Building a StoryBrand

Summary Written by Karen Draghi
“Story is the greatest weapon we have to combat noise, because it organizes information in such a way that people are compelled to listen.”

- Building a StoryBrand, page 16

The Big Idea

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."- Building a StoryBrand, page 24

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.

Insight #1

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."- Building a StoryBrand, page 49

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.

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Insight #2

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."- Building a StoryBrand, page 98

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.

Read the book

Get Building a StoryBrand on Amazon.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand and every year helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close.

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