Tag: StoryBrand

Brand messaging

How to Improve Your Brand Messaging with StoryBrand

Are your business results where you’d like them to be?

If you’ve followed Donald Miller and StoryBrand at all, you will have heard one of their key points for brands before: people buy because of the words you use, not because you have the prettiest website.

Your brand messaging is what either draws your target audience in, or pushes them away. If there is any confusion or lack of clarity, they’re more likely to look elsewhere.

StoryBrand has been on a mission to help businesses improve their brand messaging and their desired results along with it. Your messaging should be developed as part of a strong brand strategy – here’s what to consider:

What is brand messaging?

Brand messaging is the overall message you convey to your target audience via various tools and channels. For example, you’ll be communicating something via your tagline, your social media, your brand promise, brand story and any other content you produce.

Some important parts of brand messaging are your value proposition and brand positioning. When these are clearly defined, they ensure that your messaging is consistent. For example, brand personality is part of positioning – you want to be consistent with the tone and personality you convey. It would be confusing to switch from a friendly, informative sort of personality to an edgy or more aggressive stance.

What Donald Miller teaches via StoryBrand is that a confused customer will always say no. You might change your content format or advertise via different channels, but your underlying messaging should remain consistent.  Your message is in what you say and how you say it.

The overall goal of brand messaging is that it specifically resonates with the target audience that you intend to engage with. The customer relates to your brand, is inspired, persuaded and ultimately, motivated to buy.

Key takeaway: Your brand messaging is much more than a tagline. Nike has the infamous “Just Do It” line, but this is just one part of an entire brand messaging framework. If you were to assess your own content including website, social media and anywhere else, would you find consistent messaging across each?

Brand messaging

Typical brand message mistakes

What is the biggest mistake companies make with their brand messaging? They’re not clear enough. If you’re audience has to hunt around to figure out what you’re about, you’re not doing it right. As Miller says, people don’t buy the “best” products, they buy the products they can understand the fastest.

The root cause of this lack of clarity is often that the business didn’t define their customer first and put their needs at the front of their messaging. With just a quick look around the internet, you’ll discover brands that have tried to be clever with their messaging, but it falls flat because the target customer doesn’t understand.

As Miller puts it, brand messaging should be able to pass the “grunt test.” If a caveman or woman were to look at your website or marketing material, would they be able to grunt out what you are offering, how it will improve their lives and what they need to do to buy it? Within five seconds, your audience should be able to grunt out an answer to these three things.

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We’ve already hinted at another mistake – confusing brand messaging with a simple tagline. A tagline may be catchy, but every business owner or marketer needs to take a look at the broader picture too. Your audience, value proposition, imagery, tone and product positioning are just a few of the other items that go into your overall marketing strategy. Some taglines may communicate the three things within five seconds – most don’t.

Thirdly (although we could point out more mistakes), another common brand message mistake is failing to excite or motivate the target audience via your messaging. Miller talks about how we are motivated to action when something can help us to survive and thrive. If this key ingredient is missing from your messaging, people may understand what you do, but fail to see why it should matter to them.

Tips for better brand messaging

Where should you get started with better brand messaging? Donald Miller and the StoryBrand Framework provide businesses with some great strategies for improvement, including the seven parts of the framework outlined here.

Here are some tips to go along with that:

#1. Put your target audience first

Who is your target audience? What do they really care about? What sort of tone, language and overall messaging will really resonate with them? 

Sometimes brands are so close to their own products and services that they fail to see their messaging through the eyes of the customer. They might try to be clever with their words in such a way that goes over the customer’s head – sort of like telling “inside” jokes. They might use jargon too heavily or other language that is difficult for the customer to interpret.

That’s the thing – your target audience shouldn’t have to interpret what you’re saying, you should have done that for them. 

Your brand messaging should be customer-centric rather than brand-centric – think “you” rather than “us.” As Miller puts it, the customer is the “hero” of your story – it’s not all about your brand.

Before you develop any sort of messaging, you need to be inside the minds of your target audience. Consider pain points, goals, favorite features and anything else that appeals to them.

Activity: Do you have a clear definition of your target audience? If not, try creating a picture of a customer “avatar,” including their demographics, pain points, goals and interests.

#2. Define your brand positioning

Brand positioning refers to the space that your brand occupies in the minds of your target audience and how it compares to competitors. Your messaging helps to communicate what your positioning is. Brand positioning strategy involves creating associations in the minds of your customers so that they perceive your brand favorably over competitors.

One of the keys with positioning is that something needs to make you different. That’s what helps to distinguish your brand in the eyes of the customer.

