Selling From The Why: The Future of Branding

How to sell your why

The most inspiring business leaders are the ones that created products from their WHY.

Being clear on what your brand stands for and what’s at the core of your company, will let it shine and deliver with conscious. Doing the work and defining your Why is how we see the future of strategic branding and marketing.

Finding your secret sauce

Let’s say you want the secret to getting people to spend more money on your products when competitors are hitting lower price points? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume you do…

Yes, this secret power lies in your marketing strategy, but there’s a crucial twist you can use to get customers to go from ‘Huh, that’s cool,’ to ‘Must have that in my life right now!’

Obviously, marketing can persuade customers to buy a lot of things–like spending $43 on a pot of instant noodles. Yup. Cups of Noodles–those things you chowed down on like a starving college student cramming for finals.

But despite gold flakes and fancy wrapping, a cup of noodles is still just… a cup of noodles. Here’s where soooo many brands miss out on the secret sauce:

A marketing strategy that is not selling a product. It’s selling a “why.”

“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it,” says Simon Sinek in his mind-blowing 2009 Ted Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Posh Noodles inspires their customers by reflecting a lifestyle the buyers see themselves a part of, and the purchase supports a charity or idea they also believe in. It’s not the tangible ‘what’ that nails the sale here. It’s not the product they’re selling.The-Golden-Circle-Short - Selling from the why

The Golden Circle

Your why is what draws a consumer to buy from you over anyone else

  • Why your business even exists.
  • The things you stand for.
  • The beliefs you share with your buyers.

Stop marketing what you sell. Learn From Apple Computers’ Marketing Success. You started your business for a reason–a lot of businesses would immediately say that reason is ‘to make money’. Sure profit is a result that’s hoped for, but that’s not the real why.

There’s a purpose for your brand, a reason your product exists. Why do people buy Apple products over affordable alternatives? Because, like Simon Sinek points out, Apple promotes itself as a company that challenges the status quo and thinks differently. How? By creating beautifully designed objects that are also user-friendly. Oh… and they happen to make computers. Oh and mp3 players, phones… Apple starts with the inner circle (pioneering innovation!) and works its way out.

Start with the why. This strategy has succeeded to earn Apple its crowds of loyal customers. start-with-why1 - Selling from the why Whether you’re selling cool recycled paper products, stylish bicycle seats or coaching sessions, you’re not the only brand selling that what. So stop selling the products. It’s the idea behind your brand that inspires sales.   So How Do You Start Marketing Your Unique ‘Why’? When it comes to selling your brand online you can’t just ‘build it and they will come.’ Now’s the time to apply all of this ‘why talk’ to your marketing strategy. How do you show ‘em your why? Here are some strategies you can implement that rally customers behind your brand’s idea.


#1 Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition

Your unique selling proposition is what sets your products or services apart from the competition. im-special - Selling from the why In more creative terms, it’s what your brand stands for. Why should shoppers buy from you?

  • What does your brand care about?
  • Which beliefs or causes do your brand support?
  • What will your brand be known for?
  • Why did you decide to even start making your product?

The biggest problem new brands make is trying to stand for too much – pick your unique focus and run with it. Think about it – Starbucks doesn’t promote both quality coffee and the lowest priced coffee. They’re not competing against the $1 gas station cuppas.

starbucks doggie - Selling from the why

Starbucks has a singular proposition – they stand for quality coffee. Even at a higher price, those Guatemala Antigua Medium Roast aficionados swarm to Starbucks looking for their caffeine fix. is an online retailer selling shoes. But that’s just the what. Why does Zappos exist? Because they believe in excellent customer service that provides a pleasant and convenient experience. In fact, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says: Zappos is “a customer service company that happens to sell shoes.”


#2 Find Your Niche

Who is going to relate to your brand’s beliefs? Who stands with you? It’s not going to be everybody, but you don’t want everybody. You’re looking for loyal followers who really want you over anyone else.

Simon Says: “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

This means: find your niche and connect your brand’s beliefs with their own. “More than 85% of millennials correlate their purchasing decisions (and their willingness to recommend a brand to others) to the responsible efforts a company is making.”

Modern consumers rally behind the trend of ‘capitalism-with-a-conscience.’ It’s up to you to find the group that’s already behind a similar cause as you, and show them you’re with them. TOMS Shoes successfully implemented the one-for-one strategy, donating a pair of shoes to needy children for every pair sold. Is your business environmentally conscious? Do you donate to a specific charity? Do you promote individuality? Support handmade crafting techniques? Family values? Whatever you established as your unique marketing proposition, there’s a group out there who agree with you.


#3 Make An Enemy To Set Yourself Apart

But we just talked about recruiting new friends, now you want to divide us? Well, as much as people like supporting a cause they believe in, they also love identifying themselves with a certain group – and therefore disassociating with another. Miller Lite assembles its followers into a loyal group by making fun of competing for ‘unmanly’ light beers. Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple have all gone toe-to-toe in some competitive commercials. mac_vs_pc_2 - Selling from the why But it doesn’t have to be about picking fights and taking cheap shots.

Showing your own group of followers in a positive light is enough to assemble the loyal fandom who don’t want to fall behind, or be labelled as ‘others.’


Market The Why of Your Business For Long-Lasting Customers

You came up with your product and business plan for a reason – get back to the spark that started it all, the why, and share that inspiration with your passionate customers.

  • Stand for something
  • Identify a niche that stands with you
  • Rally that following Starts with the why, and you’ll earn loyal fans that will continually buy from you, even when they have ten other options.

What inspired you to start your business? Share your WHY with us in the comments!


Alyssa O'Sullivan Alyssa is on the content team at MadeFreshly – the simple online store platform that actually gives you the actionable tips to run a successful business.

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