Simon Sinek: Business is People

Simon Sinek is one of my favorite authors. I love to cite and share his work with others as it relates to my own work. I caught a talk of his from 99U from 2012 on YouTube the other day — and while nearly 5 years old, the advice, topics, concepts, and stories relate more today than ever. Especially when you then apply them to brand building, strategy, and the experience you are designing. Let’s dive in!

The more I study brand strategy, communications, and business operations, the more I see how the three are closely integrated and aligned. As customers come to expect seamless experiences, all three become critical to a brand delivering on their brand promise consistently.

Business is People

Back in 2008, I came to the same conclusion that Simon talks about in the video below. That conclusion is that business is people. While I don’t think I fully understood the power of that statement, I believed in it enough to have bought and reserved the domain name. In fact, I still own it to this day and know that it will become a valuable asset in the future.

Why is business, people? Well, business is made up of people. Until blockchain companies exist, it still requires people to engage and interact in order to grow a business. is on the cutting edge of automation and now drone delivery, yet they still employ thousands of employees to grow their business and achieve their goals.

What About Brands?

If business is people, what are brands? Brands are an extension or personification of the culture, values, and beliefs of the founders and executives of the company. Cultural values, principles, and beliefs are incredibly important in order to attract the right types of people into your customersphere, or what I call ‘BrandedWorld.’ When a set of beliefs can be transferred from the partners, founders, and executives to the brand, the brand value strengthens.

Why? Because all team members who work for the brand can understand exactly what its purpose is, what it stands for, and what it is working to accomplish. Team members can become empowered to advocate for the brand, working to achieve its goals.

Without these beliefs, brands feel inauthentic when trying to reach out to their target audience. Worse, without these beliefs, team members can struggle to share what the brand stands for, what it does, and the value it provides. Simply put, if you the founder can’t explain what you do, chances are your team members won’t be able to share what the brand does.

Because people are such a big part of business, think about how each individual influences your brand and the decisions it makes. Or the decisions that people make on the brands’ behalf.

Every decision is a piece of communication that represents your brand.

Let that soak in. How are your decisions affecting the perception of your brand? I encourage you to watch the video and think about what Simon is speaking about. Think about how having a brand strategy can help facilitate decision-making and communicate a crystal clear, consistent message across all channels and platforms that your brand engages and interacts on.

It’s a big deal.

Check out the video — I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Simon Sinek: If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business

Let me know your thoughts

What’s your take on Simon’s talk? How important is a brand strategy to your organization? How have having crystal clear values helped in critical decision making situations? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @Bwarsinske.

Originally published at