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  • Writer's pictureKate Schaefer

“Start With Why”: The Golden Circle Theory

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy the reason why you do it.”

Simon Sinek

Brands know what they sell. Most know how they sell it. But very few know the why behind it all. And no, not for the profit – that’s a result – but the genuine purpose. That reason for existence. Whatever it may be, the Golden Circle Theory argues any brand that can pinpoint its why can use it to inspire action and create enough momentum to turn any product into a social drive.

The Circle, illustrated as three concentric circles with “Why” in the center, followed by “How,” and completed by “What,” is too often viewed from the outside in: what > how > why. Meaning, most businesses focus too heavily on what products are sold or how operations are carried out. Now, while these questions are vital in the recipe for success, thinking beyond the practical, rational benefits of selling a product, to focus on the purpose of it all, will lead to incredible success.

Originally coined by leadership expert Simon Sinek, the theory uses neuroscience to prove humans respond best when a message communicates with the part of the brain that controls emotions and decision-making. Statistically, consumers who build an emotional relationship with a brand have a three times higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a 71 percent rate. We, as consumers, seek those who share similar values, and that why offers a point of human connection. It serves as a fictional bridge, connecting a consumer and a company through a positive, emotional experience.

In a saturated market, the Golden Circle is a structure for creating evergreen content that encapsulates and champions a brand’s core values – And it all starts by asking why.

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