Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

For Donald Miller, building a great business is about crafting a great story. He wrote the book, Building a StoryBrand, to help business owners understand the importance of narrative. It’s one of the most compelling business books I’ve read.

There was so much wisdom in this book. I had to constantly pause the audio to stop to take notes.

Here are some highlights from the book:

Craft a story

Miller says all great stories can be broken down into seven parts: 

1) A character who wants something, 2) encounters a problem before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, 3) a guide steps into their lives, 4) gives them a plan, and 5) calls them to action. 6) That action helps them avoid failure, 7) and ends in success.

Cut the clutter

Most companies talk too much. They tell you how they’re going to save the environment or how they are helping this group or that person. 

Stop! Keep it simple. 

We remember stories, not facts. We have too many things going on in our lives already. We don’t need to know how your company is saving the world.

Break down your story

Tell a story about why I should care.

Make your customer the hero in the story. You are the guide helping your customer avoid failure and get what they want.

Anything that doesn’t have a plot has to go!

Your customer should be able to answer these questions after 5 seconds of looking at your website:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How will it make my life better?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

Never assume your customer understands how your brand will change their lives. Instead, tell them! Offer a vision of how great life could be if a customer engages your products and services.

Focus on the customer’s desires

Focus on one simple desire your customer wants. Deliver on that. Everything else is a subplot.

Do your customers want: 

  • To save money?
  • To save time?
  • To build a social network?
  • To build status?
  • To make money?
  • Help to survive?
  • To create a sense of meaning?

Figure out what your customers want and help them get it. Be interested in your customer. Make them the hero in the journey. Guide them to success.

Keep it simple

Stories matter. Cut the useless chatter. Craft a great story that your customers will remember.

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