As an example of great brand positioning, consider the grocery chain Trader Joe’s. They operate in a highly competitive sector but tend to stand out from other, larger grocery chains because of how they have positioned themselves. They talk about being a “national chain of neighborhood grocery stores” and work to have that friendly neighborhood feel in their stores.

They offer high-quality food and low prices and a fun shopping experience with nautical themes, Hawaiian shirt-wearing team members and free samples. Overall, their entire experience is different to that of competitors.

Activity: How will you distinguish your brand from competitors? What will your brand call to mind for customers?

Brand messaging

#3. Develop a clear value proposition

Your value proposition is essentially the “what’s in it for me?” for your customers. It is customer benefit-driven and states why they should do business with you. Sometimes it takes the form of a single statement, but quite often it might be a series of bullet points or similar.

In fact, Donald Miller says of developing your website homepage:

“On the web, we tend to scan rather than read word-for-word, so consider framing these value points as icons with short descriptions beneath them. That way, people will understand them quickly and easily. Bullet points work, too.”

A common mistake is to list features instead of the actual benefit to the customer. Always keep in mind that if something you’re saying doesn’t answer “what’s in it for me?” then it’s probably not benefit-focused.

Your value proposition carries through to any other content you put out as well – your social media, emails, opt-ins, product descriptions… All of these things should have a consistent position on the benefits that you offer.

In a blog post, Donald Miller talks about a powerful way to convey value. When it comes to purchasing a product or service, people often have an internal problem, an external problem and a philosophical problem. The philosophical problem can be related to a wider issue, for example; “I need a new car but I should also do my bit to save the environment.” Miller uses Tesla as an example:

External problem: I need a car.

Internal problem: I feel cool when people see me driving the latest technology.

Philosophical problem: I should do my part to save the environment.

Activity: Have you got a clear value proposition? What benefits do you offer that will resonate with your target customer? Can you frame value in terms of external, internal and philosophical problems?

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Final thoughts

Your brand messaging should communicate your positioning, voice and value as clearly as possible to a defined target audience. It’s about much more than a tagline – your messaging involves every component of how you communicate and should be consistent.

StoryBrand has created a simple framework to help brands be clearer with their messaging. It’s a common mistake that many confuse customers, causing them to leave without buying.

We use and recommend the StoryBrand framework here at One Week Website. If you want to know more about it and how we apply it, hit us up with your questions!

Storybrand website examples

3 of The Best Storybrand Website Examples We’ve Ever Seen

If you’re a fan of Storybrand and Donald Miller, and let’s face it, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t, then you may be thinking of Storybrand’ing your website. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see the best Storybrand website examples before you build your own website? Donald Miller’s brandscript and overall Storybrand framework are helping businesses to communicate clearly with their audiences and sell more as a result. 

Chances are you’re here because you’re doing some research for your own marketing strategy. There are some big claims out there about the results the Storybrand framework can deliver, including huge numbers around revenue growth. What it boils down to is, the very least that you get from implementing Storybrand’s techniques is a website that is simple and easy for potential customers to understand.

We’re going to walk you through three examples of great Storybrand websites and explain what makes them so effective:

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Website Example #1: One Week Website

Ok ok. We’re a little biased. This is our very own website. But, what’s the use in writing an article like this if you don’t love your own website? Let’s walk you through the step-by-step process we used to turn our Storybrand brandscript into a homepage that works.

Take a look at our website here at One Week Website as we explain how we used the Storybrand framework section by section. You’ll see how you can then take your own Storybrand brandscript and turn it into a great Storybrand website. 

Storybrand website examples

Our headline is what the character wants

When our customers work with us, they want a website they can be proud of. Now, the reasons they are proud of the website will differ depending on the buyer. For example, one client may want a website that looks the way they want it to look, while another client may really care about clear website copy. 

Both of these reasons why each client loves their website doesn’t matter as it relates to my website copy. If I find the “least common denominator” around why clients buy from us and what they are looking for, then it’s very simple: they want a website they can point to and say out loud “I love that!” All we did was simply state they will love their website.

Now think about your business: you may sell a “widget” or a service and think it’s really important that customers know about some specific detail that explains why your service is so awesome. If you sell cupcakes, then yes, clients need to know they are “made fresh every day.” If you sell financial services, then yes, clients need to know your services are “fee-only” and that you don’t take commissions. These items don’t need to be in your headline, though. It’s too much information.

It may feel “cheap” to write a headline that simply states what your customer wants or even counter-intuitive, but it’s not. Your clients will have problems before and after working with you, so you really need to focus on the simple, transformational experience that your brand provides them and write a short, compelling headline from that point of view.

