I think one of the most important books on marketing to be published in the last 20 years is Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. This is one of my must reads for people and has really helped shape our marketing strategy for our clients since I read it several years ago. So why is that? Well, I think primarily it gives a great framework that helps reorient anyone who wants to market to think about things from a customer’s experience. It is really easy as a marketer or someone trying to sell something, to think about what we want to say.
We have this new feature, or in our instance, we have this new camera or this new design technique, but most people really don’t care. Here are three main takeaways from building a story brand the Hero’s journey, clarity, and implementing the framework. The main focus of building a story brand is the hero’s journey, or as Donald calls it, the story brand framework. We won’t cover it in great detail here. You should really go by the book.
But the summary is this how does our customer move from failure to success in a particular story arc, and how do we help them get there? The entire hero’s journey is shaped around a potential customer and how we can help them get to their intended goal? How do we help them solve their problem? Once you read this book, you will never again see a movie the same way. Nearly every single movie follows the hero’s journey, which means that you will start to see all the key elements in each movie.
The idea of a hero’s journey has been around for a long time and was popularized by the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell in 1949. But Donald distilled the idea and modernized it for us. In my perspective, the most important point of the entire book is that the customer is the hero in their own story, and we are there to help them not be the hero, which is flipping our normal thought process on its head. We like to be the hero, not the hero’s helper. One of the enemies that Miller points to is the threat of confusion and marketing.
Our materials should be clear. Audiences should be able to quickly find the next action we want them to take. This is something we work hard with on all of our customers. People sometimes don’t realize how complicated it is to do business with them or to find the information that they’re looking for. We work really hard on our projects to make it as clear as possible what the next steps at any moment are for their customers.
Clarity in this way is very important for inbound marketing or potential customers who are coming to us to do business. But also, do we make it clear what we do? Do we position ourselves specifically for the customer to understand what we do and why we do it. When we first opened, we had too vague of a one line, all things small business marketing. That line positioned us too broadly and set us up to be the hero.
We have refined our oneliner through the framework to Be, leading businesses to conquer digital marketing. With that change, it moved us to a guiding role and specified what areas we like to help with digital marketing when we work on implementing the hero’s journey. Story Brand gives great framework for this journey called the SB Seven Framework. They have great online tools that help you work through the email@example.com, but in short, think about your customer, that customer’s problem and who can help them solve it. But also how can we make sure our message is clear?
And how can we paint a picture of success or failure, keeping in mind how we can communicate the problem we solve as clearly as possible and frequently creating marketing oneliners will cover that Donald Miller is a great communicator and uses that skill to distill these principles into an easy to read book. Since publishing this, he has gone on to create a license for story brand like you can become a certified story brand guide. And his newest endeavor is Business Made Simple. Business made simple is an MBA in a single book. It covers all the aspects on how to run your business and one easy to read book.
Donald comes from a background writing Christian bestsellers, but in his pivot to business writing, he may have found his true calling. You can find links to Donald and a link to buy the book in the show. Notes for this episode. If you found this episode helpful, text it to a friend. Thank you for listening.