Ask Yourself Why

by Creative Services | May 2, 2013

This post was written by Cary Graham, Copywriter at cj Advertising.

Back in September 2009, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, spoke at TEDx. Since then, the video of his talk has been viewed more than 10 million times on More than a few of those views can be attributed to cj Advertising, as the philosophy Sinek proposes directly impacts our work and our clients’ brands.

This blog post provides a brief overview of the concept and demonstrates a few ways we’ve incorporated it into our advertising.

Who’s on First. What’s on Second. Why’s on the bench.

Sinek’s talk focuses on a simple maxim: People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Most companies know what they do. Xerox sells copiers. H&R Block prepares taxes. McDonalds makes artery-clogging cheeseburgers. What is easy. However, very few businesses can clearly articulate why they do what they do, and according to Sinek, their ability to do so can be the difference between success and failure.

To illustrate this, Sinek points to Apple, proposing that their unbridled success stems not from their innovative products, but from their innate desire to change the status quo.

Take the iPhone. At launch, Apple could have marketed this revolutionary device as the single greatest technological advancement of the 21st century, but they didn’t. Instead, they introduced a simple device that will transform the way we communicate, and in doing so, change the status quo. That’s Apple’s why, their driving force.

Sinek asserts that only companies like Apple that focus on why rather than what are able to inspire, prosper, and grow.

So what’s your firm’s why? Complete this sentence to find out:

 “Everything we do as a firm, we do because…”

The second half of that statement is your why, which you can use to attract more clients, generate more referrals, and focus your branding in a way your competition cannot (unless you finished that sentence with “because we flunked out of med school.”)

Getting the Word Out

Although highly specialized, the services personal injury lawyers offer vary little between firms. Our challenge as advertisers is to find ways to differentiate your brand beyond the service you provide. By subtly infusing “why you do what you do” messaging into both your image and direct response spots, we’re able to set you apart from your competition.

The No Fee Guarantee is a familiar example of a strong direct response campaign with a subtle yet powerful undertone—your firm’s belief that “everyone should be able to afford quality legal representation.” Simply offering that guarantee speaks volumes about your firm and your philosophy.

Even common messages like 24/7 availability and “we’ll come to you” can be differentiators as long as they are supported by a statement about your firm’s belief system.

Walk the Walk.

Beyond your spots, you can gain consumer confidence by simply living out your why. Look at Carter Mario Injury Lawyers. Everything they do, from the first intake to the completion of the case, is influenced by their commitment to exceptional customer service through their 8-Point Guarantee. The result? Higher client satisfaction and referral rates.

Bottom line, the reason why you do what you do is an important part of your firm’s story and (according to Sinek) will separate the top brands in your market from everyone else.

If you haven’t seen Sinek’s TED talk, I’d encourage you to take a look.