Currently Reading: Start with Why

I have a goal to read 12 books this year. So far, I have 2 completed and am 67% through another: Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.

If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, I highly recommend you check him out. Watch a Ted talk. Research him a little. I guarantee you’ll learn something!

In his book, he tells about businesses that start with “why” they do what they do and how that aligns with their audience to gain loyalty rather than using sales tricks or marketing gimmicks to gain our attention. (Read the book. He explains this much more eloquently than I can here.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the brands I buy because they’re on sale or because they’re in front of me when I have a need/want vs. the brands that I go out of my way to buy.

It made me think of Tom’s of Maine.

My first experience with Tom’s was during a short stint of testing out anti-antiperspirant-free deodorants. Turns out, the hippy life is not for me and Tom’s was ineffective. But so were all of the other non-antiperspirant deodorants I tried so no bridges were burned at the time accept maybe the one between me and an anti-antiperspirant-free life (Okay, and maybe some acquaintances burned bridges with me to spare their olfactory organs but that’s on them, not me).

Quite a while later, Freddy and I went through our first round of Whole 30. We cut added sugar out of everything we ate. Suddenly our toothpaste tasted sweet. Like, sugary sweet. It was unsettling. So we set out to replace it with something that 1) did not taste like sugar and 2) toted the cruelty free symbol.

Reintroduce Tom’s of Main.

Here’s what the back of the tube of toothpaste says (emphasis theirs):

What makes a product natural and good? At Tom’s, it includes how we make it.

  • No animal testing or animal ingredients.

  • We share every ingredient, its purpose, and its source at http://www.tomsofmain.com.

  • Sustainable practices are a priority in every aspect of our business.

  • No artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives.

  • We strive to maximize recycled content and recyclability of our packaging.

  • 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteering. 10% of profits to human and environmental goodness.

This isn’t a blog to get you to buy Tom’s toothpaste. I don’t get any kickbacks for writing it. But if the environment is important to you, if you believe that we need to be good to each other and to the world we’ve been given to live in and you want to be a part of something bigger that encourages that thought, then you probably appreciate what Tom’s stands for.

They understand their Why.

As a consumer drowning in a sea of toothpaste, I buy the one that doesn’t test on animals. The one from the company that gives back. I’m not saying that other toothpaste companies don’t have community involvement. I’m saying that this company explains why they’re in business and I want to raise my hand and say “Me too!” That’s ultimately what I’m buying.

Take some time today and think about what you stand for and how that influences your purchasing habits. Or for my business owning friends, take some time to remember the Why if you’ve gotten away from it. Why did you start your business? Don’t tell me what makes you money. What do you stand for?

Next, I want to know what brands you get behind. Maybe you haven’t researched the entire history of the company but you hear their message and it resonates with you. Maybe it’s gathering the family around the dinner table even when you’re in the middle of a crazy week (Campbell’s?). Maybe, as Sinek points out, it’s challenging the status quo (Apple).

Let me know what brands you get behind in the comments below and don’t forget to check out Start with Why for more information on identifying your Why!

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