Here’s a simple exercise to try: Write down a success your customer has after they get done working with you. Can you write eight words that will describe this success? If you can do this, then congrats, you’ve written your website headline.

Our call to action is strong

If you listen to the Building a Storybrand podcast, then you know that a strong call to action button is one of the most important components to a great Storybrand website. Our call to action button isn’t wimpy. There is no doubt on how to get started with us once your budget aligns with our services – we clearly spell out the next action. The button is also purple, which makes it easy to see.

Here’s a simple exercise to try: Look at your homepage button. Is there a big button at the top right of your homepage? Is it clear like “Schedule a Call” or is it wimpy like “Get Started?”

Our tagline states what we do and what our character wants

The sentence under your headline needs to tell your customers what it is that you do. There’s no need to be cute here. Just tell them exactly what you do. Bonus points if you can work in some success buckets like we did – those key areas in which people want to achieve. (We used pride in their website appearance and the ability to earn new customers).

Too many websites make the mistake of over-complicating this part and when you do that, the potential customer often leaves in confusion.

Here’s a simple exercise to try for your brand: Does the second sentence underneath your headline state what you do in a simple way?

Our homepage photo shows our character’s identity transformation

The website photo we used in our header shows two business leaders (my audience character) who are proud of their website. They are showing my potential customers the feeling they can have after working with One Week Website. 

Exercise for your brand: What about your website hero image? Does it show customer success or is it just a picture of a random desk or general stock image?

Website Example #2: World Housing

World Housing is a great example of a non-profit website that has taken their brand story and turned it into a homepage that is clear. Non-profit websites need to choose to either lead with the donor as the character, or the cause as the character. World Housing does a great job leading with the cause as the character:

Storybrand website examples

Their headline and company name is insanely clear

First of all, the headline they use (“A Home For Everyone”), as well as their company name, is so incredibly clear that it only takes a couple of seconds to realize that they build homes for anyone in need and your donation can help to build homes for everyone. 

Their tagline uses failure and success at the same time

We love how the tagline takes the fear people have with donating to a non-profit (where does my money go?) and reverses it by stating “100% of your donation goes to building homes for families living in slums.” At the same time, they specifically give a success in the tagline – the statement that your money will build homes for those families. 

Section two provokes the external problem

As mentioned with our website, it’s very important to dive into your customer’s problem as soon as possible. We’re fans of taking the external and internal problem from your brandscript and placing it in section two of your homepage. 

In this example, the external problem is that over a billion people, or 14% of the world’s population live in slums.

Super duper clear call to action button 

“Donate now” creates more of a sense of urgency than simply saying donate. If you run a non-profit, then consider changing your call to action button to “Donate Now.” Again, it is very specifically telling the audience what their next action should be.

Website Example #3. Real Estate On Purpose

One of the first things you notice about the Real Estate On Purpose website is that they have a clear focus on the customer, not themselves. They could have said something like “we are premier real estate coaches,” but they went with what the character actually wants: “Sell more houses, enjoy more free time, be happy.”

How’s that for hitting success buckets? Most people have that struggle for work-life balance and this headline will reach their deepest desires.

Storybrand website examples

Their tagline highlights exactly what they do (and for how much!)

If you were in doubt about how you might sell more houses and enjoy more free time, the tagline immediately underneath quickly clears that up. “Build your perfect real estate business by completing one simple activity each week. It only costs $20 per week.”

You know what else is great about this? It quickly deals with a common objection that their target audience might have – “I don’t have time.” One simple activity each week sounds doable, and highlighting the affordable price of $20 per week will keep anyone interested who was already worrying about price.

They have just a few clear options

Another positive about this website is that it’s very “clean.” This helps to promote clear messaging because the potential customer doesn’t get confused by having a lot of things going on.

Specifically, the navigation menu has just a few options so that the website visitor doesn’t go “down a rabbithole.” The call to action button is also very clear and specific at the top-right with “start free trial.”

Section two deals with another potential objection 

In the real estate business, there have been a lot of so-called “gurus” selling the latest “sure thing” to those interested in making money from the business. Many of these either charge a lot of money for the privilege of sharing in their knowledge, or they’re not giving out value for money at all.

The first part, “yes, you can build the practice of your dreams” speaks directly to the goals of their target character. The second part says; “No, you don’t need a hot shot Instagram guru to show you how. Our online activities make it simple and fun to build a real estate business that affords you a happy life.” This is directly addressing any potential suspicion or fear that the customer might have about the integrity of what they’re selling. There are no gimmicks or tricks, just simple activities that work.

