The Story Behind Brand Storytelling

By Chuck Sink | March 6, 2020

How Storytelling Works (Very Well!)

Storytelling is a lot more than a marketing buzzword. Stories have mind-attracting power and are like personal guides leading readers and listeners to the prize of knowledge, the satisfaction of curiosity and the fulfillment of desires. Marketers who effectively apply storytelling have real-life success stories of their own to tell.

Every Brand Tells a Story

According to the book, “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller, almost every customer success story consists of about 5 common elements:

  1. The main character (customer)
  2. A problem
  3. A hero, leader or guide (the brand)
  4. A plan to solve the problem (product/service offer)
  5. The call to action that if taken solves the problem and avoids failure (purchase and acquisition)

Let’s take a familiar brand example and narrate its success story.

It’s the year 2005. Lola, a book lover, is one who can spend hours in a bookstore. She has an uncommon reading list that’s difficult to fill and has shopped the same two bookstores in her city for years. When her book choices aren’t in stock, the stores do their best to special order them but some titles have been out of print for years and can be “impossible” to find. Lola becomes frustrated that she’s missing out on the wonderful reading adventures she knows are out there for her somewhere!

Lola has been hearing and seeing ads pop up all over the place about some company called “Amazon.” She’s aware they have something to do with books and CDs and then learns its a website that sells books & music and other stuff online. Out of curiosity, she logs on to a computer at the library and looks up Amazon on the internet. Lola quickly sees the website’s main call to action; you can search for your own titles and authors from around the world!

She types in the title of a cherished volume she’s been unable to find and up come 5 various copies of the book for sale in either new or used condition. Lola has never ordered online but that cherished book is right in front of her on the screen inviting her to buy it. She takes a small leap of faith and pulls out her credit card, trusting that the book will be delivered at a surprisingly fair price as promised. Within 3 days, Lola is curled up on her couch, 8 chapters into her new reading odyssey.

Here’s how this “Story Brand” breaks down.

  • Lola the book lover is the main character.
  • Her problem is not finding the books she wants.
  • A hero-leader in the form of Amazon advertising and its website offer a plan to solve the problem. “Maybe I can find the books I want without the bookstore’s limits.”
  • Then Lola answers the call to action – search for and find books on the Amazon website!

Conclusion: Mutual brand and customer success!

Would it be fair to say this specific brand story worked very well?

Every brand tells a story. If you can simplify yours and demonstrate happy endings as Amazon did decades ago, your marketing communications will be easier to implement and much more effective!

What’s your story? Who is the main character? Why and how are you the hero?

If you find writing your brand story to be a challenge, contact us for a no-cost branding and writing consultation. Phone calls are welcomed at (603) 345-7223.

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