Historically businesses have made marketing all about them. Their history, their accreditations, their team. However, the reasons people buy have changed. Customers no longer respond to inward looking messaging and so successful brands are reinventing their brand story. Shifting focus to put the buyer at its centre by answering the fundamental question every potential customer is asking, ‘what problem will your product/service help me solve?’
At A&E we’re huge fans of best-selling author Donald Miller. In his book, Building a StoryBrand, he lays out his StoryBrand Framework. This Framework is a way of structuring marketing messaging around the hero’s journey (your customer) and makes the re-focus from internal messaging to external easier to navigate.
“When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as their guide, we will be recognized as a sought-after character to help them along their journey. In other words, your audience is Luke Skywalker. You get to be Yoda. It’s a small but powerful shift. This honours the journey and struggles of our audience, and it allows us to provide the product or service they need to succeed.” (from Donald Miller).
In this post, we’ll breakdown where the Building A StoryBrand book and Framework excels, and how our own StoryMap™ process can help get your message and marketing strategy crystal clear.
Why You Should Read Building a StoryBrand
You know your industry, products and services like the back of your hand. Your potential customers don’t. The StoryBrand Framework gives your business a series of steps to follow which break offerings down into the simplest terms possible.
By completing the book’s seven part-process you’ll be closer to leveraging the power of your story. Don has designed the process so that it concludes by crafting your BrandScript, a powerful tool that can help your business become an asset in the lives of your customers.
Listen to this episode of the StoryBrand podcast and catch Donald Miller as he sits down with Mike McHargue, aka “Science Mike,” to discuss what’s really going on in your customers’ brains when they come to your website: “Why People Buy: The Powerful Science of Selling”.
Why We’ve Added Our Own Twist
As we said earlier, we’re huge fans of Building A StoryBrand and The StoryBrand Framework, but it’s not a perfect tool. We’ve found that the businesses best placed to self-implement the Framework successfully already have a proven product, defined target market, and usually a few years of trading behind them.
In our experience, many ambitious SMEs making the shift from natural growth to amplified growth, do not yet have this clarity. In this instance business owners usually need help from an agency to get the most out of the book.
In addition, people often assume that by writing key messages and launching a new website, customers will magically come. They won’t. To get results, work on your brand story should be combined with marketing tactics designed to attract prospective customers and drive them to action (download, sale, sign-up etc).
Five Rules for Your Brand Story Reinvention
By following these rules – either as part of your self-implemented process, or as part of our A&E StoryMap™ Workshop – you’ll maximise the impact of your business brand:
- Wear Your Customer’s Shoes
See things from your customer’s point of view. Think critically about how your product or service helps solve customer challenges.
- Don’t Rush
Asking the right questions, and having clarity on answers, takes time. Explore your business, your customer, your product, and your competitors until you hit upon a simple message that is clear.
- Involve Your Sales Team
Your sales team is your secret weapon. Why? Because they are at the coal face, listening to customer questions all the time. (For more on the value to be found here read They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan)
- Attract Prospective Customers
Develop a balanced brand / performance marketing strategy that includes tactics such as Google PPC, blog content, social media, email marketing, door drop flyers, and out of home advertising to capture the attention of potential customers. Power up the results by using effective copywriting, smart calls to action, promotional incentives, and well-designed collateral. If you need support with this, enlist the help of an integrated agency like Attract & Engage.
- Open Customer Feedback Channels
To keep your brand story fresh and relevant it is sensible to build feedback tools into your website or sales funnel. Down the line the process of getting direct feedback from the customer will become simpler, and you can make sure its integrated into your messaging.
How Working with a Growth Marketing Agency Can Help
Reading (and completing) Don Millar’s StoryBrand Framework is the first step. Combine it with the help of an agency like ours that offers complete integrated marketing and public relations services and you’ll end up with the results you’re looking for.
We’ve helped ambitious businesses from a range of industries to re-define their brand story and apply it successfully throughout their website and sales funnels. Our process looks like this:
- Host a StoryMap™ Workshop – We start by hosting a messaging workshop with the key stakeholders in your business. Our goal is to develop a crystal-clear understanding of how your products and services solve your customer’s problems.
- Get an Outside Perspective – We’ll carry out key competitor research to determine your points of difference and pinpoint the ‘story gap’ where you can achieve dominance. In addition, we’ll also interview three or four current customers, asking them a series of strength VS weakness questions (in isolation this is an incredibly valuable exercise for your business).
- Translate into Marketing Collateral – Our unique combination of marketing, public relations and copywriting experience has given our agency the ability to translate brand story messaging into powerful and effective marketing materials. We use the StoryMap™ to create content that speaks directly to your customer.
Want help growing your sales? We’ve helped a ton of businesses do just that. Schedule a call and let’s talk.
Connect with Jill Willis via LinkedIn