Advertising Basics: We All Love A Good Story

Saturday, July 27, 2013 - by Clint Powell
Clint Powell
Clint Powell

Think back on the best vacation you ever had. How did you describe it to folks when you got back? ‘The room was $150 a night – we used 3 tanks of gas – we stayed 5 nights/6 days – our room was on the beach – the food was good – we had fun’.  Probably not! How about this?  ‘Man we went to Florida with the family and stayed at this very cool place right on the beach…I mean you open the door and your feet were in the sand. The food…wow the food was awesome. One night we found this little hole in the wall restaurant off the beaten path that the kids loved and then the next night we went to a new place just down the road from our condo…the views while we ate were unbelievable. We relaxed; played in the ocean till our skin was wrinkled up, slept late…a full week just wasn’t enough.’ Now that sounds like a good vacation!! That makes me want to go. Now! Road trip?

It’s the same with a good meal. When asked about that restaurant you ate at - you describe the atmosphere, the tenderness of the steak, the service, that great bread or dessert. Notice anything missing with these stories?

Price! Price matters when we feel we haven’t gotten our monies worth. Inconvenience! Inconvience is how we feel when something wasn’t worth our drive or time investment. The specifics and details are overridden by emotion and experiences!

Stories are what connect us to each other AND TO A BRAND. Experiences matter! What does that mean for your business? Well you know me…I love lists (who doesn’t?):

  1. Know your story. Yep…simple as that. Know what your story is. Know how you make people’s lives better. Know how you solve their problems and help them through their day. Know why they need your product and more importantly, why they should need/want you.
  1. Tell your story. I was having one of those fence-post conversations with a fellow dad on my son’s football team. I asked what he did and he said he sold cars. He and I must have had two dozen conversations over the course of the season. A few months later my oldest son was in the market for a car. We went to a local dealership – asked for a sales person and bought a car. As we were signing the papers my fence-post buddy walked by. He was a sales person at this dealership, but never told me. Tell your story every time you have the chance.
  1. Get others to tell your story AS their story. Your goal is to get as many people as possible to tell their story. Boring products become exciting if they improve your life. Mortgages are boring. Motorcycles are’t. I have seen t-shirts and tattoos for motorcycle brands; never a mortgage company. HOWEVER, let a mortgage company help a family get their credit in better shape, close the loan fast and make the process smooth; then watch how excited and happy that family is. Bam – all of a sudden mortgages are pretty cool things. That is a great story! How can you get people to tell their stories – have a rewards program, offer a referral gift, or simply provide a better customer experience. 
  1. Know what story is being told about you. I love cowboy movies. Remember the scenes where the guy puts his ear to the ground to hear the sounds of approaching horses? That is your job. I had a client once who had a series of ads about how much he could save small business owners on a service he provided. Business was good – so he kept pushing that point and finally hit a ceiling. I started asking a few questions and found each had a story within the story. Yes they were saving money, but the money they were saving allowed each to do something else. Hire another employee, fix the company car, expand the size of their office, or maybe take home more pay that allowed them to send their kids to a better school. So we started telling the customers story…the real story was theirs all along.
  1. Stories go both ways. Did you know that twice as many people will share a bad experience as compared to a good experience? So bad stories/experiences reach more ears. That is why you have to be the watchdog of your story – be ready to find out what’s behind it and if it is something you can control – then control it. ‘You can’t make everyone happy all the time’, but that cliché’ can be very costly when it comes to your business. You should care what others are sharing about your company and whenever possible…control it.

Remember we all connect to stories. What is yours? Next week we will talk about some common mistakes businesses make when putting together their advertising plans.


Clint Powell – Connect Marketing – www.connectchattanooga.com – 505-1014

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Clint Powell is owner of Connect Marketing, a full service advertising agency in Chattanooga. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman College. He has spent years in radio advertising sales and management, built and sold a billboard company and works on a contract basis with other ad agencies writing ad copy and helping formulate strategies. Clint has worked with hundreds of local and regional companies over the years and helped them develop advertising campaigns. He frequently leads marketing and advertising seminars and meetings for businesses and network groups. He believes that life is all about connections and spends his time connecting businesses and business owners to solutions. He sits on the board of Y-Cap (YMCA Community Action Program) and helps with several other non-profits. Clint currently resides in East Ridge with his wife and three children.


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