INSIGHTS | Digital Marketing

What is StoryBrand Marketing?

Marketing, branding, advertising … there are always plenty of theories about how to do it, how to do it better, how to use it to increase your sales.

FM Story Header


StoryBrand: A Primer

Marketing, branding, advertising … there are always plenty of theories about how to do it, how to do it better, how to use it to increase your sales.

One of the hottest current trends in marketing theory is StoryBrand Marketing.  It is the brainchild of Donald Miller, who wrote the book, Building a StoryBrand. You can read his book, view his You-Tube videos, listen to his blog, and research what other marketers are doing with the concept. 

This blog is just a primer on the subject: what it is, how it works and what you need to do to get started.

The basic idea is that to create a successful brand marketing program for your company, and to differentiate it from everyone else, you need to adopt the StoryBrand model.  Your marketing program needs to tell customers a story.

This makes a lot of sense. Research shows that individuals retain a lot more information about anything if you tell them a story. Everyone loves stories. Since the dawn of time, storytellers have gathered us around a campfire and told us stories: about our history, about our forefathers, about current events, about ourselves.

In StoryBrand Marketing, the story model most often used is the mythic Hero Journey. The kicker, however, is that in this story, the Hero is not you or your company: the Hero is the customer. The story is about their needs, goals, wants and desires. 

Here’s the basic outline:

  1. There is a Character.  This is your customer.
  2. The character has a Problem.  He or she needs it solved.
  3. The character meets a Guide.  This is you. Your company.
  4. The Guide provides a PlanYour solutions.
  5. The Guide makes a Call to Action.  Do this right now!
  6. This ends in Success.  Your product or service does the trick.
  7. The Character thus avoids Failure.  Which would happen if they don’t buy.

You can see the difference between this marketing model and the ones most companies use. In typical marketing, the company shows off its capabilities: We sell these products. Our prices are the best.  We have expertise. Our location is convenient.

In StoryBrand Marketing, the customer is elevated and the story is all about them.  The company is just the guide or helper that can give the customer the tools to accomplish something they want or want to do. You like to do X, Y or Z.  We can provide (products, services, advice, ‘the secret’ to help you accomplish your goals.

The Call to Action (‘Always Be Closing’) is commonplace marketing advice. And the Success and Failure elements are where you reinforce your brand’s expertise and attractiveness, and point out your competitors’ bad points.  You remind the customer of their initial goals and show them a happy ending. You remind them that there are stakes involved (getting what they want) and insinuate what might happen if they don’t follow your Plan.

There are companies that have gone whole hog into this theory, setting up websites, ad programs, e-mail blasts, collateral material … everything! … in the StoryBrand model.  Others use the principles in one or two areas. But the results are usually quite positive in terms of return on investment, sales increases and increased customer satisfaction.

Our digital marketing experts here at Fuel Media have utilized many of the StoryBrand Marketing ideas for our clients, with excellent results. If you’d like to learn more about these concepts and discuss how we can put them to use for you, please contact us.