Beyond the About Us page, beyond slogans, mascots, and logos there exists the Origin Story.

An origin story lies at the heart of why a business exists, and often is the source of the true reason why any company is a success.

Valkyrie Mountain Wear (brand film) from Bryce Johnson on Vimeo.

3 Reasons Why an Origin Story Matters

  • An Origin Story Conveys History and Values
  • An Origin Story is Memorable
  • An Origin Story Creates Connection and Loyalty

Storytelling in marketing has enormous power. In the age of short attention spans and quick-scrolling thumbs, a story will stand out like a lighthouse. It provides an anchor around which your business can thrive in the often turbulent marketing waters.

An Origin Story Conveys History and Values

The origin story gives emotion and depth the core values of a business. Generating and displaying a list of company standards is just information, and not very compelling. But, a story about why a business created those standards, and how they maintain them will not only capture attention, it will give the audience the ability to understand why those values should be important to them as well as the business.

An origin story can be thought of as the ‘Why’ behind a business. It explains the reason that business was created, and specifically what improvement its product or service provides, inside a narrative that makes sense to its audience.

For example, when a company states that they value honesty and integrity, those words don’t really convey any kind of meaning. They are abstract ideals. However, when the company explains why honesty is important to them, and what integrity means to their business, the audience has a frame of reference. They can understand and relate to a story about honesty and integrity, and they can see how those values shaped the company.

Additionally, stories influence how the audience feels about the subject of the story. Telling an origin story is the opportunity to show the development of the business over time, giving depth and context to the history of the company, and its founders. Consumers want to know who is in charge, and what that person cares about. Origin stories are rich with struggle and triumph, which are very real experiences that an audience can relate to and understand.

An Origin Story is Memorable

There is a reason that humans had an oral history before we ever started writing things down. We told each other stories about our history, experiences, and wisdom because a story is much easier to remember than a bland list of facts. Stories are also inherently easier to listen to. Imagine trying to make the younger generation pay attention to their elders and receive the information the older folk had learned, and which needed to be passed on. A story was far more effective in capturing and holding attention, and it’s still true today.

While our marketing generally doesn’t happen around the campfire these days, we can take advantage of the fact that our audiences have a deeply ingrained need for a story, rather than just a call to action. An origin story isn’t a call to action – it goes deeper, down the the reason why a person should take action.

In fact, stories are up to 22 times more memorable than just the bare-boned facts.

Making content memorable is a huge factor for marketing success. We know that it typically takes several interactions with a potential client before they buy, so as marketers we want to make an impact during each interaction. A story, even a short one, is more likely to be remembered because that’s how human minds work. People can relate to a story, and if they can relate, they can more easily remember the information.

For example, stating a company was started in 1990 is boring. But, stating that a company was started in 1990 by two college buddies in their dorm room is much more compelling. The fact that it was started by friends, and it was in the dorm room isn’t really critical information, but it makes the company itself more memorable.

Cold audiences are especially in need of a compelling reason to give their attention to just another voice in the noisy marketplace. Consider the circus barker: he didn’t just stand outside the tent and shout at people to come to circus. He would weave a story about what kind of experience someone would have if they bought a ticket.

Consider the jingle: this marketing mainstay might be considered silly by some, but it has withstood the test of time. A jingle often tells a story, with rhymes and a catchy tune to further anchor the story in memory.

Stories are also fantastic in appealing to all learning types, which means the message conveyed in the story is far more memorable for a wider audience. Since your origin story goes the root of the reason anyone should work with your company, its important that it be remembered by as many people as possible.

An Origin Story Creates Connection and Loyalty

Marketing is about conveying a message. Making a connection with a target audience allows a marketer to effectively communicate that message. Making that connection is the critical first step.

Through stories, we can share very human experiences like passion, struggle, and triumph. These are things that a potential customer can connect with at a personal level. When a person resonates with the reasons a company is in business, they are more likely to develop a loyalty to the brand. An origin story is the best way to communicate the values that your audience will connect with.

Ultimately, people don’t follow products. People follow other people. By crafting an origin story, audiences can empathize and identify with a business in a similar way that they connect with other people.

The origin story is a company’s opportunity to share it’s goals, and why those goals matter. Customers that feel aligned with those goals are more likely to pay attention, to connect with the content that the company produces. The more someone consumes that content, the more likely they are to engage with it, endorse it, and ultimately purchase it. We all know that businesses want to create revenue, but what isn’t clear is the reason the business wants to create the revenue. The origin story gives meaning and depth, and informs all further marketing campaigns.

As such, creating the origin story is the breeding ground for the content that goes forward. Additionally, when a potential customer wants to see what kind of business you are, the origin story is already available for them, and they can easily judge for themselves if the company is a good fit for their needs.

With a well-crafted story, the listener can see themselves in the story itself. When consumers internalize the origin story for a business, they feel more personally connected, and are more likely to recommend it to others, even if they don’t make a purchase themselves.

3 Reasons Why Your Marketing Needs an Origin Story

Storytelling in marketing has enjoyed a recent increase in popularity and attention by marketers, but in order to create cohesion in the story being told, the origin story needs to be in place. It is the nucleus that informs any marketing effort. If a company doesn’t have a clear origin story, it’s difficult to generate any interest or to differentiate the brand from competitors.

Being memorable also creates a sense of familitarity and trust. Building trust is a cornerstone of successful business-building, and familiarity keeps that business top-of-mind.

Allowing an audience to connect with the history, mission, and values of a company is the opportunity to create true brand fans, who will happily share future content, engage with the company, and advocate for it with their own social circles.