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Using Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle" model for creating content in media and social media.

Updated: Mar 25

In the ever-evolving world of marketing and communications, media specialists need to understand and use models capable of breaking through the media noise and forming long-term relationships with the audience. One such model is Simon Sinek's "Golden Circle" - a model of business and communications development. The model is introduced in his book "Start with Why" and looks at the way organizations and individuals perceive and communicate their purpose and goals. In this article, we will dive deeper into the "Golden Circle" model and explore how media professionals can use it to communicate effectively.

What the "Golden Circle" model is?

Simon Sinek, a well-known author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant, introduced the "Golden Circle" model in his book "Start with Why" and his TED talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action".

To demonstrate the essence of the "Golden Circle", we can cite one of Simon Sinek's ideas from his TED talk as an example: "People don't buy what you do; they buy the reason you do it."

This model is a simple but powerful concept that helps individuals and organizations understand and articulate their main purpose, direction, and communication strategy. It consists of three concentric circles of questions and answers, each representing a different level of communication:

"Why" (Inner Circle):

The inner circle represents the core of any brand or company. It answers the fundamental question: "Why do you do what you do?". It's about your purpose, values, and the reason for your company or product's existence beyond making a profit. In essence, it is your mission, your cause, and your belief.

Media specialists should focus on the "Why" to create a message that resonates with the audience on an emotional level.

It's about defining the main message, mission, or values that you want to convey through the content. When people identify with an organization's purpose, they are more likely to become loyal supporters.

According to Sinek, understanding and clearly expressing the "Why" is the key to inspiring and motivating others.

What is the reason why companies that start with "Why" win? Sinek emphasizes that people do not buy what you do, rather they buy why you do it. In Sinek's opinion, if a company does not answer this question, consumers subconsciously feel frustrated. They cannot make a decision emotionally and are forced to base their decision on facts.

"How" ("Middle Circle"):

The middle circle deals with the "How" question. It answers the question: "How do you do what you do?". This level represents the processes and strategies that support the "Why" of the organization. It's about a unique approach or methodology that sets you apart from others.

Media specialists should talk about the "How" of the company in a way that demonstrates efficiency, innovation, and reliability. This is how to build trust and credibility in the eyes of the audience.

Simon Sinek recommends using verbs while describing guiding principles and strategies. It is not "honesty", it is "always doing the right thing". It is not "innovation" but "looking at the problem from a different angle".

"What" (Outer Circle):

The outer circle is about the "What". This answers the question: "What do you do?". At this level, you communicate the products or services you offer. While the "What" is important, Sinek's model emphasizes that it should be considered in the context of the "Why" and "How".

The "What" serves as proof of the "Why". If the result of your efforts reflects your "Why", it means that your "What" is also strong.

How media professionals can use the "Golden Circle" model:

Start with the "Why" question:

Media specialists should start with the question "Why" when creating messages or branding campaigns. Understand and articulate the organization's purpose and values. Emphasize the emotional and social impact of your product or service.

Tell a compelling story:

Storytelling resonates deeply with people and is a powerful tool for communicating the "Why" in creating content. Develop narratives that highlight the journey and challenges that led to the creation of your organization. Make your brand more human.

Use verbs when describing your approaches:

In describing your guiding principles and strategies, use verbs instead of nouns. It's not "integrity," it's "always doing the right thing." It is not "innovation" but "looking at a problem from a different angle". It is not "cooperation" but "working together".

Appeal to emotions:

Sinek's model emphasizes the importance of connecting with the audience on an emotional level. Media specialists should use language, images, and messages that evoke a sense of inspiration and belonging.

An example of using the "Golden Circle":


Sinek used Apple as an illustration of the "Golden Circle" in his TED talk.

Why: In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.

How: We break the status quo by creating products that are aesthetically pleasing, simple, and easy to use.

What: We make only great computers.

Simon Sinek explains Apple's success by the way it started with the "Why". He claims that as a result, Apple managed to attract customers with similar values. This served as the basis of Apple's marketing strategy and fueled its operations.

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