An oldie but a goodie – one of my favorite TED Talks is from back in May 2010, a talk by author Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” The presentation is based on his book Start With Why, which is about just that – the importance of thinking counterintuitively to best connect with your audience and to clearly define your story. Start with WHY you’re doing something, then HOW you’re doing it, and last, WHAT you’re actually doing. Sinek names this concept The Golden Circle.
He uses Apple as an example to show the difference between starting with WHAT versus starting with WHY when telling their brand’s story and connecting with their core consumers.
Outside-In, Starting With WHAT
- We make great computers.
- They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.
- Want to buy one?
Inside-Out, Starting with WHY
- Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.
- We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.
- And we happen to make computers.
- Want to buy one?
Getting to the core of why you’re doing what you’re doing helps your audience gain a better understanding of you and creates a human connection with your brand.
APPLYING THIS TO MUSIC
It’s no surprise that Sinek and his Golden Circle came up again more recently while I was reading a new book by Jackie Huba, Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics.
Huba uses Lady Gaga as an example within The Golden Circle:
Transform the culture to create a kinder, braver world where everyone is valued.
Live life as performance art, including avant-garde fashion and iconic performances, to gain attention to the cause.
Write and sing catchy pop music.
Gaga not only writes, releases and performs music as her means to make a living, but also uses music as a platform for activism in favor of gay rights and against bullying. Her music, paired with her genuine proactive movement for human rights, allows her to connect with a wider audience.
It’s not necessary that every musician and artist be an activist, but ask yourself – Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you have difficulty answering this question yourself, your followers likely do not understand your complete story.
Define the WHY, clearly communicate your story, make it easy for your following to connect with you.