The Founder Ad: Best Practices for this Powerful Explainer Ad Format

Unlock the Potential of Founder Ads for Your Business.

Company founder superhero with Filmkraft logo on chest

Among the diverse array of video marketing formats on offer, the Founder Ad stands out.

With its narrative power, market versatility, and ability to raise brand identity and trustworthiness above the pack, the Founder Ad sticks the landing in every metric important to marketers looking at video ads in 2024.

What is a Founder Ad, and why is it so effective?

The secret in the sauce is storytelling!

At its core, the Founder Ad is a type of explainer ad that tells the story of a company through its creator, using her or his narrative to establish brand values and elevate the product or service.

By personifying the brand and dramatizing the company mission, the Founder Ad creates a connection between business and consumer based on values. It gives the viewer a stake in a shared purpose and makes them a participant in the brand story.

This capacity gives the Founder Ad a unique potency for marketers. Research shows that people are significantly more likely to agree when they feel common cause with the other party. The immediate marketing benefits are clear, but Founder Ads also offer long-term value as a part of the brand’s legacy, a chapter in a story that can foster connections and generate leads for years to come.

Below, we share the best tips and strategies for creating a Founder Ad that distinguishes your brand and performs exceptionally. If you find this blog helpful, be sure to check out our other guides to video marketing.

1. Engage your audience emotionally through story structure

Founder Ads strike a chord that standard marketing campaigns often miss. Rather than just presenting value propositions or dry statistics, they weave a compelling narrative about entrepreneurial ambitions, challenges, and triumphs.

Beyond merely understanding the company’s “why,” viewers can feel the founder’s motivation and empathize with their vision. This emotional resonance creates a deep connection with the audience, imbuing USP’s with significance and transforming viewers into loyal advocates and consumers.

To forge this connection, give careful consideration to the shape and form of your story.

How you structure your narrative - the order of events, how problems are posed and solved, the rise and release of tension - can have a profound impact on the story’s ability to grab an audience and forge meaningful connections between brand and viewer.

By leveraging a few time-tested storytelling principles, you can heighten the engagement and emotional investment of your audience. Here are some strong narrative beats to incorporate:

Opener

Your first task as a video storyteller is to stop the scroll. Choose a strong opening that can grab the audience’s attention and create an instant emotional connection with the founder.

This can be a sincere anecdote from the founder’s childhood that grounds their journey in some foundational experience. Or you can have the founder recite a joke that reflects some driving wisdom behind their business. You might instead put the product front-and-center with stunning macro imagery that showcases its beauty up close while the founder describes its qualities.

Whatever your opening, make sure it hooks the viewer and relates to the brand’s core values.

Problem and Solution

Stories find their momentum once a problem emerges, driving the narrative and holding the viewer’s attention until it’s resolved.

Harness this storytelling principle by introducing a problem early in your narrative - some “antagonist” challenge that the founder overcomes by creating their company. This dynamic gives your founder’s mission compelling stakes that invest your audience in their motivations and success. Emotional involvement of this kind offers a powerful method to humanize the brand, fostering empathy through a shared problem and memorably marking the company as the solution.

To maximize impact, make sure the problem is clear, relatable, and understandable. If it’s abstract, use anecdotes that embody it. For instance, a bank’s Founder Ad could frame the problem through a character-driven scenario illustrating the type of financial strain the company aims to alleviate.

Social Proof

As engaging as your founder might be, your ad will be far more persuasive if you offer tangible facts and figures. Testimonials, reviews, or awards should be included in order to provide viewers with concrete reasons to trust the brand. Social proof can be any quantifiable element that attests to the brand’s quality and ability to deliver.

2. Be genuine. Authenticity is everything.

With 62% of consumers favoring companies that demonstrate authenticity, it’s understandable that establishing brands as genuine and trustworthy has become a central pillar of marketing. However, being persuasively authentic has proven elusive, with less than half of brands seen as trustworthy and 71% of consumers losing faith in companies to deliver on their rhetoric.

As consumers grow increasingly savvy in a crowded ad landscape, marketers have an opportunity to cut through the noise with authenticity that rings true. Though skeptical, the public remains hungry as ever for authenticity, with 81% of customers reporting they need to trust a brand before buying from them. The desire is out there, but it requires convincing to activate.

With a format grounded in personal immediacy, transparency, and core values, the Founder Ad is uniquely well-suited to credibly deliver authenticity. Lean into this key strength by asserting and reinforcing your brand’s authenticity at every turn.

Embrace personality. Have your founder bring their true self to the production. Their passion should drive the ad, infusing palpable energy and enthusiasm throughout. The more honest their enthusiasm, the more persuasive, so avoid pretense or monotonous scripted sequences.

Be transparent. Demonstrating honesty will go a long way towards winning the viewer’s empathy and trust. Don’t be afraid to include a relatable or humanizing real-life detail.

