• Merrell McGinness

What is storybrand?

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

It's not unusual for companies to double or even triple their business after implementing StoryBrand principles. There are endless case studies on the success of the StoryBrand framework. That's why it has become a $20 million company in just 7 years.

So what is this magic marketing sauce? Below I break down what StoryBrand is all about, and how it can help you grow your business.

marketing through story

The human brain learns best from story. Why do you think folklore survived thousands of years before the printing press? Or why the Bible is filled with parables? Effective stories make us FEEL something. Those emotions heighten our ability to memorize experiences, thereby improving our information processing.

Bottom line: stories make it stick. But it has to be a GOOD story.

So what makes a good story? Number one: clarity. We are naturally drawn to clarity (and repelled by clutter or confusion).

This is where so many companies stumble. It can be extremely difficult to communicate who you are and what you do in a few sentences (and more importantly why someone should care). But as Donald Miller famously says, "if you confuse, you lose."

When you quickly and clearly communicate how you can solve your customers problems, you will stand out from the crowd. So how do you do that?

the storybrand framework

Whether it's a novel, a movie script, or a marketing email, all great stories follow a formula. StoryBrand has broken this down into a 7-part framework:

1. You meet a character

2. who has a problem

3. and meets a guide

4. who gives them a plan

5. and calls them to action

6. that helps them avoid failure

7. and ends in a success

Let's use the movie Star Wars to demonstrate:

1. A character (Luke Skywalker)

2. has a problem (needs to destroy the Death Star)

3. and meets a guide (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

4. who gives them a plan (become a Jedi)

5. and calls them to action (“Use the Force, Luke.”)

6. that helps them avoid failure (avoids death/capture by Darth Vader)

7. and ends in a success (Destroys the Death Star and becomes a Jedi)

So how do you apply this to marketing your company?

  1. Determine the character (your customer)

  2. Define the problem (your company wouldn't exist if it didn't solve a problem)

  3. Establish yourself as the guide (reassure them you are the best one to help)

  4. Give them a plan (people will commit if they know and believe in the plan -- no one steps into uncertainty)

  5. Call them to action (they won't act by suggestion)

  6. Help them avoid failure (remind them what terrible things could happen if they don't commit to your product or service)

  7. Tell them how you'll help achieve success (cast a vision of how wonderful their life will be once they are your customer)

It's so simple, yet so many companies get this wrong! Too often they are so close to their products and services that they don't know how to explain what they offer in simple, clear and compelling language.

The StoryBrand process helps businesses tell their story in a way that people will listen.

how it can help

When you nail your brand's messaging, you can improve every single aspect of your business' marketing. Your website, emails, social media posts, ads, proposals -- even your business cards can become lead magnets. That's because you're telling people in a clear and compelling way how you can make their lives better.

It all starts with the BrandScript, which is a document outlining the 7-part framework mentioned above. This is your brand's 'architectural drawings' that you'll use for every single marketing effort. Once complete, you’ll have more clarity in your messaging and can communicate more effectively.

Next, you'll determine your company's one-liner, which piques curiosity for potential customers. It follows the very simple formula of their problem --> your solution --> their success/happy ending.

It should be relatable to anyone (no jargon or complex concepts) and clearly state the problem and how you solve it. If executed properly, it can help you find new customers anywhere by providing an engaging and compelling way to answer this age-old question: “So what do you do?”

With those key building blocks, you can then execute your website copy, lead generator, email marketing and all other traditional collateral.

Simple but not easy

StoryBrand marketing is something that is simple to understand but difficult to execute. I often work with small businesses who have read the books or taken the course but still feel lost in the weeds when trying to actually put it all together.

I start all BrandScripts with two 90-minute interviews. Often about halfway through the first interview, people are amazed at just how awesome their product or service really is.

They're so busy working IN the business, they've don't realize what it looks like from the outside (their customer's perspective). It's an important shift that can transform all of their marketing.

If you want to dive deeper, a great place to start is Donald Miller's book Marketing Made Simple. He also offers some incredible resources in his Business Made Simple University.

Or, if you want to get started right away, I can guide you through the entire BrandScript process in about two weeks.

Either way, it's time you gain clarity around your brand's message so you can connect with customers and achieve the success you so richly deserve.

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