Building a StoryBrand: Section 1

Today’s blog post is a little different. Instead of covering the latest marketing trends, we’re going to talk about a bookcalled Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. This book focuses on one facet of marketing in particular: content. The whole purpose of the book is to help business owners clarify their message so that they’re seen, heard, and understood.

This book is broken up into three sections – the first of which we’ll be talking about today.

Let’s dive in!

The Key to Being Heard

Donald kicks off the first chapter with an important message: pretty websites don’t sell things – words do. The problem is, customers won’t listen to an unclear message.

But clarifying a message isn’t always easy. For some, it’s like trying to read the label from inside the bottle. The main focus of these first chapters is to bring an awareness to business owners about their brand. You’re forced to hold up a mirror to your brand’s message. Is it clear? Are you actually being heard?

The concept of story is introduced in the first few chapters. Initially, when we think of stories, we think of fictional books and our favorite rom-coms. But when it comes to your business and your brand, there is a story to tell. And just like any good story, there are key features to focus on – everything else gets cut. We’ll get into these key features later on.

Unfortunately, customers don’t actually care about your story, unless it speaks to them. They’re more focused on their own story. So, instead of filling your website with a bunch of technical content, using jargon that only an expert in your field would understand, find a way to tell your customers how your product or service fits into their life and their story. Your customers want to find themselves in your content – alter your story to speak to them and throw out anything else.

“The human brain, no matter what region of the world it comes from, is drawn toward clarity and away from confusion.” Page 5

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These first chapters really force you to think about your current approach to content marketing. Donald points out that we’re not only in a race to get our products or services to market, but we’re also in a race to communicate to our customers why they need our products. You may have the best product on the market, but you’ll lose to an inferior product if your competitor is able to communicate their offer more clearly.

In the quote above, it states that humans are drawn toward clarity; simple, predictable communication is easier for the brain to digest. This is where the ‘story’ concept comes into play. In Donald’s words, “story helps because it is a sense-making mechanism…it puts everything in order so the brain doesn’t have to work to understand what’s going on.” In section 2 of the book, Donald breaks down his process of building a StoryBrand, which we’ll cover in the next blog post.

Content Mistakes

As human beings, we have problems. That’s usually what leads us to needing products and services in the first place. A big mistake businesses make when creating content is not addressing these problems.

“The first mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive.” Page 7

Good stories are about survival – whether that be physical, emotional, or even spiritual. A story with any other premise won’t work to captivate an audience. This is why we should position our products and services as an aid in helping people not only survive but thrive as well.

So, what are people looking for? Two things: brands that help them survive and thrive, and simple communication.

These two things are why the StoryBrand framework has proven to be so successful. Make your company’s message about how you help your customers survive and do so in such a way that is simple and to the point, without all the extra fluff.

As previously stated, story is a sense-making device. It requires a necessary ambition, challenges getting in the way of achieving that ambition, and a plan to overcome those challenges. So, when assessing your company’s message, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do my customers want?
  • What problem are we helping them solve?
  • What will life look like after they engage our products and services?

If you can identify what your customers want, what’s in their way, and how you can help them get what they want – you’re golden.

Finally, The StoryBrand Framework

The SB7 framework is laid out exactly how you’d expect a book or movie to be – it encompasses everything needed for a good story.

  1. A Character
  2. Has a Problem
  3. And Meets a Guide
  4. Who Gives Them a Plan
  5. And Calls Them to Action
  6. That Ends in a Success
  7. That Helps Them Avoid Failure

The SB7 approach has helped countless businesses establish their brand and stick to it. In the next blog post, we’re going to break down each step and discuss how you can apply your business to the framework.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for Building a StoryBrand: Section 2!