In the first installment of my branding series, “Taking Stock: Steps to Making a Reduction Sauce Out of Your Brand and Finding Your “A-Ha” Moment“, I talked about the process of discovering or rediscovering your brand essence. In short, your brand essence is not the product, widget or service you sell, but is truly understanding the experience you want to deliver and the value that it holds for the consumer. I hear the sighs now. You are thinking, “How in the heck do I go about articulating my so-called experience?”
You start with asking yourself and business stakeholders, “Why”. The definition for Why in the dictionary is: For what reason or purpose.
The Why is the core belief of your business. It is why the business exists. Simon Sinek, a well-known author and considered one of the preeminent thinkers both on leadership strategy and passionate work, was one of the first thought leaders who began to bring us back to our brand essence by asking Why. Many of us start backwards and know the What and the How but rarely reflect on the Why.
One of the examples Sinek gives is Apple computers. If they approached their brand essence with only the What and the How they would probably say:
We make great computers. They are user friendly, beautifully designed and easy to use. Do you want to buy one?
The question is: Why is Apple all of the above and their answer is:
“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers”
Whether you are a blogger, artist, interior designer or restaurant owner you are doing whatever you are doing because of a passion for delivering something different and distinctive. Why is your Why so important? Articulating your Why helps you define your customer experience and give direction for all those working with and for you. If everyone buys into your Why–employees, customers, vendors, etc.–they are no longer passive observers of the experience but become energized disciples which results in repeat customers and loyal staff who are all helping to spread the word. The energy created through the shared understanding of Why is contagious and sustainable and competitors take note. It is the essence of your brand.
Remember, you are distilling everything down to a few words or phrases that communicate your experience and brand essence.
In one of the recent articles on The Southern Coterie blog, Haile McCollum @fountainemaury wrote about connecting with Millennials and she said, “Millennials would rather purchase an experience than a product so it is important to position your goods and services as a piece of a larger, aspirational lifestyle.”
If you have been starting with What and How, go back and ask yourself Why. For what reason or purpose did you start your business? Why should people buy into and commit to your Why?
Create and communicate your compelling Why story. You are sure to have an a-ha moment that will enlighten future of your business.
Share your Why stories. Other readers will benefit from your examples.
In the next article, I will help you take your Why and use it to craft your How story.