A few years ago, I read a book that changed how we think about marketing. It wasn’t filled with entirely new concepts, but it materialized those concepts in a way that made so much sense. The book crafted a practical framework for what should be the foundation of all marketing: great messaging.
That framework is called StoryBrand, and it comes from the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.
To put it simply, the StoryBrand Framework is a clear path to creating a message that will actually compel your customer (or prospective customer in this case) to take action.
And let’s be honest — in business, there’s almost nothing more important than getting the customer to take the first action. If they don’t take that first action and move toward us as a company, we can’t do business with them, and without that, well… we can’t stay in business long.
The StoryBrand Framework is made up of seven key stages, all revolving around the customer’s story (not yours). Okay, it’s kind of yours, but only in how your experience and services will help the customer achieve their success.
Some refer to this as the hero’s journey, but there are some differences in how the process flows compared to the typical hero’s journey in storytelling.
Breaking Down the StoryBrand Framework
The StoryBrand Framework starts with the customer, not you.
I know that’s hard. We all want to talk about our businesses, but if we want customers to actually be helped by our product or services, we need to focus on what they want, not what we want to sell them. What the customer wants is where it all starts with the StoryBrand Framework.
To be clear, what they want is rarely your actual product or service.
For example, if you sell insurance, the customer doesn’t really want insurance. Sorry to say, but virtually no one actually WANTS insurance. We need it, but we need it to solve a want, which is usually some kind of safety, security, or life stability.
Once we understand what our customer wants, we then ask the question “What problem are they trying to solve as it relates to what they want?”
The StoryBrand Framework evaluates the problem in three ways.
The first is the external problem, which is the most obvious and clear issue. So, let’s say they need a coffee maker. That’s their external problem.
Next is the internal problem, which is how the external problem is making them feel. So maybe they feel exhausted by not having a working coffee maker and confused about what coffee maker to buy. That’s their internal problem.
And finally, there’s the philosophical problem, or what they actually believe that relates to their problem. This usually involves a statement that starts with “You deserve…” or “It’s just plain wrong that…” In this case, the philosophical problem may be “I deserve to start my day off on the right foot.”
These two pieces of the StoryBrand Framework are fundamental in getting the messaging right. So often, we start with ourselves, including who we are and what we’ve done, but we’re not actually focused on what our customer wants — and that’s most important!
When we focus on what our customer wants and what their problem is, we put the messaging in a position that’s focused on them… and surprise, surprise, when we focus on our customer, they actually listen, because we’re addressing their real problems. And isn’t that what we all want to do, anyway?
After the problem, we’re introduced with empathy and authority as the guide in the story. That just means we’re there to help guide our client toward a solution; we’re there to make our client the hero, not ourselves, like Yoda to Luke Skywalker.
As the guide, we give our clients a clear three-step plan toward success (the plan is step four). Once they know the plan, we’ll call them to action (step five), and show them how to avoid failure (step six) and see success (step seven).
Ultimately, the StoryBrand Framework is just a simple way to create clarity in your messaging so the client will listen and, ultimately, buy from you.
We’ve been using the StoryBrand Framework for our own marketing and that of our clients for several years and seen remarkable results.
In fact, when we updated our messaging to abide by the StoryBrand Framework, we saw a 2x increase in qualified leads from our website. I don’t know about you, but getting twice as many leads sure sounds like success to me!
We love this framework so much that we’ve tripled down on it as a marketing agency. This year we took the step to become a fully certified StoryBrand agency. We’re actually one of just 15 marketing agencies in the world with this certification! What that means is that our whole team is fully trained to use the StoryBrand Framework in a way that enables our clients to clarify their message, get attention, and acquire customers.
If you’re struggling with getting marketing results, the StoryBrand Framework is where you should start.
Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free, 15-minute call!