The Power of Someone who Believes in You More than You

The following is the 9th chapter from Peter Nevland’s book, Wiener Dog Marketing. His interview with Roy Williams about the business lessons from the Buda Wiener Dog Races continues from where it left off in Chapter 8.

Peter: If you’re a wiener dog who’s committed to something bigger than yourself… committed so much that you would give your life to achieve it… you’re going to succeed on your own. What else do you need and why?

Roy: Somebody who can help you tell your story. Whenever successful ad people are famous, people get into this absurd belief that this talented person can make anyone successful. That’s insane. That’s stupid. That’s just unbelievably dumb.

Peter: Yep.

Roy: So when you say, “wait a minute. This person, their only real talent is that they know a wiener dog when they see one.” And they say, you know what, “this business owner is going to keep being this person. This is not hard. I just need to tell the world about this wonderful wiener dog. I just have to shout to the world, “Look at that person. You can always count on them being that person. They will never let you down. They will always be the thing they’ve always been. God bless the wiener dog. Isn’t that an amazing wiener dog? And everybody claps for him and says, “you know what, I appreciate that wiener dog. That wiener dog cannot be other than what it is. Hurray for that. There’s something that we can count on. I want that in my life.”

Peter: In reality, the things that you are looking for in Wizard of Ads partners are the same thing you’re looking for in business clients.

Roy: Precisely. And you can elaborate on that all you want. It’s 100 percent true.

Peter: It’s absolutely true.

Roy: If it’s not already there, I can’t create it.

Peter: No, you can’t.

Peter: But you know what’s interesting. I don’t know if it’s because of your current age. How old are you now?

Roy: Sixty-one.

Peter: I’m forty-four. There’s something that you have recognized. It’s not that “I believe in myself.” Right. A business owner can believe in themselves all they want. You’ve gotta find somebody who believes in you more than you. You’ve got to find somebody who believes that you’re a wiener dog and will partner with you because that person can tell your story better than anyone else can. The Buda Lions Club had to find Roy Williams… Nah, no, no, they had to find a person, whether it was you or anyone else. They had to find someone who believed in wiener dogs more than they believed in wiener dogs. And that person would go to the ends of the earth to say, “I’m going to tell people how awesome wiener dogs are so that people come to the wiener dog races.”

Roy: And listen, that is powerful, unbelievably, and sometimes it’s enough by itself.

Peter: Right.

Roy: And even if the wiener dog is an artificial wiener dog. Even if the wiener dog is a faux wiener dog.

Peter: Mmm.

Roy: As we say in Oklahoma a “fox” wiener dog.

Peter: (laughing) A “fox” wiener dog, that’s right. F-A-U-X, “fox”.

Roy: And so whenever we say, so even if it’s not a real wiener dog. Sometimes a good story is enough to fool the stupid. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

Peter: Right, right.

Roy: It really isn’t about finding the metaphor. What it’s about is finding the wiener dog. Finding the person who will continue to be what you said no matter what you do. They’re going to continue to be that. And so the idea is, whenever you say, “I can count on this wiener dog to continue to be a wiener dog. And there’s nothing I can do to keep this wiener dog from continuing to be a wiener dog.” And then you say, “huh, do I continue to trust this wiener dog.

Peter: Yeah, but, but see here’s, here’s this thing that’s, it’s almost like, it’s going unnoticed. There’s a person behind the scenes who’s going, “I see your value. I have no interest in promoting my own value. I have all the interest in promoting your value. And so I’m going to be unreasonably committed to promoting your value the same way that you’re unreasonably committed to, to… giving yourself for what your customers want. There’s a united purpose there. It’s kind of a special thing. It’s very rare in human culture that we find somebody who’s more committed to what we care about than they’re committed to what they care about.

Roy: I agree with that. I see it slightly simpler than that.

Peter: Ok.

Roy: I see it backwards. I want to reverse the process.

Peter: Good.

Roy: When an advertising person who knows how to tell the story, they can tell a story… as a matter of fact, if you give a good storyteller a bad motive, you have a con-man.

Peter: Sure.

Roy: A really brilliant storyteller with a bad motive is a con-man.

Peter: Ok.

Roy: And then you say, “well, ok, what if a brilliant storyteller has a good motive? Now they have to be very, very careful to find a wiener dog.

Peter: (softly) Yeeeah.

