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Ditch the Legendary Origin Story

by Tom Ruwitch

I recently read an article in Inc. magazine that called origin stories the “holy grail of branding.”

The article shared this origin story as an example: “It was 1975 and a couple of friends sat in a garage, building computers that would be the first computers in a long line produced by a multi-billion dollar company.”

The two friends: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

The company: Apple.

My take: That origin story has nothing to do with Apple’s success. The masses began caring about Steve and Steve’s garage long after Apple became a global powerhouse.

That story is Apple’s “holy grail?” I don’t think so.

Don’t look to origin stories like that – or articles like Inc’s – as a marketing playbook.

In fact, most advice you hear about origin stories is more lethal than a computer virus.

So-called marketing experts think storytelling begins and ends with your legendary origin story.

They offer advice like: “make it authentic” or “share the vivid moments” or “use detailed imagery.” (So says the Inc. article).

Others encourage you to master Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey so you can cast yourself as the epic character, overcoming challenges and rising to the top.

Business people who buy this garbage think storytelling is all about them. (It isn’t)

They drone on and on and on about their rise to the top…

…about their heroic journey…

…about the garage where they invented some technology

…about all the hurdles they cleared.

You may have written one like that. And guess what?

No one cares.

No offense. But no one cares about you and your heroic journey – unless that journey reflects theirs.

At Story Power Marketing, we have three guiding principles to help you captivate prospects and inspire them to hire you.

The first principle: Keep the focus on prospects’ emotional journeys.

Shine your storytelling spotlight on them, not you.

Sure, you can craft and deliver origin stories about you.

But start by understanding what makes your prospects tick. Where are they now? Where do they want to be? How do your products and services enable them to take that journey?

When you know these things, you can choose the tales from your past that resonate with prospects…

…instead of droning on and on and on about the garage where you got started.

Tom Ruwitch is founder of Story Power Marketing. Coaches, consultants and other experts hire him to power up their stories because most dish out the same boring content, put prospects to sleep, and then feel fed up and stuck. So he helps transform content from boring to brilliant, marketing from frustrating to fun, and results from pitiful to profitable. Sign up for Tom’s info-taining, daily(ish) emails at

Submitted 1 years 239 days ago
Categories: categoryHigh Voltage Marketing
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