Finding your remarkable: the 3 W’s of brand

August 14, 2018

Whether you’re creating a new brand or trying to discover what makes your existing brand special, you need to start by asking the right questions.

Journalists follow the old formula of the 5 W’s: 

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

For brand strategists we normally don’t need the When and the Where, but the other three W’s are critical.

Why? Who? What?

In this blog post we’ll explore the Why.

Why are you in business? Why are you making what you’re making? Why are you selling what you’re selling? Why are you putting your time and money and love into this and not something else?

A lot of products came to market because the owner needed something and couldn’t find it, so he or she created it. This was the Why for Spanx.


Spank me!

‘SPANX founder Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the SPANX revolution began!’

The inspiration behind Spanx


Blakely leveraged this unmet need into a billion dollar business. This is a common Why story for entrepreneurs and sets them apart from ordinary business people. Entrepreneurs see opportunities in unmet needs. But this quality is magnified when it’s their own unmet need that starts the ball rolling.

But there are other compelling answers to the question Why.


Listening to your customers

Why can be an unmet need that comes from a customer. A new menu item at a family-run restaurant might be added as a result of a special request from a regular customer. a dry cleaners might add on tailoring services after a critical mass of customer requests.

A friend recently posted about a tattoo artist in Japan who did micro tattoos. Unique, minimalist thin black-ink tattoos that had become very popular with his female clients. Now my friend could fly to Japan. Or she could go to her own local tattoo artist and say, ‘Can you do this?’

And when the requested restaurant dish becomes the new specialty, and the dry cleaners becomes a noted tailor, or the old tattoo artist becomes the new fashion, they can all answer the Why question: ‘Because I listen to my customers.’

Another common answer to the Why of brand is the dream answer. ‘Because I always dreamed of…’

Many wineries answer the question this way. Wine lovers who dream of having their own vineyard. And then one day their rich uncle dies and they use their inheritance to create a brand.

The answer to Why is often more somber.  A crisis. A natural disaster, a war, a depletion of resources. Solar power companies wouldn’t exist if fossil fuels were renewable and clean. NGO’s wouldn’t exist if governments adequately cared for their people.


Connecting to family

Kristina ‘kikki’ Karlsson grew up on a small farm in Sweden but relocated to Australia and dreamed of starting her own business. When she couldn’t find Swedish-style stationery and organisational products to equip her home office, she realised that would become her business. She designed the kind of stationery she wanted to use to write letters to her family and friends back in Sweden, and this personal Why became an international business,

As you can see, there are many answers to the question “Why?” when it comes to brand.

But the real question is… What’s your “WHY?”

Picture of Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor

MD & Head of Strategy and Research

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