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That’s right. Another blog post now exists about branding.
Sure, there are already plenty of excellent posts about branding; explaining what a brand is and how to go about branding yourself or a company. Some stick to the nuts & bolts, while others go deep into the intangibles. But this one is a little more of the latter than the former, and is heavily inspired by experience, understanding, and Simon Sinek.
So let’s get that direct reference to Simon out of the way. He wrote Start With Why. It is excellent. It is easy to understand. Yet it can be the most difficult thing in the world to implement.
For some brands it was seemingly easy because their company started with a mission-based purpose. Toms. Warby Parker. Apple. Plenty of big, hairy dreams going on there and they’re bringing them to reality. Their passion bleeds through everything they do. It is evident why they do what they do.
But what about branding a local dry cleaning business? Or a three-person accounting firm? Especially if, after a half-day discovery meeting with them, it isn’t clear that they were inspired to serve any purpose other than to make ends meet and use a skill set they learned in school or in previous work experience.
These are just fictitious examples of some of the hardest work we do. And some of the most rewarding work when we’ve got a client that’s willing to find their Why, or let us create one for them.
Finding Your Why
Simon’s Golden Circle is a really smart and simple way to look at this. In short, you start in the center with “Why,” then you move outward through the “How,” and you end up on the outside with “What.”
It brings us to the main point of this article. Simon relates the golden circle to the limbic system of the brain. That’s a pretty scientific look at it. We look at it a little more metaphorical. That middle circle to us is the heart.
You see, to us, branding is an effort to reach deep inside people and create (or change) their feelings about a company. Sometimes we’re trying to reach inside their gut to affect their gut feeling. Other times we’re reaching into their heart to pull on heart strings. Either way, our goal is to reach the center and do some work.
It takes breaking through the environment with branding that stands out as much as it stands for something. And you can’t just stay skin deep. You have to be compelling enough to penetrate people and go deep go deep inside to shape and mold emotions. That is the only place where you can leave truly lasting brand impressions.
Some companies already have their own Why. It might be apparent, or it might be unconsciously concealed and tucked away. Our job is to unearth it, articulate or define it, tell a story about it, and present it to the world in a way that is transparent and meaningful.
Other companies just don’t seem to have a Why. They appear to just be doing what they do out of necessity or routine or circumstance. That can make things really difficult. But sometimes it allows us to open up a world of possibilities as to what and how we can brand a company.
The difference in these two usually lies in the people we are working with. But different industries can also have dynamics that present challenges in going deep. How much to you really want to know about the plumbing company that is coming to save you from a big mess?
What we’ve found is that you’re more likely to choose a company that you align with or share some common thread with. We all want to do business with good companies. So, while the Why might not be easy to find, hopefully the Good is.
In the end, that’s why we choose to work with good people.
We know we can simply reverberate their Good in their branding and turn it into a marketing win for their business.