Seven Key Steps to Building an Effective Brand Story

Storytelling is compelling and influential for marketers to educate and inspire their audience. Marketing encompasses the stories told by brands created. Connections between brands and customers develop through stories that convey values and meaningful information that motivate and engage customers. 

According to Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand, a brand story or the brand story framework consists of seven key steps.  

Brand Story Framework

  1. “A Character” – The Customer Is the Hero

Define the target market and identifies the customer and their wants relative to the brand. Brands position customers as heroes in a brand story. The brand serves as a guide to help heroes overcome challenges.

Motivate customers to engage with the brand by discovering an essential desire related to their survival, such as being healthy and safe.

  1. “Has a Problem” – The Villain

Customers invest in solutions that solve their challenges or problems. Customer challenges are the villain in the brand story. The brand story should demonstrate its ability to solve its internal, external, and philosophical problems. Addressing customer challenges increases their interest in the products or services the brand offers.   

  1. “And Meets a Guide”

Brands must serve as guides that help customers find solutions to overcome the challenges or problems they encounter by empathizing with their customers and illustrating their experience, which develops and creates customers’ trust and increases credibility in the brand.

  1. “Who Gives Them a Plan”

Customers trust brands equipped with a clear and specific plan that guides them with the steps to solve their problems successfully.  Providing customers with a process plan that outlines the necessary steps customers must take to use the brand’s products or services eliminates confusion in the customer’s journey.  

Additionally, agreement plans that list services or commitments that eliminate their worries and fear about engaging with the brand increase its perceived value.

  1. “And Calls Them to Action”

Guides challenge heroes to take action in stories.  Likewise, brands challenge customers to take action. Brands must use a compelling direct or transitional call to action that conveys the steps customers can take to overcome challenges.  

For instance, a direct call to action asks customers to make a purchase, register, or schedule an appointment. A transitional call to action helps customers learn about the brand and extends customer relationships, which aids the brand’s positioning as a guide to customers and creates reciprocity.     

  1. “That Helps Them Avoid Failure”

Assist customers avoid failure and the consequences of failure to remind them of the value of engaging with the brand. Inform customers of their vulnerability and actions to reduce exposure, how the brand protects customers of potential risk, and challenge customers to take action.  

  1. “And Ends in a Success”

Inform customers how the brand can positively impact their lives if they engage with the brand’s products and services. Provide customers with resolutions associated with their desires and needs such as status, reaching their potential, and creating completeness with something external such as reducing their workload, increasing time, and reducing their workload and anxiety.

Brand stories are crucial in communicating with customers. Stories help brands formulate maps that help customers engage with products and services. For instance, Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, was inspired to create the brand to help children in need after observing children in Argentina undergoing hardships growing up without shoes. TOMS Shoes provides a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair of TOMS Shoes purchased, and as a result, TOMS Shoes donated more than 50 million pairs of shoes to children in need.

TOMS Shoes’ customers connected with the brand’s story, which compels their customers to feel that they are making a difference in children’s lives in need by taking action and supporting and being a part of a great cause in helping needy children. Customers view the brand as credible and trustworthy. Customers connect with TOMS Shoes and believe the brand resonates and relates to their values and beliefs, and the brand represents and provides quality products.  Moreover, TOMS Shoes’ brand story positions the brand with a competitive advantage against its competitors.

Brand stories are vital for marketers to inform customers about the benefits, products, and services the brand offers. Brand stories also educate customers about the positive impact the brand has on their lives and the actions customers need to invest in their products and services. Connecting a brand with customers through strong brand stories is key to its success because it inspires customers to take action toward the brand by communicating values that customers resonate with and are meaningful to their beliefs, satisfies their desires and needs, and solutions for overcoming their challenges.

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