Roy: They have to say, “I don’t want to lie. I don’t want to sell my integrity for an artificial wiener dog. I want to find a real wiener dog. I want to champion that. I want to boast about that.” I want to say, “everybody look at this because this is worth looking at.”

Peter: Yeah.

Roy:So an advertising person. Have you ever…? Peter, we’ve talked about the poodle and the vamp.

Peter: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Roy: So the poodle is Elvis Presley. And the vamp is Colonel Parker.

Peter: Right.

Roy: It’s too old of a metaphor for our readers.

Peter: The poodle is Justin Bieber, and the vamp is Usher.

Roy: The poodle is Jesus, and…

Peter: …the vamp is John the Baptist.

Roy: And then you say, so whenever one person says get ready, get ready, this other thing is coming, and it’s going to blow your mind.

Peter: Right.

Roy: And so the poodle is the headliner, and the vamp is the warm-up act. But the vamp understands that the warm-up act’s only job is to get everybody ready for the headliner.

Peter: Right.

Roy: And if you believe your only job is to get people ready for the headliner, the vamp is the ad writer. The vamp is the advertising consultant. The vamp is the storyteller. Their only job is to make people aware of the poodle, or for the sake of our discussion, the wiener dog.

Now, whenever a wiener dog says to themselves, “commit. I’m a wiener dog. I’m going to be this thing. And this is how I behave. And this is who I am. And I cannot be other than this, and it’s non-negotiable.” That is something that can be harnessed and made into an extraordinary success story. But a person who says, “I’ll be whatever you want me to be…”


Roy: and they have no commitment other than expediency. And they say, “I’ll just be whatever you say. Tell me what I need to be, and I’ll be that because I want to be successful.” That is not a wiener dog.

Peter: They’re a jello mold, not a spear.

Roy: That’s it. I agree. A person who’s a wiener dog has to find a wiener dog promoter. And if you’re a wiener dog, nobody can ever help you but a wiener dog promoter. If you’re a wiener dog promoter, you cannot help anyone but a wiener dog.

Peter: Hmm.

Roy: And you say, “Ok, we need each other.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: “We need each other. This is a true wiener dog. They’re actually going to deliver the things that I’m promising.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: “I cannot succeed unless I find a wiener dog. I’m an ad writer. I know what people want. And what people want is THIS.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: And I can’t promise that unless I know this person’s going to deliver it. Because if I promise it, and they don’t deliver it, all is over.”

Peter: That’s right.

Roy: “But if I know they’re going to deliver it, and I have confidence that they’re going to deliver it because they are a wiener dog, and they cannot be anything but a wiener dog, then I can promise it in the highest terms. I can promise it with the most fierce oaths.”

Peter: Yeah, that person will be a raging success. They will find a way for their team to be a raging success. They’ll find a way for their customers… I mean, it’s like…

Roy: Everybody wins, and you’re the smartest ad writer that ever lived.

Peter: Sure.

Roy: And you say, “ok, can I be the smartest ad writer that ever lived if I choose people that are not wiener dogs?” The answer is no, you can’t.

Peter: Nope. Can’t do it.

Roy: You cannot make a basset hound into a wiener dog by great ad writing.

Peter: Mmm hmm.

Roy: It’s like, “I’m sorry. This… basset hounds aren’t funny. Basset hounds aren’t fascinating. Wiener dogs are funny and fascinating. I have to have a wiener dog. I’m sorry. I need a wiener dog, because I really cannot write ads that promote things that are not wiener dogs. And then you say, “Ok, I’m not the wiener dog by myself. The wiener dog is not the miracle by itself…”

Peter: Right.

Roy: It takes both of us to find each other.

Peter: Well, yeah. And that says a lot about… there’s a beauty in life, too. Right. There’s this magicality in life that… you’re looking for this person that fits who you are, right? Whether that is a wife or a husband, whether that is a business owner and an advertising professional, whether that is a race car driver and a pit crew chief, right? I mean, all these different things, whether that is a Steve Jobs and a Steve Wozniack, right? All those different things people underestimate, and they think it was all these principles. No, it’s these people. It’s these…

Roy: You’re right. Peter

Peter: …people that are connecting.

Roy: Peter, it’s not the principles. It’s the identities.

Peter: It’s the identities, it’s the people, right. It’s the character.

Roy: The character, the identity, the purpose of these people, and the adventure of these people.

