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kettle with plastic cups prepared on wooden box

Your WHY

It’s easy to get caught up in choices that don’t matter: The website design, the colors, the marketing channel, the social media story.

Decisions should evolve from your WHY. If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing (and who it’s for), details are irrelevant.

So if you find yourself focusing on unnecessary fluff, there’s a good chance you haven’t made the real decisions…yet.

What is marketing?

When I changed industries — from social work to advertising — I was skeptical. Why would an international branding agency want to hire me, a M.S.W. (social work) graduate from Columbia?

They did, and here’s why:

Empathy.

They knew I could question: How to analyze behavior and communities, how to look for factors that contribute to the way in which someone sees the world; how to start conversations to learn how people see themselves.

This is marketing.

As part of my social work degree, I had two clinical internships. For the second, I was placed in the counseling clinic of an all-girls college. My experiences prior to this was with drug and alcohol addicts, youth on probation, middle school students. Yet now I was playing the role of therapist in a clean office, listening to educated young women talk about their anxieties and frustrations.

These women had resources. They had money and options and opportunities. Yet their worries were the same as those kids on probation and the middle schoolers who walked up flights of dark stairs in Section 8 housing to go home.

Will he/she love me?
Will my family be proud of me?
What should I do for work?

Since then I’ve worked with Buddhist monks and young leaders in Nepal. Our yearnings are largely the same, but our resources are not.

If we fail to recognize these differences as marketers, we have no chance of winning.

I believe we can use this same awareness to create incredible marketing campaigns — and a better world.

Which audience will I care about?
Who do I want to impact?
Which traits do I want to develop?

What are you collecting?

Collectors usually get some sort of attention. Whether it’s stamps, debt, records, insects, comics, paintings, or coins — collectors have something to show, something to talk about.

What if you viewed yourself as a collector, adding more and more unique moments to your personal high-value collection?

You’re the owner. How will you build upon your existing collection? What kind of assets will you preserve and who will be privileged enough hear about it (or see it)?

The more experiences you obtain, the more interesting you become. With interesting stories, there’s no doubt you’ll attract an audience.

That goes for brands and people, too.