“People don’t buy the best products; they buy the products they can understand the fastest.”
This is the core message at the heart of Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller. What this means for your business, no matter what industry you are in, is that clarity wins customers.
As Don points out, stories tap into a “well-worn path” in the human brain. Stories have been used for thousands of years to help us make sense of the world. So if you want to communicate something effectively, and in a way that people will remember, using Story as a framework for your message is key.
What Donald Miller offers in this book is the seven part framework that his company, StoryBrand, has used to help hundreds of companies grow their businesses.
People like Ray Edwards and Michael Hyatt have gone through the StoryBrand workshops and have seen their businesses literally quadruple as a result of clarifying their messages. This book is a great way to kick off your 2019 marketing efforts and help you take the lead in your industry. But only if you want your business to grow and your marketing efforts to succeed (wink wink). I’m teasing, of course.
But I really do believe that once you start implementing some of these techniques, you’ll see a big change in how you connect with your customers. More than that, you will have a framework that can be applied any time you have to share information, internally or externally.
The StoryBrand framework is that effective!
Your Two Biggest Marketing Mistakes
The biggest paradigm shift that StoryBrand emphasizes is that your company is not the hero of the story you tell. Your customer is actually the hero, and your company serves as the guide helping them become successful.
Think about it: your customer is coming to you because they have a problem they need to solve, or because they have a desire they want to fulfil. They don’t care about your mission statement or corporate history. They care about how your company can help them.
In this light, Don starts out by identifying the two biggest mistakes that your company might be making in its message:
1) You aren’t focused on how your product/service helps your customer survive and thrive
Your customer only cares about one thing: themselves. They don’t come to you because they want to bask in your awards or listen to you brag. They come to you for the resolution to a problem.
Either something is threatening the survival of their own business and they need your help, or they are looking for a way to grow and thrive in their sector and need your support. In short, they need a guide to give them a plan for success.
2) You are making your customers work too hard to understand how you can help them survive and thrive
With emails piling up, phones ringing, and endless strings of meetings on the calendar, your customer doesn’t have time to sift through a lot of information. They want to know quickly whether or not you can help them. They need you to get to the point.
The harder you make it for your customer to understand how, or even if, your company can help them survive and thrive, the more likely you are to lose that customer. There are many other businesses out there competing for potential customer attention.
The ones who win are the ones who get to the point: we can help you and here’s how!
Want to test out your company’s message to see how clear it is? Go around the office and ask your people: what do we do? What you’re looking for is an answer to the question, “What’s the problem we help solve?” If you get a lot of different answers, your company’s offer may not be very clear.
Another test: go to a coffee shop, open up your laptop with your company’s web page, and ask a few strangers to guess what your company does in 10 seconds or less. If they can’t do it, or again, if you get a lot of different answers, your message probably isn’t very clear.
Why Story Helps Clarify Your Message
A lot of people believe attention spans are shrinking. However, that’s not likely the case. Evolutionary brain changes take a very long time to happen. What these arguments do point out is the fact that we are losing our patience for noise.
How else can you reconcile this apparent shrinking of attention spans with the increase of binge-watching television shows? We only have 8-second attention spans, but can sit down for 16 hours to watch the latest Netflix drama from start to finish?
That doesn’t add up for me.
Our brains aren’t changing with technology, but our options are. With so many outlets creating new content all the time, what we have lost is our willingness to endure confusion. And so has your potential customer. A story framework helps you shape your company’s message to speak directly to the internal, external, and philosophical needs and desires of your customers. Stories work because they infuse information with meaning.
Facts are neutral. Stories are value-charged. In order to show your customer the value that your company offers, use Story as a framework to get to the point.
The Structure that All Stories Share
Story as a communication device works so well because we know it intuitively. We not only grow up reading and watching stories, we live them daily. Stories feel real because, for us, they are real. The structure plays out every day.
Here is how Donald Miller outlines the Story framework in his book:
“A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”
Sound familiar? It should.
This is the structure of nearly every story ever told. We see this in movies, television shows, books, and even in everyday life. Stories work so well because we recognize the structure in our own experiences. Everything from planning a vacation to onboarding a new customer plays out this way.
Our brains are wired to remember stories.
So if you want to get the attention of your customers, if you want to keep their attention and capture their business, you have to connect with the story they are living and show them you have the solution to their story’s problem.
Remember, your customer is already the hero in their own story. They don’t need another hero crowding them out. They need a guide who will help them avoid failure. Your customer needs you to give them a plan to help their story be successful.
Why You Should Buy this Book
I’ll let the author, Donald Miller, tell you himself:
Your company offers a product or service that you KNOW is good for customers. You even have proof of how your business has helped other businesses get started and grow. But you are also competing with a lot of other companies who want the same customers.
What makes your company stand out? How do you capture your customer’s attention in a sea full of noisy competitors? How do you ensure that your ideal customer chooses you to help them succeed?
You give them a clear message that taps into their desire to survive and thrive. You show them that you have the empathy to understand their needs, and the authority to help them succeed. Like an arrow through the fog, you get to the point and strike at the heart.
Do you want to take the lead in 2019? Start by reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. It will transform your message. It will transform your marketing. And it will transform your business.
Seriously, buy this book and tell me what you think!
Content Marketing Specialist
LTi Technology Solutions
NOTE: LTi Technology Solutions is not affiliated with StoryBrand or the Building a StoryBrand book. The opinions expressed in this post are purely my own. No commission or payment in any form is received from the sale of this product.