For your company to thrive, communicate the “why”

For your company to thrive, communicate the “why”

01 Jun 2017
How organizations command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike

Leadership expert Simon Sinek’s TED Talk , “How great leaders inspire action” shares perhaps one of the greatest models out there for becoming an organization that inspires people to come to work and, in turn, engenders trust and loyalty with your customers. It’s about communicating from the inside out – an approach we at GA wholeheartedly believe in and strive to help our clients incorporate, as well.

Sinek's talk is worth a listen, but if you're time strapped, here's a summary:

  1. Every organization knows what it does: it’s primary function.
  2. Not every organization knows why it does what it does: it’s reason for being.
  3. Great organizations know the why, and communicate it first.

Any exampe from the talk about Apple:

  • Instead of communicating the what: “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed. Would you like to buy one?”
  • Apple communicates the why: “We believe in thinking differently in everything we do, challenging the status quo. The way we do that is by making our products beautifully designed and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

Sinek’s point is that switching the order of your outbound communications to a why-first message ultimately leads to trust. To inspiration. To growing and sustaining lifelong advocates of your company or organization. In short, to quote Sinek:


“People don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”


We've unearthed the following additional examples:

  • Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality customer service, delivered with warmth and friendliness. They also sell airplane tickets.
  • Coca-Cola’s “why” is to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference. And to sell soda.
  • Microsoft aims to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. And, by the way, they sell technology.
  • BBC wants to enrich people’s lives.
  • hopes to empower creators.
  • airbnb wants to give everyone a sense of belonging.

Why do you do what you do?

If you think leaders at your company or organization may answer that question differently, then your target audiences probably aren’t clear on your “why” message either. In that case, it could be time to bring in outside help in order to gain consensus and develop why-first messaging and campaigns that truly inspire, from the inside out.



 Not crystal clear on the why?

Tags: Branding