in Startup Marketing

Lessons Learnt from Simon Sinek 1: How to tell a good story

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This is part 1 of a 2-part series on startup marketing lessons learnt from Simon Sinek’s talk, How great leaders inspire actionPart 2 is on Why focus on early adopters.

In his SkillShare course,  The Modern Marketing Workshop, Seth Godin, author of 17 bestselling books, said that marketing is about telling the story to those who want to hear it and making the story so vivid and true that people who hear it tell other people.

So as marketers, how do we go about telling such a story?

I believe a talk by Simon Sinek, an author best known for popularising the concept of Why, can teach us how to tell our story. The video, with almost 16 million views and ranked 3rd most viewed on TED.com, is embedded at the bottom of this post.

 People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. – Simon Sinek

In his talk, How great leaders inspire action, Simon Sinek introduced the Golden Circle to explain why some organisations like Apple and leaders like Martin Luther King are able to inspire people to take actions.

Golden Circle

While most people communicate from outside in, those who can inspire action “all think, act and communicate from the inside out”. By telling others the reason why they do something before blabbering about what they do, they are better able to make an influence. In fact, this is backed by biology in terms of how our brains are structured. “When we can communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior, and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do.”

Hence, when we tell our marketing story, we should start with why before moving on to how and what as it will be more compelling.

Here’s a comparison made by Simon Sinek about most companies and Apple:

Start with why comparison

Which one is more likely to make you feel like buying?

For example, at The SUM Buddy,

  • (why) We understand that marketing is not simple and many startup founders are not marketers and may not afford to hire one.
  • (how) Therefore, we try to help them by providing useful and relevant information and tips on a regular basis.
  • (what) We do so by writing articles, creating case studies and conducting interviews.

If you didn’t realise, I wrote this article using the golden circle format as well. I started with telling you why storytelling is important and followed by how you can tell a good story. So I hope that I have inspired you to learn how to tell your story for your startup.

Now, take out a piece of paper and answer these 3 questions (whyhow and what) for your business! If you don’t mind, share them with us and other readers by leaving a comment below.

In conclusion, when people can resonate with why you do what you do, they are more likely to believe and buy from you. So go tell a good story!

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