Peter: But I feel so sad that so many times businesses don’t know their personality, their character, their core identity. Businesses do not know their identity. And they don’t know when they’ve strayed away from their identity. When they have an identity, and they have this commitment that they have made to their customers, and when they stray away from their identity the same way that Dr. Pepper strayed away from its identity to be original and said, “be a pepper, everybody’s being a pepper, you can be a pepper, let’s all be a pepper. Kodak said, “man, you know what, who cares about innovating new ways to find photography and stuff? We’re going to make you buy our analog photography instead of digital photography, and we’re not going to invent digital photography. We’re going to stray away from… Businesses forget who they are. People forget who they are. And we need to be reminded of who we are. And it takes humility to listen to an outside voice. An outside voice will remind you of who you are. If you look inside yourself, you will get confused, because inside yourself you’ve got too many voices coming at you from all different directions, too many influences…

Roy: And doubt.

Peter: …and doubt, that will get you to believe something that is different than who you actually are.

Roy: That’s true. So the idea is, and I agree with you entirely. If you understand the power of wiener dogs. And if you understand this is a wiener dog, when you see one. And you understand, this is not a wiener dog when you see one. The magical ad writer will find the magical wiener dog. And together, they will take over the world. And you say – this is what it’s all about – you say, “the ad writer, the marketing consultant cannot do it without a wiener dog.”

Peter: That’s right (laughing).

Roy: “And the wiener dog cannot do it without a storyteller.”

Business Owners

Wizard of Ads Partners

A Product or Service That Captures the Attention of a Too Busy Public

A Talent or Ability to Capture the Attention of a Too Busy Public

Commitment to A Goal Bigger than Themselves to the Point that they’re Willing to Die

Commitment to Serve their Clients Relentlessly with No Other Goal Than Their Success

Have Proven that They Can Be Successful On Their Own With No Outside Help

Have Proven that They Can Be Successful On Their Own With No Outside Help

Peter: You realize that we sound pretty ridiculous talking about magical wiener dogs and magical ad writers, right?

Roy: And I’m not worried about that. Here’s why: Anybody who believes it’s an organized universe.

Peter: Right.

Roy: And if you pull lever A, result A will happen, that person will fail. And if you say, “you know what, sometimes you pull lever A, result A does not happen. And sometimes, when you pull lever B, result B does not happen. It’s not necessarily an organized universe. It’s a quantum universe. Now, Peter, I bring this up only because it speaks to the way that people believe the universe works.

Peter: Right.

Roy: And if you say, “It’s an organized universe, and if I understand the system, then all I have to do is trigger A and B will happen.

Peter: Right.

Roy: That has never once proved to be true.

Peter: Right.

Roy: But everybody thinks it should be true.

Peter: Sure.

Roy: And they all go broke and die. But if you say, “You know what, it’s a very complicated universe. And the relationships are complex far beyond what seems obvious.” And you say, “only a true wiener dog, only a business owner who’s committed…”

Peter: Hmmm.

Roy: “…committed far beyond the obvious. They’re willing to go down with the ship. They’re willing to die on this mountain…”

Peter: Right.

Roy: “…they can succeed.” But they still have to have a storyteller.

Peter: Still gotta have a storyteller.

Roy: They still have to have a poet.

Peter: Absolutely.

Roy: They still have to have somebody sing their song, dance their dance.

Peter: Mmm hm.

Roy: And whenever they say, “well now I have found my partner. Now my partner is not going to be the hero. My partner is going to make me the hero.”

Peter: Right.

Roy: “And my responsibility is to remember when I succeed, when I’m a multi-billionaire, do not pretend my partner did not matter. Do not pretend that I would have done this without my partner who knew how to sing my song and dance my dance and cause people to trust in me.

Peter: Do you realize that we just, we just in some way sort of wrote the book of Job?

Roy: Yes.

Peter: Hmm. The book of Job. Job loses everything. He’s got a storyteller. He’s actually got two potential storytellers. One of ‘em says, “He’s not nearly as good as you think.” The other one says, “I know you’re better than you think.” And at the end, Job goes, “to the person who knows I’m better than I think I am, why did you let this other storyteller try to tell my frickin’ story??” And he says, “can you control this? Can you control that? Can you make that happen? Can you make this happen? Were you there when this started? Do you know where this comes from? Can you answer me any of those?” Job goes, “Oh, I’m screwed. I can’t say a dang thing.”

