So, why does your brand exist?
Answering the question of Why is a foundational building block in the development of your brand. It will guide your decision-making, and ultimately, the success of your business.
So what is a brand Why? It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning to go to work. It’s the reason you endure low times and frustrations in your business. It’s the thing that fulfils you; the thing that drives you and makes you want to go back to working on your business, again and again. It can be your passion, but more often, it’s a bigger-picture element; it’s the effect you want the work you’re doing to have on the world.
I would say there is no limit to what your Why can be. But one thing I can say for sure: Making money is not a legitimate Why. In fact, I feel confident that if you change your Brand Why from money to something else you’re passionate about, you will make lots more money.
So, the less you focus on the money, the more you’ll make.
When you have a genuine, from-the-heart brand Why, your intuition will speak to you in its full capacity. Your choices will point you in the right direction to fulfil that Why, and you’ll be on the road to long-term success in much less time than if you were focussed only on profit.
Am I suggesting that you avoid trying to make money? Not at all! Money is one of your rewards, and you deserve it. Your money will be used to create more good things, and it will work to expand the solutions you’re already offering.
But, it’s important to check yourself, to make sure your passions and aspirations aren’t being diluted by a quest for profit. It’s imperative that we, as entrepreneurs, maintain healthy relationships with the money we’ll be making.
This is why we see so many entrepreneurs jump from one start-up to the next. They’re looking for fulfilment; for a Why. And this is something they’ll never find with money as their primary focus. But this might not be you. We realise that lots of you start your business purely from passion.
Now, really, I’m not here to demonise money—I promise that. I like money as much as you do. It has provided for my family and brought fun and leisure into my life. But we can’t ignore the fact that many female-led businesses fail because of a lack of attention to cash flow. It can be easy to get caught up in the emotions of giving and achieving…and to forget that a business needs to be profitable in order to continue. So, remember that money is not a workable Why, but it is a necessary result of your Why.
Now that we’ve established what a Brand Why is, let’s take a look at those key reasons as to why you need one.
The Reasons you Need a Brand Why
Your Why is a big part of your brand. In fact, it will help massively to have your Brand Why in place before you do anything else. It will drive your motivation and focus your efforts.
But more specifically:
1. Your Brand Why will Tell you Where your Business is Going.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have a desire to change something, improve something, make a difference…and when you take the time to define what that is, you will make choices that lead to that change. I mean imagine getting in your car to go somewhere, and you don’t know where you’re going. Not just a joyride—I’m talking about wanting to arrive someplace new that has everything you want and need, but having done no research about which geographical area might offer that.
How much petrol money will you need? What types of provisions should you take along? How much time will it take to arrive? Which direction will you start in, and which turns will lead to where you want to be?
These questions simply cannot be answered unless you know where you intend to end up (or your Why). If you don’t know where you’re going, you will drive in circles, and ultimately arrive nowhere. And as a business owner you know that nowhere isn’t a good place to be when you’re talking about success.
2. Your Brand Why will Attract Customers who Share your Ideals.
Consumers have unlimited choices in most markets. By the time they explore everything that’s available, a new option develops. And for that reason, it can be nearly impossible to compete with price, quality or convenience alone.
And because there are so many options, consumers have begun to look into brands’ reasons for being in business. In other words, they want to know why you’re designing tailored suits. Or why you’re offering a cleaning service with flexible times. Or why you’re breaking into the greeting card industry.
People don’t necessarily want to be part of your business; but they do want to be part of Why you’re building your business. If you’re aiming to accomplish something they will admire, then they want to feel that they’ve been a part of that achievement.
3. Watching People React to your Why Gives Insight into your Business’s Future.
When you present your Brand Why to your target market, they will have noted reactions. Often, it can be more helpful to your branding and marketing efforts to group them according to those reactions, rather than using more superficial demographics.
To explain: Let’s say that 80% of your target market is comprised of females aged 25-45 with school-aged children and full-time jobs. The rest is a mixture of working fathers, busy single professionals and retirees who actively serve their communities. When you make your mission statement and branding accessible to your audience, you get a noted reaction from a portion of the working mothers…and from nearly all of the others. Can you see how your target market, and the way you communicate with them, just shifted?When you give people the space to interact with your Brand Why and decide how they feel about it (and your business), they will show you not only whom you should be speaking to, but what you should be saying. Click To Tweet
Surface demographics matter when you’re searching for your ideal clients. Your Why matters when you’re digging deeper and finding out who, specifically, is going to connect with you based on your Brand Why.
4. Your Brand Why will Unite your Team.
If you’ve worked under a boss in any type of situation, you know how common the statement “Why is he doing that?” can be. Lay-offs, promotions, demotions, raises, location changes, store closings, department restructuring and more can cause confusion and detachment from the organisation’s mission.
