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Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Key Takeaways

The 7 Principles

The customer is the hero, not your brand

  1. Who does our customer want to become? What kind of person do they want to be? What is their aspirational identity?

  2. The best way to identify an aspirational identity that our customers may be attracted to is to consider how they want their friends to talk about them. Think about it. When others talk about you, what do you want them to say? How we answer that question reveals who it is we’d like to be.

Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems (and philosophical ones)

  1. Human beings are looking for resolutions to their external, internal, and philosophical problems, and they can achieve this through, among other things, status, self-realization, self-acceptance, and transcendence. If our products can help people achieve these things, we should make this a core aspect of our brand promise.

Customers aren’t looking for another hero, they’re looking for a guide

  1. The two things a brand must communicate to position themselves as the guide are Empathy and authority

  2. Testimonials, statistics, awards, logos

Customers trust a guide who has a plan

  1. Plans can take many shapes and forms, but all effective plans do one of two things: they either clarify how somebody can do business with us, or they remove the sense of risk somebody might have if they’re considering investing in our products or services. Remember the mantra “If you confuse, you lose”? Not having a plan is a guaranteed way to confuse your customers.

  2. A process plan can describe the steps a customer needs to take to buy our product, or the steps the customer needs to take to use our product after they buy it, or a mixture of both.

Customers do not take action unless they are challenged to take action

  1. What steps do they need to take to do business with you? Spell out those steps, and it’ll be as though you’ve paved a sidewalk through a field.

Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending

  1. Stories live and die on a single question: What’s at stake? If nothing can be gained or lost, nobody cares.

  2. Brands that help customers avoid some kind of negativity in life (and let their customers know what that negativity is) engage customers for the same reason good stories captivate an audience: they define what’s at stake.

Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them!

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