Why Ask Why?

by Molly Clubb | Sep 04, 2012

One of the things I like to do over layovers while traveling is to catch up on videos from TED talks. One of my favorites so far is from a few years ago and was given by Simon Sinek. His video (CLICK TO WATCH) is great for anyone who is trying to market pretty much anything and his message is super simple: Always start by asking "why".

Think back to the last time you worked on something marketing related such as a print ad or e-blast for your breeding program. Typically, our marketing efforts for our cattle focus on ourselves, our program, what bloodlines we're using or selling and our ranches/brands overall. That's the "what". It seems we hardly ever get to the "why" of something...and the "why" seems to be what inspires.

I was taught that people make buying decisions based on emotions and sometimes justify larger (emotional) purchases, such as cattle, with the facts. Too often we give them the what before the why.

For example, I was shopping recently with my 8 year old daughter when we found our way into a shoe store (I know, big surprise for two females, right?). As we're walking the aisles she gets very excited and shouts "look Mom, Bob's!" I'd seen these shoes before on lots of girls her age - glittery and pink - but never knew the name brand or thought much of them. When she got all excited I figured it was because of the pink and glitter but she started to tell me that she wanted to spend her own money on these shoes because she'd be helping another girl in need. When I asked her more about this she proceeded to tell me the story of how Bob's (an off shoot of Sketcher's brand) gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased (similar to Tom's). I was touched by her desire to help and so of course she's now sporting pink glittery Bob's but it was the message, the "why", that got to my daughter and tied her to their brand forever.

So, see how the "why" can work? When my daughter goes to buy shoes she thinks of helping a child in need. All of the other shoe brands are still talking to her about their lights and colors and traction or fashion sense. They're all talking "what" while Bob's is talking to her (the why). 

Try examining the way you talk about your cattle and what you market through your ranch. You don't have to align yourself with a cause to move from what to why - it can be more simple. And you don’t have to align yourself with a cause to move from what to why. You just have to re-frame the way you think about and talk about what it is you market.

If you're really interested in how starting by asking "why" can help you be sure to also check out Sinke's book "Start With Why."

And if you don't have TED bookmarked or the App on your iPad or iPhone or other mobile device download it today - it's free and it's awesome and inspiring!

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