Tag Archives: values

What you believe: The road to your “why”

What you believe — your values, your heart and soul — are the key to your why.

Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk, Start With Why is the first place I go when working with clients on product and company messaging. Why? Because most of us naturally think about what we do and how we do it. It takes discipline to get to want really works: why we do it and why the customer needs it. Sinek helped us all switch to the far more effective approach: Start With Why.

Simon Sinek Start With Why

 

The most powerful way to get to the Why is to through our values: who we are, what really matters — what we believe. Here’s a new video with a more developed version of Sinek’s talk. It incorporates a super-important feature that had scant mention in the earlier video: how what we believe connects to customers.

In particular, listen at the 4:50 mark as Sinek uses Martin Luther King and others to explain how “we believe” is how you connect to the why. Your values — your beliefs — are what moves you and moves your customers into relationship with you.

“The clearer you are about what you believe, the more disciplined you are in how you do things and the more consistent you are in what you do, everything you say and do becomes a symbol for your values and beliefs.” — Simon Sinek

Every company I work with has heartfelt values, but very few have enumerated them — or even discussed them. Your company is here for a reason beyond just making money. For instance, my company is here because I believe in startups and entrepreneurs. I believe that bringing them world-class marketing will help them succeed, which makes the world a better place as their great ideas become commercially successful. They do not need a big budget and an expensive marketing executive to have quality marketing. A marketing strategy built on straightforward processes delivers a roadmap that even junior-level marketers can execute.

Those values — my beliefs — translate into my Why.

Book Review: Be Like Amazon, by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg

I am going to recommend this book, Be Like Amazon, by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg, to all my clients. Here’s the review I just posted on Amazon.

Book review-Be Like Amazon - Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg

When I read that the Eisenberg’s new book was a dialogue, I cringed a little. I usually find that style overly precious or pedantic, like a business-aimed Jonathan Livingston Seagull (not in a good way). But style is, well, just style, and I knew Be Like Amazon would be worth reading because I have read most of Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg’s previous works. So I grabbed the Sample and within a few pages, I had downloaded Be Like Amazon.

And glad I did. Be Like Amazon is short, easy to read, and chock full of gems. I’m a marketing strategy consultant and always on the lookout for ways I can help clients see the big picture. Values, mission, how to align all your people so that you don’t feel any need to micromanage — it all comes from core values. The Eisenbergs call them “unifying principles” and says they “are an operating system.” And they talk about how these feed the brand, which is built on actions and performance.

“We believe.” I got that from this book. I have seen and read the “Start With Why” work by Simon Sinek and make all my clients view his videos but damn, I missed the “we believe” messaging. If that were all I got from Be Like Amazon, it would be a huge win. “You’ll find your corporate ‘why’ when you write 10 true sentences that each start with ‘We believe….” I am so going to steal that.

But wait, there’s more!

Be Like Amazon is built around Amazon’s Four Pillars but you can see those in a two-second Google search. What they do here is bring them to life and relate them to other businesses, some of which use values well, some not; some used to and don’t succeed any more. Costco, Walmart, HP, and some tiny businesses you don’t know (but perhaps should).

Story. Culture. “Brandable chunks.” Unrelenting customer-centricity. It goes on. Mostly things we know but perhaps don’t always remember that we know.

The two measures of the value of a business and marketing book for me are:

1) How much highlighting do I do. Each highlight is something I plan to use with my clients. And my copy of BLA is pretty yellowed up! So a +1 on that.

2) Is it full of fluff? Because here’s the typical business or marketing book: One or two interesting ideas, three or four reasonable use cases, and then the author realizes no one will buy a 40 page book, so they fire up Word and write 260 redundant pages full of generalizations and contrived examples everyone knows. 80% fluff to support the one or two simple ideas the author has. Bleh.

The dialogue approach made me fear the fluff but no worries, this is a well-researched, concise book full of real examples of how Amazon’s four pillars apply to the real world.