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The importance of “why?”

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“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” That was the common theme of closing keynote speaker Augie Ray’s message at the PR & Social Media Summit I attended at Marquette University in October.

The easiest questions for most brands to answer are what and how? For instance Red Shoes PR offers strategic communications – the “what?” – through media relations, internal communications, crisis communications and social media (to name a few) – the “how?” As you’re reading this you may be thinking of what your own company does and how they do it.
WHY?But it’s time to dive deeper. Why does your company do what it does? Why is your company driven to succeed? This is not something this blog post is meant to answer for you, but it is meant to get your wheels turning. If you can go into a new business meeting and help your potential client or customer understand why they should choose you, you’ll be a step ahead of the game. But they have to believe it, which means you and your employees have to believe it, to live it.

Here are three items to keep in mind when you think about “why?”:

1. Discover your brand’s higher purpose. Is it standing up to bullying? Supporting veterans? Donating to specific charities?
2. Make that purpose real. You need to believe it. Your employees need to believe it. In turn your customers and clients will believe it, through working with you.
3. Live that purpose. Intertwine that purpose into everything you do. As you go into new business meetings, update social media statuses or interact with clients, you should be living the purpose. You should be answering “why?” before anything else.

According to Havas Media, only nine percent of brands are perceived as making a difference in people’s lives. These brands do it by answering “why?” before “what?” and “how?”

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