All brands have identities. But how many brands consciously create their identity? Communicating core values can be difficult, and is often a last priority for many organizations. They assume brand identity develops through the success of their products/services. However, what they fail to realize is that brand identity is necessary to their success and integral to building a consumer base. The best way to guide brand identity: The Golden Circle.
What is it?
At a TEDx talk in 2012, author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, shared a marketing principle he calls ‘the golden circle’ or ‘start with why.’ Sinek explains that businesses often communicate their products/services by showing what they can do, but it is much more effective to show why they do what they do. He shows this with 3 circles, the center being why, the middle being how, and the outer being what. Most businesses start outside and move in, going from what to why. However, the most successful organizations start at the center – why – sharing their core values and creating a principle foundation upon which they operate.
How does it work in marketing?
By using the golden circle in marketing, businesses align their values and their products. Sinek uses Apple to illustrate this concept. Apple does not create messages that say:
“We make great computers. They're user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
Instead they create messages that start with their values: “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.
And we happen to make great computers.”
By starting with the why, organizations answer the first question – why they exist. It may seem unnecessary, but without this information, the vision is lost. Next is the how – how they realize their values. Last is the what – what they have created based on their values.
Why is it effective?
First ask yourself why are you purchasing the things you do? What are your favorite businesses? It is possible that it’s because you understand them.
Consumers are more inclined to purchase products that they believe in. This trust of products is rooted in trust of the company itself. By highlighting its values, an organization can establish credibility.
The golden circle also aligns with the way we think. With the Apple example above, it is easy to see that there a logical thought process when starting with why, because it is starting at the beginning.
Finally, the golden circle tunes in to people’s emotions. Consumers feel connected to businesses that share their values, and in turn build a strong and loyal customer base.
Organizations that use the golden circle are successful because they bridge the gap between their values and their products/services. They put effort into creating their identity and clearly communicating it to their consumers. Brand identity is the foundation upon which effective marketing stands. It is best put by Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
So, do your consumers know why you do it?