What do the Golden Circle and CogMar have in Common?

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When it comes to how we run our businesses and how we manage our interpersonal relationships, we might not find a ton of similar ground, other than the fact we want both these areas to thrive. It's because of this common desire that leadership adept Simon Sinek's TED Talk on the Golden Circle resonated with so many people. It's one of the most popular TED Talks ever done. 

His theory examines how successful and failed enterprises think, act, and communicate, explaining what leaders should consider to inspire loyalty and growth in their business. If you're one of many marketers that resonate with the Golden Circle theory, you'll find that there is a lot of correlation with the Cognitive Marketing (CogMar) framework that helps businesses stand head and shoulder above the competition.  

The Golden Circle Theory

Sinek came up with an eye-catching name for his theory. He didn't call it that because it sounds cool, but because it's an apt description for what he's talking about.

Put your imaginative cap on, and let's visualize his theory. The Golden Circle consists of three concentric circles.

  • The what – This is the outermost layer. Every company in the world knows what they're doing. It's about the services they put out or the products they sell.
  • The how – This is the middle layer. It is the 'what' mechanism and incorporates the technology and processes used to develop products or deliver services.
  • The why – This is the innermost circle. Very few firms or even people know why they're doing what they're doing. It's not about the income received, which is a result, but the purpose, belief, and cause behind their activities. It is why the organization exists in the first place.

Most organizations work from the outermost circle going inward. It makes more rational sense, right? While it's true this approach makes sense and uses empirical data to justify its application, it just doesn't drive behavior. People don't buy stuff just because the numbers and graphs add up. 

Operating from the inside out is what most people don't do, and it's the difference between successful businesses and leaders, from the vast number of basic ones. This method of communication talks directly to the part of the brain that coordinates behavior, with rationalization coming after. It's about being on the right side of your prospects' gut decisions and making the sale 'feel right.'


Begin with Why

The reason why the 'why ' of the matter is so important is that it carries the organization's or the individual's inspiration to action. This concentric circle defines you or your group's purpose and defines the reason for the company's existence. Sinek wants to communicate to the audience's limbic brain by successfully addressing the passion behind the 'why' of the issue. The reason why this part of the anatomy is so crucial is that it processes the feelings associated with the success of any enterprise, such as trust, loyalty, and the overall decision-making process.

Articulating your 'why' successfully communicates your vision and mission directly to the target market. To accomplish this, you will need to define your specific value proposition to inspire your people to act. This approach is so effective since it communicates directly to the part of the human brain that influences decision-making. It is why the Golden Circle theory is such a crucial tenet to proper leadership. 


Followed by How

The 'how' factor deals with how your organization expresses its values or strengths with a view of differentiating itself from competitors. Sinek looks at the 'how' as a way to communicate directly to the misunderstood limbic brain. While the 'how' of the issue is of critical importance, Sinek wanted to use it as a supplement to further expound on the 'why' of the matter.


Finish with What

Articulating what a given company does is fairly easy. For most companies, this is the first hurdle to be overcome. It can be showcased as the services or products an organization offers or sells. When it comes to an individual, however, this takes the role of the job title. 

The 'what' of the matter isn't as important as it seems at face value because it falls under rational thinking. While thinking critically makes a lot of sense when you think about it, it plays a small role in decision-making. 

The 'why' and the 'how' do a better job communicating to the limbic zone of the brain. Successful individuals and groups don't try to sell potential clients on what they can do; they sell them on why they're doing it. Some people will dismiss the Golden Circle theory as only tending to the passion of clients and future customers; however, it only shows how much they underrate the importance of human feelings and emotions. 

Passionate leaders and organizations that are driven by passionate employees better express the enthusiasm and commitment that play a pivotal role in these groups' good fortune. This fiery drive in everyone affiliated with the organization motivates them to give their blood, sweat, and tears towards the firm's growth in question.



It may look like some many nuances and people-skills are important in applying Sinek's Golden Circle theory. This isn't entirely the case, as this theory's application in cognitive marketing only needs the leaders in question to access reserves that they already have as human beings and industry professionals. After all, as foreign, as this concept seems, you're just working with your data. 

FitzMartin has been in the industry for quite some time, and we know that your CRM (customer relationship management) knows the importance of having client details unless you're completely green. To make this theory a reality, examine the customer base to find out who your most important clients are. They shouldn't just be the people who spend the most money on your organization; they should be the clients that best work with your business model. After you've identified these groups, examine them using the following criteria:

  • Why they wanted to conduct their business with you
  • How are they faring as your clients?
  • What defines these organizations when it comes to the industry, the size (revenue and employees), and the market vertical?
  • Who the end-user is when it comes to job roles and responsibilities

After understanding all these factors vis-à-vis your business, look for prospects that resemble the given criteria. This will become your target list of people for marketing and companies. Do not hesitate to reach out.



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