And the Good Storyteller goes, “I like you. Because the fact that you recognized that means you’re willing to let Me be God. And you’re willing to let Me be your storyteller. I’m going to tell your story. I’m going to tell a better one than you could have thought was going to happen. If you thought that you could understand it, could understand the principle, take control of the principle and apply it to your situation, and make it work no matter what, you’re a fool. But if you trust that the way things are is the way things are, and you live within the way things are, then you’ve got a chance. And I’m going to make you successful, just because that’s what I do.”

Roy: Huh.

Peter: Because the ancient’s thought was, “if I understand the way things work, I am now responsible for making it happen. So if I understand where evil comes from and why evil comes from there, now I am responsible for stopping evil from ever happening in the first place.

Roy: Hmm.

Peter: And God said, “you can’t understand all these things, you can’t understand where evil comes from, you’re not qualified to do battle with evil.

Roy: Wow.

Peter: Let Me do battle with evil.

Roy: Wow.

Peter: Trust Me. Humble yourself.

Roy: Wow.

Peter: And Job goes, “I’m doin’ it.” And then He goes, “Alright, all you other guys who thought you knew everything about Me, you go and bow before Job and ask him to pray for you. And then I’ll do you good as well.

Roy: Wow.

Peter: It’s incredible how we overlook these ancient stories, but in Job is the same nugget of truth that you need a storyteller on your side who’s committed to making you a success. It takes humility, and it takes commitment that doesn’t give up even when you’re covered with boils, lost your home, livelihood, children, etc… And in the long run, if you stay humble and committed, you won’t just succeed eventually, you’ll succeed fabulously in the long run.

Roy: That’s interesting.

The Breakdown

You can be successful on your own as a person who is radically committed to your identity, purpose, and adventure. But you can succeed bigger and much faster with an incredible storyteller who believes in you more than you do and whose sole purpose is to tell the world how amazing you are.

Elvis had Colonel Parker.Muhammad Ali had Don King. Steve Wozniak had Steve Jobs. Avis had Paula Green of the David Doyle Bernbach agency. Claude Hopkins did it for Pepsodent, Quaker Oats, Goodyear Tire, and Van Camp pork and Beans. Wherever you see gigantic success stories, look for the person telling the story. They’re almost never the inventor of the product or creator of the company.

Sometimes this can be done by a spouse. Sharon Osbourne did that for her husband, Ozzy. Clara Schumann did that as a world-class pianist popularizing the works of her husband, Robert Schumann. Occasionally it can happen by accident, as happened with Ronald Reagan publicizing the works of Tom Clancy. Any successful person needs someone who recognizes the fabulous potential of their product or service, believes in them, and commits as equally to telling that story powerfully as the founder/inventor commits to delivering on the story’s promise.

This is what Roy Williams has been for Justice Jewelers, Spence Diamonds, Morris Jenkins, 1-800-Got Junk, and all the other clients he’s helped become fabulously successful. It’s what I and all the Wizard of Ads partners do for our growing clients. Look at the qualities of wiener dog business owners and the qualities Roy looks to find in Wizard of Ads partners…

1. What person or team is committed to telling your story? Are they committed as much as you are? Are they a wiener dog storyteller or a faux wiener dog storyteller?

2. In what ways is the story they’re telling aligned with your identity, purpose, and adventure? In what ways is it misaligned? How does it need to be corrected or amplified?


Wiener Dog Marketing:

A Silly Sounding Book for Serious Business Growth

available now on Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble and many other digital sellers…

available June 1st in Hardcover at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many others…

Read the rest of the series:

  1. An Introduction to Wiener Dog Marketing
  2. Wiener Dog Marketing: For the Love of Wiener Dogs
  3. Body of a Sausage: The Way Things Are vs. The Way Things Ought to Be
  4. The Wiener Dog Question: What Can You Count On Not Changing?
  5. Wiener Dog Focus: Helping the Customer vs. Helping Yourself
  6. Wiener Dogs on the Wrong Track: Having the Qualities of Success Without Being a Success
  7. Embrace Your Wiener Dog: Identity, Purpose and Adventure
  8. Becoming a Wiener Dog: What it Takes to Have Enduring Success
  9. Magical Wiener Dogs and Storytellers
  10. Follow the Wiener Dog: How Employees Become Wiener Dogs
  11. Once a Wiener… Repurposing the Proven
  12. The Heart of a Wiener Dog: Character Diamonds
  13. Wiener Dogs Forever: The Power of Crowd Promotion
  14. Are You A Wiener Dog? Last Chance to Commit