BY NADIA PALACIOS
If you read my other blog, you know what having and leading with a clear WHY can do for you and your business. But what happens when you don’t establish a mission statement for your business? Have there ever been businesses that have established themselves without a WHY?
The answer to that is ‘yes’, however, it is expensive. In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek explains that there is a difference between manipulating action and inspiring human behavior. “When companies or organizations do not have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they need.”
Sinek explains five manipulations, price, promotions, fear, aspirations, and novelty (a.k.a. innovation). That’s because the focus is on the HOW to push a WHAT out to the masses, not WHY a WHAT exists in the first place.
The price tactic is one that we are familiar with. This is a tactic we usually see at the end of a retail season when products are “priced to move.” Promotions is another strategy we as consumers have seen before; the “two for one” special or the “free toy inside” deal. While this may make your business look attractive to the consumer in the moment of a purchasing decision, it is not sustainable as it will, at some point, cost the company.
Fear and aspirations work in the same way, just in opposite directions. We have all seen advertisements using the fear tactic. Sinek names the classic PSA from the 1980’s where the speaker cracks an egg into a frying pan to describe our brains on drugs. “When fear is employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”
Aspirations, on the other hand, lead us to something that we want or someone we want to be. “Six pack abs in 30 days!”, “Six Steps to a happier life!” and so on. Through the company’s product or service, customers will apparently achieve a desired result quicker or more easily. Fear and aspiration may push someone to respond quicker, but it doesn’t create loyalty.
Innovation is a common strategy in which companies will talk about what makes their products the best; its features, added benefits, etc. However, companies can often mistake novelty for innovation, and can quickly be replaced by the next shiny thing. Innovation is not just a list of cool features. “Real innovation changes the course of industries or even society.”
It is not enough to just know tactics to create sales if you are looking to create a loyal following. It takes a clear mission, a clear WHY that resonates with your target market. Only then will people do business with you without the need for the manipulations game.