Company Blog

The Most Important W

by Adam Zack — January 27, 2015

Most of us who went to school remember the 5 W’s. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. In this age of equality for all words, letters, colors and numbers, is there really one that is most important? Is there one word that proves that there is a master word among the millions of words available? I assert that when it comes to our field of marketing and branding the maverick grocers of North America, the question that matters most and that each should be asking first and foremost is WHY? 

Let’s start with a true-life example that occurred last week. A well respected and prominent owner of 15 grocery stores recently asked a share group I am in for input on creating a full color magazine style holiday guide for his company. What were costs and ways to fund it? Who was best to create it? When was the best time to distribute it? Where should he get it printed? I related this inquiry to the consciously attuned guru leader at DW Green and, after assuming the lotus position, chanting Ommmmmmmmmm and lighting the incense, received a response: “My son, the question first to be asked and answered is what is the purpose of this holiday glossy full color marketing piece?” The Why. Why should they publish this magazine? Is it the best use of their funds to achieve their purpose?

In marketing decisions we too often concentrate on the first 4 W’s and fail to fully flesh out our purpose for what we are doing. What is the end result we are trying to achieve and how does it communicate our brand and our purpose to our customers and employees? When I posed the thought to the excellent grocer in our story that he and his team first needed to address their purpose in creating this publication I received the following response:

“Thanks Adam. I appreciate your help. You nailed it when you said we needed to decide our purpose first.”

So we don’t end up with the W result “WTF”? Let’s first start by asking why? What is our purpose? We like helping grocers define their purpose. It fulfills our Why, our business purpose.

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