Companies with a Why

Today brands are more than just brands. The successful ones now have human personalities and stand for something important. Simon Sinek said it best, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

If you haven’t checked out Simon Sinek’s Tedx talk, it’s a must see. He asks the question why does your organization exist? This is a crucial question for every organization, brand and company. Not only because it helps drive the companies values, but also because it strongly impacts consumer purchase.

Roughly 37 percent of millennials, surveyed by FutureCast for the American Millennials Report, said that they are more likely to buy a product/service when their purchase supports a cause.  TOMS is most known for being a company that does this; however, their businesses’ ‘why’ has caused a ripple effect.

Everything Happy, for example, is driven by their trademark, “one to love, one to give.” Similar to TOMS, for every product purchased another is given to a child in need. Their products range from blankets to pillows to kid-jewelry.

A 7-year-old, who was inspired by his sisters’ blankets and stuffed animals, created the brand. Between the combo  of their two treasured items he developed what they call Happy Blankies.

The buy one, give one model isn’t the only brand dynamic that millennials are moving towards. FurtureCast’s report also shows that 45 percent of millennials, compared to just 27 percent of non-millennials, believe they can contribute to a cause they care about more easily through a company’s program than on their own.

Thus, companies are now doing much more than Box Tops for Education, which has been one of the most well-known and longest-running cause marketing campaigns. Brands are working to stand out and give back at the same time. This past Christmas Ebay did both by making the dreams of the kids as Milagro Center come true—with a little help from Santa.

For consumers it isn’t about brands that just donate and give back as part of their ‘why’ it’s also about brands that are real and have empathy.

One of my favorite brands that “just get it” is Dove. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign showed that they are a brand that really cares. They have done this by adding an even stronger emotional element to their brand than ever before.

This year as your new years resolution, work to solve you company ‘why’? It will not only show when it comes to purchases but will also improve your employee moral.

With contributions from Michelle Hill


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

Comments are closed.