LXA Marketing Leaders Book Club: Building a Storybrand


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“Remember, customers want to know where you can take them. Unless you identify something they want, it’s doubtful they will listen,” says Donald Miller, author of Building a Storybrand. Now, what the heck does this mean? 

donald miller book club

Well, for Donald, building a brand is all about storytelling. Many businesses waste money in marketing because of ineffective storytelling and messaging, so Donald offers a solution.

In this book, he provides a 7-part framework to help the reader develop a clear, interesting, and effective message to draw in customers and grow their company. 

It's important to make the brand's message about something that'll help the customer survive, and be simple to understand in the process. 

Like the man himself says: “In a story, audiences must always know who the hero is, what the hero wants, who the hero has to defeat to get what they want, what tragic thing will happen if the hero doesn’t win, and what wonderful thing will happen if they do.”

Why Building a Storybrand is Vital for Any Modern Marketer

“Here are five questions most likely to generate the best response for a customer testimonial:

  1. ​What was the problem you were having before you discovered our product?
  2. What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve that problem?
  3. What was different about our product?
  4. ​Take us to the moment when you realized our product was actually working to solve your problem.
  5. Tell us what life looks like now that your problem is solved or being solved.”

― Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

This book is perfect for any marketer who wants to communicate with their customers far more effectively. The 7-point framework put forth by the book uses the universal elements of storytelling to improve brand messaging, changing the way a brand will talk about who they are, what they do, and what value they deliver. 

It makes the case for the reader to think of their customer as the protagonist in their brand's story. So, in most stories, a hero encounters an issue or challenge to be solved, and a problem to be overcome.

This means your brand falls into the role of "guide", to direct the hero to find the tools and confidence to win the day. Think Virgil in Dante's Inferno. Or the ginger chef from Ratatouille. 

In section one of the book, Donald reveals the current landscape in a way which shows it needs his 7-point framework. He begins by discussing what's wrong with most marketing approaches that are not heard by their desired customers, especially among all the noise of every other message being chucked at them daily. 

This tends to mean that the problem doesn't lie with the product or service offered, but rather with how it is communicated. 

Donald says "Story is the most powerful tool in the world to captivate the human brain. When you learn to use story in your brand’s communication, your customers will finally pay attention to what you’re saying. You can learn to use story to clarify your message."

About the Author

 “In its purest form, a story starts with a character who lives in peace and stability. Suddenly that stability is disrupted:”

― Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Donald is an American author, public speaker, and business owner. On top of being the CEO of StoryBrand, a marketing and learning company. 

He also has written and continues to write, personal essays and reflections about faith, God, and self-discovery. His first New York Times bestselling book was Blue Like Jazz, a semi-autobiographical collection of essays and personal reflections chronicling the author's growing understanding of the nature of God and Jesus. 

Combined, Donald's books have spent more than a year on the New York Times's Bestseller list. He also co-wrote the motion picture "Blue Like Jazz", which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival and was listed as one of the top four movies to get you through freshman year by USA Today. 

Donald is also the host of the Business Made Simple podcast. He has served on The Presidential Task Force for Fatherhood and Healthy Families, a joint effort between government and private sector to "rewrite the story of fatherlessness in America". 

Currently, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Emmeline.

Top Takeaways

So, what is this magical and mystical 7-point framework? 

Well, it's like this: A character who wants to complete a goal or problem encounters a problem before they can do so. When things are at their most difficult, a guide steps into their lives to give them a plan and direction, and calls them to action. This helps them avoid failure, and end the story with a success. 

As a result, the parts of the framework can be applied to the three questions visitors to your website ask within the first few minutes of landing there. These must be answered to motivate your customer to engage with your brand. These are:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. What's in it for me?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

So, developing this framework means a customer can have these questions to be answered in a way which is engaging, simple, and motivating. Like Donald says "if you confuse, you'll lose. Noise is the enemy."

Link to purchase page

Purchase Building a Storybrand on Amazon and Audible

Other Books You May Be Interested In

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