Starbucks isn’t just about coffee. They nurture the human spirit, one cup at a time. Google makes information universally accessible. Southwest connects people to what is important in their lives. Amazon strives to be the most customer-centric company in the world. Nike seeks to unite the world through sport. Apple simplifies technology. Disney makes people happy through magical, family entertainment.

Each one of these companies are well-known for their strong brand presence and innovative products. And something powerful drives their performance: an aspirational purpose and a commitment to customer-centricity.

They begin with WHY – using internal clarity to define their organization’s aspiration – then they leverage deep customer insight to develop new growth strategies.

Few Companies Can Clearly Define Their WHY

We’ve all heard of the importance of “why.” The concept of beginning with why is described in Simon Sinek’s infamous TED talk and in his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Says Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” He continues, “Very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. By why I mean your purpose, cause or belief—Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? And why should anyone care?”

As the top companies above all demonstrate, beginning with why not only inspires and unites teams, it also helps solidify emotional connections with consumers and other stakeholders. The power of why is amplified when it links with to-whom and for-what insight.

3 Big Impacts Your Purpose Can Have

  1. Cultivate an engaged workplace culture: Increase employee motivation and loyalty by helping employees understand – and connect with – your company’s purpose. This can lead to an increased sense of belonging and a shared mission, a recipe for a fulfilling workplace environment.
  2. Build consumer loyalty: We all know consumers are more likely to support the brands that are closely aligned with what matters most to them. When you can clearly define your why, it makes it infinitely easier to communicate this purpose to others – and to emphasize what sets you apart.
  3. More confident, intentional decision-making: Knowing why you do what you do can guide even the most challenging decisions and help navigate times of uncertainty and change. How? It helps ensure the organization’s actions are congruent with and rooted in its greater purpose.

Let Your Purpose Redefine How You Do Business

Every business owner knows how easy it is to get caught up in everyday operations, focused on profits…what competitors are doing…how to stay afloat in a world that seems to be changing at a pace never before experienced.

Don’t get caught up in the daily drama. Take a cue from the most successful companies in the world. They know that their why is the one crucial element that sets them apart.

Yes, it really has that much power.

Define your why and let it become the driving force behind every decision, action, and strategy. You won’t believe the results.

Want to learn more about building your brand, beginning with the why? We’re pleased to offer a free download of Chapter 3 in our book, Upstream Marketing. See how defining your why can transform your brand through the development of deep emotional connections. Access your download here.