What’s your why?

My two-year old daughter has just learnt the question that every parent dreads – why? And, as annoying as it is, I want to give her an answer.

Why? Because when I was a teenager I remember asking why trigonometry worked the way it did (I know, geeky AND annoying). But I didn’t get an answer. So, I stopped asking and my learning, on that topic, stopped there. On the bright side, I can still recall the phrase ‘Only Have Sex After Hot Coffee Or After Tea’ as an alternative to SOH CAH TOA. (Go on, you know you want a GSCE maths refresh…) Not surprisingly, I’m not sure the formula has been too helpful outside the classroom before now.

You see, I think we’re built to ask why. And if the answer resonates, it drives us. That’s why, particularly with the latest bunch of talent coming from millennials – the ‘purpose-driven generation’ – businesses need to be clear about their why. In fact, the 2017 BrandZ report lists it as the top action for creating a valuable brand. And if you’re still not convinced, check out the Simon Sinek talk ‘Start with Why’. Trust me, it’s worth five minutes of your day.

In my job, I’m lucky enough to work with many organisations that operate in the housing sector and they’re often fantastic at knowing their why. Recently I got the chance to create a film with Orbit Group, which defines its why as ‘building communities’. Designed to attract new talent and motivate staff, the purpose of the film was to bring this mission to life. And the experience blew me away.

As a film maker, you want to capture emotion and something of humanity to make the most of this rich medium. And when speaking to Orbit’s staff and customers, their sense of purpose and impact was tangible. Everyone we met knew how they were changing lives and cared deeply about the people they could make a difference to.

It was really special and I’m proud to be part of the result.

(Unsubtle plug for a nosey here.)

So, whether you’ve found your why, or whether you’re just starting to dig, I hope this post inspires you to stop, reflect and make sure your purpose is clear.

Let’s never leave an unanswered why.

Val Hassall

About Val Hassall

Brand and messaging strategist with more than 15 years' experience of building and growing brands. Specialising in personal profiling for housing leaders to support corporate positioning and business growth. She also works with Creative Bridge colleagues in the creation of messaging frameworks to underpin the marketing of commercial brands and products.
Val’s passion: art.