Spending tons of money on marketing campaigns that don’t work can make you feel hopeless and doubtful of your skills. If you find yourself in this situation, try StoryBrand marketing.
Knowing the principles of designs and the technical roundabouts of marketing is essential but not enough. Although it is possible to create a marketing campaign using only these skills, they won’t help you communicate a clear message to your customers.
Many marketers are unaware of this problem. They constantly bombard customers with product-centric ads with unclear details. When we say product-centric, we mean the ad revolves around how fantastic the product is instead of directly addressing the customers’ needs and or desires.
But by using the StoryBrand marketing strategy, your marketing campaign will have a clear message. And as a result, your customers will listen to what you have to say.
What is StoryBrand Marketing?
StoryBrand marketing is a customer-centric marketing strategy that uses storytelling elements as a framework for campaign creation. It aims to communicate a clear message to the customers by focusing on the customers’ stories to engage them emotionally.
Donald Miller, the founder of StoryBrand, understands the frustrations that business owners and marketers have when they put in a lot of time and money into marketing, but their efforts still led to failure.
Miller found a way to improve marketing campaign creation. He discovered the potential of storytelling when used in marketing.
What is the StoryBrand Framework?
The StoryBrand framework consists of seven elements that make a good story. Every engaging and captivating movie that you’ve seen in theatres follows the same framework, which includes the following:
The hero of the story always has a want. At the beginning of the story, this main character always appears weak, lost, or confused.
Let us set the Divergent movie as an example. The main character in this story is Beatrice “Tris” Prior, who wants to survive in society as a Divergent.
The problem is the villain. It is the root of all the issues the hero has to face, and it has three levels: external, internal, and philosophical.
Your five senses perceive the external problem. The internal problem is the emotions the villain makes the hero feel. At the same time, the philosophical is the wrongness of the situation.
The villain in the movie is Jeannine Matthews, the Erudite leader. She wants to eradicate the Divergents and overthrow the Abnegation faction from running the government.
The external problem is the society where the Divergents are not allowed to live, and the Erudites are trying to take over its governance.
The internal problem is that Tris had to hide her true identity as a Divergent in this society.
The philosophical problem is the wrongness of the system: the Divergents have to hide who they are, and the Erudites try to overthrow the Abnegation faction of this society.
The guide is another character who helps the main character. This character is commonly the one who has been in the same situation as the main character. For that reason, the guide is the one who trains, advises, or mentors the protagonist.
In the movie, the character who plays the guide is Tobias “Four” Eaton. Like Tris, Four is also a Divergent. He trained Tris and helped her throughout the movie.
The plan is small steps that the guide wants the hero to take to ease the situation.
To help Tris hide her identity, Four taught her how to pass the simulation tests without giving herself away as a Divergent.
Call to Action
The call to action is where the hero has to take a huge step to get a life-changing result. It is the part where the protagonist has to make some sacrifice. By taking this step, it will lead to either success or failure.
In the movie, Tris had to fight with the mind-controlled Dauntless members and its leader Eric Coulter. She also had to face and outwit Jeanine to save the Abnegation members from execution.
It is the outcome that the guide and the hero are trying to avoid. If the main character refuses to act, it will result in tragedy.
In the movie, this movie can end in tragedy if Tris dies and Jeanine successfully carries out her plan to eliminate the Abnegation faction.
It is the desired outcome that the hero wants to achieve.
In Divergent, the story ended in success. Jeanine failed to execute her plans in eradicating the Abnegation faction, and Tris and some of her loved ones escaped this society.
To create an effective marketing campaign that communicates a clear message, you need to apply this framework.
What is a BrandScript?
BrandScript is the application of the StoryBrand framework to a brand. Marketers use it to create different marketing campaigns to communicate a clear message. It works by inviting the customers into a story where the customers play the main character’s role.
The main character is always the customers.
Like in typical movies, they have wants and needs. Many marketers position the brand as a hero when creating marketing collateral, which is a common mistake and what you should not do.
The problem refers to the customers’ pain points that stop them from getting what they want. Marketers use it as a hook to get the consumers’ attention. Like in any story, there should be a villain causing the problem.
One example is Mr Mucus, a Mucinex villain mascot representing colds, coughs, and flu symptoms. Mucinex developed this character in 2004 and has not hesitated to spend money to improve this character ever since, which only proves its success.
Since then, Mr Mucus has always been a part of almost all Mucinex marketing collaterals, such as commercials, social media posts, and print ads.
The guide is the part where your brand’s role comes in. Instead of just introducing your brand or offers, connect to the customers by showing empathy and authority.
Make the customers feel you understand them while still proving you have what it takes to help them.
In StoryBrand Marketing, you want to make sure not to talk a lot about the brand. You do not like to appear as the main character. What you want to become is a strong character who guides the protagonist.
One example is how Results and Co’s website illustrates this part:
I understand how important it is for you not to be left behind by your competition and for your business to grow.
Helping your business grow isn’t just a business to us. It’s actually part of our mission.
Over 20 years experience in marketing and owning our own successful businesses.
Social Media Expert.
StoryBrand Guide & Business Made Simple Coach.
It is a set of actions a hero must do. This part is essential because customers often have doubts. By showing your customers the baby steps of the plan, they’ll see how easy it is to work with you, thus, removing the doubts.
Oreo’s “Twist, Lick, and Dunk” is one of the perfect examples that illustrate a great plan.
Call to Action
The call to action is the part where the customers have to put some skin in the game. Do not be afraid to be blunt about it because it is the only way for the customers to get what they want.
There’s nothing wrong with the typical call to action, such as “Buy Now” or “Order Now,” but there are brands that took it to the next level.
One example is GiftRocket’s call to action on their website, “Send a GiftRocket.”
Another example is the transitional call to action of Square, wherein those who will sign up will get a free card reader.
Failure serves as the stake. It is what will most likely happen if the customer refuses to take action.
Shera ceiling board’s Jing-Jok commercial is one of the best ad examples that effectively demonstrates the stake. The commercial shows the love story between two geckos that ended in tragedy because the homeowner did not use Shera Flexy Boards for his ceiling.
Success is when the customers get what they want and become the kind of person they want to become.
If you use it in your campaigns, make sure to state this part clearly so customers can envision themselves experiencing the successful outcome.
Donate Life’s “The World’s Biggest Asshole” is the perfect example of a commercial that illustrates this part of StoryBrand.
At the start, Coleman Sweeney, the main character, was an asshole. He did not want to live this way, but being an ass came naturally to him. But because he registered to Donate Life as an organ donor, he successfully saved four lives upon his death.
Although Coleman Sweeney died, the story is considered a success. The main character finally did something that an asshole would not do, save lives. Also, the main character transformed in the story from being the world’s greatest asshole to being a hero.
To write about your brand, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Show empathy and authority. If you have to introduce a product, make them understand how it can help them.
Use the StoryBrand framework to communicate a clear message. Never place your brand as a hero. Instead, invite your customers to the story by making them the main character.
Be the guide that will show the customers what they must do to solve their problems.
If you want to learn more about StoryBrand marketing, find a StoryBrand guide who can advise you. After learning and applying this marketing strategy to your campaigns, you will see your revenue increase by at least 50%!