finding your [freaking-fantastic] foundation
why start with why
In our last blog, we told you we would be referencing and featuring the work of Simon Sinek in this blog. We explained briefly Sinek’s central idea: in order to inspire from a position of leadership, you must lead with your Why. Central to fostering loyalty is creating empathy, which is possible through sharing your Why. Sinek dives into much greater detail in his book Start With Why. He pens, “There are two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” Why’s are inspiring. Start with them because inspiration leads to action.
what your why looks like
When you think back, what was your moment of inspiration? This can kind of feel a little touchy-feely to think about (and sharing with others, especially!) but it’s vital to be able to extract your Why from those experiences. Your Why is what inspired you and it’s what will drive others to back your mission. If your Why is too difficult to find, you might need to rethink your mission entirely. If your brand’s Why doesn’t light you up (or you have no idea why you do what you do every day), it could be possible that you need to go back to the drawing board and find something you’re stoked about doing. Brands with strong, articulated Whys are thriving and enjoying the work, the experience, the process.
sharing your why
Most Brands have Why’s and they’re pretty excited about them. However, their messaging is not always aligned with their understanding or their enthusiasm for their driving force. This is the space in which we thrive. We are able to support our clients through the drafting, slashing, fine-tuning, and sharing of their Why’s. We create mission, vision, and values statements to be a guiding light for the brand as they grow their business. On our home page it reads: “Cultivate your brand. Grow your business.” This is exactly what that sentiment references. Aside from us as consultants, however, as Brand Leaders, do not take lightly the weight and responsibility you have to your mission to articulate it in such a way as to make it accessible to as many of the most interested people possible.
who in the world
Don’t reinvent the wheel, they say. There is nothing new under the sun, they say. So what do we do, you ask?? In Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From, he underscores the first point. Real, meaningful contributions to society rarely arise from in a vacuum. They utilize the wheel, for instance, as it exists and use it to build The Best Car in the World, as we know it to be in 2017. In 2030, there will be a better, improved iteration and it will be a Good Idea. When you think about your work and the delivery of it, you must deliver it in accordance to the time and place in which you will be doing the work. Think about your space (dare we say niche?) and invent your Who with this at the forefront of your consciousness.
who as an expression of why
You know your Why. You know where your Why exists in time and space and thereby you understand your market. Now think about Who you as a brand will be. Are you alone in your Why? How will you differentiate yourself (or align yourself) with congruent missions and trajectories? When you take a look in the metaphorical mirror – Who do you see? While a brand might not be a living organism, it is absolutely a thing of life in that it impacts the world in which it interacts. This is a critical step for the next 6 minutes, months, and years of your business. As a result of your Why, Who are you?
When people think about Branding, this is the sub-point they think about first. In other word, what’s the vibe? This invites conversations about tone and personality, color scheme and font choice. Will your voice be academic and authoritative or creative and approachable? What reaction should people have to your logo? What about your tagline – are you clever, succinct, edgy, razor-sharp? Start putting it all down and then you can put it all together. Our clients know what their Perfect Elevator Pitch is. They know what to say, they know how to say it because they first understood why they had their Big Idea (and they’re super into it), they understand who would be interested in their Big Idea, and then they decided Who they would be as brands. We helped.
Tune in next week for Governance Grows Greatness and we’ll explore the What and How of your Branding Journey.