What is StoryBrand? Learn how a clear message can change your business

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Many business owners struggle to clearly talk about their business, and, more importantly, how their product/service will change their customer’s life.

I have to confess, I struggled with this myself, and only later learnt how much potential business I must have lost because of this.

In his book, Building a StoryBrand, author Donald Killer introduces us to the SB7 Framework. This framework has become a secret weapon that has helped thousands of small businesses grow.

What is the SB7 framework?

The StoryBrand framework is a collection of simple tools that helps businesses to eliminate confusion, connect with their customers and to grow their businesses.

The framework is based on storytelling, and most importantly, explains how our marketing must revolve around our customer’s journey, instead of our own.

Here are the 7 elements of the SB7 framework:

  1. We meet a character (the client)
  2. That has a problem (they need help in solving their problem)
  3. And meets a guide (this is your company)
  4. That has a plan (how to solve their problem)
  5. And calls the character to action (how to buy your product/service)
  6. Which leads to success (helping your client thrive), or
  7. Which avoids failure (helping your client survive)

You will notice that this sounds like a movie. In fact, many many successful movies are based on these 7 elements (think Karate Kid, Hunger Games, Star Wars).

Here’s a fun exercise. Pick one of the movies below, and see if you can identify who the hero is and who the guide is:

  • Karate Kid
  • Star Wars
  • Hunger Games

What is a StoryBrand BrandScript?

In the same way that all successful movies start with a script, Miller’s framework teaches us that all successful marketing campaigns start with a StoryBrand BrandScript.

The BrandScript is a document that will form the foundation of any marketing materials or campaigns you launch in future. It will be your compass, or your guiding light, when you create your new website, flyers, business cards, and other marketing materials.

See picture below of what a BrandScript looks like.

StoryBrand BrandScript Blank

It looks like a fairly innocent document, but trust me, it can be tough to complete. The reward though, will be a very effective foundation for all your future marketing efforts.

The Karate Kid is one of my all-time favourite movies, and we have used it a few times to explain the StoryBrand framework.

The SB7 Elements

Character

The character (your customer) has a problem, and wants it solved.

Problem

There are three ways to define the problem:

  • External
    • This is usually the problem you can see
    • Example:
      • Daniel has a black eye because a bully punched him
  • Internal
    • This gets a little trickier for most business owners to define, but is alot more powerful to use in marketing than the Internal Problem
    • Example:
      • Daniel doesn’t have any self-confidence, he doesn’t have many friends and his schoolwork is falling behind
  • Philosophical
    • This is a powerful statement that most poeple would agree with
    • It usually includes words like “should”, “It’s just plain wrong” or “deserve”
    • It is a statement that if you say it out loud at a meeting or a braai, most peole would nod and agree with you.
    • Example:
      • No child deserves to be bullied
      • No child should experience bullying
      • It’s just plain wrong that your child has self-confidence problems because of bullying

Meets a Guide

This is where your business enters the story to solve the hero’s problem.

Following with the Karate Kid example, Mr Miagi is the guide.

To position your business as the guide, it is vital to show:

  • Empathy
    • This is statement that shows you understand what the hero is facing
    • Usually includes phrases like “we understand”, or “we get it”
    • Example:
      • We understand how painful bullying can be.
      • We get it. Dealing with bullies is difficult.
  • Authority
    • This is where you show your “credentials” for solving your character’s problem.
    • Shows the hero that your plan has worked for others, and builds trust in your product/service.
    • Mr Miyagi will show Daniel:
      • pictures of his past students
      • his trophy case
      • testimonials from past students
      • his certifications and memberships

NOTE: Show empathy first, and Authority second.

Who has a Plan

This is where the guide gives the hero a clear plan of action to solve their problem.

There are two types of plan:

  • Process
    • This is the “before” plan, and consists of  3 steps to do business with you.
    • Plan must make it simple and easy to do business with you
    • Note: the third step usually displays the success that your client will achieve
    • Example of what Mr Miyagi tells Daniel:
      • Sign up
        • Join Mr Miyagi’s Karate Dojo.
      • Show up
        • Attend training sessions 3x week.
      • Stand up
        • Be confident and stand up to bullies.
  • Agreement
    • This is the promise of what your client will experience after buying your product/service
    • Think of it as a “Our promise to you” section in your marketing materials
    • Example:
      • At Mr Miyagi’s School of Karate, we promise that we will train you in karate, and that you will have the confidence to enter the tournaments and that we will be by your side evey step of the way.

Calls them to action

This is where you make it simple and easy to do business with your company.

    • Think of this as the first step to do business with you
    • Easiest way to understand this, is to think of an actual button on your website
    • There are two types of Call to Action (CTA)
      • Transactional CTA
        • Whne the hero is ready to do business with you
        • This is also called the Direct CTA, or the “getting married” CTA
        • Example: Join Now
      • Transitional CTA
        • When the hero isn’t quite ready to do business with you
        • Also called the Indirect CTA, or “going on a date first” CTA
        • Example: Download Guide

That achieves success

The hero will be successful, and will thrive after working with you.

  • Example:
    • Stand up to bullies
    • Become confident
    • Win karate tournaments
    • Take home trophies
    • Get the girlfriend
    • Have many friends

And avoids failure

Your product/service will help the hero avoid failure, and will help them survive.

  • Example:
    • No more bullying

Finally, the character transformation

This is usually a “Go from XYZ to ABC” type of statement.

  • Example:
    • Go from being bullied and having zero self-confidence to a fit, healthy and confident person who can stand up to bullies.

How do I use StoryBrand in my marketing?

Having a great product, the best people and the best service is great, but clear messaging is the foundation.

Step 1: Nail down your Brand Script

Step 2: Create your StoryBrand One-liner

Step 3: Use the BrandScript and One-liner in all your marketing campaigns

Have a question about using the StoryBrand framework?


Eben

Eben

Father of 3. Enthusiastic reader of books. Moderately proficient braaier of meat.

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