The Storybrand Outline

KJ RoelkeMarcomm Leave a Comment

Storybrand is the tool we use to frame how we talk about stuff. It is incredibly important to what we do, and it is such a radically different way of thinking about strategy, communication and promotion that it can be hard to wrap your mind around! So, let’s breakdown the big components of Storybrand.

The Outline

A Hero has a Problem, and meets a Guide that has a Plan, who Calls the Hero to an Action that helps them Avoid Failure and End in Success.

This one sentence is the broad-stroked outline of the Storybrand framework. It’s also a version of the Hero’s Journey. But how does it work for us? Let’s dive in.

A Hero

The prototypical person we’re trying to help.

What’s the gap between where they are and where they want to be, and how does it connect to a primal need?

Examples of primal needs:

  • Conserving financial resources
  • Conserving time
  • Building social networks (aka the desire to nurture and be nurtured)
  • Gaining status
  • Accumulating Resources
  • The innate desire to be generous
  • The desire for meaning

Has a Problem

“Identifying our [heroes’] problems deepens their interest in the story we are telling. Every story is about somebody who is trying to solve a problem, so when we identify our [heroes’] problems, they recognize us a brand that understands them.”

Building a Storybrand, p. 57

3 Levels of Conflict

“In a story, a villain initiates an external problem that causes a character to experience an internal frustration that is, quite simply, philosophically wrong.”

Building a Storybrand, p. 61

Read more about Crafting a Good Problem

And Meets a Guide

That’s us!

Make sure we use:

  1. Empathetic language
  2. Proof of authority

Who Gives Them a Plan

All effective plans do one of two things. They either:

  1. Clarifies how somebody can do business with us (The Process Plan)
  2. Removes the sense of risk somebody might have if they’re considering investing in our products or services (The Agreement Plan)

Read more about the Plan

And Calls them to Action

Two types of CTAs: Direct and Transitional

Direct Calls-to-Action:

  • Buy Now
  • Call today
  • Schedule an appointment

Transitional Calls-to-Action:

  • “Learn More”
    • Free info
    • See what Others Have to Say (Testimonials)
  • Free Trial / Samples / Try Before You Buy

That Helps them Avoid Failure

If there are no stakes, there is no story and this whole exercise falls flat.

Don’t be a fear-monger, but don’t shy away from stating the stakes of a Hero maintaining their current trajectory.

And Ends in Success

The Hero should be transformed!

Before and After

Before experiencing your service, where is the Hero? What do they have? How do they feel?

Afterwards, how have those answers changed?

Typical endings for stories has the hero:

  1. Win position or power
  2. Be unified with someone/something that makes them feel whole
  3. Experience some kind of self-realization that also makes them feel whole

Wrapping Up

This is all great and good, but it seems like you just wrote and thought through a bunch of stuff. How do we get it down to something simple and digestible? Enter the One-Liner. That’s a whole other post, though.

Click here to read about Crafting a One-Liner.

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