Top of page.

Start with why, part two: Taking your brand’s passion to the world

Last week’s article was talking how the passion behind your brand, your higher business purpose, will help to power your business forward.

The big question to cover now is, how do you get appeal across the mass market? How do you achieve mass market acceptance of your new company brand?

Because now, Innocent smoothies and Apple watches and Red Bull energy drinks and Toms shoes are consumed by, well, everyone.

Does every single person who has ever worn Nike trainers or been to Ikea or cleaned the carpet with a Dyson vacuum cleaner share in the passion of the company philosophy?

Probably not.

So there must be something else at work here that explains why these brands have had such huge appeal.

Simon Sinek explains this in his TEDx talk with the Law of Diffusion of Innovation.

It’s a simple law that shows that when a successful new idea is launched, it slowly takes off, rises to mass market popularity, then tails off.

The first 2.5% of the market who take the idea up are the Innovators. They will try anything new, and they don’t care about the cost. They’re the risk-takers and they are happy making gut decisions. They just want to be first.

The next 13.5% are the Early Adopters. They cotton on to new ideas fairly fast and also like to be among the first to try it out.

After this we have 34% Early Majority and another 34% Late Majority. This is the mass market, the real ones who bring the cash and the publicity.

And then lastly, we have the 16% laggards. These are the ones that are reluctant to change and will only buy into the new idea when they can’t get the old ones. The will probably set up fan clubs and societies celebrating the old idea and ensuring that it’s not forgotten: think steam trains or hand knitted jumpers.

The key to understanding this is that the mass market won’t try anything that the innovators and the early adopters haven’t tried and loved.

And Sinek’s point here is that the very nature of the innovators and early adopters, means that they make decisions with their gut.

They gel with the ‘why’ of a company and that’s what makes them buy.

A new idea hasn’t been widely tried and tested, there aren’t any logical facts or statistics about it. It doesn’t have any recommendations or certifications, because no one has seen it yet.

Innovators and Early Adopters love to be the first.  And the reason they’re happy to be the first and not rely on the rational ‘what’ factors, is that they buy the ‘why’ without worrying too much about the ‘what’.

You can trip over 10% of the market by accident. 10% of your buyers will just ‘get it’, they decide that they want it from your ‘How’ and ‘What’.

But that magic 6% gap is crucial.

Once you’ve got your 16% innovators and early adopters on board, the scale will swing and the mass market will take up your idea and make it a hugely profitable success.

But the only way you can win the 6%, the only way you can win over the mass market with your new idea or your new brand, is with your why.

What’s your why?


You’re reading an article from the Borg & Overström Academy programme.

Borg & Overström are a manufacturer and trade-only supplier of top quality, beautiful water systems.

We take pride in working with our clients to help them to develop their businesses, giving them tailored sales, marketing and technical training and advice.

For information on face-to-face training sessions for your team, sales tips, articles and videos, visit the Academy home page:

Visit the Borg and Overstrom Academy homepage


Our drinking water dispensers are available through selected partners