Props to Dustin Steeve at Evangelical Outpost for the imbedded TED video clip of Simon Sinek talking about the radical difference between
- marketing based on what and
- marketing based on why.
It’s passing strange for me to sit still long enough to watch an entire 18-minute video. But this one is worth ceasing all external brain function for and actually paying honest to goodness attention.
Good stuff, this.
In fact, I watched the whole thing a second time in the midst of writing this post. 36 minutes on this video, and it’s still worth it.
- “Every organization on the planet knows what they do,” contends Sinek.
- Many know how they do it, he continues.
- But almost no organizations know why they do what they do.
Average leaders market from the outside in, notes Sinek. They highlight what they do.
But inspiring leaders market from the inside out. They highlight why they do what they do. As a result, they attract people who believe what they believe.
Sinek delves into anatomy to discuss how the “homo sapien brain”–the neocortex–governs rational thought and language. It is, says Sinek, the what part of the brain.
In contrast, the limbic brains–much deeper and more raw than the neocortex–are responsible for feelings, like trust. Fascinatingly, they have no language. Thus, when we say, “It doesn’t feel right”, we are living out of the limbic, so to speak. We are knowing something that can’t be put into language because the limbic brain has no language.
What’s the payoff here?
In truly transformative marketing, contends Sinek, what you do just serves as proof of what you believe. Marketing, then, is the process of attracting people who believe what you believe.
Sinek’s best observation: Martin Luther King became the leader of the civil rights movement because he gave speeches like the “I have a dream” speech…not the “I have a plan” speech.
There’s an awful lot to like and ponder in Sinek’s presentation, not the least of which is this:
- Measuring impact is all the rage in fundraising and philanthropy. But impact is only just a what.
- What would happen if we nonprofits marketed based not even on whats like impact…but on the basis of whys?
- What if people give not because of what we do…but because of why we do it?
Is the key issue, in other words, that our homeless shelter feeds 3,000 people a week? Or is it that we serve our guests on fine china and linen tablecloths, and our volunteers and guests prepare and eat dinner together…all because we believe that homelessness is ultimately a contagious disease of disconnection, the cure for which is radical reconnection?
When was the last time you did a marketing piece that highlighted not what you did…but why you do it?