We have a need to belong. We want to be seen and heard. We want to be missed when we are not around. We want to have genuine connection. This is the basis of relational ad writing.
Never heard of it? That is because most ads are transactional, not relational.
In a transactional ad, an air conditioning company might claim to be, “The Honest Air Conditioning Company.” But in a relational ad, the owner does not claim to be honest. They just say something that only an honest person would say.
The people in relational ads are marked by their vulnerability.
KARLA: When something at home isn’t working right and you need a guy, your friend says,
JOHNNY MOLSON: “I’ve got a guy.”
KARLA: Hi, I’m Mrs. Michael and I want to be your guy. You need a plumber. You need an electrician. You need an H-Vac technician; I want to be your guy. I’m a happily married woman with two grown children, but back when I was raising two babies, my husband and I started a plumbing company, an electrical company, and an air conditioning company. Make no mistake: Mr. Michael is a genius with tools, but he did NOT enjoy running 3 big companies, so he asked me to do it. Guess what? I LOVE IT! I know that if I make your problems vanish into thin air, then when your friends say,
SARAH: “I’ve got a thing at home that isn’t working right, and I need a guy,”
KARLA: you’ll say,
JOHNNY MOLSON: “I’ve got a guy. Her name is Mrs. Michael.”
KARLA: Plumber, Electrician, H-Vac technician. I’m Mrs. Michael, and I want to be your guy.
DEVIN: Go to MrsMichael.com
KARLA: OR… go to Iwanttobeyourguy.com
Relational ads are not portable. They are true only of the company that airs them. Transactional ads are portable. They can be used by anyone who wants to make the same offer, use the same gimmick, tell the same lie.
Mrs. Michael does not use transactional ads. She uses relational ads that let you know who she is, what she believes, and how she thinks. You are free to like her or not. Most people like her. A lot. No surprise, right? We tend to buy from people we like, people with whom we agree, people who remind us of ourselves.
Did it ever occur to you that a transactional ad with an urgent, “limited-time offer” is erased from the mind as soon as the deadline is passed? We do not retain information that is no longer relevant or meaningful. The only thing we remember is to never pay that company their asking price because they will soon be having a sale.
Goldcasters Fine Jewelry sells a startling amount of jewelry per capita in a town that is located less than an hour from the inspiring city of Indianapolis. Goldcasters’ sales volume would be impressive for a jewelry store in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago.
Like Mrs. Michael, Goldcasters uses relational advertising.
DEVIN: Brad Lawrence, owner of Goldcasters Fine Jewelry.
BRAD: When I opened the store, I had no money. We didn’t have the money for inventory. I brought wax models from school to use to cast into projects for customers. And hence the name Goldcasters. Things were so tight at times I remember the backside of my wedding ring was gone because I didn’t have the money to buy gold to size rings. So I’d cut the pieces out of the back of my wedding band to use as gold stock to size rings for customers. And then when we could afford to, then I’d replace it back onto my band.
JACOB: Did your wife ever find out about that?
BRAD: (laughter) Well, when she saw the bottom of my ring, obviously she did. When you looked at it from the top, it looked perfect. (laughter subsides) It was a very, very humble beginning. I always believed that if you took care of the customers that the costomers would come back and that you could build a business that way.
DEVIN: Goldcasters. At Second and Washington in Bloomington.
Do you want to measure the results of your ads immediately? Write transactional ads that make an impressive offer that is available only if the customer acts quickly.
Do you want to be the company people think of immediately and feel the best about? Write relational ads that allow them to get to know you.
The longer you use transactional ads, the less well they work. The longer you use relational ads, the better they work.
Is there ever a time in a relational ad campaign when the customer is given an opportunity to experience something special? Yes, but these ads are not transactional. They are simply an invitation to take the relationship to the next level.
Relational ads are a courtship.
Transactional ads are a one-night stand.
Roy H. Williams
PS – If you were wondering why Mrs Michael said the two syllables “H-Vac” instead of the two syllables “A/C”, it’s because she lives and operates in a Northern city. Relational ads feel personal and sound local.
President John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Mac Lackey says something similar, “The time to think about selling your business is long before you plan to sell.” Having founded and sold six companies, Mac is something of an expert on entrepreneurial exits. Two of his buyers were NBC Sports and the Remington Outdoor Company. Across the microphone from Mac Lackey is roving reporter Rotbart’s brainiac son, Maxwell, a Master’s degree candidate who, after listening to his dad’s weekly podcasts for the past dozen years, will begin hosting the show once a month. Welcome aboard, Maxwell! The time is now. The place is MondayMorningRadio.com