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How to Build Authentic Brands with the StoryBrand Marketing Framework

by Michael O'Mara, on May 5, 2021 12:00:00 AM

In today’s market, customers expect more from brands and companies. Customers expect story, service, and security first and foremost. Companies that effectively communicate authentic core values help consumers stay true to their own. 

Traditional advertising is dead. Good riddance! To cut through the noise and reach the people that need your company, you need to think beyond the average marketing cookbook. A careful ‘set it and forget it’ strategy doesn’t work, and neither does playing guessing games with your budget. 

You need a smart, proven system built on millennia of effective communication. I’m happy to tell you that such a system exists. It’s called StoryBrand, a marketing framework that positions your customers as the hero of your authentic brand story.

Cut through the noise

Noise is the death of the product. Donald Miller, the founder of StoryBrand, describes noise as businesses saying what they think they want customers to hear instead of what customers want to hear. It’s like a car alarm that never stops. Pretty distracting, right? The average person encounters roughly 6,000-10,000 ads per day. You need to position yours as the one that stands out.

The right product means nothing if you don’t tell the right story. A story that tells the wrong tale, whether it is about a company’s roots or a specific product, results in lost business. People don’t care about how your company had it rough 30 years ago. They care about the problem they’re facing now and deciding whether or not your company is the right choice to solve their problem—nothing more, nothing less. 

Every year tentpole films generate billions of dollars in revenue. They follow a tested, proven framework to hook audiences in and keep them engaged. Like a good film, your authentic brand must hook audiences and keep them engaged. This is why StoryBrand is so powerful.

How StoryBrand helps your brand

Customers crave authenticity. They appreciate brands that talk about the problems affecting their customers. Simply put, customers want brands that speak to their pain points in an authentic, empathetic manner.

Build a story that appeals to the genius of the average customer. To be clear, I’m not saying everyone is a genius. What I am saying is this: every single person from the beginning of time to the end considers themselves a hidden genius. Position yourself as the correct choice in a long, noisy line of options. 

Here are some ways the StoryBrand marketing framework can help your brand:

  • Applicable across multiple projects, industries, and scopes
  • Gets to the heart of the internal motivations driving customers to take action
  • Clearly defines your brand as an authentic guide to success

No, this isn’t magic. It’s basic storytelling honed over thousands of years by the great storytellers of our history. Once you understand the framework, every story feels like a script. We refer to this process as completing your BrandScript. It’s how we apply the StoryBrand marketing framework to, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, position your customer as the hero and your brand as the guide.

BrandScript basics

The StoryBrand BrandScript is a collaborative and proven storytelling framework that uncovers the motivations of your brand. A BrandScript turns your brand into an empathetic, clear path for your customer’s buying journey. 

BrandScripts can be used for just about anything, but here’s a few examples:

Every aspect of your brand tells a story to your customer. A BrandScript ensures you say what you mean to who needs to hear it most. Note you can apply BrandScripts to internal strategy and events as well. 

Instead of wasting time thinking about where to start, BrandScripts give you a step-by-step process that begins at a high level then zooms in on what matters most. 

Here is the basic BrandScript framework, as described in Donald Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand:

  • A problem preventing your character from success
  • Character meets a guide who can help them 
  • The guide provides a plan and a path to success
  • Character follows the path to success
  • Character avoids failure

A word of caution: building a brand, understanding a character, and building a relationship needs to move slow. Your BrandScript helps you understand the internal motivations of your customer. Once you empathize with their pain points, you can express value and achieve intended business goals. In the end, everyone gets what they want.

Move slow and express value

People respond to reciprocity. What can you give your customer before they invest time and money into your brand? How can you provide value beyond the sale? It’s a careful balance and easy to mess up. Don’t force too much, or offer too little; this is a carefully crafted, coordinated onboarding process. In other words, you’re not just making a sale—you’re establishing the foundation for a long-term relationship. 

Think big picture here. Yes, maybe your efforts today generate a sale tomorrow. But how do you keep that momentum going? How do you ensure that customers come back? How do you turn new customers into staunch brand ambassadors?

You must move slowly and express value. Here are some of the following ways you build trust:

  • Offer free tips, tools, products, or helpful exploratory calls 
  • Create content that positions your brand as an informative, helpful guide
  • Don’t be afraid to be direct in telling the customer what they need and what you want
  • Be authentic; always consider the pain points affecting your customers before your own

If you move slowly and offer information or service for free, you establish reciprocity. If you move slowly through the relationship-building process, you establish trust. Customers are always looking for reasons not to do business with you. Don’t give them one. 

Instead, take it slow and offer as much value upfront as possible before hooking them in. This is how you position your brand as the authentic guide in your customer’s buying journey.

If your business isn’t growing, it’s shrinking

Building your StoryBrand BrandScript is a surefire way to boost sales and build long-lasting customer relationships. If the StoryBrand marketing framework seems like a lot to chew, our Growth Guides at Sauce can help identify where your BrandScript starts and ends. 

Remember: if your business isn’t growing, it’s shrinking. A story that positions you as a guide and customers as the hero is the correct path to better business. 

Schedule a call to talk with a Growth Guide today.

Topics:Branding