I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. I’m sold on the fact that people follow purpose. They want to believe in something greater than themselves. And when they find it, they buy into it.
But in my experience, purpose is a long-term strategy. Unless you’re already an iconic brand (Apple), it takes more than just ‘why’ to get people to buy.
What Simon lays out is a methodology for messaging. Too often, we forget steps two and three.
Strong messaging completes the cycle.
It starts with ‘why,’ explains the ‘how,’ and shares the ‘what.’ When you buy into the importance of purpose it’s tempting to start and end with ‘why.’ This is a fatal flaw.
The ‘how’ and the ‘what’ reinforce and provide credibility to the purpose. They are increasingly tangible representations of the purpose.
Without the foundation of the what, the buyer has nothing to latch on to but a nebulous concept of belief. And, as a result, they may be fired up and ready to go, but, you never put anything in their hand to walk away with.
First ask why. But don’t forget the other two questions.