Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Talking about Why

Sinek’s Golden Circle (4 May 2010)
One of my students' favourite YouTube clip discoveries year after year is a TED talk with Simon Sinek talking about what he terms "The Golden Circle".

The Golden Circle is the magic place which, in Simon Sinek's own words (4 May 2010, 4:03):
"Here's how Apple actually communicates: everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?"
As he says to introduce the idea of "Why", (4 May 2010, 02:22), “Every single person in every single organization on the planet knows what they do: 100%. Some know how they do it; you would you call it your differentiating value proposition, or your proprietary process, or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do."

So why do we get stuff backwards? What makes us forget to tell people the 'why'? Harvey Deuschendorf (17 January 2019) suggests it is to do with our limbic brain and that we are actually run by emotions, for all we would like to think of ourselves as rational, careful decision-makers. He says "Our limbic system is one part of the brain that holds our emotions. The neocortex, on the other hand, is our powerful, thinking mind, which makes the decisions based upon information. When we make decisions, we probably like to think that we’re basing them on facts and data. But we’re making them based on our emotions, on the 'why'."

What do Black and Decker sell? Not drills, but holes. Customers want holes. What do motorbikes give us? Perceived freedom. What does face cream give us? Eternal youth. We need to truly understand what it is that we sell to our customer from the customer's point of view. We need to ask, survey, and get inside out customers' heads to find out exactly what it is that our product gives them. In education, what does our target market get? Choices? Confidence? Access? Networks? New opportunities? Knowledge? A second chance?

Until we find out, we are rudderless in being able to truly connect with our own 'why', which then means that our decisions will not lead to a strong and truly communicable brand.

We need to talk.



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