Biz Book Chat: Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
Donald Miller is the CEO of a marketing company called StoryBrand, and the book “Building a StoryBrand” stems from his framework and perspective that all good messaging follows a tried and true storyline script.
That all successful stories, from the ones your grandma tells you of her younger years, to the box office hits that everyone knows and loves. If it’s a good story, it follows this script, and if you use this same script in your messaging, you’ll be memorable too.
Premise of the Book
This framework is from Donald Miller who wrote the book, “Building a StoryBrand.”
I use this with all my clients as it cuts through the noise and makes marketing and messaging so much easier… once we’ve done the work that is. You can see examples and sign up for your own StoryBrand script here: https://www.mystorybrand.com/ – If you choose to use the free software he provides, share with me the script once completed so that I can help you refine it.
Every good story follows a script, and this framework lets us build your brand story in a way that gathers the attention of your audience as well as clearly lets them know how you can help them!
And so we will be creating storybrand scripts for your brand and using this script.
We will create a script for your main brand, as well as your main offers as well. They will be similar and yet distinct to your client’s specific needs depending on the offer itself.
The StoryBrand brand script goes like this:
They meet a guide (hey that’s you!) with a plan (what you help them with) and it calls them to action (gets them to work with you) that ends in success (the transformation you provide) and helps them avoid failure (what they will deal with if they don’t hire you).
All leading to a character transformation which is what they hired you for.
The StoryBrand Framework
There is a character (your client) who is the hero of their own story (just like we are all our own heroes, right?!)
Has a Problem
The character has a problem that they can’t fix themselves. This problem is something that you are uniquely capable of fixing. You want to make sure to not only focus on the external problem but the internal problem and the philosophical problem. Where many service-based businesses mess up is that they only focus on the external problem. When, in reality, the problem that will drive the character to action is always the internal problem.
For example, if you are a portrait photographer, you can speak to their need for photos (external problem), but the action they want to have fixed is the ability to have a legacy and heirlooms of their family at this time.
Or if you are a fitness coach, the external problem may be the need to lose weight, but the internal problem is feeling worthy in their skin. You can talk about weight all day long, but the only reason they care about the weight is that by being heavier, they feel like they are a lesser person.
Meets a Guide
This is you! You are the one who is the expert to guide them to fixing their problem. You don’t want to make the mistake of positioning yourself as the hero in the story, because your customer sees themselves as the hero in their own story. The powerful move is showing how you are the guide that can help them get to where they want to go. You are the expert.
With a Plan
And all experts have a plan. They know what needs to happen to fix the problem, and they know how to share it with the hero so that they understand it too.
This is where you share the steps in your process. Let the customer know in 3-5 steps what they can expect if they hire you. The ending step always should reflect the life they want to have.
That Calls Them to Action
Just like in any movie, book, or story, the hero rarely decides to move forward on their own. They understand they have a problem…. but they are comfortable where they are. Fixing the problem remains in the “unknown” and so it can feel scary. This is part of why you share the plan in the steps above. By letting them know the steps, it feels less unknown and less scary. But you still need to call them to action. Don’t assume they will know what to do next.
Use buttons and clear links like “click here to book” or “inquire here” let’s the hero know what exact step to take next. If you don’t share what step to take next… it’s likely they never will take any step!
That Leads Them to Success
Finally, it’s important to paint a picture of what their life will look like once they’ve used your plan (aka hired you). Let them know what benefits they will have, how they will feel, and how this new life reflects the fixing of the problems. All three problems: external, internal, and philosophical. This way it drives home in a clear picture of exactly what their desired results will be.
And Away From Failure
And you remind them of what it will look like to not take action. Mention how they will still remain stuck if they sit here without taking action. People are more adverse than they are benefits-driven. Paint the picture of what they want (above) and remind them how sucky it could still be if they don’t do anything, and they will have what they need to make a decision.
My Business Takeaway
I absolutely love this book and its clear and actionable framework. This was my second time reading this book, and I found it to be about 1000% more useful the second time around. Because the second time I was familiar with the idea, I could really listen to the nuances and think through how this could work in my own business and my client’s businesses.
I take all my personal brand coaching clients through this framework because it helps them understand the psychology of the messaging they are using. They start to see how they can weave this story arc into all of their content, and how it really makes the case for hiring them clear.
This book is a 10 out of 10. A must-read if you own your own business or are in marketing of any variety!
My Personal Takeaways
This book was fun and eye-opening to see how so many successful movies and stories follow the same path. I can now recognize and predict things that will happen in the future in movies and shows. Which helps me hone my eye and ear to the craft of storytelling even more.
Here are some examples of the StoryBrand framework as seen in movies