Group Speak

By: Troy Nottingham
June 28, 2016

Well … That’s An Interesting Question

In a recent new business pitch, I was asked to explain what we do that makes us different than every other research firm (of a similar size) on the planet. And here’s what I said…

It is not what we do that makes us different – all research firms use some nuanced variation of the same methodologies, processes and tools. We all do focus groups and depth interviews. We all conduct surveys. We all do research in person, by phone and via the Internet. So, it is not the “what we do” that makes a difference in what you get…but the “why we do it.”

You see, in everything we do, we believe we can make a difference. We believe changing the game is possible.

And…we believe that the only way to make a real and lasting difference is by pinpointing the right insights and then telling the story in a simple and compelling way.

That’s it…our reason for being as a company. And when I think back on client relationships over the past 20 years, the most enjoyable and productive clients were ones who believed the same thing we did. They are the ones that believed they could make a difference – if given the right information, a simple story to tell and the latitude to act.

We have been applying this belief structure to each and every project along the way. Though it has manifested itself in words like – we need to find the big idea here…or…how will this change what the client is doing or saying now…or…why should the client care… the goal has been constant – figuring out how to make a difference, how to be the catalyst for game change.

We borrowed this construct of “why” not “what” from a TED talk done some years ago by Simon Sinek. Now, there’s a good chance you’re responsible for one of the 24 million+ views of this 18-minute segment on how to market your brand. If not or if not in a while, click here. Sinek posits that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…and that those who believe what you believe will align themselves with your brand.

What is it that you believe to be true about your brand…why do you exist? Why should anyone care?

If it is true that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…then, ideally, the why should be easy to articulate and a part of everything you do, say or plan. It should be the litmus or lens through which you pass all decision making, processes and procedures. It should be evident at every touch point with the brand because it is a part of your DNA. But, that can only happen if you know why you do what you do…and if you have taken the time to articulate it to the world.

It’s not likely that you are the only company offering the market what you offer. It’s also not likely that consumers fully understand how all the brands in your industry differ. Yet, people love a cause…they love to find someone who thinks like they think and believes what they believe. If you want to project a meaningful difference to the world, tell them what you believe before you try to sell them on what you offer.