It seems to me that the world of business is evolving into a kinder gentler way of doing things. Maybe I am wrong, or maybe I am just spending too much time following the right (or wrong?) people on social media, but it really feels like collaboration is becoming not just something that people talk about doing, but what people DO.
These days it has become so easy to find like-minded individuals via the internet, people who seem to “get it” the same way that we do, and with whom we feel we have an instant connection.
It is more than simply finding others who do the same kinds of things as we do, it goes right to the core of WHY they do the same things that we do. That is what branding has become all about, creating the kind of identity that has users not only flock to a brand, but also go out of their way to praise it and defend it.
Where does this come from? I believe that what it boils down to is often the “WHY” behind what they do. In his best-seller “Start with Why”, author Simon Sinek talks about “How great leaders inspire everyone to take action”. Think about it, if you understand the fundamental reasons driving someone to do what they do, and those are the kind of reasons that you identify with and that resonnate with you, aren’t your chances of doing business with them going to increase?
I have heard it put another way, “People don’t buy what you are selling, they buy WHY you are selling it”. There is another book out there titled “People don’t buy what you are selling, they buy what you stand for”, and that is essentially the same thing.
What you stand for, and why are you doing what you do, are basically two ways of saying the same thing. In coaches training, we learn to ask open-ended questions to get people to talk about how they feel, and asking questions that almost guarantee a “Yes” or a “No” answer are discouraged.
In the same way, they teach us not to ask “why” per se, but instead to almost always start with a “What” question. So rather than “why”, they suggest “what is it about that…” or even “what were you feeling”, instead of “why”. Maybe it is because the question “Why” almost sounds too accusatory and confrontational in many circumstances.
When my kids are arguing, sometimes when I try to intervene I will hear “But I was just asking a question”. I normally respond with “well, yes, but ‘why are you always such an idiot’ is also technically ‘just a question’”.
Way back when, in the old days (10+ years ago!), the question of why someone engaged in a particular activity or profession seemed so much less relevant. But with today’s social media, so many people and brands are trying to capitalize on what makes them special and easy to identify with, it almost seems crazy NOT to try to follow along, and show the world why they should identify with you.
Also, with more and more free agents out their building their own personal brands, trying to stand out to make a go of a career as an expert in a particular field, there never seems to be a shortage of people out there trying to get you to see why they are the ones that you should rely on, because you really seem to “get it”.
Some of them even write blogs.