Is the story of Rocky really about boxing?

Or is it about an underdog’s epic journey back to self-respect?

Great ads are like that too.

The superficial story of an ad might be about a business decision. Or even a specific offer.

But the real story will inevitably be about putting values into action in the face of resistance, required sacrifices, and battle-scars.

And you can take that one step further.

If all of your ads tell stories, and all of those stories are really about something other than the surface-level topic, then what’s the grand “meta-narrative” that you’re telling over the course of all those ads?

What’s the overarching theme behind your branding campaign?

Done right, the grand, meta-narrative of your campaign will center around:

  • What kind of person you are,
  • What kind of company you’ve built, and
  • Why you’re driven to do business in the way that you do.

And on that list bit, I’m talking about your “Advocated Position.”

An advocated Position may not seem all that astounding when stated bluntly, but when brought to life through story, it’ll draw high-value customers to you like college kids to free beer.

Here’s what an advocated business might sound like in such blunt terms:

  • Cut is the most important of the 4-C’s and most other jewelers over-sell people on increased levels of color and clarity that they don’t need in order to charge them for a too-small diamond with a subpar cut that won’t sparkle like it should.
  • People who REALLY believe in what they sell offer lifetime, satisfaction guarantees. Everyone else is hedging their bets and is therefore a con man to one degree or another.
  • Putting people before numbers is the only way to run a business worth being a part of, worth doing business with, worth owning, and capable of actually generating the numbers everyone else vainly chases after.
  • Airflow comes before everything else. Without proper airflow, nothing else about your AC system will work right. AC companies that don’t insist on fixing airflow first, do so because they either don’t care or don’t know how to do things right.
  • Effective long-term branding is the key to sustainable long-term growth for your business. You can grow without it, but your growth will be limited and much harder to achieve than it otherwise would have. Good branding will make your success faster, bigger, and more enjoyable.

Businesses that have an advocated position and communicate it through meta-narratives always grow faster than those that don’t.

But there’s a hidden, secret key to all of this.

Tying the Meta-Narrative of Who You Are to Your Advocated Position

People are hardwired to believe that you do what you do because of who you are and how you see the world.

Doesn’t matter whether that’s ultimately true or not, people will always believe it.

So if you want customers to believe that your company really does follow through on the promises of your Advocated Position…

And believe that you’re not just blowing smoke in your ads…

The surest and best way to accomplish that is by convincing them that you are emotionally compelled to hold that position because of of defining experiences you’ve had in life — the stuff that’s made you who you are, deep down.

This is why I often start branding campaigns with Origin Stories.

Nothing helps people understand this intimate connection between Advocated Position and deep psychology like an Origin Story.

The trick then becomes to keep that connection alive in what every ad is really about, regardless of the superficial topic of the ad.

Write every ad with an eye towards this grand meta-narrative woven by your campaign.

Extra points if you can do that in a way that’ll allow people to project themselves into your story, just as everyone is able to see a bit of themselves in Rocky.