Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle sets a framework for how most organizations and people think, act, or communicate. That is, they do so from the outside of the Golden Circle, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason – they go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do. Have you encountered this recently?

The Golden Circle - Start With Why

How about at a job interview? How many times did the interviewer ask “why” to any of your answers? Once? Why not more?

How about at a recent social event? When you were breakin’ the ice with someone, what was the first thing that you asked them? Was it “So, what do you do?” If so, you communicated from the outside of the Golden Circle.

A marketing message from Apple, if they were like everyone else, might sound something like this:

“We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?”

But, this is how they actually communicate:

“In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking different. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. And we just happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one? ”

Apple Think Different

As Harley-Davidson fits into the lifestyle of a certain group of people and Prada shoes fits the lifestyle of another group, it is the lifestyle that came first. Like the products the company produces that serve as proof of the company’s WHY, so too does a brand or product serve as proof of an individual’s WHY.

How about Lululemon? Arc’teryx?


Now let’s look at a case study.

What is Kit & Ace’s “WHY”?… Who knows?


Kit & Ace’s marketing messaging leads with “Technical Cashmere,” which is clearly a WHAT.


As a business, one of the first steps in figuring out what your WHY is, or what is should be, is positioning your brand against your competitor’s brands in a brand positioning matrix. If you think you are unique and there are several brands in your quadrant, think again. Having a unique value proposition is ideal – try to be different.




Another tool for determining how your brand should communicate is the Megaphone.


First draw a megaphone, then draw two vertical lines in the middle. In the first section, write your core WHY. In the next section, write the things that are most closely related to that WHY. And so on and so forth until all sections are filled out. Now, when you want to communicate anything to do with your brand, draw a straight line from the first section to the thing that you are trying to communicate. If you are unable to draw a line from the first section of the Megaphone, then you have a problem. You must ensure you are able to draw a straight line from the first section outwards when you communicate.