Luis Miguel & Roxanne Addison

#386: How Storytelling Helps Immigrants Realize Their American Dream

#386: How Storytelling Helps Immigrants Realize Their American Dream

In 2016, I helped Luis Miguel, the founder of the international translation firm Avantpage, clarify their brand story using the Story Cycle System™. Since then, his company has grown to 50 people and has offices around the world.

Luis and his marketing manager Roxanne Addison discuss how their brand story unites their people, attracts precisely the right customer, and provides the aspirational North Star for everyone to shoot for.

The following is an excerpt from my book Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System™ to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand, which will provide the backstory for this episode’s conversation.


Luis Miguel contacted me about helping refine Avantpage’s brand story. For the previous 22 years, Luis and his team had provided language translation services for government, elections officials, and healthcare and educational programs to help immigrants assimilate in this country. Avantpage is headquartered in Davis, California, and has offices in Mexico City and Warsaw, Poland.

In 1973, Luis Miguel traveled from his home in Mexico City to the Ozark Mountains in Missouri for summer camp. It was his first visit to the United States. He was 15 years old. He was excited to experience America, but his excitement quickly dimmed when a boy at camp referred to Luis using a term he had never heard before.

Being bookish, Luis returned home and looked up the meaning of wetback.

Five years later, with imperfect language skills, Luis returned to America to study at the University of Colorado at Boulder, but the university seemed cold and intimidating. So he moved to the University of California at Davis, to study agriculture and worked with migrant families in appalling farm conditions. Luis graduated and earned his PhD in computer science at the University of California at Berkeley.

But he never forgot those migrant families. A few years later, Luis and his wife began a family of their own.

“I realized that the difference for kids is where they are born.

These experiences made me sensitive to the plight of immigrants in the US and especially those who need special language support to connect with the people and institutions of America.”

In 1996, Luis started Avantpage, an international translation firm. He combined the need for linguistics with compassion and empathy for immigrants. Luis, following many rough experiences assimilating into America, wished to help others realize their American dream. He wanted to create a translation company like no other that connects people, cultures, and communities. And the nationalism and polarization he sees growing around the world gives him the will to make an even greater difference in immigrant lives.

But Luis realized that their specialized translation work wasn’t being recognized. The Avantpage brand blended in with myriad other translation firms. He knew it was time to refresh the company’s brand story to ensure its growth and sustainability.


But many obstacles stood in his way, including the risk of being commoditized in a crowded translation market. This market pressure, like other incidents that have propelled Luis’ story forward, is what prompted him to seek us out and write the next chapter of the Avantpage story.

The return on his new brand story has already been impressive, including:

  1. Thirty percent more new business prospects since launching Avantpage’s refreshed brand story.
  2. Avantpage’s organic search rankings dramatically improved because its new brand narrative focused on the SEO terms most relevant to its offering.
  3. The website conversion rate quadrupled because now Avantpage is speaking the language of its ideal customer.
  4. Since rebranding, Avantpage has experienced a 200 percent increase in applicants who mention that they feel connected to the brand’s new mission of helping immigrants.
  5. Avantpage reports a “massive increase” in employee interaction and enthusiasm for its refreshed brand.

On today’s show, we explore how to take the Avantpage brand story of Empathy Beyond Words and leverage it to attract a new market in the healthcare industry.

Discussed in this episode:

  • How the power of a singular brand narrative unites your team.
  • Why storytelling is the lifeblood of sales and customer service.
  • We demonstrate how to use the ABT to focus your brand story


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