By Kelly Bistriceanu, Accounting Channel Manager for TSheets
Sometimes when you look at the pedestal of The Greats in our society it’s easy to see why they are in that place of honor. They are the most talented, most intelligent, most able and driven individuals and they challenged what we thought was possible. With them the impossible became possible, at least in that moment for that one person. They did it.
Other times we look at a product, a top 100 CPA firm or a person and we think to ourselves, how are they even still standing in the arena of the most talented? When we find out they’ve held their ground for a long time, and that they are making buckets of money, we are veritably blown off our feet!
How did they manage to do it? They have a product that is seemingly useless, an idea that certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone’s tastes, and those behind the company seem to have nothing special to offer. How have they done it, we ask?
There’s a common thread that ties all of these together and it has been quantified by Simon Sinek. It’s called The Golden Circle: the what, the how and the why.
The most basic and outermost part of the circle is the what. It is the easiest to hit. Every business knows their what.
Think about the Snuggie. The what for the Snuggie is that it’s a wearable blanket; a backwards bathrobe without the tassels. Genius really. Nothing special and it is easy to market the functionality. “Put your arm in here and here and stay warm when you move.” But Snuggie does a little more than just market its functionality.
The next part of the circle is the how. This takes a little more effort to communicate to customers but most businesses still market the how, often without a second thought that they are doing it.
The how for the Snuggie is that you are able to keep warm under a blanket yet still have range of mobility. Overall, not something that you think would propel that company to success but there’s no name under bathrobes or blankets that is as well known as the Snuggie. So why has the company been so successful? It’s because they market the why.
The aim of every business should be to successfully market their why. However, most companies don’t. The why is the ideals that drive you, the reason you get up, the message you wish to share, the purpose for your business and the difference you wish to make in the world. It challenges the status quo.
For the Snuggie, the message is almost screamed, “Yes! I’m lazy! I want to grab the remote without moving my hand from under the blanket! I want to be as warm as possible without making any attempt at fashion! I DON’T care what anyone else thinks!” And that message has been toted with tongue-in-cheek joviality by all who wear it. In fact, the why is so apparent that even Bruno Mars has sung that he takes his lazy days, “chilling in [his] Snuggie.”
That’s the point Sinek was making. People don’t buy what you have. They don’t even buy how you do it most of the time. They buy why you do it.
Businesses who market with what their product does for the customer are generally not going to find success on a broad scale. It’s uninspiring. If you spend all your marketing dollars communicating the what and the how to your customers, you are going to sell your company short. And you’re certainly not going to get someone like Bruno Mars to write a song about your product for free.
In this world, it takes communicating your ideals and challenging the status quo of presentable people everywhere. Forget how you look; relax, let it all hang out and cuddle up in your Snuggie. Be yourself.