StoryBrand Workshop Synopsis
StoryBrand PDF Summary Notes / Essay: Noah Anttila
Creating a business is hard and has a lot of obstacles that sometimes people can’t get through without help. Donald Miller, the creator of StoryBrand workshop, helps you better your business by helping you market your product or service in the right way and to the right audience by telling a story. If you would want to sign up for this workshop you’d expect to learn a lot of information including the 5 core concepts and the 7 modules to create a story. Each concept and module goes into fine detail on the important things to focus on.
In case you’ve never seen the promotional video for the StoryBrand workshop – you can see it here.
*Disclaimer* Storybrand and Provid Films are independent companies and not endorsed or affiliated.
Story is the most powerful way to compel the human brain. Americans spend over $10 billion at box offices a year. If you understand story your business will shine. The core concepts of StoryBrand help build a Storybrand 7-part framework to show clearly what you need to do to tell a successful story. First you start off with a character or hero in any story. The hero has to want something specific. The story structure for the hero is usually they are called to a task that is outside their comfort zone but is needed for their survival and the benefit of others. Now that you have the hero, the hero needs a problem that he encounters. The reason a character has to encounter a problem early in the story is because the problem posits a story question. It makes audience stick around to get the answer if the hero will get out of the problem.
Usually there will be an external problem, causing an internal problem, and sometimes a philosophical problem that the hero has to deal with. Most companies try to sell solutions to aid external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems. When the customer clicks the “buy now” button on your website it should promise to resolve three levels of conflict in your customer’s story. Third the hero needs to meet a guide who understands them. For your business you want to be the guide while the customer is the hero of the story. Your brand should have empathy toward the customer in the journey. Understand internally about the customer instead of all the external.
Your brand story should also have some authority.
As in any story, the guide has to give the hero a plan. The plan can be as simple as a paradigm shift, thinking of one way but then changing their mind set, or as complex as a multi level strategy that will help the hero win a complicated battle. For example Frodo in Lord of the Rings is told “he has what it takes” on his journey to Mount Doom. Giving the hero a plan is giving them an option to call to action. Next in the story the hero must decide if they should act on the plan that the guide gave to them or not. They must choose whether to be comfortable and not go or finish out with the plans given. Going through with the plans you might find the hero finish in success. When ending in success that makes of a happy ending but there could also but sad endings leading to failure. Whether or not a story ends happy or sad, an audience should see both sides. Will the hero get or lose the girl, win or lose a fight with a rival, etc.
If your story you want to show the failures that the hero could have experienced if they did something wrong. Every audience must have a clear idea of what possible failure the hero faces if they don’t act on the plan. If the audience don’t know the failures that can happen they might feel disconnected and lose interest. Make sure that when telling a story it has to be as clear and simple as possible for your audience to understand. Brands that understand all of this know that even what happens in the stories happen in real life and when businesses connect them it will connect them, it will connect customers better.
When having a business you want to create a BrandScript to connect with customers. The BrandScript should be dumbed down so it’s as simple as you can get it. Customers want to grow their business, but the external problem they have is that they lack the marketing knowledge, and maybe internally feeling confused or feeling doubtful. You have to challenge your customer to engage you to successfully help the customer change their business. Now that you have your BrandScript, don’t think it is complete because it can be changed many times.
You could even use your BrandScript to write blogs and write books.
There are 7 modules that the StoryBrand workshop goes by, the first module is all about the character of the story. I talked a little about the hero of the story but what most businesses make a mistake is when they put themselves as the story or their own story when you are supposed to have the customer as the character in the story. Your brand materials should be about your customers. What do they want? What problems do they have? Engaging with potential customers is similar to going out on a first date, the more you talk about yourself, the more likely you won’t get a second one. Your customers want you to help them transform into someone better.
Brands that participate in the character transformation of their customer create brand evangelists. If you do not know the character or customer as you thought you will have to figure out the primary target audience that your business wants to move forward on. You really need to know customer profiles so that you know what customers need and what to promote. If you get the wrong profiles you’re promoting would be pointless almost, unless it went to the secondary audience. Survey your customers to find out this information. Get demographic, psychographics through the questions to find out what kind of person they are. If people are starting out a business but don’t know who they should target for their primary audience, it’s as easy to ask the demographic that you would think would use that product or service and see what they say.
