What the Is is.


One of the most Famous TedX talks on business strategy was giving by Simon Sinek in 2010.  It discusses his Golden Circle of strategy. In the circle are What, How and Why.  A nice example of the rule of three.  One of my favorite memes, used in branding, goes a step shorter – it use the rule of two. My meme is the Is-Does. What a product or service is and what it does. (Implicit in the does is the why.)

Is-Does comes out of brand work in the tech startup space. I thought about today’s post while reading a piece by a branding nerd from Google Ventures. GV helps startups with branding deliverables, E.g., name, logo, stuff.  At What’s The Idea? we help with paper strategy; the words and ideas that create the organizing principle that drives stuff.

Often at start-ups it’s not clear what the Is is. You visit their website, read for 10 minutes and still may not be able to figure it out. Is it hardware? Software? A web app? Social Net? Done poorly, these startup jump right into the does. What the product does. And likely it’s not even a does but a do – meaning a list of things. We do this, and this, and this…  Be you a startup, service company, beverage…get the Is-Does right and you have the beginnings of a brand.