Focusing on the Why


How do we inspire people to take action such as buying a product or service? Everyone wants to know! Well, author Simon Sinek says the answer lies in the Why, the centermost part of his Golden Circle.

Imagine a bullseye target with three rings (such as the one in the above image); the outer ring is What, the middle How and the center is Why. Simply stated, the What is the product or service you provide. The How is everything that you or your company have done to improve upon or create the What. In other words, all the selling points of the product or service. And finally, the Why. The Why is the place where the purpose or belief behind the company is stated and hopefully inspires a person to action. Ideally, they relate to the company’s core beliefs. This is the Golden Circle, and according to Sinek it explains all human decision-making behavior.

Sinek states that all human decisions, such as “should I buy this product?” occur in the limbic system, the part of the human brain that is directly responsible for feelings of trust and loyalty. Interesting to note, the limbic brain’s reaction to a company’s core beliefs (their Why) is not logical and lacks the capacity for language. From this understanding we gain important insights into what drives a person to make a purchase. It’s not the description of what a company does or how they do it, although those can be beneficial in supporting the decision. The How and the What do not sway a consumer to buy; it is the Why that compels humans to purchase a product or service.

Sinek repeats his statement twice for emphasis, “people don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it.”

Will an understanding of The Golden Circle affect marketing success? Sinek gives a definitive Yes!

As an example Sinek uses is Apple computers.

As we can see Apple’s What is great computers.

Their HOW is an offering of greater creative freedom, less viruses, user-friendly interface, etc. All the cool things MAC computers can do.

And finally the WHY. In the case of Apple, we see a very strong belief and ideology emanating from the company. They believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently as Apple’s Think Different marketing campaign declared in the late 1990s. The Think Different campaign has been Apple’s boldest “Why statement” to date and is still credited with its success nearly 20 years later. Take a look at an example, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”, and see if you feel anything bubbling up…

Once consumers made the “Why connection” with Apple, the bond has proven nearly unbreakable. So strong is the loyalty, in fact, that people are willing to purchase, not only their computers, but all the other products Apple has released, including iPhones, iPads, etc.

Sinek notes that every incredibly successful company (such as Apple) has done so through clearly showing and explaining why they are doing what they do. As he points out, every company in the world can say what they do…and many can tell you how they do it. But very few can clearly tell you why they do it. And that makes all the difference.

And one more time for good measure…

“People don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it.”  So, focus on the Why.

Watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk here…

Find more articles on sales and marketing at



Identifying Competition: An Essential Element of Marketing


All industries are growing at a rapid pace with emergence of more and more companies. For a company to exist in this race, it needs to mark its presence and grow at the same time. Knowing competition for a company and accordingly positioning the products is something businesses are concerned with today.

Listing Competitors

To get a clear idea of the differentiated positioning the company needs to identify its potential competitors. A thorough analysis of the competitive products, their features, strengths and operational excellence would give the company a clear picture of the market operations and the trends. Understanding the value proposition provide companies a sustainable competitive advantage which can be utilized in attracting customers from the competitors.

In the process of identifying competitors the company should consider the product, substitutes, technological challenges, new entrants, old established brands. Future competitor analysis also plays an important role in creating a brand presence in the market for a product.

How to Identify Competition?

With the help of senior management direction and insights the company can have a better picture of the competition in the market existing for its products and services. Also from the market research reports and information published by the competitors help in identifying the details of the competitors and their ways of operation.

In order to understand the competitor in the market for a particular product the several analysis are to be carried out such as future competitive analysis, marketing research and meetings and discussions with industry leaders and experts. Understanding the emerging technologies, new entrants and actively scanning the industry gives a complete idea of the competitors and their structure and functioning. A SWOT analysis of the available list of competitors also gives a fair idea of the trends the competitors following and can help in improvising the products of the company and expand the customer base.

Every business that we see today is part of one or the either industry. With the moving pace and increasing consumer demand the business are expanding. Competition is something which has always been there and shall exist till ever. To find a way out and present the product in a better way in comparison to the competitor’s product is every business’s requirement and they should be focused towards it. Identifying competition empowers the business and gives scope for improvement, which enables it to prosper.

Branding America and SMstudy – Part Two


What is right about America? What is its value proposition to its citizens and to the world? What is America’s brand?

In this second part of Brand America, we return to the Declaration of Independence[1]—arguably the quintessential statement of America the brand—to find what it tells us.

In Part One, we looked at the Brand’s strong positioning statement that claimed an equal place among the nations of the world. We saw that the Declaration gives the brand a great sense of an ennobling purpose.

In the world of corporate core value statements, brands that have “truly held values”[2] find loyal audiences and market segments. The Declaration’s preamble includes, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.” Here then is one of the Brand’s values from the very beginning: respect for the opinion of others. This respect manifests its most power and influence in the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: freedom of speech and religion. The fact that these are still protected and the nature of that protection is still hotly discussed today is a testament to how truly held the value of respect is.

Also, in this phrase is the value of transparency. With respect comes the obligation to be transparent with one’s actions and motivations. Not only is modern America’s commitment to transparency seen in its laws such as open meeting laws, but its citizens have taken it to heart. For example, one of the foremost principles of Scrum project management is empirical process control which “relies on the three main ideas of transparency, inspection and adaptation,” according to A Guide to the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOKGuide).[3] The Declaration’s values find expression in the threads of everyday life.

Brand America’s greatest value statement has been, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This value statement broadens the Brand’s appeal to humans all over the world.

What is the Brand’s value proposition? “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” The Brand stands for the right, the duty, of people to seek and establish governments that secure their rights. Over the years, the Brand has done this many times—from forming its own government to helping Europe throw off the shackles of Nazi Germany.

And what is the Brand’s compelling message? “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” The need that this Brand meets is the need that all humans have to be free of oppression, to possess life and liberty and to be free to pursue happiness.

A country that stays true to a Brand like this cannot help but attract an expansive market share.

(Jim Pruitt, educator and staff writer for VMEdu, Inc. contributed to this article.)

For more informative and thought-provoking articles on sales and marketing, visit

[1] All quotes from the Declaration of Independence come from “the Charters of Freedom” collection of the U.S National Archives at

[2] Powers, Merry Carole. (4/1/16) “Donald Trump vs America: Side-by-Side Brand Analysis.” The World Post. Retrieved on 4/4/16 from

[3] The SBOKGuide is available for free at