The StoryBrand framework is a popular marketing messaging tool among business leaders that allows organizations to clarify their message using a 7 part-process that leverages the power of story. Used right, this powerful tool can help your business become a valuable asset in the lives of your customers.
Developed by Nashville-based, best-selling author Donald Miller in his book, Building a StoryBrand, the StoryBrand Framework is a marketing messaging framework based on the hero’s journey. This messaging framework helps businesses and professionals simplify their brand messaging by taking a story-driven approach to communication that places the customer at the center of everything.
"When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as their guide, we will be recognized as a sought-after character to help them along their journey. In other words, your audience is Luke Skywalker. You get to be Yoda. It’s a small but powerful shift. This honors the journey and struggles of our audience, and it allows us to provide the product or service they need to succeed." (from Don Miller)
While the StoryBrand Framework is great, it isn’t the whole picture of how digital marketing works to grow your business. In this post, we’ll breakdown where the StoryBrand Framework excels in helping businesses win, and where working with a StoryBrand Certified Agency like ours can enhance its overall impact.
Where The StoryBrand Framework Excels
It Will Help You Clarify Your Message
The StoryBrand Framework does a great job helping businesses clarify and simplify their message. When you’re a business owner, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Familiarity with the products or services you offer can actually make clear communication with potential customers a challenge. Because you know your business inside and out, it’s easy to start assuming that other people do too.
The reality is that your potential customers don’t know your industry, products, services, or business the way that you do. The StoryBrand Framework helps businesses break down their offerings in the simplest terms possible, and answers the core question that every potential customer is always asking, “What problem in my life will your product/service help me solve?”
It Will Help You Guide Potential Customers To Success.
Historically, businesses have made their marketing all about them. Their story, their qualifications, their awesome-ness. The Storybrand Framework does an excellent job helping brands change their focus and bring the potential customer to the center of the marketing experience. The best brands are guides that help customers find success. By developing a brandscript for your business (either in a live Storybrand workshop or through a meeting with Lone Fir), you’ll take a step toward a brand message that your customers can resonate with and trust.
It Will Help You Leverage Story To Drive Customer Engagement
Customers want their stories to resolve. They want to find success. And they want someone to help them do it. When implemented well, the StoryBrand marketing framework helps open what is known as a story loop. An open story loop will keep customers engaged with your brand message and wanting to learn more as they seek to resolve their own stories/problems. Human beings (and more specifically, the human brain) desires resolution their problems, and the StoryBrand Framework uses this to your business’ advantage.
Check out this episode of the StoryBrand podcast for more on the brain science behind story: “Why People Buy: The Powerful Science of Selling”
Where The StoryBrand Framework Falls Short
The StoryBrand Framework is not a one-size-fits-all tool. While every business needs at least a clear message, most organizations will likely need more. The businesses that are able to experience immediate success and self-implement the framework often have a few extra things going for them. The core issue is this: the StoryBrand Framework assumes your business has proven product, a defined, market, and existing traffic. If you don’t, you probably need help from an agency to get the most out of the tool.
“The StoryBrand Framework assumes your business has proven product, a defined, market, and existing traffic. If you don’t, you probably need help from an agency.”
While the StoryBrand Framework can be great for start-ups and people just getting started with their business, those people still might need a couple of years to refine their product and find the right market fit. This means a commitment to reworking your framework every couple of months as you learn more and prove out your product.
People Assume The StoryBrand Framework Is Magic
A common mistake people make when using the StoryBrand Framework is treating it like the proverbial silver bullet that will solve all their problems upon implementation.Here’s the thing: it’s a great framework and should be implemented into every area of your business as you learn more about your business and seek to meet your growth goals. That said, it can’t bring traffic to your website or create awareness of your business and/or brand on its own. People often assume by launching a website customers will just “find” them and sign up. If people aren’t looking for you, they won’t find you.To get the best results, you need to pair the StoryBrand Framework with the right marketing and sales initiatives. If you aren’t doing sales and marketing outreach and launching initiatives regularly to create awareness, then a messaging framework won’t fix your sales and marketing problem.
Some clients come to our agency with a “completed” framework and only want us to make slight changes to their website or marketing materials. Generally, those people are assuming that since they’ve read Building A StoryBrand and have done some basic work piecing together a framework, that they’re actually experts. This typically sets people up for disappointment. It can take a long time to work through a message and get it right, and it’s important to understand that upfront.
5 Rules For Getting The Most From The StoryBrand Framework
You need more than the Storybrand Framework PDF in order to find success with this marketing approach. We’ve distilled our expertise as StoryBrand Certified Guides into these 5 rules to help you maximize the impact of the StoryBrand Framework in your business:
1. Put Yourself In The Customer’s Shoes. The ability to remove yourself from your business long enough to step into the customer's shoes is key. How do things appear and come across when a customer engages with your brand or business? This ability will help you think critically about how your product or service impacts customers and helps solve their challenges.
2. Don’t Settle For Anything Less Than Clarity, Even If It Takes Time. Ask questions about your business, your customer, your product, and your approach as long as you need to. Keep going until something sticks, however long it takes. It’s vital that you land on a message that’s clear to your potential customers.
3. Your Sales Team Knows Your Customers Really Well, Use That. Your customers are asking questions all the time. Most likely, it’s your sales team that knows what these are. Talk to your salespeople as you clarify your message and you’ll get tons of “free” market research.
4. Create Awareness Through Digital Marketing. Building an audience and getting in front of people is critical to the success of the StoryBrand Framework. Use tools like email marketing, paid ads, content + SEO, social media, mailers, and networking to get in front of new potential customers. Take full advantage of effective copywriting, a smart call to action, and well done marketing collateral. If you need help doing these things, enlish the help of a StoryBrand certified agency ASAP.
5. Set Up Channels For Customer Feedback. Build an ability to receive feedback on your products or services into your website and/or product. This will make it easier to get direct feedback from the customer and integrate this into your messaging.
How Working With A StoryBrand Certified Agency Can Help
Completing a StoryBrand marketing roadmap or framework is the first step. When you combine it with the help of a Storybrand certified guide or an agency like ours that offers digital marketing and creative services, you’ll end up getting the kind of results you’re really looking for. At Lone Fir Creative, we have experience working with over 50 customers in the past 18 months (at the time this was written) specifically on implementing the StoryBrand Framework. Our process looks like this:
Host a Messaging Workshop. We start by hosting a messaging workshop that includes the key stakeholders in your business together in one place for long enough to hash through the most important questions. Our goal is to get a better understanding of how your products and services solve your customer’s challenges and problems since that’s the key to the StoryBrand Framework being effective.
Translate Your StoryBrand Framework Into Marketing Materials. Our unique combination of StoryBrand certification and digital marketing experience has given our agency the ability to translate the StoryBrand Framework into effective and impactful marketing materials. We use the framework as a filter to create content that speaks directly to your customer’s needs.
Offer An Outside Voice for Perspective. Outside perspective is a valuable resource. When a business has been drinking their own kool-aid for too long, they get stuck (trust us, we know.) We can offer a candid, thoughtful, and experienced perspective to help get your business to where you want to go. By learning from your customers, we can help refine your messaging so that your products and services become a valuable part of their life.