Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
About The Book:
New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses. Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses.
This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.
Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion-dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.
Donald Miller has helped more than 3,000 businesses clarify their marketing messages so their companies grow. He’s the CEO of StoryBrand, the cohost of the Building a StoryBrand Podcast, and the author of several books, including the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their dogs, Lucy and June Carter.
About The Author:
Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand and every year helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close.
Don is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion.
Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending, Zaxby’s, and thousands more. Don lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.
Did You Know: (Book Articles)
-THE FORMULA FOR CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Formulas are simply the summation of best practices, and the reason we like them is because they work. We’ve been given great management formulas like Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership and formulas we can use in manufacturing like Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. But what about a formula for communication? Why don’t we have a formula we can use to effectively explain what our company offers the world?
The StoryBrand Framework is that formula. We know it works because some form of this formula has been active for thousands of years to help people tell stories. Talk about a summation of best practices. When it comes to getting people to pay attention, this formula will be your most powerful ally.
Once you know the formulas, you can predict the path most stories will take. I’ve learned these formulas so well that my wife hates going to movies with me because, at some point, she knows I’m going to elbow her and whisper something like, “That guy’s going to die in thirty one minutes.” Story formulas reveal a well- worn path in the human brain and if we want to stay in business, we need to position our products along this path. If you’re going to continue reading this book, I have to warn you, I’m going to ruin movies for you.
I mean, these things really are formulaic. They’re predictable. And they’re predictable for a reason. Storytellers have figured out how to keep an audience’s attention for hours. The good news is these formulas work just as well at growing your business as they do at entertaining an audience.
-THE KEY IS CLARITY
The narrative coming out of a company (and for that matter inside a company) must be clear. In a story, audiences must always know who the hero is, what the hero wants, who the hero has to defeat to get what they want, what tragic thing will happen if the hero doesn’t win, and what wonderful thing will happen if they do.
If an audience can’t answer these basic questions, they’ll check out and the movie will lose millions at the box office. If a screenwriter breaks these rules, they’ll likely never work again. The same is true for the brand you represent. Our customers have questions burning inside them and if we aren’t answering those questions, they’ll move on to another brand.
If we haven’t identified what our customer wants, what problem we are helping them solve, and what life will look like after they engage our products and services, for example, we can forget about thriving in the marketplace. Whether we’re writing a story or attempting to sell products, our message must be clear. Always. In fact, at StoryBrand we have a mantra: If you confuse, you’ll lose.
-BUSINESS HAS AN ENEMY
Business has a fierce, insidious enemy that, if not identified and combated, will contort our company into an unrecognizable mess. The enemy I’m talking about is noise. Noise has killed more ideas, products, and services than taxes, recessions, lawsuits, climbing interest rates, and even inferior product design.
I’m not talking about the noise inside our business; I’m talking about the noise we create as a business. What we often call marketing is really just clutter and confusion sprayed all over our websites, emails, and commercials. And it’s costing us millions. Years ago, a StoryBrand client who attended one of our workshops pushed back. “I don’t think this will work for me,” he said. “My business is too diverse to reduce down to a simple message.” I asked him to explain.
“I have an industrial painting company with three different revenue streams. In one division we powder coat auto parts. In another, we apply sealant to concrete, and in another, we have a sterilized painting process used specifically in hospitals.”
His business was diverse, but nothing so complex that it couldn’t be simplified so more people would hire him. I asked if I could put his website on the giant television screen so the entire workshop could see it. His website was thoughtful, but it didn’t make a great deal of sense from an outside perspective (which is how every customer views your business).
The man had hired a fine- arts painter to create a painting of his building (was he selling a building?) and, at first glance, it looked like the website for an Italian restaurant. The first question I had when I went to the website was, “Do you serve free breadsticks?” There were a thousand links ranging from contact information to FAQs to a timeline of the company’s history. There were even links to the nonprofits the business supported. It was as though he was answering a hundred questions his customers had never asked.
I asked the class to raise their hands if they thought his business would grow if we wiped the website clean and simply featured an image of a guy in a white lab coat painting something next to text that read, “We Paint All Kinds of S#*%,” accompanied by a button in the middle of the page that said, “Get a Quote.”
The entire class raised their hands. Of course his business would grow. Why? Because he’d finally stopped forcing clients to burn calories thinking about his life and business and offered the one thing that would solve his customers’ problems: a painter. What we think we are saying to our customers and what our customers actually hear are two different things. And customers make buying decisions not based on what we say, but what they hear.
If you also have read this book, please share your review below, we greatly appreciate your comment and let’s talk about it!