The first step in creating a narrative brand story for your business is to create what Donald Miller has coined as “storybrand brandscript.”
Using this marketing framework allows you to connect with your customers by communicating what you do from your customers’ perspective and the story they are living. Your customer is the one who has a problem and is searching for a solution to that problem. When they find you, they are already thinking about the problem they have and wonder if you will be the one who can help them solve it? When using the Storybrand brandscipt, your message speaks to the problem your customer has and the solution you provide, inviting you into their story as the Guide, or someone with the experience and authority to solve their problem.
As Donald Miller teaches during his marketing workshop, this proven formula has been used for thousands of years, from Aristotle to Shakespeare, to communicate a story. More recently, and within our lifetime, Hollywood has made billions following this simple script. Movies such as Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Tommy Boy, That Thing You Do, all follow this simple script for success, and the film that doesn’t follow this formula is often hard to follow and tend to not be successful.
The 7 Elements Of Writing A Great Story
Every great story has 7 elements, and the storybrand framework uses these seven elements to communicate your business.
Every great story has a lead character who is the hero of the story. The hero, who is always doing their level best to survive within the story, is faced with a conflict that they must overcome or conquer to obtain what they desire.
In the story of your business, the character or the hero of the story is your customer.
With A Problem
At some point during the characters journey, our Hero faces an obstacle that they must overcome and defeat.
In the Storybrand Framework, the problem your customer is experiencing is split into three separate distinctions.
1. The external problem.
The external problem is the actual problem your customer is experiencing. Such as, having a leaky sink, or they need new tires for their car, or need marketing for their small business. The external problem is the problem they are trying to overcome.
2. The internal problem.
The internal problem is how the customer’s problem is making them feel. Feelings like frustrated, angry, afraid, or worried. Each problem creates a different set of emotions for each character.
3. The philosophical problem.
The philosophical problem is why it is just plain wrong that your customer has to deal with their problem. Typically these are statements that use the words “ought” or “should.”
Meets A Guide
The Guide is a critical piece for every great story.
At some point, the story’s character during their journey meets someone who can help them overcome their problem.
This person within the Storybrand Framework is known as The Guide.
The Guide is one who can speak with empathy towards the characters problem because they have experienced the problem before, and have successfully navigated their way through the customers problem and has now seen the other side. The Guide’s role in the story is to be the one who can help our hero see what their life will look like once they solve their problem, and most importantly, they present a simple plan to get started.
That Presents A Plan
Let’s face it. We can’t solve most problems on our own. If we could, we would. Right? Without a guide to paint a picture of what our life could look like once the problem has been solved and then present a simple plan that will help us get started on our journey, our story’s hero will probably be content to stay put.
Without an Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker continues to be just another frustrated moisture farmer on Tatooine, wondering what adventure lies out there.
But also, if Obi-Wan told Luke before he even started his journey that he was going to have to face Darth Vader and kill him eventually, that would have been too overwhelming for a wannabe Jedi as well. Instead, Obi-Wan presented a simple plan to Luke, “we need to go to Mos Eisley and find someone with a ship who can take us where we need to go.”
As a guide, you should present at least three and no more than four steps to help the story’s hero move forward and solve their problem.
And Calls Them To Action
If you are like me, every great thing I have ever accomplished is because someone called me to take action.
Just like Obi-Wan did to Luke Skywalker, you need to call your customer to take action. This Call To Action can be “Schedule A Call” or “Make An Appointment.” But it needs to be a clear and decisive call to action and not an ambiguous call like “Get Started.” If they could “get started,” they wouldn’t need the Guide after all. Make it a clear call to action.
On To Success
Seeing success is an integral part of any journey. Without knowing exactly what you are working towards or how it will impact your life, it’s too easy to give up. The mark of a great leader is painting a picture of what someone’s life could look like “if they only” and then help them achieve that goal.
What will your customers’ life look like after they hire you or use your product?
Paint a clear picture for them to see.
Or Experience Failure
A story without consequences is an incomplete story. Without failure, there isn’t a reason for your customer to not do business with you. Without consequences, it doesn’t make a difference. In order for your story to be compelling, you must communicate some failure elements of the results they will experience if they choose not to do business with you. Such as, lose customers, lose money, reputation, whatever, but you need to remind them of some form of failure.
Word of caution though, too much failure, and you risk being heavy-handed.
Using failure in your story is like using salt when baking; just a pinch does the trick!
But, when you use that small amount and remind the customer what their life will be like if they continue on their same path, that reminder can be a compelling motivator.
Ultimately They Experience Character Transformation
This last and critical piece of the Storybrand framework greatly helps you paint a picture to your customers of what their life looks like now, and how their lives will be greater by doing business with you. They move “From” where they were, and into “To” where they want to be. In Storybrand, “To” is also known as their aspirational identity. Who do they eventually want to become?
So, not to be too heavy-handed, but are you going to continue on YOUR same path, or are you ready to implement the Storybrand Framework for your business.
Keep reading for some simple steps you can take to implement the Storybrand Framework yourself.
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