Almost every business has an advertising budget. And yet most ads don’t work. Why? They’re missing the key ingredient: a good origin story.
What is the origin story?
An origin story is the foundation of any good ad campaign. It’s the tale of how your brand came to be and why it exists. It’s the emotional center giving your customers a reason to care about your product or service. Most ads try to sell a product or service without regard for the customer’s emotional needs. But the best ads are relational ads, connecting with customers more profoundly by telling a compelling story that speaks to their hopes and dreams, chasing away their fears. By contrast, transactional ads tell customers what they need to know about a product or service. By their very nature, they won’t connect with prospects' emotions. On the other hand, origin stories focus on why the product or service exists in the first place. They tap into the customer’s emotions by sharing a relatable story explaining how the product or service can improve their lives. This is how advertising works.
Why does this matter?
People don’t buy products or services. They buy better versions of themselves. Your job as a business owner is to show them how your product or service can help them become that better version. The best way to do that is by telling a compelling story that resonates with them emotionally. The problem is that most businesses focus on transactional advertising, which fails to connect with customers on an emotional level. As a result, their ads fall flat and fail to generate the desired results. If you want your ads to be more effective, you need to consider creating an origin story. By sharing a relatable story that explains how your product or service can make their life better, you’ll be able to connect with your target audience on a deeper level and increase the chances of them doing business with you.
2 Kinds of Advertising
As mentioned earlier, most ads you see daily are what we call transactional ads. These ads are designed to get customers to take a specific action now, like buy a product or sign up for a service. While transactional ads are important in the advertising mix, they are not able (by design) to connect with customers on an emotional level. As a result, these ads fall flat when attempting to build a household name. You can create an origin story by using relational ads. Relational ads increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns when attempting to bond with your prospective buyers today, in an effort to have them remember you when they eventually need your stuff. First, let’s understand the goals of each kind of customer ad campaign.
- The goal of relational ads: Use relational ads to create a sense of identity among your customers. We aim to bond with your potential tribe, so speak the language of the tribe you want.
For example, we have an HVAC client who used to work for the big faceless HVAC corporations around town. He was fed up with how they treated every customer like a number and did as little as possible to get the job done. His relational ads all talk about how his customers can avoid being franchised over by the big boys with his real tech doing real work.
- The goal of transactional ads: They are the kind of ads that hopefully make the customer want to buy something from you immediately, without ruining your integrity.
Most companies resort to the worst kind of advertising, eagerly racing to zero profitability with discounts, bullshit coupons, fake rebates, and pseudo-sales. More often than not they are tied to a fake expiry date and run so frequently, that they simply train their customers to wait for a sale. Then they wonder why they get such crappy customers, make no profit, and pay too much for PPC.
This doesn’t mean transactional ads have to be lame. For example, let’s say you’re in the HVAC industry. You can post an ad during the shoulder season for same day service or the entire service call is free. Done ethically, you’ll have a few situations where you’ll pay the price of not having capacity, but it will consistently translate in to a fuller appointment board and a profitable repair when things are slower.
Persuasion doesn't have to be manipulative. In fact, it’s far more persuasive in the long run when it is done with integrity.
Transactional advertising will always look good in the short term. Over a decade of research has determined that it rarely works out for ambitious growing businesses in the long term.
This is how advertising works. You create ads with repeatable brandable chunks of content and place them where people will hear and see them at the right frequency. Then, you track how many people visit the ad and how many people respond to it. From there, you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Speaking of strategies, how is your marketing strategy looking? If you need any help, book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® today.
The 2 Kinds of Staying Power
If your business has the longevity to create a relational advertisement, you should keep in mind where you came from. You’ll want us to write your origin story — your Genesis story. Staying power comes in two forms. First, there is the financial aspect, and the second is emotional.
Financial Staying Power
Financial staying power means you have the funds to sustain a branded ad campaign for an indefinite period of time. Be careful not to launch one too big that you cannot sustain it for a long period of time. It is essential that you are in it for the long haul. The point of relational ads is to create relationships, not just transactions. Relationships have always been built on trust, and trust takes time to develop BEFORE they ever call your business.
Emotional Staying Power
Emotional staying power means you have a story worth telling that people want to hear. If your business isn’t emotionally connected to its customers, then it won’t last long enough to sustain a relational advertising campaign. That moment five to six months into your ad campaign when you’re about to panic or abandon it is here. Before you make any moves, remember that relational ads are not about having the lowest price. Customers looking for that won’t stick around for loyalty’s sake but the price tag. Indeed, people won’t bond with your business as quickly as they would with another person. It takes liking, feeling good about, and thinking we know that company as we would a friend.
