Back in 2009, Simon Sinek introduced the innovative Golden Circle concept in his TED talk, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Using a simple model, he addressed three important questions that all businesses should be asking themselves:
By using a few key examples, he explains that the third question, the WHY? is the most important and the ultimate key to success. Despite being 10 years old, the messages conveyed in the video hold true today and are arguably becoming even more significant as today’s consumers seek added value in the brands they purchase from.
Many companies describe themselves in terms of what they sell, and fewer can explain WHY they do WHAT they do. Aside from making money, WHY do they get out of bed in the morning? However, those who use their values and beliefs as the driving force behind business have the strongest foundations on which to build a company that represents a purpose and will, therefore, attract conscious, loyal consumers.
People don’t buy what you do,
they buy why you do it.
Different consumers seek different brand values. Whether it’s Philips’ goal to improve people’s lives by meaningful innovation (1), The Body Shop’s commitment to “Enrich not Exploit” the planet (2) or Thankyou’s mission to end global poverty (3), this added value that comes with making a purchase is sought after.
Sinek explained that the golden circle model is not just his opinion, but it can actually be related to the structure of the human brain. Essentially, the outermost part of the brain (responsible for our rational and analytical thoughts) correlates with the WHAT section of the golden circle and the innermost part (responsible for our feelings and behaviour) can be represented by the WHY. In other words, we communicate from the outside in but we make decisions based on our feelings.
This is why building a brand from the inside out and starting with WHY is motivational and influential when it comes to buying behaviour. It attracts consumers who believe in your WHY, giving them a shared sense of purpose and a feeling that they are part of something bigger. Achieving this does not necessarily mean investing lots of money in reinventing your brand (or creating a new one) but instead, shifting the focus from WHAT you sell to WHY you sell it.