Why? — The most important question to ask when building your brand.

As a brand designer and strategist, I always send in-depth questionnaires to my clients.
Yes, plural. I have many of them, each targeted to a different topic. But the most important one? The Brand Strategy Questionnaire.

That is my most valuable possession, and something that not only helps my client ask the right questions about their businesses, but it also helps them answer personal questions they wouldn’t normally ask. Not only it makes them think about their business from a different perspective, it also makes them analyze their own motives.

Simply said, your future (or current) brand is based on YOU and YOUR beliefs.
No, not talking about religion here. I am talking about the core needs that you have and that will most likely be reflected into your brand as well. Because what drives you as a person will drive your business too.

We are talking about knowing your WHY.

So, let me ask you THE QUESTION. 

Why do you want to have a business? 

Have you ever even thought about that one? I didn’t think so.

The most common and most likely totally wrong answers?
To be successful. To have more money. To live the life you always wanted.

But…why are these the “wrong” answers?
What’s wrong with wanting more money or to fulfill your dreams?

Nothing. There is nothing wrong with that. But it also isn’t the real reason WHY.

You can work at Costco to have enough money and probably lot less work or responsibility. You can work your 9-5 corporate job and not only fulfill your financial needs but also travel the world during vacation.

So why do you want to have your own business?

The reasons we do what we do…

We are talking psychology here.

Every person has different needs that drive their actions. In fact, we can categorize them into 6 CORE HUMAN NEEDS. They were originally introduced by Abraham Maslow and lately reintroduced by Anthony Robbins, who has cultivated a life long fascination with human behavior, development and motivation.

It’s quite simple actually.

Each and every person has some core need, whether they realize that or not.

For example, some entrepreneurs work 24/7 while sacrificing their relationships and focusing on winning at all costs. Their core needs would be GROWTH & most likely SIGNIFICANCE.

On the other hand, we all know those that would give away the last piece of bread to help others in need. Those people are most likely driven by LOVE & CONNECTION.

But careful, they are not desires or goals.

They are the reason why people do what they do. We do have all 6 of them, each driving different aspects of our lives. But identifying the core need that drives your business will help you answer the original question – Why do you want to have a business in the first place?

The bad news is, it is not so easy to discover them within you. The good news is, there are “only” 6 main reasons why people do…well, anything. Which also means once you discover them, you can see more clear path how to fulfill these needs.

So let’s take a look, shall we?

1) CERTAINTY – The need for security, routine, stability, comfort & control.
This need is a primal one. We want to put the roof above our head and keep ourselves and out loved ones safe. It’s part of our DNA. With the world constantly changing we all fight to keep the pace and deal with the changes. How good are you at that? Do you handle changes well or do you struggle? Do you need to be in control and is that something that is the primary purpose of you having your business?

2) VARIETY – The need of uncertainty, change, innovation, adventure, & excitement.
Variety is a spice of life. We want certain amount of uncertainty in our life. I mean…most people love surprises…unless they are bad surprises which is why we call them problems. But not all problems are bad. Overcoming problems makes us better and more resilient. Who doesn’t love the proud feeling after they fight some issue and win?

3) SIGNIFICANCE – The need of importance, respect, value, worth, & identity.
Everyone wants to feel special and important. Even those who say otherwise. The need of significance, respect, and worth can turn us into money making machines.

4) LOVE & CONNECTION – The need of acceptance, community, nurturing & sharing.
Love is a very strong emotion that can make us feel alive as easily as it can break us down to pieces. Which is why some people tend to avoid love in order not to get hurt. So instead, they aim for connection.

These first 4 needs are more about our personalities, while the last two are more spiritual but also more rare. On the other hand, they bring more long term fulfillment.

5) GROWTH – The need of expansion, education, progression & achievement.
If something’s not growing, it’s dying. It can be applied to your life, job, relationship, or business. The progress is what makes us happy. But once we conquer our growth goals we don’t feel happy which makes this need both full-filling and never ending.

6) CONTRIBUTION – The need of empowerment, inspiration, making a difference, changing lives & giving back.
Contributions gives us the true purpose. Because as cheesy as it sounds, living is giving, For people with this need sharing and giving is everything.

SO…Why is this even important?

The truth is that people will give up their dreams, values, and goals…to meet their needs. They will always want to fulfill their needs. But each of us will meet these needs in a different way which is why there can be so many different businesses and products.

Take certainty as an example.

We all need it. But it does not look the same way for everyone. Some people feel safe because of their religious beliefs. Some people trust in themselves and they are sure they can overcome whatever they approach. For some people, finances are really the only way how to fulfill their certainty needs. It can also be fulfilled in a positive but also negative way. For someone, an unhealthy relationship, drugs, etc. may also fulfill the need for certainty.

Can you see all the different outcomes one need can have? Interested in reading more? Click here!

How can I use this knowledge in branding?

This one is easy! If you learn what your core needs are, you will find out what drives you to have a business in the first place.

Ask questions like:
Question 1: What do you really need in your life? What makes you feeling alive?
Question 2: What success means to you?
Question 3: What do you really like to do?

Not only that but if you learn what your audience need, you know exactly what they’re looking for and how can you fulfill these needs by your offer.

How can knowing your audience’s need help you:

  • Is CERTAINTY their core need? Make them feel safe. They need to trust you first.
  • Is VARIETY important to them? Surprise them. They love excitement, new things and challenges.
  • Is SIGNIFICANCE what they’re after? Make them feel special and seen. Show them you care.
  • Is LOVE what they seek? Show them you really care. Be generous, compassionate, honest.
  • Is GROWTH what fulfills them? Look for ways to keep them inspired or show them how to improve themselves.
  • Is CONTRIBUTION what makes them happy? They need you to share and give without expecting anything in return.

Final thoughts

The fact is that you can literally explain anyone’s behavior, routines, successes/failures, dreams, or even relationships by referring back to those 6 human needs. You should be able to determine 1-2 main needs that drive your behavior whether they know it or not. And I think we can all agree that it’s good to know in this case, right?

My main needs are significance and variety. What are yours?

    For more tips on building a personality-driven brand that you’re dying to share with others, follow me on Instagram

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    Why? — The most important question to ask when building your brand.

    Zuzana Zapletal

    Brand Strategist, Creative Designer & Recovering Perfectionist on a mission to help you become more confident about your brand.

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