The StoryBrand Framework is a popular messaging tool designed to improve your business' marketing strategy by clarifying your message. By using this framework, you can communicate immediate value, connect with your ideal customers, and grow your business.
The StoryBrand Framework helps businesses simplify their message by using a story-based approach that places customers at the center of the hero's journey.
In this article, we'll cover:
What is the StoryBrand Framework?
Every classic story, from Homer's Iliad to Star Wars, follows a similar formula. It's the hero's journey. In his book Building a StoryBrand, best-selling author Donald Miller lays out the StoryBrand Framework for businesses.
Here are the steps:
- A Character (your customer)
- Has a Problem (they need to solve)
- And Meets a Guide (your business)
- Who Gives Them a Plan (your solutions)
- And Calls Them to Action (to start the buying process)
- That Ends in Success
- And Helps Them Avoid Failure (what would happen if they don't buy)
If you follow the StoryBrand Framework, you tap into what your customers are looking for-- their needs, their motivations, and their challenges.
There's a reason why marketers love the power of storytelling in content marketing. The human brain is hardwired to prefer stories. This powerful framework helps you make your message easier to understand and remember, so customers pay attention.
It also helps businesses shift their focus from themselves to what they do to help customers.
How Does StoryBrand Apply to Marketing?
A clear message is the key to successful marketing.
A good story has the power to attract the right people to your website, engage and hold their attention, and persuade them that you are the guide to help solve their problems.
If you can tell a good customer-centered story on your website, email, blog and social media, then you can grow your business. If you can't, then your potential customers will get confused, lose interest, and go elsewhere.
What is a StoryBrand BrandScript?
Your brand needs to tell a good story, but many companies don't know what that really means or how to do it.
Every great story follows a familiar formula that's simple to understand. A BrandScript is like that, but instead of characters, it's your customers. A StoryBrand BrandScript fleshes out how the StoryBrand Framework applies to your business.
Let's go through each point of the framework and see how it applies to the way you talk about yourself and your customers.
STORYBRAND 7-PART FRAMEWORK
1. A Character
Our story begins when we meet the main character, the Hero, and we find out what they want. Who is the Hero of your brand story?
The Hero of your brand story is not you. The Hero is your Customer.
A Hero needs help. They need a Guide to help them fulfill their destiny, right?
You are the Guide. Your brand message, your story, must center on the Hero and what the Hero wants.
- Who is your customer, and what do they want?
- What is their ultimate end goal?
State that clearly and begin your message by speaking directly to the needs and desires of your customer. In other words, "what's in it for me?"
If you talk only about yourself, your company and how great you are, the customer will lose interest.
2. Has a Problem
The Hero has many obstacles to overcome before they can find success.
What are the problems your customer is facing?
- Villain: This is the thing or idea you and your customer are fighting. (The Villain isn't your competition.)
- External Problems: These are the surface issues your customer faces. Think of what they are Googling when they are looking for products like yours.
- Internal Problem: When they don't have a solution like yours, what feeling do they experience? In most B2B situations, the feeling is overwhelmed, frustrated, unsure, or confused.
- Philosophical Problem: Why is it wrong that your customers would experience this problem? Usually begins with "it's wrong to..." or "you shouldn't have to..."
3. And Meets a Guide
Customers aren't looking for a Hero. They're searching for a guide.
As the Guide, focus on how you help solve the Hero's problems.
A good Guide must demonstrate these two things:
- Empathy: you understand the Hero's problems
- Authority: you have what it takes to help the Hero overcome those problems
This is often a good place for your mission and purpose.
4. Who Gives Them a Plan
The Guide always has a plan to help the Hero. What's your plan?
StoryBrand advises using a simple, 3-step plan that makes it easy for your customers to say "YES" right away.
Your process may have 15 smaller steps in between, but the point is that your customer doesn't need to know every step in order to get started. If you confuse you lose, so keep it simple.
Here's an example from our own website.
5. And Calls Them To Action
At last, it's time to ask for the sale. Ask your customers to take action.
Don't hide your call to action. Don't beat around the bush.
What do you want your customer to do? Make it clear that this is the ONE THING they need to do. And repeat this throughout your website.
You need a Direct CTA and a Transitional CTA (also called a Lead Magnet).
Direct CTAs: Buy our product or engage our services.
- Schedule a Consultation
- Buy Now
- Get Started
Transitional CTAs: You're not ready to buy? That's OK. Here are some resources to help you on your journey.
- Download the Free Guide
- Register for the Webinar
- Learn More
I like the "Marry me or date me" way of thinking about these two types of CTAs. If your visitor isn't ready to marry you (become a customer), maybe they just want to go on a date and learn more about how you can help them.
6. That Ends in Success
As you're watching a good movie, you should always be aware of the end goal and what the hero is trying to achieve (save the world, unlock their hidden potential, marry their soulmate). What will success look like if they finally get the thing they want?
As a brand, you must paint a clear vision of the future for your customer. Remind them of their happy ending and why they need to choose you.
Finally, map out the Character Transformation of your Hero, like this. The Hero goes from _______________ to __________________.
7. And Helps Them Avoid Failure
If there are no stakes in the game, it's easy to lose interest in the Hero's journey.
Remind the Hero of what happens if they fail, if they don't choose you as their Guide. They will fail to solve their problems. They won't grow or get what they want. Or worse, they'll go backwards. In the B2B space, this typically looks like losing money, wasting time, increasing stress, and constantly feeling overwhelmed.
StoryBrand BrandScript Example
We went through this exercise of updating our BrandScript for Mojo's overarching brand. Here is a video walk-through created by one of our StoryBrand Guides for our team explaining the brand script and how each element works within the 7-part framework.
I hope it helps you understand how to put this theory into practice with your own BrandScript!
How A StoryBrand Certified Agency Can Help
The StoryBrand Framework is a useful tool, but like any tool, it's only as effective as the person using it. Many businesses are so close to their products that they think they have led with complete clarity. In reality, they used the framework to organize inside language only known by the internal staff.
It's best to work with an expert, so you can get a message and a strategy that really speaks to your customers. When you work with a guide, they can help you clarify your message by helping you craft a message easily understood by your target audience. Mojo Media Labs is a StoryBrand Certified Agency that can define and deliver effective brand messaging for your business.
This is how it works:
- Join Us for a StoryBrand Marketing Workshop
We gather your team together to ask the important questions. You get a taste of StoryBrand, and we gain a better understanding about how your products and services solve your customer's problems and challenges.
- Translate Your StoryBrand Into Marketing Materials
Our StoryBrand Certified Guides and digital marketing expertise help you translate the StoryBrand Framework into every aspect of your marketing materials-- from websites to sales funnels to ads. The Framework guides our content creation so it speaks to your customers.
- Offer Outside Perspective
When you've been in the business for years, it's difficult to imagine interacting with your business for the first time. We offer you a fresh look and experienced insight to help your business refine its messaging. By learning about your customers and industry, we help your business grow with thoughtful content marketing.
See it in action in our webinar.
Start Growing Your Business with StoryBrand
Looking to get acquainted with StoryBrand? StoryBrand offers a free tool if you're interested in going through this exercise with your company's brand. To create a BrandScript with all of these elements, create an account at mystorybrand.com.
Want to get a crystal clear message for your business? Mojo Media Labs has helped businesses clarify their message for success. Schedule a call, and let's get started.