What is Your Why
Why Ask Why?
Often brands or businesses start out with a single idea. Once they have an idea they tend to start thinking about how they will bring that idea to the masses. Often the planning or explanation of their new idea goes something like this:
“I’ve got an idea for a widget; this widget is great. People will love it and spend X number of dollars on it. It’s going to make us rich!”
For a lot of people, the last part is what they focus on. When the idea of money comes up, for many people it tends to become a major point. Some might argue that, to a certain extent, there isn’t really anything wrong with this. After all, we need money and society is built on it. If you want to do something, it takes money. Your home, food, transportation, hobbies, plays, theaters, and so on all require money. Some call it a necessary evil; some do better with it, some don’t. While many start their brand with the hope of making at least a living, they loose track of what is important when it comes to starting a brand. The important part of your brand starting out is a simple word: Why.
Whyis an important way to start your brand’s journey. Focusing on the why is not a new concept, but it is still one that entrepreneurs seem to miss out on too often. At the heart of any successful brand you can find the why of that company. You need to ask yourself the why questions. These questions can be tricky as there are actually a large number of them that you could ask with regard to your brand. Let’s look into a few of them.
Why are you doing this?
Looking back at your initial planning or explanation, there is the “I got an idea for a widget…” portion. When you focus on this why, you need to center in on why you have this idea. Is this idea based on a need that you have or is it based on a need that someone you know has? In 1978 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started Ben and Jerry’s because they wanted to start a business together; that’s it. Originally, they wanted to open a bagel shop, but couldn’t afford the machines. Often you hear of businesses starting because of an epiphany, and for others it is because two friends want to go into business together. What is your reason?
Why do I care?
Why is this solution that you have important to you? Why are you passionate about it? (Are you passionate about it?) Will it help motivate you to get up in the morning? Will you make it a part of who you are? If you don’t care about something why do it? Your brand is a reflection of those who work with it and engage with it. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, that attitude will carry through to your brand, and your customers will take notice. To make an impact on anything you need to care.
Why am I doing this now?
Is now the right time? Have you planned things out? What makes now the right time for your brand? James Dyson famously took about five years and over 5,000 prototypes before he launched his cyclonic vacuum. Even then the world didn’t seem quite ready for it. It took him almost 10 years after first thinking about it before he launched his own company to produce the Dyson vacuums. Remember that if now is not the time, that should not stop you from getting things ready. If the time’s not right, use the time to prepare.
Why will our customers trust us?
What are you doing to establish trust with your customers? After you have interacted with your customers, what will the outcome be: ‘Why didI trust these guys,’ or will it be ‘Why didn’tI trust these guys earlier?” While these may seem to be similar responses, the second is crucial to building brand ambassadors. Establishing why they will trust you will help you plan out what you need to so they cantrust you.
Why will the world be better because of my brand?
What will your brand bring to the world? How is it going to impact and make a difference? We all live on this planet and contribute to it in some way, so why would your brand be any different than others? Is your brand going to give back in some way? Or perhaps you’ll pay it forward somehow. TOMS Shoes, for example has a famous One for One program. You buy a pair of shoes and they then give away a pair of shoes to those in need in countries around the world. TOMS has now expanded their give-back campaign to more programs. Your brand doesn’t have to go to the lengths that TOMS does, but how will your brand make the world a better place?
Why will my brand succeed?
What needs to happen so that your brand succeeds? What needs to happen or what milestones need to happen for your brand to be looked at as a success? What is it that you need to do to ensure it does succeed? Do you have the strength and fortitude to help ensure your brand is successful? It is important when thinking about brand success to start small, giving yourself and your team small milestones. Your idea of success can change later, but hitting smaller milestones helps build internal confidence with your brand, and when you feel confident about your brand it will naturally carry through to your customers.
Why must it succeed?
Why is it so important for your brand to succeed? If your brand were to go away tomorrow, what hole would it leave in the universe? What would your customers and your tribe miss out on because of your absence? Every successful brand out there makes an impact on its users. Why is it important to your customers, tribe, family, and community that your brand succeeds?
Why will my brand fail?
Why would your brand fail and what would cause it to do so? Knowing why your brand might fail is more than just doing the opposite of what is needed to succeed. Mapping out and understanding the steps that could lead to your brand failing can help you know what you need to avoid. Knowing how your brand might fail it can help you avoid it. For example, say one area you realize could lead to failing is poor customer service. Realizing how poor customer service can lead to your brand failing can help you build strong customer service plans into your brand’s core.
Why will I not let it fail?
This is a personal question; it focuses more on you. Why is your brand’s success important to you personally and why will you not let it fail?
Discovering your “why” will lead to the next two areas that I’ll focus on in upcoming articles: “how” and “now.” Your “why” will allow you to have a strong center point around which to establish your brand. What is your why? Do you know it? Share your why in the comments below. What are you doing to cultivate your why?
If you need help in discovering or developing your why, download our “My Brand’s Why” worksheet. Work through the questions and discover the path your brand needs to follow to fulfill your why.