Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

When it comes to crafting a message, the go-to manual is Donald Miller’s best-seller, Building a StoryBrand. The premise of the book is simple: “If you confuse, you lose.” Your message must be clear. If not, you lose your audience.

Here are my key takeaways from this book:

Focus Your Message On Your Ideal Client

Focusing your message is critical in today’s challenging economic environment. Donald points out that many companies that have failed, not because they had a bad product but because their message was not clear.

How do you clarify your message? Donald recommends that you stop talking about your company and start talking about your ideal client. “Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own.”

Make Your Ideal Client the Hero

Look at most marketing or sales messaging and you find that the hero is the company. Donald says that the customer should be the hero, not you.

“Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand. This is the secret every phenomenally successful business understands.”

Over the years, I have evaluated thousands of websites and pieces of sales collateral. I can sum most of them up: “Me, me, me, me, me, me… you.” The key to success is to flip this upside down: “You, you, you, you, you, you… us.”

Two Big Messaging Mistakes

The bulk of this book gives an outline of how to make your message about the customer. When it comes to messaging, Donald says that companies make two mistakes. First, realizing the basic need of all humans is survival (tip of the hat to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) ineffective messages “fail to focus on the aspects of the offer that will help people survive and thrive.”

The second mistake Donald highlights is “causing customers to burn too many calories in an effort to understand the offer.” We say too much. And when we do, buyers tune us out.

The Power of Story

Telling a story is a good strategy because we are all used to organizing thoughts around a story. As a bonus, stories can make complex concepts seem simple. They also add credibility since you are not just telling someone something, you are communicating how it can help them (or has helped someone else.)

As a New York Times best-selling fiction writer (check out his book Blue Like Jazz) Donald is a master storyteller. In StoryBrand, he outlines the formula for a great story:

“A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”

Be the Guide Not the Hero Of Your Story

In the story, you are not the hero, you are the guide:

“When a brand comes along and positions itself as the hero, customers remain distant. They hear us talking about how great our business is and start wondering if we’re competing with them for scarce resources. Their subconscious thought pattern goes like this: Oh, this is another hero, like me. I wish I had more time to hear their story, but right now I’m busy looking for a guide.”

The book goes step-by-step through the process of creating a clear message by telling your story. In Revenue Growth Engine, we recommend building your business to serve and attract Ideal Clients. Once you understand your Ideal Client and the outcomes they desire, the StoryBrand framework gives you a path to create the message that will help you drive revenue.

Use This Framework To Write Sales and Marketing Content

I continue to be amazed at the power of this framework to create effective sales and marketing messages. It works for presentations, sales collateral, proposals, blogs, web pages, brochures, and case studies.

Build a Culture Around Your Story

Perhaps the best nugget of gold is tucked in the last chapter of the book. Donald turns the focus inward, explaining how a clear message helps companies create a great culture. He says that companies that don’t have a story to support their mission and values experience the “curse of a narrative void.”

When a company has a story, their mission comes to life. “Companies who calibrate their activities around a common story don’t just state their mission; they’re on a mission.”

Summary

I highly recommend Building a StoryBrand to every business owner, sales leader, and marketing manager. Learn to tell your story in a way that makes your ideal client a hero and you will create powerful fuel for your Revenue Growth Engine.

Originally published on Revenue Growth Engine.

About the Author

Darrell Amy: Start Your Revenue Engine

Darrell Amy

Darrell is passionate about helping generous leaders and their organizations grow revenue and impact. He’s the author of Revenue Growth Engine and the soon-to-be-released book, Exponential Growth. Darrell motivates audiences as a professional speaker, sparks ideas in growth mastermind sessions, and serves on the board of several innovative companies.

More Growth Resources

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Darrell's goal is to help ten thousand business owners double revenue in the next 10 years so they can give ten billion new dollars to Kingdom work! In this episode, Darrell shares his strategy and framework for building sales and marketing processes that can double...

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

Without oil and grease, the most beautiful sports car with the most powerful engine will not make it out of the garage. Oil and grease reduce friction, allowing the cylinders to fire and the wheels to turn. Business is the same way. Without the right oil and grease,...

Why Paying Attention Is the Key To Effective Marketing and Sales

Why Paying Attention Is the Key To Effective Marketing and Sales

The most important role of marketing and sales is to pay attention to the outcomes that prospective clients want. This is also the most neglected part of the marketing and sales role. Now, more than ever, marketing and salespeople must be listening and adapting. Clay...

Kingdom REI : Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy

Darrell's goal is to help ten thousand business owners double revenue in the next 10 years so they can give ten billion new dollars to Kingdom work! In this episode, Darrell shares his strategy and framework for building sales and marketing processes that can double...

The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

Without oil and grease, the most beautiful sports car with the most powerful engine will not make it out of the garage. Oil and grease reduce friction, allowing the cylinders to fire and the wheels to turn. Business is the same way. Without the right oil and grease,...

Why Paying Attention Is the Key To Effective Marketing and Sales

The most important role of marketing and sales is to pay attention to the outcomes that prospective clients want. This is also the most neglected part of the marketing and sales role. Now, more than ever, marketing and salespeople must be listening and adapting. Clay...

Two Tips For Making Your Sales Forecasts More Accurate

Throughout my career as a sales professional and sales leader, I’ve been asked to assess the closing probability of the deals in my pipeline. These probabilities are used to try to create accurate sales forecasts. However, forecasts are rarely accurate, which can be...

How Customer Experience Can Create Strategic Advantage

To hit your goals you need a competitive advantage. How can you create strategic advantage in your competitive marketplace where imitating competitors seem to frustrate your efforts to differentiate? The answer for strategic advantage comes through customer...

How To Create a Great Client Experience in a Virtual World

I look forward to visits to the Apple Store. As a fan of the brand and a tech nerd, visiting any Apple facility is a joy to me. (I even went out of my way to see the visitor center at Apple’s corporate headquarters last time I was in Silicon Valley.) So, last week...

How To Protect Margins and Thrive In 2021

2021 is a make-or-break year for many businesses. Right now we need to do everything we can to protect our margins while also growing revenue. Here are three ways that you can make that happen. 1. Focus on Cross-Selling Most great companies deliver outstanding support...

Revenue Growth Engine with Darrell Amy System & Soul

Exponential growth doesn't just happen—especially on the heels of a global pandemic. We talked with Darrell Amy, author of Revenue Growth Engine and Visionary at Convergo. He explains how having an "architect mindset" has helped him succeed in training businesses to...

Darrell Amy on The Business Power Hour

Darrell Amy is on a mission to help generous companies grow revenue faster. With 27 years of B2B marketing and sales experience ranging from mid-sized local companies to enterprise organizations, Darrell has diverse experience across the sales and marketing landscape....

Alignment to Accelerate Growth

Episode 156: Alignment to Accelerate Growth – Darrell Amy What got Darrell interested in writing a book The alignment between marking and sales and revenue growth The revenue growth engine processes The core numbers a business needs to know The power of interest The...