Assert your values. Nothing fosters identification between consumers and  brands like a shared purpose or calling. If your company has a cause, articulate it clearly and weave it into the brand’s story. Besides being socially responsible, this is good for business: consumers increasingly expect brands to take stands and act for the broader good, and a growing majority of people prefer companies with a “reputation for purpose as well as profit.” Most will even pay more to support them.

Deliver like a boss. Have your founder speak sincerely and authoritatively about their vision and expertise. Confidence in the product and conviction in the company mission are key to establishing trust in the brand.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. A touch of humor adds relatability. The founder can poke fun at themselves or offer a light joke about how they use the product. When in doubt, use the classic, “I’m not just the founder, I’m also a customer!”

3. Stand out by channeling your brand identity.

Each founder’s story is inherently different, filled with anecdotes, insights, and personalities that lend a unique flavor to the brand. Leaning into this distinctiveness will help the ad convey what makes your brand identity unique in an expressive, exciting, and memorable way.

Develop a tone and style that mirrors the brand’s values and image. Creative decisions should all be in harmony with what the brand stands for. There’s no limit on how creative you can get, but here are some aspects to leverage:

Music: Few elements set the tone as effectively as the soundtrack. Inspirational or nostalgic? Upbeat and cheerful, or slower and serious?

Visual approach: Do you use a conventional or modernist composition when framing the founder during interviews? Are your use cases captured using sweeping cinematic moves that romanticize the service or a documentary-like handheld camera that connotes authenticity?

Storytelling: Is your story told with a straightforward chronology, or will you instead play with time and space?

4. Avoid Cutting Corners on Production Value

Quality production is crucial for making the right kind of impression with your Founder Ad.

Well-produced work reflects positively on your brand’s image. Production value conveys professionalism, confidence, and respect for the values shared by the brand and the audience.

While it’s important to get this right, investing in quality doesn’t require breaking the bank. Cost-effective strategies, including location selection, equipment choice, and careful pre-planning, can maintain production quality within reasonable budgets.

At Filmkraft, we’ve developed a host of solutions to deliver top-level creative that succeeds at a wide variety of budgets. Reach out to discuss how we can help bring your Founder Ad to life.

5. Plan Your Strategic Distribution

As every marketer knows, success requires finding the right audience to make the impact you want.

Fortunately, the Founder Ad is an impressively versatile format that’s adaptable to various marketing goals. Whether the objective is to drive direct sales, enhance brand recognition, or engage with a specific audience segment, the ads can be tailored to suit different business needs and marketing strategies.

The longer narrative format of the Founder Ad also allows for effective repurposing of its content across channels, a huge plus in today’s multi-platform ad space. Consider including alternative cuts tailored for different platforms as part of your video marketing strategy.

For Keepsake Frames, Filmkraft repurposed their successful founder ad into alternative versions for social media, resulting in an additional 20% boost in performance.

Here are a few opportunities to keep in mind when planning your distribution strategy:

Social Media: The personal touch of Founder Ads excels on social media platforms, where storytelling drives engagement.

• If your demo is millennial, Instagram is still king. 85% of users on the platform are younger than 45. The user base here is engaged, with over 60% using the app to follow or research companies and a similar portion reporting that the app allows them to build meaningful connections with brands.  Instagram is a very competitive landscape, with 97.7% of marketers using the platform, which is exactly why a Founder Ad is the perfect strategy to cut through the noise and grab attention from your target audience.

• Make sure your cross-platform video strategy is specific to each platform to drive engagement. For example, 85% of Meta videos are watched without sound, so subtitles are a must.

First-time video views on X get 1.4x more view time than on competitor platforms. As a format that tends to run longer than others, the Founder Ad is well-suited to perform on the platform.

• LinkedIn, with its focus on professional networking, is also a great option for promoting company values through a Founder Ad, especially for B2B. Its unique set of targeting options also give you the perfect opportunity to make video edits that speak to specific industries or jobs.

Web Assets / Banner Videos: Founder Ads serve well as the main videos on websites and landing pages, providing a warm welcome to potential customers and showcasing the company’s identity and values.

TV and OTT: Founder Ads stand out from other commercials with their authentic, personal approach. They work especially well for direct response ads because the Founder speaks directly to the audience and makes a personal call to action.

Craft Your Founder Ad with Filmkraft

A still from one of our TV commercials for Keepsake.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, once remarked that, “‘Starbucks coffee is exceptional, yes, but emotional connection is our true value proposition. Starbucks is not a coffee company that serves people. It is a people company that serves coffee.”

The Founder Ad embraces this philosophy by placing the emotional connection between brand and consumer at its heart.  At Filmkraft, we specialize in bringing these stories to life by grounding our approach in storytelling, ensuring that every Founder Ad is not just seen but felt and remembered.

Remember, you’re not just selling a product, you’re inviting viewers to partake of the brand journey. And who better to share that tale than the person who started it all … your Founder?

Contact us today so we can help you tell your story to your audience in the most compelling way possible.

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