It’s been a while since I don’t get a book I really like, but finally I found one. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek is one of those books easy to read and with so much insight. It contains the core of the existence of a company: its purpose.
There’s no better branding strategy than defining the real purpose behind a company. And as Simon Sinek remarks throughout the book, most companies sell their purpose as the products they do. But that’s not the point.
This is a great book to understand with several examples (and yes, Apple’s between them) how companies created with a purpose they’re more likely to lead the market.
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“WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. It doesn’t mean to make money—that’s a result. WHY is your purpose, cause or belief. WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? When most organizations or people think, act or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. […] We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. When an organization defines itself by WHAT it does, that’s all it will ever be able to do.”
“As any company forced to compete on price, quality, service or features alone can attest, it is very hard to differentiate for any period of time or build loyalty on those factors alone. Plus it costs money and is stressful waking up every day trying to compete on that level alone. Knowing WHY is essential for lasting success and the ability to avoid being lumped in with others.”
“Our need to belong is not rational, but it is a constant that exists across all people in all cultures. It is a feeling we get when those around us share our values and beliefs. When we feel like we belong we feel connected and we feel safe. As humans we crave the feeling and we seek it out.”
“We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”
“It all starts with clarity. You have to know WHY you do WHAT you do. If the leader of the organization can’t clearly articulate WHY the organization exists in terms beyond its products or services, then how does he expect the employees to know WHY to come to work?”
“Everything you say and everything you do has to prove what you believe. A WHY is just a belief. That’s all it is. HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief. And WHATs are the results of those actions—everything you say and do: your products, services, marketing, PR, culture and whom you hire.”
“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”
“The feeling of trust is lodged squarely in the same place as the WHY—the limbic brain—and it’s often powerful enough to trump empirical research, or at least seed doubt.”
“It is the percentage of people who share your beliefs and want to incorporate your ideas, your products and your services into their own lives as WHATs to their own WHYs. They look to WHAT you do as a tangible element that demonstrates their own purpose, cause or belief to the outside world. Their willingness to pay a premium or suffer inconvenience to use your product or service says more about them than it does about you and your products.”
“If you have the discipline to focus on the early adopters, the majority will come along eventually. But it must start with WHY.”
“Most companies have logos, but few have been able to convert those logos into meaningful symbols. Because most companies are bad at communicating what they believe, so it follows that most logos are devoid of any meaning. At best they serve as icons to identify a company and its products. A symbol cannot have any deep meaning until we know WHY it exists in terms bigger than simply to identify the company. Without clarity of WHY, a logo is just a logo.”
“It is not a company or organization that decides what, it symbols mean, it is the group outside the megaphone, in the chaotic marketplace, who decide.”