Change your marketing with the power of purpose

Like all great thinkers and inspirational leaders, Simon Sinek was perhaps a bit ahead of his time. The marketing theories he shared back in 2009 are just gathering momentum now, and in many circles, being heralded as the way forward.

At that time, he delivered what is now seen as a game-changing TED talk, ‘How great leaders inspire action’. He spoke passionately about why some companies manage to rise above their competitors and create success, when in essence they’re selling similar products to everyone else. Think Apple.

Apple is just a computer company like many others – but what is it that sets them apart?  It’s not just their products – a whole host of tech companies out there make similar phones and computers. What sets them apart is the way they think, their ethos and how well they communicate that to their customers.

So what do they do with their marketing and branding that’s so different?

Marketing with a purpose

As Simon, bestselling author and leadership expert says in his Ted talk, companies like Apple have got it right because they market themselves differently from everyone else.  To explain, he uses what he calls the ‘golden circle’.

Most companies approach their branding by working from the outside in, with WHAT, HOW, WHY. They tell people WHAT their products are (we make great computers), HOW they’re different to everyone else’s (they’re beautifully designed and easy to use), and then WHY they do what they do (we want you to buy one).

Successful companies like Apple turn this approach on its head, working from the inside out. They start with WHY.  So their marketing message would be more like this: “With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

This simple switch means they put more effort into telling us what kind of company they are and what they believe in, rather than just telling us what they sell.  This helps them attract customers who share their beliefs and want to become a part of their story. That’s what sets them apart from other companies who just sell computers. In the words of Simon Sinek: “Your customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Be more like Apple

The point is, marketing is no longer just about presenting a front to the world. Now it’s much more about giving your customers the real deal. In an age where higher ethical standards, fair trade and sustainability are top of the agenda, consumers want to see brands doing a bit more, giving something back. In short, we want to admire brands, look up to them, aspire to what they’ve achieved. We want to be part of their story.

Harness the power of purpose

If you’re inspired by the simplicity of the golden circles and feel ready to harness the power of purpose for your business, how do you start?

  • Take a step back

Think about your company and what your WHY is (making money is not the answer!). Why did you set up your company in the first place, what did you set out to achieve, what’s your mission and what do you really believe in? Once you know this, you’ve identified your whole purpose for doing what you do.

  • Make WHY the centre of everything you do

Once you’ve discovered your WHY, make sure those beliefs and ethos run through everything you do. Every piece of printed material you produce, every Facebook post, every brochure, has to come from that place. Keep it consistent and your customers who share your beliefs will buy into what you do and feel compelled to remain loyal.

  • Review your customer personas

It’s important to think about your existing and potential customers and redefine your buyer personas aligned to your company WHY. Consider why your customers choose to buy into your services, what core values they share with you and why they remain loyal. Do your customers choose you because you’re a small company with big competitors and they prefer to support the ‘little guy’, because you ‘do the right thing’ or just because they believe in the way you like to work? This thought process will help you understand the main messages to focus on with your marketing.

Try it out

Now all you have to do is give it a go and see how successful your business can be when you embrace the power of purpose. And don’t worry; you don’t have to change everything overnight. As Mike Battle, CEO of Lapland UK, points out, running a business is “never about getting to a destination but about heading in the right direction. Your job is to continually get better, and it’s never finished – but understanding your purpose keeps you on the right track”.[1]

Our purpose at Uniquity is to help ambitious businesses realise their potential. If you’d like some help to discover your brand’s purpose, or want to find out more about using it to transform your marketing, call us today on 07803 207 590 or book your consultation here.

[1] Source: https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/purpose-new-branding

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