The magic question when it comes to building your brand
The magic question when it comes to building your brand

The magic question when it comes to building your brand

If we had to summarise Life Size Media’s approach to communications in just a few words, it would be that we always start with why.

It’s not an original idea but it’s a really powerful one (well we think so). Applying the concept to business was summarised really well by the author and business guru Simon Sinek:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

So we thought we would get some more brand wisdom and advice from Life Size Media CEO Alisa Murphy and base it around this. Let’s go to the very centre of a brand and explore the ‘why?’ concept… and this is the magic question we are talking about.

When setting up a cleantech company or defining a brand most businesses focus on what. What the technology does, what investment is available and what is the route to market. Sometimes businesses go a bit further and talk about how. How they can compete with rivals or how they can achieve goals.

What and how are important, but first… people have to understand why your technology matters in the first place.

We believe WHY is where the MAGIC happens. Why is…

  • Where we connect on an emotional level, it gives people something to believe in
  • Where we get motivated and passionate about things, it pushes us to act
  • What delivers change, it drives success

Brand example 1: Airbnb 

Think about it…if Airbnb sold what they do, they would be:

  • An online marketplace for short-term rentals.

In fact, Airbnb sells a very simple concept:

  • Belonging. The possibility that you could travel any where in the world and still be at home.

Belonging is their why and this message has helped Airbnb become one of the most successful brands in the world in just 9 years of existence.

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Brand example 2: Slack

You don’t have to have a huge marketing team or have a large budget to spend on advertising. Slack is a startup (like most of you!) and they made their why clear and synonymous with their brand from the get-go. Other systems were clunky, not very user-friendly or simply did not exist – there was a gap in the market and people needed their technology. So they set out a clear and compelling mission to:

  • Make peoples’ working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive.

This is why people use their product.

Everything about them from their user interface, to the language they use, to their customer service, is simple, quick, easy and enjoyable. So you can see that their why is engrained in their brand and was identified from the very beginning.

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Let’s apply it to cleantech… where there’s no shortage of ‘why’ 

In the smart, green, clean technology space there is absolutely no shortage of why. Most cleantech businesses probably have pretty similar fundamental whys:

  • The immediate and immense challenges of climate change and associated sustainability issues that are affecting our lives and the world we live in – mean that we need solutions…NOW. Business as usual is simply not an option.

That is a really big why. It is really important to steer away from the ‘impending doom’ tone. Trust us, it isn’t an effective marketing strategy. If we can use that really big why and transform it into a message that is inspiring and positive and solution focussed then we can give people something to believe in.

Get personal with your brand story

And starting with why isn’t just linked to your technology. Don’t underestimate the power of personal stories. We can’t tell you what your company why is but here is a spot of insight on the investment front…

Investors look at the person leading the company as much as the product the company makes. They are betting on the jockey just as much as they are betting on the horse. So a good place to start is with yourself or the founder – think back or find out why the company started and where the initial brilliant ideas came from.

  • What’s your personal/founder why?
  • Why cleantech?
  • What made you/them want to start your/their own business?

We believe that starting with why leads to a successful businessSo remember:

 A why gives people something to believe in.

If you want some help working out how to tell your story and identify your why then funnily enough… that’s our speciality.

Go to our workshops page to find out more about what we can offer.


Want to see Alisa try (and fail) to hit the bullseye? 🎯Expand on ‘starting with why’ by watching this video:

This is the second episode of our video series: How to build a successful brand. We’ve taken our core branding methodology and packaged it up into this 6-step series that will give you everything you need to build your own successful brand. This process has been developed and honed to perfection over the years, helping many cleantech companies achieve their commercial goals. All words of wisdom are from our knowledgeable CEO and brand expert Alisa Murphy. 

Most of the steps we’ll go through will involve practical exercises to take back to your team and work through in order to develop your own brand and communications. But Alisa will also talk you through the theory of what we do and we hope it will help inspire you to make brand and communications a priority; because we believe that they are fundamental to commercial success.