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Why Say Why


In a 2009 Tedx talk, Simon Sinek talked about the importance of “why” when it came to leadership and corporate stories. He said, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” He reasoned that companies, like Apple, that tell their stories by focusing on “why” rather than “what”, “who”, and “how”, tend to be more successful than companies that talk only about the details. Why is why so important?

Last night I got to experience a good example of this first-hand. Sanovar Gardens’ tent at the Petals for the Princess Market in Decatur caught my eye because they sell tea. Now, as a huge fan of tea – this isn’t a hard thing to sell me on except for the fact that I’m quite frugal. What got me to hand over my six dollars for a jar of their cold tea rather than a much cheaper glass of tea from another vendor was the story they were sharing.

Instead of telling me that they imported the finest black teas and mixed them with high-quality herbs to make their popular Front Porch Special tea, he told me the story of why they decided to create it. It was much more interesting to hear a story about them sitting on a front porch being inspired by smells wafting on a breeze than understanding the elements that made up the tea. I bought a jar of that tea instead of another flavor mostly because of that story.

I suspect that this company has no idea that they are very strategically selling their company through their stories. According to their website they”…had no real plan or recipes, just a desire to work together as a family and have fun producing and growing things.” That is a very powerful why. For you see, this company is only a few months old, yet they have already experienced tremendous growth and acceptance in the community.

So, back to my question from earlier: why is why so important? One of the reasons that Sanovar Garden’s story works so well is that it is genuine. It isn’t something a marketing or public relations company generated. It isn’t a feel good story. It is the truth and it is relatable.

I challenge you to find the “why” in your company’s story. When you find it, share it in all that you do. You may find that by telling the “why” rather than the “what”, “who”, and “how”, you become more passionate about your own story and your customers are inspired to share it too.

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