StoryBrand - High Value 5 Minute Read

Bullet Version

  • What I like about Donald Miller's Building a StoryBrand

  • A 2-Minute outline of the book that you can use today

  • More valuable related resources

I just finished Donald Miller's Building a StoryBrand and it's definitely the most clear, actionable marketing book I've read. While other books will often give me more things to think about, StoryBrand somehow gave me permission to focus on fewer things in a more focused way. 

Here's the basic premise: The StoryBrand Framework places the customer as the hero of the story, and the brand as guide to help them achieve their goals. It's specifically designed to help brands cut through the noise by helping people remember who the brand is and what they do. This works because it hides psychological appeals to basic survival needs within an epic story of transformation for the customer journey.

Here's a breakdown:

A Character has a problem and meets a guide, who gives them a plan and calls them to action, helping them avoid failure and achieve success. 

A Character - Define your target customer or client. This is a success story about them after all, so identify who they are and what they want out of life.

Has a Problem - This is where things get interesting. No story is good without a problem, so we're going to introduce one at 4 different levels. Describe your character's problem with a villain (a tangible enemy), an external problem (tangible trouble), an internal problem (how that trouble makes them feel), and a philosophical problem (why it's just plain wrong for the villain to win).

Meets a Guide - This is you! Here you position yourself as a reliable solution to their problems with two tactics: empathy and authority. With empathy, you need to show the character that you feel their pain and believe in them. With authority, you also need to demonstrate that you've been successful before. 

Who Gives Them a Plan - Everything up to this point is just talk, but when the plan is introduced, that's when the tables turn. Create a three-step plan that answers the main questions a customer has before they can ask them. Next, give an agreement to help alleviate fears (think free returns or a satisfaction guarantee).

And Calls Them to Action - Don makes the case that customers don't act unless specifically asked to do so. Put your main call to action in the navigation bar, on the home page, at the bottom of each page, basically everywhere. If you sell bigger ticket services, a transitional call to action may be necessary to help on-board potential new customers by giving them something valuable for free. Try this out with a tutorial video, an industry insight pdf, a free trial, or a discount. 

Avoid Failure - Spell out what failure looks like for your customer. You might need to peek back at The Problem section and really dig into the external, internal, and philosophical failures that will occur for your customers if they don't go with you. 

Brings Success - Drive it home for your customer. A great exercise to come up with some robust copy is doing a before / after comparison. What is a typical day like before and after your product? What emotions do your customers feel before and after your service? Finish this off with a completion of the original desire you spelled out in the Character section. 

Valuable Related Resources:


Joshua Reese