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Building a Story Brand – Marketing Innovation to Help Brands Clarify their Message

by Tasos

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Jan 2, 2018

I discovered Donald Miller by Ray Edwards, one of my copywriting mentors. He was promoting Don’s unreleased at the time book ‘Building a Story Brand’. As I always check Ray’s recommendations I clicked through to find more information about the book. So I ended up listening to a podcast by Donald Miller announcing the release of his new book.

The podcast was very interesting and got me hooked immediately. Don was approaching marketing in a whole different way than other copywriters so I listened to a few more podcasts and visited the storybrand.com website as well.

Finally, I decided to proceed with an order on Amazon. The hardcopy version of the book was bundled with 2 bonus video lectures and I had the chance to watch those videos instantly right after the purchase

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Building A StoryBrand – Book Review

Donald Miller – Biography

Don Miller is a best selling American author and public speaker out of Nashville, Tennessee. Among his books, you’ll find…

  • Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen maintenance (2000)
  • Blue like Jazz (2003)
  • Through painted deserts (2005)
  • To own a dragon (2006)
  • A million miles in a thousand years (2009)
  • Scary close (2015)
  • Building a story brand (2017)

Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of StoryBrand.com, a B2B company helping other companies clarify their marketing messages. He organizes live workshops where he helps businesses to connect with customers, revolutionize their marketing, and grow their companies. StoryBrand also offers online courses, private workshops, live events, and guides certification.

There is free marketing material so that you can test what this company has to offer before you decide to proceed with a purchase.

  • The storybrand online brandscript (online tool)
  • 5 things your website should include (PDF)
  • 5-minute marketing makeover (mini video series)
  • Avoid the marketing money pit (video series)
  • Building a storybrand podcast

Overview

Building a StoryBrand is a book by Donald Miller that aims to help businesses and organizations clarify their marketing message so customers engage. A paradigm-shifting approach to connecting with customers can give you the ultimate competitive advantage by revealing the secret to helping customers understand the benefits of using your products, ideas, or services.

Slogans on the hardcover

  • Clarify your message so customers will listen
  • Use the 7 elements of great storytelling to grow your business

Donald is using storytelling in an innovative way to approach customers as ‘Heroes’. Brands play the role of the ‘Guide’ like it happens with movies and stories, there’s almost always a guide helping the ‘Hero’ succeed.

  • movie ‘Hunger Games’ – Katniss Everdeen with Haymitch
  • movie ‘Star Wars’ – Luke Skywalker with Obi-Wan Kenobi

Contents

  • Introduction

Section 1: Why most marketing is a money pit

  • 01 the key to being seen, heard, and understood
  • 02 the secret weapon that will grow your business
  • 03 the simple SB7 framework

Section 2: Building your storybrand

  • 04 A character
  • 05 Has a problem
  • 06 And meets a guide
  • 07 Who gives them a plan
  • 08 And calls them to action
  • 09 That helps them avoid failure
  • 10 And ends in a success
  • 11 People want your brand to participate in their transformation

Section 3: Implementing your storybrand brandscript

  • 12 Building a better website
  • 13 Using storybrand to transform company culture

Extras

  • The storybrand marketing roadmap
  • Afterword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Praise for the storybrand framework
  • Storybrand resources

A few Examples of Real Companies and Politicians

  • Steve Jobs and the message of Apple
  • Kyle Shultz – a fireman in Ohio
  • CarlMax
  • Starbucks
  • Tesla Motors
  • Nespresso
  • Edward Jones
  • AllState Insurances
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Dave Ramsey

Key Takeaways

  • This is not a book about telling your company’s story, a book like that would be a waste of time.
  • Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand.
  • Businesses that invite their customers into a heroic story grow, businesses that don’t are forgotten.
  • The first mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive
  • The second is they cause their customers to burn too many calories in an effort to understand their offer
  • Alfred Hitchcock defined a good story as ‘life with the dull parts taken out’.
  • Thousands of companies shut their doors every year, not because they don’t have a great product, but because potential customers can’t figure out how that product will make their lives better.
  • In story terms, identifying a potential desire for your customer opens what’s sometimes called a story gap.
  • In business, if we don’t communicate clearly, we shrink
  • Identifying our customers’ problems deepens their interest in the story we’re telling.
  • Screenwriters and novelists know the stronger, more evil, more dastardly the villain, the more sympathy we’ll have for the hero and the more the audience will want them to win in the end. This translates into audience engagement
  • Most companies sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems.
  • People want to be involved in a story that is larger than themselves.
  • If a storyteller doesn’t clearly let an audience know what no-good, terrible, awful thing might befall their hero unless they overcome their challenges, the story will have no stakes, and a story without stakes is boring.
  • As it relates to our marketing, the obvious question is… ‘What will the customer lose if they don’t buy our products?’
  • 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.

What Others Say about the Book

Seth Godin – author of ‘All marketers are liars’.

A seminal book built around an idea that will clarify, energize, and transform your business. A specific, detailed, and useful way to change the way you talk about the work you care about.