Great Examples of Origin Stories
The great Roy H. Williams gathered these great origin story examples. Here’s what we can surmise from them:
- Your first ad isn't always your origin story.
- You can already have name recognition and start an origin story. It is not uncommon for origin stories to be introduced after the business has become well-known, but has yet to build an emotional connection.
- Your origin story’s power doesn’t depend on your business category.
Read the three stories below: Please note, these ads are copyright protected. Do not replicate these ads in part or whole.
“My Dad was a house painter. He taught me to sand and scrape old paint until my fingers were aching and raw. But I wanted to make him proud, so I always worked hard. I’ll never forget the day we opened our brown bags at lunchtime and he said, “Son. I’m proud of how hard you work, but I hope that someday you’ll get a job where you can wear a tie.” To honor him, I opened a jewelry store. For my start-up, most of my dad's seven hundred dollars were taken out of his sock drawer. Although he never saw that store, he heard about it. Just before the doors opened, he passed away. Eventually, I realized what I had to do: Lose the tie... Be like your father, a regular guy. I turned a corner at that point. Since I was a student, I have shared this story with young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Kesslers Diamonds will be located next to Rivertown Mall in Grandville. It's my pleasure to introduce myself as Richard Kessler. It was my hope to become your jeweler."
"Tom Heflin worked as a railroad conductor. There was a sister in his wife's family. She had two young boys. They spent a few days with her in Winslow, Arizona one day. They went out into the desert to collect rocks with Tom. He grew up to become a pediatrician. Other than that, he just kept picking up rocks. It's never left me... I have no idea what got into me that day. Natural gemstones are the only things that make nature's beauty permanent and transferable. Ruby of blood-red color. The sapphires are piercing. Greener than the greenest grass are emeralds. Diamonds are perfectly colorless, clear, and pure rocks. That's awesome! I'm crazy. I can be called naive. It's not by chance that gemstones exist. God placed them here. He made them beautiful, rare, and hard-to-find in order to give them as symbolic gifts to those who are beautiful in our lives. My identity isn't a secret. For today, I'm done."
The Torch and The Gee Oh Ee, T-T-L
“I was a ten year-old boy holding a flashlight for my Dad while he worked on an air conditioner for a customer. His name was Duncan Goodrich. He didn’t talk much. But there’s a certain kind of magic that happens when a son holds a flashlight for his father. I held it steady and quiet and Dad talked to me while he worked. He said, “When a person needs help, you respond right away. Not when it’s convenient for you.” He said, “
Do the right thing at all times. Do what's right." He added, "The Goettl Iron Horse is a magnificent machine." "Nothing else comes close." That night, I held my dad's flashlight for the first time. In addition, my dad believed in Goettl air conditioners. I realized this at Dad's funeral a few months later. The company was sold to me, so I bought it. It's GotGee Oh Ee, T-T-L. It will keep you cool, but not to mention it's a bit difficult to pronounce. We will respond promptly and do what needs to be done... always. Gee Oh Ee, T-T-L.”
What Do These Stories Tell Us?
“Search your heart and mind. Find your story of origin. Make yourself vulnerable.” — Roy H. Williams
Your origin story is the perfect way to start building that emotional connection. It’s the story of how your business came to be and why you do what you do. It’s the emotional core of your business, and it’s what will give you the staying power to sustain a long-term relational ad campaign. Think about it this way: when you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you ask them? “What’s your story?” It’s how we humans connect. We want to know where someone comes from, their experiences, and what motivates them. We can learn much from the stories above. Kessler's life was changed by $700 when he was so poor. According to Justice, gemstones serve a purpose. His father's memory drives Ken Goodrich's actions today.
Do You Have an Interesting Origin Story?
Whether you’re an HVAC business owner, a plumber, or a garage door specialist, you have an origin story. It’s probably pretty interesting, too. Your customers and clients want to know where you came from. Why? It helps them understand your values and what motivates you. It also humanizes you and your business. Here are some questions to help you get started writing your origin story:
- What motivated you to start your business? Finding out what drives you can help your customers understand your business’s mission.
- How have you overcome adversity in your life? Everyone faces challenges, but how you’ve dealt with them can show your strength of character.
- What lessons have you learned that you want to share with others? We all learn valuable lessons throughout our lives, and sharing them can help others facing similar challenges.
Your origin story is an opportunity to connect with your customers personally and show them that you’re just like them. Take the time to craft a compelling story that will resonate with your audience. If you need help crafting the perfect origin story to advertise your business, consider working with Wizard of Ads®. We’re branding brainiacs. We can help create your brand image, brand presence, or brand story. Most importantly, we can bring your origin story to life. Book a call with Ryan Chute today.