Stand for Something if You Want To Inspire and Stand Out

Often I get asked about what the best marketing strategy is. Before answering the question, I make people consider the fact that it’s hard to pay attention to anything on a day to day basis when we are bombarded with so information, notifications and all types of distractions.

But that’s not all, as a brand you’re not just competing for people’s attention; but for their heart.

To combat this “distraction sickness“,  many businesses opt to do gimmicks and lower prices in order to stand out. But, I believe getting people’s attention and their heart isn’t just about being flashy, rather it’s about being loud because that is what you believe the world should have more of.

The last part is how you reach the heart: a deep conviction.

With that said, for me the best marketing strategy starts with values and taking a stand. I know, talking about core values sounds like a bunch of fluff, but listen to and consider the points made in this iconic speech delivered by Steve Jobs concerning Apple’s re-branding in 1997.

The first part is important: stand for something.

Steve Jobs is basically saying that Apple stands for something more than simply making grey boxes for people to do their best work. At this point, computers are a commodity; but you don’t consider a MacBook Pro a commodity.


Yes, it has great great components; but that’s not what we remember about their pitch. What we remember, and get enthralled in, is how this grey box is going to help us change people’s lives.

This is very important because we live in a world where most organizations stand for nothing but more of the same. Simply put: Those who stand for nothing stand for anything as long as it suits them.

Start Out With Why

People and organizations that cut through the smoke and become a light, like Apple, have extreme opinions and beliefs. They are mission-oriented, for them it’s all about their purpose.

According to Simon Sinek, the fundamental difference between the “Apples” of the world and everyone else is that they start with “why.” He has very powerful way for framing this, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

To explain this concept, Sinek has developed what he calls the “Golden Circle,”see the image below:

simon sinek the golden circle

The golden circle has three layers:

  • Why – This is the core belief of the business. It’s why the business exists.
  • How – This is how the business fulfills that core belief.
  • What – This is what the company does to fulfill that core belief.

Sounds simple, but what Sinek found is that most companies do their marketing backwards. They start with their “what” and then move to “how” they do it. Most of these companies neglect to even mention why they do what they do. More alarmingly, many of them don’t even know why they do what they do!

Check out the video below if you haven’t already:

So if you want to begin thinking about your marketing strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do we exist?
  • What do we believe in?
  • What do we stand for?
  • What role do we play in the world, in people’s lives?
  • Why should anyone care about us?
  • What do we want people to think and believe about us?
  • What do we want people to become?

Bottom line: Mission oriented organizations stand out because they inspire people to become better versions of themselves.