Start with Why - image from Lynne Cazaly

Why How What, not the other way round

I never thought about it until I listened to Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. A talk about why some companies make it in the world of business while others are still dragging behind or even worst climbed and fell with no hope of going up again.

It is quite interesting that companies who succeed do so not because they have great things or because they are the best, no, they just knew and understood why people behave and do the things they do and tapped into that.
Simon Sinek talks about the human behaviour and how it drives our decisions in buying certain products or pursuing specific conquests. He talks about the motive within each one of us that justifies the how and the what.. the gut feeling…. which strangely enough is the most powerful market tool anyone is yet to tap into effectively … lets say only few scratched the surface and too overwhelmed with the results to try to harness the full potentials.

Why do we buy ?

If the product or service does not present a necessity we simply buy into the persona that product or service brings to our inner self. Talking from a personal experience, which I would assume so many share, we tend to buy things that we don’t need just because it brings us a kick or a sort of excitement that is generally linked to guilty pleasures. I am one of the few people I know who owns a Palm Pre. In a world that is surrounded by iPhone users I pride in being someone who is not following that path. Is Palm Pre the best smart phone? is iPhone the worst? it is all about what it brings to the buyer. In my case, I believe I stand out as a minority who owns a different gadget.

How can we help?

A lot of commercial advertisements talk about how a product or service can help us do this or that… The line always starts with did you ever … Companies fail by trying to appeal to our sense of need which is not always why we buy certain products. The how works for products we use on daily bases or must have like clothes, furniture, food…etc. But when it comes to niche products or services that are perceived as luxurious , our left brain starts to kick in and appeal to the logical side within us bringing all the right answers to the question of do I really need this item.

What this does for you ?

Again all the business and marketing messages address the features and functionalities offered by the products or services. However, from studies and as Simon Sineks points out in his book, if the what did not appeal to the why within the consumer’s mind the need to purchase products would not reach the point that turns the market around. The laws of diffusion of innovation in business defines the rate by which an idea or product grows in the mind of one consumer and travels across to others. The population is split between the 2.5 percent of innovators, 13.5% early adapters, 34% early majority, 34% late majority, and 16% laggards. For a product to reach maturity in the market it needs to cross over the 15 to 18 percent to reach the early majority which will result in the remaining groups to follow through.

The first two groups are influenced by the WHY and that is how one product or company like Apple managed to make a simply smart phone that is no better than the other brand the most thought out brand in the market ….

What do you think? what drives your purchase patterns ?

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