Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thought for the Day - Simon Sinek, The Importance of Purpose and Creating Great Value (Businesses)

This is a thought that comes out of a discussion with Suresh, Simon Sinek's video, and a few more random strings of thought that I am trying to piece together.

First one must watch this video by Simon Sinek. Its a TED talk about 'Let's start with why'.

Why one must start with why?
Because why gives us purpose. When we have a purpose, we have the force, the momentum. We are driven. It gives us a mission. It gives meaning to our lives.

"He who has a why to live can bear any how." - Friedrich Nietzsche

So let me look at it from the aspect of marketing, of business.

What we do?
Most businesses that start with 'what' are in trouble. That's because we are starting with 'us'. I can do this. So buy it.

If its absolutely necessary, the customer may buy. It's commodity selling. Pretty basic. There is no connect emotionally.

How we do it?
When businesses want to differentiate and look at giving the customer more value, they start looking at the 'how'. There is deeper thought, research, attention to detail, to customer satisfaction.

It's still about the seller, the service provider. 'We' do this like this. Can you see it? Can you appreciate it?
Great, says the customer. But there is still no connection. It's all rational stuff going on.

I am not terribly enthusiastic about it yet as a customer. There is no magic yet.

Why we do it?
This is clarity of purpose. This is honesty. This is courage. This is love. This is putting it out there.
We do this because it satisfies an intrinsic need in us. We deliver value to you, in the form we are best capable of. Come hell or highwater, we will do it. Because this gives us meaning.

Your appreciation of our service gives our lives meaning. We will go that extra mile to earn that appreciation.

Simon Sinek connects it to the three parts of the brain. The two outer parts are the rational parts, they process information. But its the inner part that is involved in decision making. This is where all rational thought goes out of the window.
This is where the 'connect' happens. This is where it all gets sold. This is why certain things sell despite being bad products and why certain things don't sell despite being great products.

The connect happens at the mindset
The connect happens at the mindset level, at the emotional level. You identify with that product, that communication, that thing the product represents in your mind. Can't explain why but it happens.

How does this translate to us as marketers or businessmen?
Firs let us look at the what and the how we do anything. Let's say we have a good product or service. Great. But customers are not buying into it.

Why are they not seeing what a great product we have?

This is why.
They will not see it as a great product until your 'why' (your purpose) does not resonate with the need in their mindset. Until they believe you, your effort, your pitch.

To do that you must first believe in it yourself.

I am here to satisfy that part of you that thinks and believes you resonate with this product and service we offer.

Going in reverse
Now let us look at it from the Needs of customer perspective
Assuming that customers (in this aspect, are coming from a mindset and are over physiological needs) we shall look at the 10 essential emotional needs of humans. They are according to the link :

1) Security - safe territory and an environment which helps us to develop fully
2) Attention - (to give and receive) as a form of nutrition
3) Sense of autonomy and control - having volition to make responsible choices
4) Being emotionally connected to others
5) Feeling part of a wider community
6) Friendship, intimacy - knowing that at least one other person accepts us as we are
7) Privacy - opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
8) Sense of status - Within social groupings
9) Sense of competence and achievement
10) Having meaning and purpose - comes from being stretched in what we do and think

Our why needs to resonate with their emotional need. Why we do what we do must make sense to that need more so as far as our intent and communication goes.

So if we are an internet company we would be looking at taking the power of the internet and giving the customers a great life that they never imagined otherwise. You must believe in your promise, you must believe in the potential, in the dream. You must believe you will deliver and all your actions must be focused towards earning the customer's appreciation for keeping your promise.

When you believe, they buy in. It meets one of their needs (to be part of a big dream is one such dream). They want to be with you.

So what do you satisfy? Apple caters to Status. FB caters to Being emotionally connected to others and Attention. (Some of them threaten your Privacy.)

Some powerful ones in the list are - Sense of autonomy and control (knocks out privacy issues), Friendship and intimacy, Sense of competence and achievement and Having a meaning and purpose.

If we know the why, its great. If we don't, we can go at it the other way. What does the customer see in us? What need are we really satisfying? How is he really benefiting from this exchange? Do some careful research. Call the ad guys, the product guys, the customers. Sit down and ask questions.

Once we find a why, and we believe in it, we have the force (or the power) to attract others to desire it. 

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