The old saying “He who tells the best story wins” has proven true in all areas of life, across the world, and down through the centuries.
But yet, too many business owners fail to apply this principle to their business, and are getting beaten in the marketplace by competitors who are telling a relatively better brand story. These competitors may not even have better products or services! But because they are telling a better brand story, they are winning more business.
Significant amounts of money are spent on ineffective marketing efforts because the underlying brand story does not connect with prospects over the noise of your competition and the constant barrage of messages we all receive every day.
Telling a better brand story can seem like a massive undertaking. But like most things in life, there are just a few key principles we need master to tell a better brand story.
The best approach to telling a better brand story for small to medium sized businesses is contained in Donald Miller’s book “Building A Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen” which outlines 7 elements true of all great storytelling that can be applied to branding your business.
#1: A CHARACTER – The customer is the hero, not your brand.
Even in B2B marketing, you are not selling to a business – your business is selling to a human being who wants to be the hero.
#2: HAS A PROBLEM – Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems.
A great example in the book is CarMax – many people buy a vehicle at CarMax because of the internal problem of not wanting to haggle with a salesperson over price. The external problem is that the person is looking to buy a car – but many are drawn to CarMax because of the internal problem of the car buying process.
#3: AND MEETS A GUIDE – Customers aren’t looking for another hero; they’re looking for a guide.
Too many brands go too far in portraying their expertise to the point where they position themselves as the hero. We need to portray our expertise using authority and empathy, but lean on positioning your business as a guide who will get what your customer – the hero – wants.
#4: WHO GIVES THEM A PLAN – Customers trust a guide who has a plan
Even if we have engaged prospects through the steps above, customers likely won’t buy unless they can quickly see what the experience of signing on the dotted line is like. Even if your process is complex, that’s all the more reason to simplify it so as you remove fear from perspective buyers mind.
#5: AND CALLS THEM TO ACTION – Customers do not take action unless they are challenged to take action
If you’ve got a prospect’s attention, you must call them to action, and move them down the path of ultimately making a purchase from your business.
#6: THAT HELPS THEM AVOID FAILURE – Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic end.
Brands that speak to the tragic ends their prospects are trying to avoid are much more likely to hook their prospects into engaging with their brand story.
#7: AND END IN A SUCCESS – Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.
If customers could do it themselves they would. But due to a shortage of time or expertise, they are looking for a brand that can help get to that successful future state. Your brand has to spell out the preferred future condition prospects will get to if they hire your company.
Miller’s SB7 framework is simple, yet effective. And even though its simple, few brands are following the nuggets of wisdom outlined in this great resource. Don’t spend another cent on marketing until you figure out the better brand story your business should tell so as your brand stands out in a crowded marketplace.
- Purchase and read Donald Miller’s “Building A Story Brand”
- Schedule a call with Tom at navigatethejourney.com to discuss how we’ve helped clients improve their brand story
- Work through the SB7 Framework exercises contained in “Building A Story Brand”, and modify your messages, to ensure your company is telling a better brand story
About the Author
Tom is a Professional EOS Implementer and the CEO of Navigate the Journey, a firm that specializes in helping the owners of digital agencies, web development and creative service firms improve at the company, team and individual leader levels.