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What's Your Why?

Date Icon Apr 03, 2024
Author Icon Bill Fasig

You know what your organization does, but can you explain why?

Perhaps you can share a roundabout explanation, but what about a concise, memorable statement that helps your customers understand why they also should care about what you do? Or perhaps what you thought was your why has changed over time, but you’ve never tried to fully articulate it. 

Whether you provide specialized IT products or services, sell specific solutions into complex environments such as healthcare or financial services, or direct and lead complex organizations such as your county or state economic development or transportation departments, it’s important to understand what ultimately drives you and your organization – what motivates you beyond your bottom line.  What is the real reason you show up in your role in your organization every day? 

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When you can articulate this deeper why, your customers, your employees, and every business component of your organization will benefit. 

However, uncovering your why is an intensive process, and many organizations never make time for it, failing to understand the deep value and real returns on such an investment. 

Here’s how our CEO, Bill Fasig, summarizes the why discovery process: “Wrestling with this fundamental challenge requires getting out of your comfort zone, distilling the essence of your brand. This takes time, research, and deep thought. But your brand — your story — will emerge renewed and powerful.”

A powerful, purpose-driven brand story sets your organization up for success, but it all begins with understanding your why

The Purpose of Your Why

Knowing your why and being able to articulate it – serves three purposes:

  1. It inspires and cultivates a culture of shared purpose and alignment within your organization.
  2. It creates a deep connection with your customers far beyond a transactional relationship. 
  3. It informs every decision in your business, if taken seriously, and applied consistently as the lens through which you look to analyze and make decisions.

First, your why should resonate with your employees. The best (or worst) advocates of your brand are those you hire. Make sure your employees know what drives your organization beyond making a profit. Help them feel like they’re making a difference, regardless of the department they work in. Communicate clearly and with ruthless consistency what the shared why and purpose of your organization is. 

If your why truly connects with your employees, you’ll have a team that doesn’t just show up for a paycheck, but a team that takes extra care to produce excellent work because they know it matters. 

Second, your why should always resonate with your customers. As Simon Sinek says, “The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” Your customers must also believe in your why and understand how it adds value to their lives. 

When this happens, your customers connect with you on a level that extends beyond your products or services. They feel an emotional connection to your brand, that when nurtured with a powerful communications and marketing strategy, transforms them into brand advocates. Why? Because at that point your customers have selected to make your brand part of their own personal brand and story.

Lastly, your why should inform every decision you make within your organization. It is not simply a marketing term. It is in fact the lens through which you should look to evaluate every decision to ensure it is in fact consistent with your why.

The next time you develop a new marketing campaign, consider introducing a new service, or make a new hire, you can ask yourself and your team, “Does this decision help us accomplish our why? Is it consistent with our core purpose and values?” If the answer is yes, great! Keep going. If the answer is no, pause. Re-evaluate your decision and find a solution that better serves your why.

After walking through this process for a while, you’ll notice you’re now making strategic decisions quickly and efficiently, with a focused goal in mind. You’re eliminating the need to run toward shiny new tactics and solutions because you now have a filter for every decision you make. And you are viewing and implementing those decisions with ruthless consistency.

How to Uncover Your Why

Clearly defining your why is a challenge. At TopRight, we walk with our partners as they journey through this intensive process and come out together with a clear, aligned and impactful why

The first phase, not surprisingly, is research. Before we can build a new why, we need to know what currently exists, or doesn’t, inside your organization. We explore your brand perception and values from both external and internal viewpoints through preliminary background research and in-depth interviews with customers, stakeholders, and employees. We conclude the research phase with a final analysis, revealing your company's authentic truths, good and bad.

This process requires an intentional time commitment from your organization. Being willing to set aside hours of your team’s valuable time upfront may feel particularly challenging. It is, however, time well spent, resulting in a return on your investment that will drive simplicity, clarity and alignment in your organization’s story, decision-making, communications, and behavior.

As an example, at TopRight, we recently partnered with the county leadership for Allegheny County, PA to develop their brand story for a new awareness campaign highlighting the positive impact that their decisions, policies, and investments have made for their residents over the last decade. 

Our team held in-depth interviews with county employees and stakeholders and surveyed a wide cross-section of residents, resulting in robust primary findings and data. We integrated these findings with our secondary research on the county’s accomplishments that enabled us to bring together a deep and comprehensive analysis that led us to their why as county leaders and administrators.

Allegheny County's Why

To honor Allegheny County's role in shaping our nation's industrial strength by continuing to innovate and lead in new industries, improve quality of life for all, and attract new talent, creating a diverse environment where everyone feels welcome and has the opportunity for a better future. We are the catalyst for that future.  

We then used this why to drive every decision made for their brand awareness campaign, ensuring the final plan reflected this end goal. (You can see their resulting “Proud for a Reason” campaign here.)

Together, We’ll Uncover Your Why 

Revealing your why can feel overwhelming. How do you make time for such an endeavor? How do you distill all of your research down to a simple statement? At TopRight, we are here to take on the challenge with you. We do this every day with our clients. It is what motivates us. It is in fact our why: We believe passionately that great stories, well told, have the ability to engage and move people; ultimately changing lives. 

Our goal is to help you tell your story well, so you can keep doing what you do to make a difference in the lives of your customers, constituents, employees, and stakeholders. Get in touch with us and let’s uncover your why together.  


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