What you’ll learn about starting with why:
- Brands need to start with identifying the why of their business model — and then they need to communicate it
- To get this right, they need to be empathetic, keep their personas top of mind, and be open to feedback
- It’s up to the marketing team to demonstrate how the brand’s foundational values are reflected across the organization
There’s a shift happening in the marketing space. Traditionally, marketing teams have been focused on building multi-channel campaigns that promote their products and services. And that makes sense. At the end of the day, if consumers don’t know about your offerings, how can they be expected to choose them?
The thing is, consumers are becoming much more discerning when it comes to spending their dollars (or euros or pesos). In short, they want to be able to trust the brands they buy from. For marketing teams, this means that they need to do more to engage customers on a more personal level by sharing the values that drive their business.
Starting with Why
In his 2009 book — and the famous TED Talk that followed it — Simon Sinek spoke to the value of starting with why. He suggested that leaders needed to look beyond the relatively simple questions of what they do and how they do it, and instead identify why they did it. This is a trait that sets leaders apart and it’s a concept that’s increasingly important for marketing teams across industries.
As customers grow their expectations beyond product quality and level of service, it’s vital that brands communicate their purpose. Today, 71% of consumers prefer engaging with companies that are aligned with their values. Voting with their wallets, people are choosing to spend money on products and services that are locally produced, environmentally friendly, or community oriented.
Yes, your organization may already have a solid set of values and initiatives that align with what your customers are looking for — but are you doing a good job of communicating them? If the answer is no, it may be time to change how you do things.
Identify — and Communicate — Your Purpose
To help you on your way as you embed your ‘why’ into your marketing efforts, we’ve gathered some guidelines to keep in mind.
If You Haven’t Yet, Define Your Why
Why does your business exist? This may look like an easy question on the surface, but leaders don’t always find it easy to answer. Whether it’s a specific problem you’re trying to solve or a mission to improve an aspect of your community, your ‘why’ should be at the core of everything you do. If this is lacking for your brand, take initiative and get the conversation started.
The process of setting your business’ purpose needs to be a collaborative one. Gather representatives from across the organization so that you can collectively set a mission so that everyone is working towards the same goal — whether they’re in operations or accounting.
Articulate Your ‘Why’
Once you and your team have identified your purpose, it’s time to communicate it to your prospects, customers, and the rest of your stakeholders. There are a number of ways you can do this: write a manifesto, build a values-focused landing page, or categorize your blog content by the value(s) it reflects. As you deploy and test different strategies, keep these tenets in mind.
- Communicate with people on a human level. Understand their values and reflect them back to them in language that’s clear and relatable.
- Keep your different personas in mind. Your customers may not always have the same values. Keep this in mind as you’re developing content around your purpose and how it serves each persona.
- Be open to feedback. You may not always get it right when it comes to meeting your customers where they are. If what you’re communicating isn’t helping with engagement, consider going back to the drawing board.
Show How Your Values Are Reflected Across Your Brand
The way your brand acts on its mission and values is likely to take many different forms — but not everyone will have visibility into that. If you’re supporting your community by offering your products for a lower cost or for free, share that story. If you’ve developed an initiative to better enable your employees on their career path, create a social media campaign on it. And if one of your customers has used your services in an innovative way that sets a best in class example for other organizations, put together a testimonial. People are eager to see what’s beneath the surface, and it’ll be easier for them to trust a brand that’s transparent.
One Last Thing
You don’t have to be in the process of building your marketing strategy from scratch to put these concepts into practice. Any time you’re revisiting your marketing plans, take the time to explore your brand’s “why” and make sure it’s still aligned with your content plans and how you’re reaching prospects and customers. And then check it during the next planning session — this should be an iterative process.
Gone are the days when marketing teams could focus solely on featuring their brand’s products. Now, if they want people to choose them, businesses need to dig a little deeper and do more to align with their ideal customer base.
Looking to reset your inbound marketing strategy so that it centres around your business’s purpose? We’d love to have that conversation with you. Get in touch.
Photo by Charlie Firth