In the first of four sessions in a marketing series presented by Cox Media, Mike Papacoda took attendees on a journey to help small business owners and entrepreneurs find their purpose for doing business.
Awaken Your Why
“Small business owners work tirelessly to connect with their customers so that they may choose them over the competition,” Papacoda said. “They’ve read all the books on marketing and on branding, but there’s something they’re still missing. They have a great product, but they just can’t seem to connect with that desired audience.”
The question is, ‘Why?’
“If you don’t know your purpose or your why, selling anything is very, very difficult,” he said. “You can’t clearly define the value of your company. Your company needs to strive for more than just sales and profits. You need to stand out. And the way to stand out is to have a purpose, a cause and a why. Something your customers can connect with.”
Papacoda cited a pair of corporate examples that demonstrate a well-understood ‘why’:
• Dove – Beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. The mission of Dove’s Self-Esteem Project is to reach the next generation and help them reach their full potential. In doing so, they’ve become one of the most successful soap companies because parents want their children to have higher self-esteem.
• Warby Parker – Seeing clearly can be empowering. It’s a gift to be able to see clearly. A lot of people don’t get to experience that. 2.5 million people around the world need glasses but don’t have access to them. Warby Parker has a purpose of helping people who need glasses get them through their Buy A Pair, Give A Pair. I do business with this company because of that.
“When your company has a clear purpose and a clear why, it gives a lot of benefits to your company,” Papacoda said. “It gives you, as an owner, something to believe in. It gives your employees something to believe in. It gives your customers something to believe in. Today’s customers want something more than just good service and good product. They want to connect with a company that gives back.”
Finding your purpose and your why takes soul searching, he said. And there are five questions business owners should ask themselves to help them discover that purpose.
Five Questions to Help Spark the Journey to Find Your Why
1) When you started your business, what did you see that you wanted to change?
- How is your business uniquely equipped to tackle it? As your starting on this journey, this is an important question.
2) How can the pursuit of that change make a bigger difference?
- You know what the problem is you want to solve, but what’s your company going to do about it? Example: Cheerios wanted to make children kinder and more inclusive, so they created songs for children to promote it.
3) What change do others want to see in the world and how does your brand fit in?
- What issues are important to your audience? By figuring this out, you can connect to a cause people already believe in. Example: Tacos 4 Life seeks to solve world hunger by donating a meal for every meal purchased.
4) How can you articulate a purpose that inspires your audience to trust and support your brand?
- Once you’ve found your why, how are you going to communicate it to your customers. Example: Panera Bread wants to help their customers make better decisions about the food they put in their body. They dedicated a section of their website to help consumers make better choices.
5) How will your purpose motivate those you work with?
- Part of having a purposeful brand is having employees that believe that vision as much as you do. When they do, they become ambassadors of your brand.
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