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Continuously Asking & Defining the "Why" of Your Brand


In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of emotional marketing:

“Understanding the feelings of potential customers starts with common sense knowledge about how humans are wired and is maintained by continuously defining the ‘why’ of your brand.”

In this post, I’ll dive deeper into that thought and discuss why it’s necessary to consider how your marketing efforts support the “why” or purpose of your brand, and to ask that question consistently.

I’m a “why” person; in fact, most people are “why people” in their own way. As a kid I remember often asking “why” of others when they asked something of me; naturally, I wanted to know if I supported or believed in the cause for their request. As an adult, I still ask “why” about almost everything and desire to know the main purpose or mission behind things.

Though my need to ask and know “why” looks different in each stage of life and circle of influence or interest, the underlying reason remains the same: figuring out if I care about and/or can identify with the reason behind the cause, request, or product. When it comes to marketing your brand, your potential customers are wondering the same exact thing about what you’re offering. Think about it. Before you make a purchase or investment, don’t you tend to consider “why” from several avenues? Don’t you have a need to be convinced to take your interest to the next level of commitment to purchasing or supporting that brand?

Defining “Why” Encourages Brand Loyalty

How many of us have a favorite brand? A brand who can do no wrong or stands for something we believe in? Maybe I’m alone in this, but the brands who have clearly defined and adequately supported the “why” of their offer keep my attention and keep me coming back for more. Consider how your most beloved brand first got your attention. Consider why you continue to invest in their products; even if they put out a less than an ideal product, you’d likely stand by them because you’ve seen their commitment to their brand’s mission statement overtime.

Take Apple products for example. This company has some loyal customers; which is quite possibly the understatement of this entire post and maybe the month. But my point is that they have gained such a loyal following of customers because they have consistently produced products that support their claims and they’ve marketed those products in a way that taps into the emotions of their users.

Review Apple’s website and you’ll see that they have addressed the “why” of their brand by catering to the spectrum of emotions that each potential customer may be feeling at the time of product consideration and/or purchase. For creative types, Apple paints a picture of how their products can help that customer be more creative. For technical types, Apple presents new features that make the use of their device easier and the work it’s being used to do more efficient.

It doesn’t stop with the happy or inspirational feelings either; Apple has addressed customer upsets in an open manner as well. Remember how Steve Jobs handled the whole iPhone 4 crisis back in 2010? I do. I remember being impressed that he didn’t hide his frustration with the imperfections of an otherwise awesome product. Though he didn’t completely fix the problem at that time, he was honest and offered a gesture to make sure Apple’s customers knew how important they were to the company.

Keeping “Why” at the Center: Questions to Ask

This isn’t a blog to endorse Apple products; though it may seem like it is. This post is about making a case for keeping the “why” of your brand at the very center of what you do and how you do it. There are countless ways to go about maintaining this centralized branding approach, but I thought I’d get you started with a few questions to ask along your ever evolving marketing journey:

  • Can you clearly and concisely explain why your business or brand does what you do?
    • Can everyone closely associated with your brand do the same?
  • How do your marketing efforts support the “why” of your brand?
    • Is your marketing adequately answering the “why” for your customers, maintaining a client-focused emotional brand?
  • In your branding equation, do the current “how” and “what” variables of your brand or product equal your brand’s desired or stated sum of “why?”
    • If things aren’t adding up, how can your team go about turning things around without completely disrupting the existing efforts and state of your brand and/or company?
  • What and who can you add, subtract, divide, or multiply to ensure that your branding equation adds up to and equals the “why” of your brand?

Launching a new product? Ask these questions. Had some major ideas discussed between your team leaders that might lead to decisions that would alter the course of your brand and/or products? Definitely ask these questions. Reorganizing your teams, development processes, or your entire company? It will only be beneficial to consider the implications of the answers to these questions before you make significant changes to your company culture, brand’s message, etc.

Here’s a final piece of advice: ask these questions often and ask them of yourself, your team members, and your product.

*For more about what inspired most of this blog’s content, watch this video.