If, on the other hand, your team is privy to your business’s Why, they will be able to draw parallels between what’s happening and what to expect. They will be capable of establishing empathy for your business’s place in the market, in relation to where it’s headed. And they will have a structure in which to answer that question, “Why is she doing that?” Suddenly, bad news is justified and good news seems progressive, with new significance.
Without being informed of your Why, your employees might feel like sheep wandering on a plain—with no destination, no focus…never knowing what to expect or being sure what they’re working toward. Animosity may develop. They might view the decisions you make as selfish, or supportive only of the bottom line. But when they know the Brand Why, they will work in a state of broader understanding, which will promote a sense of team journey and accomplishment.
5. Your Why will Help you Write Better Content.
If you’ve ever written a webpage, blog article or social media post for your business and stopped halfway through and thought, What’s my point? then you know what it’s like to write content without a Brand Why.
Every piece of content you publish should support your branding and marketing strategies. Each one should work to move people through your pipeline, putting them closer to the place where you can serve them in a way that fulfils your Why. If you don’t have a Why, your content will feel unfocussed, without relevancy; you and your readers will be asking What’s the point?
6. Your Brand’s Why will Attract Top Talent to your Team.
When you think of the people who will work for your company, what criteria do you expect they’ll use to choose your brand over another one? Will they want to work for someone whose main objective is earning money? Or someone who wants to make a difference in the world…a difference they believe in?
Employee experience is becoming more and more important, and the best candidates know they can use non-traditional criteria to make career decisions.
7. Your Why will get you Better Press.
Every business owner dreams about being featured in a news piece, and they hope it doesn’t involve some sort of scandal. So here’s something to think about: If your business was to be featured in a national publication, what would the journalist have to say?
“Ms. Smith has the most impressive drive to make money”? “Ms. Granger is worth 2M, but she has nothing to say about why she’s in business”?
Sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. I know. And when you see how valuable having a Brand Why is, you’ll look at other businesses that don’t have one and see that same level of ridiculousness.
8. Your Brand Why will Help you Deliver a Better Elevator Pitch.
If you freeze when you meet your dream client or when people ask you to tell them about your business, having a Why will help you articulate what you do—and there’s a really nice fringe benefit: You’ll do it with a level of infectious passion that just can’t be faked.
Can you imagine meeting a major influencer in your industry and telling them what you do without having much concern for what you’re doing? What would you talk about? How would you drive the conversation? And what would keep them from walking away?
9. Your Why will Make Every Work Day Joyous.
That’s a pretty substantial claim, right? Joyful about work? Every day?
I stand behind that claim. When you are doing something you absolutely love, for a reason that is close to your heart, you don’t have to fight with the alarm clock. You’re happy to hear it, in fact.
And what business wouldn’t thrive with that kind of daily motivation?
10. Your Why will Keep you Focussed.
If distractions are a problem for you, you’re gonna love this. When your business has a definitive Why, you won’t feel the need to stop and address every unrelated statement or notion that passes over your desk and through your life.
When your reticular activating system (the part of your brain that filters out unnecessary information) is concentrated on that Why, nothing else really matters to you. And that’s a good thing, because in truth, nothing else really matters. If you want to reach a goal, you’ve got to focus exclusively on that goal. Having a Brand Why accomplishes that, using your brain’s own biological function.
11. Your Why will Result in More Clear Opportunities.
Not only will having a Brand Why deliver more of what you need to accomplish your goals (let’s talk another day about the Law of Attraction if you’re not familiar with it), you will be better equipped to recognise relevant opportunities when they come up.
Again, it’s that part of your brain that recognises what you’re focussed on.
12. Your Brand Why Puts you in Control.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control of my business and its destiny. I want to minimise outside forces that will affect my vision for it. And one way to make sure you are in the driver’s seat is to know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Entrepreneurs (and people in general) who are confident about where they’re going and why they’re going there are difficult to sway. And you know what? Their perseverance pays off. They end up building the business they had envisioned—rather than what they were persuaded to create.
Hopefully you now understand not only what a brand Why is, but why it is so important. If written well, from the heart, it will motivate you and your team, strengthen your brand communication as a whole and attract customers who believe what you believe – essentially allowing your brand to sell itself.
If you’re ready to find your brand Why and need some help discovering and crafting it, please head on over to the Masterclass in the Academy: ‘Discovering your Brand Why’.
If you want to delve deeper into a brand Why, watch this TED talk by Simon Sinek. He considers how Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers set themselves apart from their competition by discovering their Whys.
Marnie LeFevre is the Founder of Fempire. She is also a #1 bestselling author and marketing expert who has made it her mission to support women to achieve the success they deserve and to lead with confidence. She believes women can achieve anything with the right support and a sisterhood to back them up.