How to find why your brand matters

Last week I sent an email to my mailing list where I offered to answer any question they had about brand building. So far I’ve received some great questions. Thanks if you’ve already sent your question in, if not please feel free to jump on my email list and ask, or comment below.

The following question was asked by Jamie, Kelly and Mike, with slightly different wording. Thanks guys!

“Is it important to find my brand’s ‘why’? And if so, how do I find it?”

I’ll start by telling a story about how a company reinvented themselves by discovering their why.

One morning, over an espresso, my friend Alan told me the following story while we were chatting about the importance of putting why before how.

The Zenith Drilling Company was once one of the best drill-bit producers in the world, and for years they were way ahead of their competitors. However, the competition got wise and slowly but surely, Zenith began to lose their lead. To refresh the company’s vision and hopefully regain their industry leadership, the board decided to appoint a new CEO.

During a company retreat not long after the new CEO started, he asked the leadership why the company existed. After a rigorous discussion, the leaders agreed that their reason for existence was to make the best drill bits in the world. When they presented this to the CEO he simply replied, “Is it?”. He paced back and forth across the room for a few minutes, rubbing his chin, then asked, “Is our reason for existence to make the best drill bits in the world, or is it to make the best holes?”

The penny dropped, and the leadership team realised their brand’s reason for existence was much broader and deeper than simply making drill bits. With this renewed understanding of their why, they went on to lead the industry and innovate a new way to make holes—laser drilling.

Fuss over your why, not your how

That’s the power of fussing over your why before your how. It leads you to a deeper understanding of why your brand matters and opens your mind and heart to limitless and untapped potential. But unfortunately, a lot of brand builders just can’t wait. They dive straight into their marketing tactics and bypass the all-embracing, big-picture strategy of why they matter.

I see it all the time and I totally understand the temptation to get straight into the tactical details. But if you want to build a brand people will love for a long time to come, you need to fuss over the strategy of why your brand matters. Your why will become one of your most valuable assets. Once you find it, you need to guard it, invest in it and build your entire business upon it.

That’s the power of fussing over your why before your how. It leads you to a deeper understanding of why your brand matters and opens your mind and heart to limitless and untapped potential.

HOW TO DISCOVER Why your brand matterS

If you want to build a brand customers love, you need to be absolutely clear why your brand matters and why they should love it. I know that’s easier said than done! I have this conversation every week with business owners and every week I hear the same thing, that people struggle to know how to find their why.  

Let me show you how I do it. I always start with these questions. 

Q1. Why should people care?

The aim of this question is to uncover the value that your products and services bring to the people who buy them. What difference does it make to them? Why should they care? What needs and aspirations does your brand satisfy?

I recommend getting three points of view on this question. 

  1. The leaders and founders
  2. The staff
  3. The customers

This will give you a pretty good understanding of why people should care about your brand.

Q2. Why am I doing this?

Answering this question is an important reminder of why your brand was created in the first place. This is about discovering the founding passion of your brand. If you are the founder, ask yourself why you started it. Did it evolve out of a need that you had? Did it solve a problem or meet an aspiration for you? What’s your motivation for doing what you do?

If you didn’t start the brand, try to interview the founder (if they’re still around). If that’s not possible, you might need to do a little research to find out why the brand was created in the first place. You’ll be thankful you did, as you will most likely uncover a treasure-chest of purpose.

Q3. What’s the greatest compliment you could receive about your brand?

What I love about this question is that it immediately gets to the core of what people value and hope others will think about the brand they’re building. This question uncovers the heart and purpose of the brand like no other question can.

  • Grab a large piece of blank paper with no lines and turn it so you view it in landscape
  • In the very centre write, “What’s the greatest compliment I could receive about my brand?”
  • Write down all your thoughts
  • Leave it for a day or two
  • Come back to it, add to it and refine it
  • Let it percolate and when you least expect it a phrase will hit you
  • Go back to your written thoughts – somewhere on that piece of paper you will find your why

consider these questions deeply

If you can consider these questions honestly and deeply, you’ll become a lot clearer on why your brand matters. But you’ll need to be patient, because it may take a little while to get clarity, especially if you’ve had your head down in the detail of running your business. This process is enlightening and you will start to look at your brand in a completely new way. And you will be grateful for having spent the time uncovering the answers to these crucial questions.



  • If you like this article you’ll love my new book This Way Please. It’s practical with lots of handy tips and inspiring examples I’ve collected along the way. You can download a few free chapters here.
  • If you’d like to know what your customers think and feel about your brand you might like to take a look at this survey.


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