it to make it better, please do so and as always, if you get stuck or would like some help, please let me know.
We help our customers overcome (their number one struggle) to achieve (their number one goal) through (the service that you provide).
We believe (what is most important to you) because (a significant experience that has shaped you) and will strive to achieve (what is important to your customers) in everything we do.