In a previous post, I asked you to watch two commercials and determine what makes them different. Other than the style of the commercials, which is unimportant, there is a very major difference. If you have not watched the two commercials, follow the link above and take a minute to watch both of them.
Quite simply, the fundamental difference is that the Apple iPad commercial shows you “why” and the Droid commercial shows you “what”. The Droid commercial spends a lot of time showing the features of the latest (at the time) phone. As the girl breaks down the robot she tears out the dual-core processor, the 4G LTE chip, and so on. Who is the Droid commercial targeting? If they want to sell these phones to the general public, then the general public will not understand anything about the Droid phone. (Geeks and techs, myself included, like the commercial, but I don’t know that I would necessarily consider them a representation of the general public.) In essence, the Droid commercial is starting with “what”.
The iPad commercial shows you what the device will do. Maybe I’m not going to be doing all of the things that the commercial shows, but I can easily understand what the iPad can do. The iPad commercial resonates with the general public for this very reason. If I can imagine myself using your product while watching the commercial, you have connected with me on an emotional level. The iPad commercial succeeds at starting with “why”.
A TED video featuring Simon Sinek was released a while ago. In the video, he explains the difference between starting with “why” versus starting with “what”. Sinek makes the assertion that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” At first glance, the difference seems trivial, but starting in the appropriate place makes a huge difference in the final outcome. The video is included below and well worth the time to watch.
“So what? I’m not in marketing.” Well, you are, whether or not it is your official job title. Are you unemployed and looking for a job? You need to differentiate yourself to a hiring manager and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Are you trying to convince your boss that you should deploy a new system? You need to reach his trigger emotions (in a professional world it’s probably reliability, ego, risk aversion, etc.) that will convince him to sign off on the project. Are you a leader, trying to motivate your team to change? Get them emotionally involved to get action.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to sell something to someone; an exchange of money for goods and services is not always included. If you understand how and why people make decisions, you will be much more persuasive in your “sales”.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.