Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach listeners how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides listeners with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching listeners the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the real reason customers make purchases, how to simplify a brand message so people understand it, and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion-dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

Community Review  

  • This is an insightful book especially if you are a bit new to marketing. While building a story brand is nothing new, Miller does a more than adequate job setting up its importance in marketing and then fleshing out the details in section two. After a good discussion of the StoryBrand Brand Script (SB7), in section three he discusses how to implement this to build a better website – still spot on material. He then discusses how this can apply to a large organization, then wraps up the book by giving a so-called StoryBrand marketing Road Map.
    However, this is where the book and his obvious marketing ploy at the often hapless reader falls apart. At the most crucial stage of the book he skimps on each of the five elements of the Road Map, all the time mentioning that there is more to be learned at his live conferences held periodically and also online. While it’s OK to mention this option, it is over-bearing. Not only does it become over-bearing, but the last part of the book is intentionally short of implementation details as a way to draw the reader into wanting, or “needing” more to implement the book’s overall strategy. It’s clever. After just investing the time and energy to read the previous near 200 pages and being sold on how important the Story Brand is to marketing success, you have now been geared to actually want more to bring the circle, both learning, implementation and even emotionally – complete.
    The next logical step is to check out his company online. This is where I balk again at Miller’s strategy. His live courses are just under $2000 per person, but if that’s not an option, including for me since I currently work in Southeast Asia, there’s an online course option, which comes in at a whopping $1500. Worse yet, the price is not give on his well-crafted website but you have to “request” permission to apply for the course, then in an email the price is sent with another problematic notion, a 48-hour ticking clock to make the decision to buy the course. I just received notice that my 48 hour window of opportunity is closing – no thanks Mr. Miller.
    Below is the email blast just received.
    “This private invitation is only good for another 24 hours. If you’re tired of wasting money on websites that don’t work… If nothing is happening when you send your email campaigns…If your elevator pitches fall flat…The pain stops here.
    If you haven’t clarified your message, your current marketing is costing you money. You’re pouring water in a leaky bucket.
    There’s a better way to talk about your products and services — in a way that compels people listen and respond. StoryBrand helps you uncover it.”
    But what a minute, let’s go back full circle, aren’t these the reasons I bought the book in the first place? Do I really have to spend $1500 or more to learn about this since it’s supposed to be fully covered in the book? Also, as another reviewer just wrote, be warned you that if you sign up for the videos and forms you will be inundated with emails trying to sell you into his other programs. Be advised that there is an MLM component behind this book.
  • I’ve been a professional writer and copywriter for 50 years now. I’ve written fiction and nonfiction books, articles, blog posts, and a boatload of marketing material. I’ve used the hero’s journey model for more than two decades. So, when I tell you that Building A Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller is a book that taught me a lot, that should carry some weight.
    I picked it up because a good and trusted friend told me that he thought I’d like it and learn something. At first glance, I thought it was another one of those books about the magic of the hero’s journey. Even so, I dug into it, because my friend is almost always right when he recommends a book. He sure was right this time.
    Lots of people have written about how to use the hero’s journey in both storytelling and in marketing copy. This book is about writing marketing copy, especially web copy. Donald Miller does four important things that make this book unique and helpful.
    He points out that you shouldn’t be the hero of the story. Many writers do that, but the customer should be the hero. OK, then, what about the company or the brand? That should be the guide. Think Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars or Haymitch from Hunger Games.
    Miller also notes that if there’s no danger, there’s no story that matters. Most other writers don’t mention the danger or underplay it. But the reason we call it the” hero’s journey” is that the hero makes it through the forest when lots of other people don’t. Adding that bit on what will happen if the hero fails in his quest will make your marketing copy and your stories stronger.
    If you’re used to jargon-filled marketing books, rejoice! This isn’t one of them. Miller writes good, clean prose and his experience as a screenwriter shows up in many of his clear explanations.
    That’s enough right there to make this book worth buying. But Miller also lays out a process for you to use when you sit down to create your own copy. He tells you, step by step, how to execute copy that brings each one into play.
    In A Nutshell
    If you’re an experienced writer or copy writer, you should read Building A Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller because it will give you some fresh ideas and insights. If you’re like me, you will already know a lot of what’s here, but you’ll benefit from the clear explanations and the practical how-tos.
    If you’re not a pro, this is a great book for you to help you either write your own copy for your website or marketing material or evaluate the copy that other people do for you.

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