Book Review: Start with Why? and blog your heart out.
Also the Author of a the Leadership book ‘Leaders Eat Last’, Simon Sinek wrote what I believe to be one of the most useful books in marketing ever written, although it technically is not meant to be a marketing book it is definitely a must-read for CEO’s, business owners and marketeers alike. In his book ”Start with WHY’ Sinek takes the reader on a journey to understand the difference between a business built for profits and a business built on meaning.
Tweet: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it” Simon Sinek Author of Start with Why @stephaniefiteni
He certainly does not intend to say that there can be no meaning in a profitable business or profit in a meaningful business. However he pushes the reader, very slowly out of his/her comfort zone to explore why a businesses might exist or if you’re setting one up if it is the one that matches your why. He walks us through the building blocks of loyalty and how we naturally want to belong.
To find your why it’s important that you identify your reason for doing what you do and being who you are. In other words where your passion lies or that of the founder; wherever the company draws its identity from. This principle holds a very important key to strong content marketing campaigns. The most followed blogs belong to people or companies who know who they are, where they’re going and why they want to go there. So perhaps this book could be used to find the true ‘why’ behind your blog.
My favourite example in this book amongst many good ones is the Apple story. Their approach is a very good example of how having a strong why and using it to position your business can have many advantages. In the book the apple scenario is presented through their brand voice.
Knowing your why can help you develop your brand voice. Apple’s mission is to challenge the status quo through thinking differently… and they also happen to make great computers. This allows apple to innovate and extend its product base beyond any perceptual limitations. Anything that Apple builds challenges the status quo, it doesn’t matter what the product is. In terms of business this is very powerful.
Companies that present themselves by what they do have more business limitations and can effect the success of the business because perceptions cannot change overnight. For example Dell presents itself by what it does. Dell makes good computers; that’s how it presents (or presented in the past) itself in terms of its brand voice. That’s the perception its built. Dell has defined itself by what it does for a number of years. Although Dell is very capable of creating any type of digital device when they launched their PDA and MP3 player, both flopped.
Dell had been defining themselves by what they do for so long (i.e. making good quality computers) that when they tried to change the perception they couldn’t do it fast enough for their new products to succeed because perceptions are slow to change.
Many companies use their why to position their Brand, this allows them to stay true to their core beliefs whilst expanding into other areas of business more or less effortlessy. For example Google’s why is “to organise the world’s information and make it useful and accessible to everyone” so it does not matter whether Google is creating software, computers, cars, devices or operating systems, our perception of Google is not limited to providers of email or search engines we know they are more than that, because they are driven by purpose and that purpose comes through in their Brand voice.
Tweet this quote: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” Simon SinekAuthor of Start with Why
Knowing your why is going to be key to finding your content marketing voice. You cannot blog effectively if you do not know Why you do what you do and where you want your online presence to take you. Whether you’re the owner of a start-up, a solopreneurs or manage an established businesses you want to find your why to inject more powerful perspectives into your business copy and content marketing as well as strengthen your Brand voice.
Sinek gives us insight into the fact that perception is key to good business, but a perception that is deceitful or not truly based on your strengths or passions, your true WHY, can only attract the wrong types of customers which in the long run can result in a strained business or an unhappy one. If your Why is not clear you will be tempted to use unsustainable gimmicks and short term marketing tricks to make a sale.
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Don’t have time to read the book or have to wait till the holidays? Checkout Sinek’s TED Talk to start using his principles to find your WHY in just 5 minutes.