The Most Important Question You Can Ask Is…

by Eric Harr on October 3, 2011

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

~John F. Kennedy

Many of us go about our business – and our lives – not knowing the answer to one of the most fundamental questions we can ask:


As an individual “brand” (and yes, you are a brand), you need to know your “why.” It will make you far more powerful, appealing – and effective in business. Why do you get out of bed in the morning to do what you do? If you don’t have a compelling reason, you may need to consider a different direction. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Follow your passion. It’s never been a better, more empowering time to do so.

As an organization, identifying your “why” is imperative to success, as it  will help you stand out in this “world-of-mouth economy.”

The REAL TRUTH about social media is that to succeed, you need to win hearts. Features and benefits win minds. Your “why” wins hearts.

Here’s why: the average consumer/reader/viewer has no compelling reason to follow a company on Twitter or Facebook. Why would they? To be sold? To be marketed to? They are inundated with “interruption marketing” ad nauseum; social media was created as a very refuge away from one-way corporate marketing. They want to be inspired, informed, entertained. They want to be part of something special.

That said, the brands that are achieving momentous success in social media are “why-driven.” They convey the “why” of their companies, and in doing so, inspire customers not merely to follow them – but to become vocal evangelists of their brands. That is the holy grail of marketing. I like to say that the magic isn’t in the tweet (that has a linear impact). It’s in the retweet (exponential effect). If you put out inspiring, informative “why-driven” content, people will share it with their trusting communities–and you are on your way. When you win someone’s heart, they are naturally, madly, passoinately compelled to get behind you.

Take 18 minutes to watch this poignant, profound video; it likely shift the way you think about marketing in this new economy, in which people are seeking (demanding) authentic connections with the brands to whom they give their hard-earned money.

Give people a reason to follow your brand. Win their hearts. Remember: the average social media participant is a one-person print and broadcast media outlet now. Connect and engage with them around why you do what you do – and they will roll up like a juggernaut and drive your company forward in ways you cannot imagine.

Eric Harr is the Founder & President of Resonate Social Media, a leading, integrated social media agency in San Francisco. He is an award-winning TV host on CBS News and the best-selling author of the new book “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” available now in ebook or print edition.

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