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Starting with Why

Earlier this year Bayly came across a wonderful talk by Simon Sinek that challenged business leaders to consider how successful companies with a clear understanding of why they exist out-perform their counterparts. We recommend you watch his talk here.

The Golden Circle

Simon Sinek uses The Golden Circle to visualise the centrality and importance of the why, followed by the how and the what. Simon’s work correlates The Golden Circle to the way the human brain works identifying that the Why and How talks to the Limbic system in our brains where our higher mental functions and most importantly our emotions reside, and how the What talks to our neo cortex where our conscious thought and language systems reside.

When we talk about what a product does, we describe its features and it’s functions, and we usually explain its advantages. We develop our advertising and marketing assets so that we can sell the product. Much of the marketing we produce today is focussed on educating our customers about our product and the needs it meets.

Appealing to the Human Brain

We spend a lot of effort trying to convince our customers that our product is the best, better than any of the competition and that it would be the best decision they could make. This is all done to appeal to the neocortex system in our brains.

This is really important. We expect as consumers that we will have lots of information to help us make our decisions. Someone will be able to answer our questions about the product. We cannot be successful without making sure that we present this information to our customers.

But what makes all this information and all our efforts much more effective?

Connecting with a customer’s emotions and higher reasoning in the limbic system is achieved by getting your customers to understand why your product and your business is worthy; why it exists.

This is how successful businesses take leadership positions in their market and create a base of engaged fans and customers that buy their products because they agree with why they exist.

Putting the Why in Product Design

So what does this mean for the design of your products?

  1. Your product must be coherent with your business why.
  2. Your customer should be able to clearly understand why your product exists.
  3. Your product should demonstrate to your customer all the problems it solves and all the jobs it helps them do.
  4. The value that your product provides in solving your customer’s problems and doing the jobs they need done should be worth the money they pay.

By taking these simple steps you will be able build more engagement with your customers bringing you both greater success.

If you would like to learn more about starting with why, don’t hesitate to contact our Melbourne Product Design team today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call on +61 3 9413 9000. We’d love to chat!

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 See Simon Sinek's How great leaders inspire action Ted talk below


Simon Sinek's Start with Why book
Image: J Martini

Image: The Golden Circle Presentation


Image: The Golden Circle Presentation


Header image: TED