Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek

In his 2009 TedTalk, best selling author and thought leader, Simon Sinek explains what makes innovative companies like Apple stand out amongst similar companies using his Golden Circle Model. Although, filmed in 2009 this TedTalk is still relevant because it still applies to companies like Apple.

The Golden Circle Model is made up of three circles with Why in the center, How in the second circle, and What in the outermost circle. Sinek defines Why as why a company does what they do, How as how they do it, and What as a company’s product or end result.

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Sinek believes that normally marketers and companies think from the outside in. However, he argues that great leaders and innovators think from the inside out. Apple, for example, he explains that their Why is challenging the status quo and thinking differently. Their How is by making beautifully designed products. Finally, their What is their computers and other products. But, what makes them stand a part from other companies is that they are thinking from the inside out as opposed to the outside in.

An example of thinking from the outside in would be if a car company said that they sell cars. The fact that the company sells cars is the What. The How is if the company said that they spend sixteen hours building a car and the Why would be because they believe in quality cars.

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The reason that the car example is different from the Apple example is not just because of a super secret strategy that someone at Apple figured out. Sinek argues that great leaders think differently than others. He suggests that Apple’s marketing strategy is appealing to us on a biological level. In essence, thinking from the inside out of Sinek’s Golden Circle model is catering to our limbic brains, or, the parts of our brain responsible for gut feelings and decision making. Working from the outside in caters to our neocortex which is responsible for analytical and rational thoughts. It’s biologically ingrained in our DNA that we are more likely to follow a movement, buy a product, or hire a service if we believe in the Why behind something as opposed to the What someone is actually doing.

The marketing takeaway from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Model is that to truly stand out amongst companies that are providing similar products or services to your company is to think from the inside out. First, figure out Why your company provides the goods or services that it does. To make money is not the whole answer. What is your core message? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Second, figure out the How you do what you do. Lastly, establish What your product or service is.

If companies think from the inside out it is more likely that they will be able to be innovative longer and create more unique messages for their products and services.

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View Simon Sinek’s TedTalk on the Golden Circle here:

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