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‘WHY’ VS ‘WHAT’ IN MARKETING COMMUNICATION

Wednesday morning came around and everyone was on time, looking surprisingly well-rested and attentive. We’d all done our social media checks and already made coffee, and we were ready to hit the lights in anticipation of #OYMG* Vol.2.

What? Were we actually sticking our resolutions? Was that the sweet taste of accomplishment?

Simon Sinek, author, and motivational speaker lead the talk. Okay, we clicked play on a 2009 TED talks presentation but wow, Simon really knows how to get all up in your head, get you to question everything you’ve ever known, and then he hits you with wave upon wave of motivation. Do it, click here.

He differentiates ‘leaders’ from ‘those who lead’ like this: “leaders hold a position of power or authority BUT those who lead inspire us…we follow those who lead not because we HAVE to, but because we WANT to…not for them, but for ourselves!”

He talks about how most marketing communication is done one way, and how all of the greatest businesses communicate in a reverse manner. According to him, the majority of marketing communication focuses on the product, the ‘what’. The success stories, however, focus on the ‘why’, the purpose of this product’s existence.

Donald Miller, author of the New York Times bestselling book Building a Storybrand (no, we’re not crazy about the name either, but don’t judge a book by its, er, title! Not in THIS case, anyway), boils all failed business down to poor marketing communication, the inability to sell the ‘why’ of your business or product.

We touched on this same ‘why’ with last week’s #OYMG session inspired by Patty McCord (if you missed her presentation, click here). If all of these successful speakers and authors are saying the same thing essentially, perhaps we really DO need to place more importance on how we approach our marketing communication.

Pretty websites are attractive (and we’ll be the first to admit we like ‘pretty’), but words sell things. When we don’t reach our projected targets, do we ever question ‘WHY’ we’re communicating?

What are we saying? Are we talking about ourselves, our unbeatable product? Or are we identifying what potential customers need, a ‘why’?

There are so many similar products, so many other options, so much noise! What we’re trying to wrap our heads around is that the customers we want to do business with are the ones who believe what we believe. They’re the loyal ones who will follow. But how could we expect people to follow if we don’t know why we do what we do?

We’ve challenged ourselves with these questions, and we’ll be spending the next week thinking about the ‘why’ in our personal lives. Why are we doing this? Why do we work here? What do we believe in? The next step is to figure out why we, as an agency, exist? Step three, apply the ‘why’ to our marketing communication…but we’ll have to keep you posted on this one.

*#OYMG stands for Open Your Mind Grapes, our weekly discussion-based internal agency workshops.

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