People don't buy what you sell, but why you sell it

Branding your Cannabis Company | The Power of Why

In advertising, branding, marijuana marketing, social media by Josh Whitaker

Branding and Marketing Marijuana

People don't buy what you sell, but why you sell it

~(Simon Sinek)

So think about that…

Go on…I’ll wait.

You can feel the truth of that, can’t you? I think we don’t want it to be true, but we know that it is. Many of us still think that products or services will somehow stand out, get the recognition they deserve, make sales, and build a company. But we also know that isn’t how it works. You know, like…at all.

At the end of April, our enigmatic Chief problem solver, Josh Whitaker delivered a pretty kick ass speech about this. You can see the title up there, “The Power of Why.” Sounds pretty dynamic right? Nice and bold? But what does that mean and why should we care?

(You know I’m going to tell you now, so here goes.)

Josh says you must ask yourself the following questions about your business:

  • What problem am I trying to solve?

  • Is it a problem people care about? If not, how do make them care about it?

  • How do you show that what you are selling is the best solution to the problem?

Let’s take cannabis for example.  (Yes, I know, surprise-surprise. It’s just that it’s our favorite subject over here!) Are you in the cannabusiness to make a bunch of money, or to help people gain access to the supportive health benefits of marijuana? Are you working toward a future where everyone who wants your cannabis products or services can get them, or are you simply hoping that they stand out on the shelf?

So here’s the thing then, if you care, and have a problem that your product can be the solution for, then you are offering a solution to a problem to people. You’re not just selling your goods or services, but providing an answer.

And that, will be far more valuable, because it will be the truth.

Stellar Branding Examples

Josh gives us some examples here of companies solving bigger problems than what it may seem like their motives would be.

Let’s take Uber, they have branding down. “Uber wants to evolve the way the world moves.”


Notice, it isn’t Uber wants to beat out taxis, no, no. Uber wants to revolutionize transportation. Significantly more useful, bold, and beautiful. Don’t you think?

Or how about Bellroy. They exist “to slim your wallet— because clunky, fat wallets, are just wrong” (They are actually. When you sit on them you start messing with your spine!)

Bellroy wallets

You see, they aren’t selling wallets, they are selling a solution to sitting on the typical, way-too-much-in-them wallets. That’s awesome! Now I’m not even thinking about their wallet, but all the huge ones I’m used to seeing! How’s that for branding?

Let’s do one more!

Grassbuilt isn’t selling products. It is working toward a renewable, sustainable future, for the U.S.A. and the world. (Seriously though, they are selling bamboo, state grown, lumber. That is going to freaking change the world—Josh has his heart in this one).  This isn’t just branding a company, but branding an entirely new sector of growth.


When your business creates solutions, the problems of our intricate world become a lot less to bear. Now doesn’t that sound, and feel, better?

Better for humanity, better for business.

Josh says you’re welcome.

—Thanks Josh!