Ken Blanchard – chief spiritual officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies

Don Miller ought to be working with your company just like he worked with ours. We changed our website after learning his framework and the results were fantastic. We noticed a difference right away. The SB7 framework works – and we’re implementing it company-wide. Read this book!

John C. Maxwell – #1 New York bestselling author

Don will teach you a lot more than how to sell products: he will teach you how to transform the lives of your customers. Your customers need you to play a role in their lives, and this book will teach you how. If you want your business to grow, read this book

Dave Ramsey – #1 New York bestselling author

This is the most important business/marketing book of the year. All communicators know the power of Story. Don has captures the process to make your marketing pierce the white noise of the most overserved marketing generation in history. You have to read this book

Bill Haslam – 49th governor of Tennessee

Don reminds us that all good messaging begins and ends with empathy. He knows that if you want to be seen, heard, and understood, the first step is to listen. Get this book if you want to connect with people in a profound way.

Amazon Reviews

145 customer reviews – 4.9 stars out of 5

Goodreads reviews

260 ratings, 35 reviews, 4.52 stars out of 5

Barnes and Noble Reviews

1 customer review – 5 stars

5-Day Instagram Writing Challenge

HOPE WRITERS 

Finding space in your day for writing is difficult, sometimes impossible.

But writing with others adds more accountability and makes writing enjoyable and fun too.

There is a 5-day writing challenge to use the daily prompts as inspiration to get started, improve your writing, and have fun on Instagram with fellow authors and aspiring writers.

It's organized by Hope Writers, a community dedicated to helping authors find their way to getting published and succeed.

Hope Writers is the #1 community for authors in the world. With a team of 20+ members, a community of over 3,000 members, this is the 5th year they exist as a community.

Full Review

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My Review

I received the book 40 days after my order and in the meantime, I was eager to find out more about Don’s innovative framework. I listened to podcasts, watched his 2 video lectures and read some of his blog posts. Additionally, I used the online tool to create a Brandscript.

Don’s approach to marketing is different than others. He uses storytelling to invite customers into a heroic story that is about them, not about the brands.

The book will help business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders clarify their marketing message. People buy products and services because they read words that make them want to buy those products. Don believes that even the most beautifully designed website can be outperformed by an ugly website that has a clear message.

The book is a ‘Goldmine’ of information on everything that has to do with marketing. The SB7 framework is a guide to build better websites, to remove the clutter and noise out, to create effective email campaigns and social media ads.

Don is giving examples of real companies with a clear message that managed to build a strong presence in the marketplace. He expands on his clients and how he helped them understand the importance of being ‘Guides’ for ‘Hero’ customers. He also gives examples of companies that failed to invite customers into their story.

The book goes beyond theory and helps its readers by giving real examples that can be used in any industry, in any market. He gives examples for financial advisors, college alumni associations, restaurants, real estate agents, bookstores, hotels.

The book explores the SB7 framework step by step with detailed instructions analyzing all the important things that brands should consider in order to create their marketing collateral.

The book will help you…

  • Make customers respond to the 7 universal story points
  • Understand why customers make purchases
  • Simplify your brand message so people understand and act on it
  • Create effective material for websites, brochures, and social media
  • Understand why so many companies even with a huge budget fail
  • Open a story gap in your potential customers’ minds
  • Create a story question for your customers
  • Implement the 3 levels of conflict
  • Recognize the 2 characteristics of a real ‘Guide’
  • Make a first great impression
  • Give your customers a plan that is easy to apply
  • Help your customers transform by using your products and services
  • Transform a large organization step by step
  • Create a one-liner
  • Create lead generators to collect email addresses
  • Create automated email drip campaigns
  • Collect and tell stories of transformation
  • Create a system that generates referrals

If you read the book carefully, and you apply all the steps outlined here, you will create a marketing message that is clear, one that intrigues people to know more about your brand.

I have already applied many of the SB7 principles into my marketing material and I am constantly monitoring the response. I designed a new homepage and built many landing pages based on the storytelling framework presented in this book. So far, the results are impressive. The CTA (call-to-action) buttons I created get clicked.

All in all, one of the best marketing books I’ve ever read in my life, and I’ve read hundreds. Highly recommended for business owners, leaders, bloggers, online marketers, agencies, large organizations, non-profits. Brilliant, innovative, and different.

Do you need help applying the principles of “Building a StoryBrand” to your messages? Do you need help with your marketing campaigns?

Schedule a free video-call interview to help us understand where you are at your business right now, your needs and goals, and we will give you a detailed analysis of how we work. Then, we’ll create the first campaign for you for free to prove we can get you results.

That’s it, another review has finished, here on Web Market Support. I am waiting for your comments and thoughts. Till next time.

Tasos Perte Tzortzis

Tasos Perte Tzortzis

Marketing Specialist, Entrepreneur

Although doing traditional business offline since 1992, Tasos fell in love with online marketing in late 2014 and has helped hundreds of brands sell more of their products and services on the web.

He enjoys reading, music & arts, mathematics, chess, coffee, swimming, Audi, and playing with his kids.

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