Non-profit organizations might run into a different situation when making a BrandScript. When making a BrandScript for a non-profit you can go two different paths, either you tell the story of the people we are helping and pivot the call to action to the donor. Find out what people want, what is in the way of their pain being relieved, how do you empathize, what’s the plan to solve the problem. The other path is if you tell the story of the donor and how their world and identity can change if they contribute. Find out what the donors do, what’s standing in the way of them, how do you empathize, why can they trust you to help them, what’s your plan to help solve a problem in the world, have you asked them to donate or volunteer, have you described what their world will feel like if they contributed?
Module two is doing with the problem. A story doesn’t get interesting until the hero encounters a problem. If there was no trouble in a story it would be boring. Until you clearly define what problems your brand can solve for your customers, they won’t understand why you’re relevant to their lives and will move on to your competitors. Businesses are rewarded for understanding the internal problem of their customers. The philosophical element lives in the world of “should” and “ought”. By making sure to know what the 3 types of problems are, (external, internal, philosophical) you will be able to understand how to clearly communicate what the crisis feels like, your customers will identify with you and trust you to help them find a resolution to their internal and external problem.
The most important thing to think about when coming into problems is to always focus harder to fix the internal problem more than the external because that’s what matters to people. To help clear up brainstorming ideas, make a BrandScript with each of the 3 types of problems and write them down on paper with a team to solve.
In module three we meet back up talking about the guide to your story. Remember that the hero is not the strongest character in a story. The strongest character in the story should be the guide. The guide is the character who knows everything you ask him and probably would picture him as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. Being the guide you got to show your authority in your area of expertise, but authority is salt in the recipe. You don’t need too much of it. Authority gives your customer confidence you know what you’re doing. Too much authority can make your brand sound like it wants to be the hero. Too much authority will also clutter the narrative of the story. Remember to express empathy for your customer. Empathy can also mean resonance. We are like our customer in some way.
In module four is about who gives the customer a plan. Customers need to know that you have a plan that’s going to help them win the day. The two types of plans they recommend at StoryBrand are a process plan and an agreement plan. The process plan helps define the steps your customer needs to take. An agreement plan is a list of agreements or commitments you make to your customer. Use process plans on your website to make it as simple as possible for the customer to engage with your business.
The guide gives the hero a plan to give the hero confidence. The hero needs a map to show the way to success. In stories, the guide gives the hero a philosophy or technique to boost their confidence and help them understand they have what it takes. The actual purpose of a plan is to create a clear mental path your customers can take from where they were when you found them to the point of purchase which should provide a resolution to their conflict.
Module five calls your customer to action to engage in your business. If you don’t ask people to purchase from you, they probably won’t. Every business should have a Direct Call To Action: Ask for a purchase, schedule an appointment or do something that leads to a sale. Transitional Call To Actions gives the customer an opportunity to go deeper with your brand. Preferably with a free offer of information. A traditional call to action can help you stake claim to territory in the marketplace. It can help you “become known” for something. The direct call to action is like saying “will you marry me?” and the transitional call to action is saying “can we go out again?”. A transitional call to action created reciprocity and builds trust. Must more likely to use your service. Use transitional calls to action to get emails. There are 3x more email accounts than there are Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. Onramp people through your websites to get them signed up with email faster and easier.
Bad things happen to people in life, so in module six it is all about that results in failure. Show the life of your customer looks like with your product to show the success it brings. What are you helping your customer avoid so they can live a better life? Use a failure bucket to help people understand what pain or frustration you’re helping them avoid. If you use too much of the failure element is can make you sound manipulative. If you can keep that healthy balance of the failure aspect it can cause your story to come across the audience a lot more clear. With failure, there is also success, which the last and seventh module talks about. The results in success In your marketing, use images that come out of the success category. Show happy people! What does your customer’s life look like after using your product or service. What are all the successes that your product or service brings to the customer when they decide to click “buy now”.
StoryBrand workshop can cost $2000-3000 and will be worth purchasing if you want to better your business to increase your connection to the audience. It might seem like a lot of information coming at you fast but in StoryBrand, Donald Miller explains all the core concepts and the seven modules very simple and clear.
Having zero affiliation with Donald Miller and the StoryBrand Workshop, we highly recommend you consider checking out their website.
If you are ready to create a story for your business utilizing the framework – keep reading.
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*Disclaimer* StoryBrand and Provid Films are independent companies and not endorsed or affiliated.