The why, how and what of successful marketing

Showrooms need to make why they do what they do the main focus of their marketing. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek has some suggestions on how to do it right

Most showrooms’ marketing kicks off on the wrong tack. They start with what they do and how they do it when it is the ‘why’ that is most important, according to author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek. However, most companies, he says, don’t go into the why at all.

In a talk for the Ted organisation – a non-profit body that spreads ideas through short talks – Sinek outlined his ideas on the ‘golden circle’ and how brands market themselves and why some businesses are more successful than others. He concluded that businesses start with ‘why they do what they do’ are more successful than those who start with just what they do.

The golden circle is made up of three rings:


Why do you do what you do? Why did you start the business in the first place and why are you motivated now? Get to grips with the emotion of the ‘why’ question as it will help draw the customers in as you are not selling to them straight away but showing them a brand philosophy.


How are you better than your competitors? How do you create your products or services? Be clear about how the business does, and what it does that makes it the best solution for your customers.


What do you do? Keep this as short as possible. What the company does should be the shortest answer to all of these questions.

Chris Burton, managing director of consultancy Brand Success, agrees with Sinek that most businesses start with what they do: “I’m a showroom designer or I’m a bathroom retailer. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is difficult to be very successful because they are not talking about why they do what they do, and then finally what they do.”

Chris Burton

For a kitchen showroom, the golden circle could be:

What: We sell high-quality kitchens.

How: We use our expert design team and listen to our customers.

Why: We are motivated to design new and creative kitchens.

Marketing that only includes the what and the how will sound like this: “We sell high-quality kitchens and we do this with our expert design team that listens to our customers”

Include the why, and leading with it, makes it sound more inviting: “We are motivated to design new and creative kitchens, we do this with our expert design team who listens to its customers and we sell high-quality kitchens.”

Only including the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ in marketing, can make you sound like hundreds of other showrooms, but include the why you do it and it makes your brand more unique. It also creates a message that your customers can get behind and believe in.

Burton adds: “Many retailers don’t talk about why they started and why they love doing what they love, but that is so important when someone is researching. When customers are spending tens of thousands of pounds on a kitchen, they want to connect with businesses that think like them – businesses that feel right to them. Business that send signals about why they do what they do are able to make a stronger connection with their customers.”

A company may not but figuring this out can help with the businesses practices, marketing and can even help inspire your staff.

Home > Indepth > The why, how and what of successful marketing