Differentiate Your Business: Start With Why Not


In a previous blog post we looked at how “uncovering your big why” can be problematic.

In fact, you may not have a strong why at all. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. It might even be your unfair advantage.

The truth is that most people don’t start a business because they have a strong ‘why’ but because of necessity.

Perhaps they were made redundant, began to hate their old job or felt as if they didn’t have the freedom to achieve what they wanted to working for someone else.

Most often, starting a business is more of a reaction against something rather than a quest for something.

That’s because we humans don’t tend to change what feels comfortable, in fact our brains are wired to prevent us risking change.

On the other hand, our brains are wired to fight if we’re under threat. Give us something to rebel against and we’ll fight tooth and nail for change!

Many people are in business because they want to change the way their industry operates; they’re fighting against a traditional way of doing things or they just don’t like the way the competition works.

That, my friend, is even more powerful than having a strong why.

Think Dove campaigning against unrealistic beauty standards for women.

Think Lush crusading against animal testing.

Think Jamie Oliver ranting against fast food.

We actually respect them a whole lot more when they’re taking a stand rather than when they’re trying to be likeable and win us over.

The fact is, your ideal customers probably shares the same opinions, the same enemies and the same problems as you.

What frustrates you in your industry?

What are you fighting against?

What would you love to wipe off the face of the Earth altogether?

You might feel afraid about being too controversial by sharing your views but you’ll actually be using your voice to express opinions that your audience already agree with.

In doing so, you put yourself on the same team as them and growing a stronger emotional bond.

How can you build what you’re fighting against into your messaging?

Could you support an existing campaign or champion a new movement?

But just a little word of warning; a message that’s too aggressive can be offputting. Play with weaving in a little humour and sarcasm to keep your message on the right side of “shouty”.

Some great resources to inspire you and help you find your ‘why not’:

1) If you’re the hero of your small business, who is your arch-enemy? Lacy Boggs has a great post about this.

2) Mark Sampson at Beliyf calls this “Finding Your Dragon”

3) I’ve also created a whole section about this in my “Build a Stand-Out Brand Course.”

4) Velocity Partners urge us to find our ‘cojones’ and use “big, different, provocative and audacious marketing” in their post on the subject.

5) We can hop onto a free 20 minute Brain Blitz call - I’d be delighted to explore what your unfair advantage is.


About the Author: Anna McLoughlin

Anna McLoughlin, Copywriter

Anna is Director of Inkspiller. An incurably curious writer and brand strategist, she has made it her life's mission to truly see others, then reflect their brilliance back out to the world.




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