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How ‘Andor’ Teaches a Powerful Branding Lesson About Embodying and Sharing Your Why

By Laura Ferreiro

There's been more than a little talk in marketing circles recently about the tremendous importance of sharing your "why" as a brand. This means that instead of focusing your messaging on what your business does (what products it makes or what services it provides), you share why you do what you do, what motivates you to keep going even on the toughest of days, and why you started doing it in the first place. This is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your clients, customers and employees (if you have them) on an emotional level.

A terrific and unexpected example of the power of sharing your why comes from an unlikely source –Star Wars series Andor.

But first, a bit of background: Author Simon Sinek's popular book "Start with Why" and his popular TED talk on the same topic (which has been viewed more than 60 million times and counting) clearly make this case for why. According to Sinek, people like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs and the Wright brothers had very little in common, except for the fact that they led with their WHY. They realized that people wouldn’t truly buy into an idea, product, service or movement until they understood the WHY behind it.

Now, back to Andor. When protagonist Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) takes on a mission with the rebels to rob the Empire of their quarterly payroll and thwart its dastardly spread of evil, others on the team don't trust him any further than they can throw him. He's a newcomer and they don't know who he is, where he came from or why he's there, so he could be a spy or worse, for all they know.

Distrust, strife and bickering ensue because the rebels are extremely wary of collaborating with Andor since they don’t know who he is or what he stands for. Even though he’s clearly capable, well trained and knows all the vital stats of the mission, it isn’t enough to win their trust. And the distrust goes both ways—Andor doesn't trust them much more than they trust him—and all of their lives are on the line.

Everything changes in Episode 5, “The Axe Forgets,” in which the motivations of Andor and the rebel crew are finally revealed. When rebel Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) confronts Andor and says he doesn't want Andor to take part in the mission until he understands why he wants to be a part of the rebellion, it isn't until Andor explains his motivation and shares his why that Skeen and the others begin to accept and trust him.

Even though Andor’s motivation isn’t terribly noble (he initially says he’s in it for the money—hey, he is a mercenary after all), it’s honest, it resonates and they finally understand what’s driving him and why he’s doing it, which makes all the difference.

The same holds true for the other rebels in the group. They’ve grown to trust each other because they know each other’s motivations. “Everyone has their own rebellion,” Skeen tells Andor who, for the first time, starts to truly understand why these people have plotted and planned for years at the expense of, well, all else.

Skeen discloses he wants to get back at the Empire because they held him captive because they were largely responsible for his brother’s suicide because they flooded his land and killed his farm. Lieutenant Gorn, who appears to be an Imperial officer but is actually a double agent in disguise working for the rebellion, turned against the Empire after he took an Aldhani lover, whom he ended up losing, presumably because of the Empire’s evil ways.

It's only after they understand each other's motivations and the WHY behind what they're doing that they can peacefully and effectively work together, feel connected, relate to one another on an emotional level and ultimately succeed in their endeavors.

Who would’ve thought that Andor would offer such a powerful lesson on why it’s crucial as a brand to share your why and motivations? This powerful example reminds us how sharing your why immediately builds the “know, like and trust factor” that’s vitally important to get people to buy from you. It also sets you apart from the competition, makes your brand memorable and—when shared authentically and repeatedly as the foundation of your brand values—inspires your clients and customers who are drawn to your brand because you clearly communicate what you believe in and they can resonate with it on an emotional level, which is ultimately what drives most purchasing decisions.

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Laura Ferreiro is a branding and storytelling strategist for entrepreneurs, artists and nonprofits who want to genuinely connect with their ideal audience. She helps clients get clear on their authentic brand stories so they can grow their business and feel confident sharing their message.

A marketing strategist and journalist whose writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, NME, the Los Angeles Times, Nylon, Yahoo, LA Weekly, and Variety, she's driven by a desire to tell stories that capture people’s attention and motivate them to action.

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