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Ask “Why?” Then Ask “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

Client discovery is a crucial step in understanding the requirements a client to create the best outcomes and producing the best result. A strategy is needed to unlock in-depth thinking which can help articulate issues, test hypotheses, and probe deep into whatever challenges the organization is facing.

Listening to Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk ‘Start With Why’ (Watch Here) sparked a thought - why companies do what they do, why do they have certain problems, why do they want to achieve certain things and so forth - So we began to develop greater in-depth strategies and thinking around how to develop marketing and branding strategies which speak to the subconscious and intrinsic values of our clients and their clients, which is triggered by understanding their ‘Why’.

…But how do you find the why, on a deeper level, without spending months doing market testing and surveys and then apply this concept to branding and marketing?

In the design industry you’re fortunate enough to be able to talk to your clients, who generally have some experience with their current customer base…however trying to understand new customer needs and creating a strong brand which attracts new business and drives higher sales can be uncharted territories.

Companies or consultancies may choose to venture into these uncharted territories by doing in-depth market research, competitor analysis and building an overall understanding of the business landscape. But.. have they stopped to ask themselves why? Why is growing the business in this direction important? Why is developing a strong brand critical? Why do customers prefer a competitor over my own brand?

These are questions that clients should be asking themselves, which begins to formulate the foundation for the brand identity.

The book ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries, mentions a great technique, formally developed by Sakichi Toyoda, called the ‘5 Whys’ which is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a problem by repeating the question "Why?" Each question forms the basis of the next question leading to a deeper understanding of the problem and your client’s needs.

By adapting the 2 techniques, we are able to help draw out your ‘Why’ and seek to form that greater connection with your clients by looking at it from their perspective. The proccess could look a little something like this:

The first 'Why' will identify the superficial or top layer answer that most individuals will recognise on face value. But let’s ask this 5 more times, now we can drill down to gain deeper, more meaningful insights of a client’s problem or in this context what their brand stands for and represents. Understanding this can form the basis of the deeper direction for the brand and marketing strategy, which can be transitioned into copy; and use of images and graphics to communicate with customers at multiple levels.

As they say in advertising “Tell them what they don’t even realise they need yet.”

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