Each month as part of our GO! Figure content series we will be spending time speaking with agency owners and leaders to get their opinions on a different topic directly affecting our industry.

This month for our Agency Q&A we interviewed Graham Reed, New Business Director of Ice Blue Sky to talk about how they have transformed their marketing approach and messaging, using the WHY methodology. Famously defined by Simon Sinek and then enhanced by Peter Docker and David Mead.

 

GO!: So tell us, how did this all start and become such a strong focus within your agency?

GR: We both had taken time to read the books written by Simon Sinek, followed by the second book written along with Peter Docker and David Mead and absolutely loved the idea. We took ourselves, and the business through the Why process, and really understood how it could help create more powerful, genuine, human focused marketing for our clients, as well as for us.

When pitching for new business we naturally took the time to explain our Why, and people loved the concept and wanted to know how they could do it for themselves.

 

GO!: What is the basic premise of the strategy?

GR: Authenticity. We as people and businesses are at our very best when we can be at our most truthful and natural. Because, when we are, it creates a position where there is no effort needed to be anything else or more, but more importantly everyone around us knows what we stand for. This leads to some great and long-lasting customer relationships.

 

 GO!: That sounds a very deep point of view can you simplify a little?

GR: Well, in more basic terms most organisations and people are good at telling you what they do, a few tell you how they do it, but very few organisations tell you WHY they do what they do.

When you know your Why, you use that to define everything.

For example, our why is:

“To help people by sharing our knowledge so they feel empowered in achieving their goals”

We help people flip their thinking and messaging to ensure everyone internally and externally understand the Why that is naturally driving what you already do.

The next step is to then define the business How’s (your guiding principles) and finally this is followed by What you do (the value you add).

Done well, it’s the most effective way of establishing an authentic communications platform.

 

GO!: So people should lead their messaging from a perspective of WHY not WHAT they do?

GR: Yes. Going back to our Why above, as we said we don’t lead with this, but it is what supports our culture and direction as a business.

It defines how we collaborate with customers and share our knowledge of ABM and Demand Generation. This in turn empowers business leaders and senior executives to get the results they are looking for within their sales and marketing efforts.

 

GO!: Can you share what would happen in a typical workshop?

GR: We take them through a series of processes to get them to think differently about their company. A structured storytelling process gets the ball rolling and we go from there.

 

GO!: So, you encourage all levels of the business to be part of the workshop?

GR: Yes, it is essential the outcomes from the exercises come from a wide perspective. This is when we get the best results.

 

GO!: Does it get awkward having such a variety of people and responsibilities in the room?

 GR: Well, we have exercises that break down barriers and everyone is soon comfortable with sharing and coming up with suggestions.

 

GO!: So what drives the WHY, where does it come from?

GR: The passions and feelings of all the people in the room. It is unique to those people and cannot be replicated by the competition. The Why comes from the core of people as well as the values and experiences those people have shared.

 

GO!: Tell us about an exercise you did recently?

GR: Just before lock-down we did a Why session with the global sales team of a major technology provider at their sales conference in the US.

50 people. Including the CEO and Global Sales Director, were all sitting in the room.

We did a mini-why session, as that suited the event and that number of people, usually you wouldn’t have more than 12-15 people in a session.

Within a short space of time we had everyone contributing, wanting to grab the microphone and participate, contribute and have an impact on the stories and the end statement. At the end of the session the applause and gratitude in the room was uplifting, and even today this work surprises us with the transformation it delivers to the customers who want to go on this journey.

 

GO!: How does the Why then translate into improved messaging and business transformation?

GR: Businesses typically over complicate their messaging.  It’s often too complex, or difficult to differentiate from the competition.

When the Why is completed, and then brought into the communication strategy the messages become more succinct, easier for people to understand.

 

GO!: Finally, what has been the biggest impact of working with the Why so far to you and your business.

GR: We had the opportunity a while back to meet Peter Docker, one of the authors of Find Your Why, and he has been a progressive mentor on a wider basis, as we take his broader teachings and apply them into the world of ABM.

 

GO!: Graham, it’s been a pleasure, thank you.