By: Zack Duvall
I bet many of you reading this blog, being the successful business person that you are, could detail every aspect of the product(s) and service(s) that your company provides. I’m certain that you could tell me or any potential customer how to utilize what you’re selling to solve a problem faced, or improve a facet of our lives. I am so certain of that I would wager money on it, and I am much too conservative in nature for traditional bets.
But could you tell me WHY you or your company does what it does or provides what it provides? If asked, could you articulate not only what your company’s message is, but how it relates to the very core belief and value system of the business?
Far too often we get caught up in the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of our business lives. Simon Sinek, a man for whom I have a deep admiration, speaks about this often and stresses the importance of always remembering the ‘why’ of what we do. We focus on the product differences between ourselves and our competitors so much that we almost forget to remember that the story behind the brand is almost as, if not more, important than the initial products/services themselves.
For many small businesses across the country, the ‘why’ has been the great equalizer for them in their fights against the big-box-stores that threaten their existence. The ‘why’ for those business owners is their families, the hopes and dreams that come with entrepreneurship, dedication, and a sense of pride in themselves for building something from the ground up. That’s a compelling message that, if conveyed properly, won’t only drive a company’s employees to perform with a sense of true purpose, but will drive consumers to be loyal to the idea of supporting a locally-based success story.
Beyond that, it will allow you to formulate a cohesive and effective message to help you to stand out from your competitors in more ways than just ones related to the actual products sold or services offered.
Millennials and Generation X consumers are especially receptive to this business ideology. A 2016 consumer study found that over 42% of them reported to patronizing a brand based on the story behind the company, even if the product specs were slightly lower than the competition.
Think about some of the most popular brands of products out there. Brands such as Apple, Harley Davidson, or Black Rifle Coffee Co. All of these brands boast a fiercely loyal customer base that continues to not only remain solid but grow year after year. However, all of these brands have highlighted a unique story that they utilize effectively to connect with their customers.
For instance, Black Rifle was started by a veteran who would grind his own coffee while deployed during the Iraq War so that he and his fellow soldiers could have a decent cup of coffee overseas. Apple was started to give computer enthusiasts a machine that looked amazing and featured truly innovative designs and functionality. Harley Davidson was born out of the desire to offer an adventurous and fun-loving segment of people a recreational vehicle to “explore their wild side.”
All of these products share some things in common. The most relevant commonality being that they continue to be thriving, industry-leading, brands despite not always having the absolute best products in their fields.
Whenever anyone asks me my thoughts on a marketing plan or strategy, I always say that the main focus should be on the unique story behind your business, coupled with a truly meaningful engagement of consumers through various platforms.
Not only because of the fact that products and services become dated and constantly need innovation to keep them relevant, but because a truly well-crafted ‘why’ is something that has an everlasting impact on brand loyalty and outreach.