If you want to know how to write a brand story to get more customers, this post will walk you through the seven steps in the storytelling framework to create your brilliant brand story.
If you are not sure why you need to use stories to get your marketing message across, take a look at our post on why so many small business websites fail.
Once you understand why you need to create your brand story but are still not sure how to use brand storytelling to improve your marketing, then take a look at this post.
Before you get started on your website, let’s create a brilliant brand story that will make creating your website content a doddle.
What is a Brand Story?
If you’re not sure what a Brand Story is and how it applies to your website, here’s your chance to not only find out but to rewrite your whole marketing strategy.
Many small businesses choose to tell potential customers on their website the story of their business. You know, the one about how the company got started, what they can do, how great they are etc. But, in reality, all a customer wants to know is, can you solve my problem.
Yes, it might be interesting that you decided to start your business to save the world while lying on a beach in Bali, but it will not get you any sales; potential customers don’t need to know that.
Potential customers need to know what they can gain from your business. If you can do this for your customer, you’re on the road to success as a business owner.
Understanding and using the StoryBrand framework can help, and we’ll show you how.
What is the StoryBrand framework?
Donald Miller lays out the StoryBrand framework in his book, Building a StoryBrand.
The framework’s purpose is to help business owners get clear on their marketing message using a storytelling approach.
The story positions the customers as the Hero and the business as their Guide.
The framework uses the age-old structure for creating all of the best movies and books using seven simple steps. The StoryBrand framework is not about telling your story; it’s about inviting a customer into the story, so they feel involved and understood.
How to write a brand story in 7 steps
The seven steps to the StoryBrand framework help businesses create a customer-centric marketing strategy known as The BrandScript.
The BrandScript should give your company a clear direction for all your marketing content, even your website.
The seven steps are:
- A Hero (the Hero is the customer or audience that a company is targeting )
- Has a Problem (the Hero needs to solve)
- And Meets a Guide (your business)
- Who Gives Them a Plan (your solutions, process or services)
- And Calls Them to Action (the Guide directs the Hero with what they need to do to succeed, i.e. the start of the buying process)
- That Ends in Success ( the Hero gets what they need)
- And Helps Them Avoid Failure (what would happen if they don’t buy)
Following this brand storytelling framework will help your business shift the focus from yourself to what you can do to help your customers.
How does a brand story apply to marketing?
A clear message is THE key to successful marketing.
A good story has the power to attract the right people to your website, engage and hold their attention, and persuade them that you are the Guide to help solve their problems.
If you can tell an excellent customer-centred story on your website, email, blog and social media, then you can grow your business. If you can’t, your potential customers will get confused, lose interest, and go elsewhere.
Your brand needs to tell a good story, but many companies don’t know what that means or how to do it.
Let’s go through each point of the framework to understand how to write a brand story and see how it applies to the way you talk about yourself and your customers.
1. A hero
The story begins with the main character, the Hero, and we find out what they want. The Hero is your target customer.
Your brand story must centre on the Hero and what the Hero wants, i.e. what is their ultimate goal?
Begin your message by speaking directly to the needs and desires of your customer.
2. Has a problem
The Hero has many obstacles to overcome before they can find success.
What are the problems your customer is facing? These are broken down into the following categories:
- Villain: This is the root source of your customer’s problem. What do your products or services defeat?
- External Problems: These are often physical or tangible issues your customer faces.
- Internal Problem: The external problem often causes frustrations in your customer’s life that are not so obvious, but understanding and resolving these fears and frustrations is what will make a sale.
- Philosophical Problem: Is the ‘Why’ the problem is important.
For example, businesses tend to market to external problems, like “I need a car”. But customers tend to buy solutions to internal issues like “I don’t want to have to deal with pushy salesmen”, or “I don’t want to haggle”, or “I want a car that won’t have any issues”. And the bigger question the customer may have is, “I don’t want a car that will cause more damage to the environment”.
3. And meets a guide
Every Hero is searching for a guide. Your business is the Guide. As the Guide, focus on how you help solve the Hero’s problems.
A Guide must show:
- Empathy: be able to demonstrate you understand the Hero’s problems.
- Authority: demonstrate you have what it takes to help the Hero overcome their problems. This is where you use your testimonials, certificates of experience, etc.
4. Who gives them a plan
The Guide gives the Hero a plan, and the plan is the route the Hero must follow to gain success. The plan creates clarity.
The plan can take the shape of either a process to follow or agreements that will alleviate the Hero’s fears. Both should be as straightforward as possible with not too many steps. Otherwise, it will start adding confusion.
5. And calls them to action
Finally, the Guide challenges the Hero to take action. This is the first step in your sale process.
What do you want your customer to do? Make it clear that this is the ONE THING they need to do. And repeat this throughout your website. Please don’t confuse your message by asking them to do several different actions.
6. That ends in success
What will success look like if the Hero finally gets what they want? How will it make them feel? How will it change their lives?
As a brand, you must paint a clear vision of the future for your customer. Remind them of their happy ending and why they need to choose you.
7. And helps them avoid failure
Remind the Hero of what happens if they fail. This is what is at stake if they do nothing. The desire to avoid pain will help them seek out your plan to succeed. It will give them a sense of urgency.
So what is your brand story for your customers? Can you say it easily? Is it simple, relevant and repeatable? Can your entire company repeat your message to anyone who asks?