What a powerful statement. One that affects all areas; marketing, HR, sales, leadership, etc. And yet we still see messages like “buy this because it’s awesome” or “work here because we have great benefits.”
Earlier this week, I watched a video on TED (the video is at the end of this post). The talk is from Simon Sinek and was on how great leaders inspire action.
Often throughout his talk he says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
To successfully communicate your message you need to focus less on the what and the how and more on the why.
Near the end of his presentation, Sinek referenced the famous speech from Martin Luther King Jr. He indicated that King said “I have a dream” not “I have a plan”.
We may think we’re selling the why when we say “buy now and save 25%.” That speaks to the rational portion of the brain. According to Sinek, you need to speak to the feeling portion of the brain, which is also responsible for decision making.
Sell the why, not the how or what.
Selling the Why in Higher Education
What does this all mean for higher education? Well, while stunning campus photos, low tuition and small class sizes may convince some. Focusing on the real why, will attract many more.
If your school is renowned for their medical programs, instead of focusing on the recognition (which speaks to the logical part of the brain), put their why first.
One messaging idea: Helping you save lives through our world renowned faculty.
This puts the why first and the how/what second.
What are some other ideas for selling the why in higher education? Please share below.