“Story is the greatest weapon we have to combat noise, because it organizes information in such a way that people are compelled to listen.”
Today’s consumer is bombarded with thousands of pieces of information every single day. Information overload is the new “normal”. This constant stream of noise coming at us is too much for us to deal with and so, more and more, we are tuning out, not listening, not watching. We’re constantly filtering all of this information and we only pay attention when we perceive something will help us, or our loved ones, survive and/or thrive.
Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand is a formula that any business, large or small, can use to reach out to and engage the consumer, no matter how much information overload they are suffering from. He will teach you how to market your brand by telling stories that your ideal client will want to listen to.
Your customer’s story must be central to your marketing
"n every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise."
Many, if not most, companies spend their marketing energy and dollars conveying an excess of information about their products and their company. This is often confusing to the customer and boring. What the consumer really needs to know, in simple terms, is how the company can make a positive difference in their own lives.
How many websites, and other marketing pieces, have you seen where the company goes on and on, page after page, telling you about their products? How many products they produce, how they produce them, where they produce them, the processes they use, what ingredients/components are used, why their products are superior to those produced by other companies, etc.
How many times have you seen a beautiful website where the company provides numerous links, pictures, diagrams, videos in an effort to educate the consumer? Quite often this results in too much information for the potential customer to absorb so they exit the website and never return.
During his first stint at Apple, Steve Jobs led the company in the launch of the “Lisa” computer. They ran a nine-page ad in the New York Times explaining all the technical details of the computer. The ad campaign failed and the computer sold poorly. A couple years later, after being forced out of Apple, Jobs invested in and helped create “the genius storytelling factory that is Pixar”. His years at Pixar transformed his marketing approach as he learned how important the art of storytelling is to capture the attention of the customer.
When he returned to Apple, Jobs lead the company in their efforts to study and identify who their customers were and what they needed. This customer-centric focus resulted in their very successful, two-word campaign, “Think Different” which appeared on billboards everywhere. Today, Apple continues to excel in creating marketing stories that engage the imagination of customers everywhere.
Focus on one thing
"The most important challenge for business leaders is to define something simple and relevant their customers want and to become known for delivering on that promise."
It’s critical for a business to identify the gap between where the customer is and where they want to be, or what they don’t have but want to have. In what way can they best help that customer? Many businesses offer multiple products or multiple solutions, but the best strategy is to focus on one need and become known for delivering a solution for that one need before adding a second and third set of solutions.
Potential customers should be able to tell you exactly how a company’s products or services will help them. If they can’t, it’s probably because the company provides a lot of random information and no clear message about how they can help them. And, a confused consumer won’t buy.
Ask for the sale, repeatedly
"The reality is when we try to sell passively, we communicate a lack of belief in our product. When we don’t ask clearly for the sale, the customer senses weakness."
Many companies seem almost apologetic when asking for the sale. They end up underselling because they fear overselling. This results in a marketing message where the company appears unsure of their value. But customers want to do business with a company that is confident in the value of their products and services and knows the positive changes it can make in the lives of its customers. This company asks for the sale and they ask multiple times. On their webpage, they’ll feature multiple “Buy Now” buttons, giving the potential customer multiple opportunities to buy.
Author Donald Miller lays out guidelines any company can use to create their own “storybrand”. Using his roadmap, companies can create a new marketing story where their potential customer becomes the hero (vs. the company) and the company becomes the guide who can help them win.
Can you begin to think of ways you can change your company’s marketing story? How can your ideal client become the hero of the story and how can your company guide them?