Company Blog

Revisiting Why

by Adam Zack — January 8, 2020

Lets first start by asking why.

2020 marks the fifth anniversary of writing this blog.  Yay!  Happy Anniversary!  Five years goes by so fast.  I was talking to a 20-year old employee the other day, and we talked about how 20 was kind of no-man’s land of ages.  Too young to buy booze or smokes, but too old to blame it all on being a teenager.  I, on the other hand, as I turn a seemingly ancient 56 a few days ago, think back to how fun my 20’s were.  So I thought about how this blog has evolved over the last 5 years, and decided to look back and see just what the hell my ramblings conveyed in the early years of blogdom.  This one below, my third blog ever, struck me as still being very relevant and I decided to re-blog it.  Our recipient list has increased by about 1,000 people since then, so I felt it was relevant to share again.


The Most Important W

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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