Consumer habits are changing rapidly, and the daily salvo of marketing messages is at the core of the transformation. In the 1970s, we were delivered an average 500 ads a day mostly through television, radio and print mediums. Today, it’s more like a head-spinning 5,000 messages.  No wonder consumers have become largely distrustful and confused by mass marketing.

Every purchasing decision involves logic and emotion
A recent report produced by CoreData for insurance comparison site Choosi showed that 90% of Australians feel overwhelmed by choice when making large financial decisions, and that emotion plays an important part. Survey respondents also talked about ‘gut feeling’ and how it affected their decision making.

Gut feeling is hardwired into our brains, according to renowned business author Simon Sinek. Different parts of our brains control logic and emotion, so there’s always a tug-of-war in progress. Marketers need to address logic – the facts and figures. However, logic goes only so far, and without creating an emotional response, it will be difficult to encourage consumers to buy into a product or service.

What does this mean for your branding?
Clients don’t buy “what you do”, they buy “why you do it”. Today’s consumers are more interested in the “why” of your brand than what it sells, and what it stands for, whether it is financial advice or an Apple Mac laptop. Sinek describes ‘the why’ in his Golden Circle methodology video, which is one the most watched TED talks of all time, and why this information will revolutionise a firm’s marketing.

How do I find my ‘why’?
Think of the ‘why’ as a holy grail of branding strategy. For a small to medium sized business, your ‘why’ is powered by what makes you passionate. For example, think about why you launched your business in the first place, what were you enthusiastic about delivering or changing? It will involve more than the financial carrots of small business such as wealth and freedom.

For larger, established businesses, your ‘why’ is what encourages employees to make the trek to the office everyday – and it’s about defining the value it creates for customers. The ‘why’ keeps the business focussed, and provides a point of difference to its competitors.

Knowing why your organisation exists can have huge benefits, regardless of where it sits on the business cycle. Knowing why you’re in business keeps you focused and can help others buy into your business direction too.  This often takes the form of a ‘vision, mission and values’ document, which guides the business, and influences its decision-making.

Engaging your employees on the why of your business can have a substantial engagement and motivational impact. Computing giant Lenovo, for example, has an inspiring story, which illustrates how ‘the why’ motivated its employees.

Working out the why?
If you’re straining to settle on your firm’s ‘why’, consider Sinek’s Golden Circle methodology. It gives you the foundations for building a picture of your own why. Sinek’s advice can also help unlock the key messages about your business, and give clarity to your branding, marketing and sales efforts.