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Building a StoryBrand

Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

By Donald Miller
  • Read in 16 minutes
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  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Building a StoryBrand (2017) is a practical guide to effectively marketing your company or product. By showing the power of a seven-part story-telling framework, these blinks help you and your company create a clear message that no customer will ignore.

Key idea 1 of 10

Your marketing message needs to be clear and speak to your customer’s needs.

If you had to come up with an easy way to increase sales, you might think, “Bingo! New website!”

But a new website, no matter how fancy and tricked out, won’t do the job if you don’t use language effectively.

So how can you harness the power of prose? Well, you’ll need to construct a clear message, one that presents your brand with no room for confusion. This message should communicate three things: Who you are. What you’re here to do. And why a customer should choose you instead of someone else.

If your message is a muddle, potential customers will struggle to decipher what you’re offering and quickly take their business elsewhere.

Let’s say you have a house-painting business, and a customer looking to add a new coat to his house visits your website. You could be the Michelangelo of housepainters, with the sleekest site ever, but none of that will matter if your website doesn’t clearly state that you paint houses.

When creating the perfect message, the best things to consider are the survival-related needs of your customers. How will your product or service help them survive and flourish?

To get you in the right frame of mind, let’s turn to psychologist Abraham Maslow. He devised a hierarchy of human needs, arranging them according to their importance to our survival.

First, come food and drink, and then safety and shelter. Third on the list is our need for companionship: we need both friends and people with whom to reproduce. Finally, we look to satisfy greater needs. These include everything from psychology to spirituality.

These needs can be leveraged to hone your message and entice customers. Most of us want to be accepted and find a partner and belong to a tribe, and everyone has to eat and drink – so use that knowledge to explain how your product will help customers satisfy those needs and thrive in life.

So, to take the housepainter example: focus your message on helping customers have their friends over more often – which speaks to their survival-related need for being part of a tribe. If your house looks rundown, people will be reluctant to visit you!

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