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Final thoughts

Now it’s your turn to take your Storybrand brandscript and turn it into a website that clearly communicates your value to your target audience.

Need help with clarifying your own message? Our founder, Danny is a Storybrand Certified Guide and can help walk you through the process of developing a clear message for your business.

Hit us up by filling in the contact form here.

Storybrand brandscript

Why Every Small Business Needs a StoryBrand Brandscript

Do you know why many small business websites are ineffective?

One of the prime reasons is their messaging. They either fail to convey what they’re about clearly, their message doesn’t “hook” their intended audience, or both. You’ve probably seen this yourself – how many websites do you visit where it’s not immediately clear to you what they do?

A StoryBrand Brandscript is here to be a game-changer for small businesses. Your messaging is important and clarity is key. Let’s take a closer look at how building a Storybrand marketing roadmap can help:

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The problem with most website messaging…

When a website isn’t performing as expected, it’s often not that the products or services are substandard, but that the messaging is not well-communicated. You have to remember that the average person is bombarded with marketing messages daily – that’s a lot of noise to contend with!

You might have the best website design on Earth, but if your messaging is an afterthought, it will rarely be effective. This means you can waste a lot of money on marketing materials and activities for little return on investment. The website itself isn’t what sells your products or services, it’s the words, or copywriting that you use.

As Donald Miller, founder of Storybrand says: “the answer to confusion is always no.” When a customer has to work too hard to understand what you offer, they switch off. On the other hand, if you use a simple communication format, it’s much easier for people to digest.

A second motivator that Miller talks about is things that help your customer to “survive and thrive.” It’s an inbuilt human instinct that our brains will promote first – moving from our most base survival instincts to more advanced techniques once those basics are covered.

One of the most basic forms of communication is the story. It’s a mechanism humans have used for generations to make sense of the world around us and to clearly impart some kind of message. As part of the Storybrand message, Miller highlights the importance of being able to tell your story to engage your customers.

Storybrand brandscript

What is a Storybrand Brandscript?

The Storybrand Brandscript is a framework that helps businesses to better engage with their audiences. It is based upon the philosophy that basically all great stories follow a similar “formula.” You see this within the movies that you find memorable and among the most popular novels.

Here’s how Miller explains the flow of every good story:

“A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”

Those seven highlighted elements are in nearly every popular fiction book or movie. The formula works and people are used to engaging in this way. For businesses, this means that the further you stray from this predictable formula, the more difficult it will be for prospects to engage with your brand.

Simple messaging

When you have too much to your messaging, or parts that confuse such as rambling or extra copy, the website visitor can be both confused and overwhelmed. This includes the use of jargon that people may not understand.

Miller gives an example from his own customers. Kyle Schulz runs an online photography school. His first launch netted him $25,000 in sales but he felt he could do better. After taking a Storybrand course he replaced photography jargon (such as f-stop) with simple language such as “take those great pictures where the background is blurry.” When he sent a revised round of emails to the same list, he netted $103,000 in sales.

It’s not that you should never have any longer stories, but you should ensure that first communications are straight to the point (Miller suggests you could use a “read more” button on home pages where you want to tell a larger story).

At a basic level, when a visitor arrives on your website, three questions should be answered very quickly to motivate them to engage further:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How will it make my life better (or What’s In It For Me)?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

This is coming back to that “survive and thrive” mechanism. Being concise helps to communicate that message better.

The framework

Keeping this idea of simplicity in mind, here’s a quick outline of each of the seven key elements of the Storybrand framework:

  1. Character. A key piece for businesses to understand is that the CUSTOMER is the hero of the story, not the brand. Your business needs to define what the customer wants and do so in their words. This helps to implant a story question in their minds.

    When you can successfully engage your audience with a question, they want to resolve the plot. The idea is that there is a gap between the customer and what they want, one that you can help them to resolve.

    Defining the customer ambition is critical because it is the source of the story gap. Having a single focus is important because this in turn ensures the solution is simple and specific. Storybrand themselves are an example with “we help you clarify your message and grow your business.” Growing your business is a “survive and thrive” issue…

  2. The problem. Miller’s philosophy is simple: companies tend to sell solutions to external problems; customers buy solutions to internal problems.

    When you can talk frequently about a customer’s problems in their own language, they grow to trust you and believe that you truly understand them. It comes back to that framework too – every good story has a “villain” that must be overcome and the customer’s problems can be personified as such.

  3. The guide. As Miller puts it, customers aren’t looking for another hero, they’re looking for a guide. Your brand is there to offer the role of a trusted guide that offers them the tools to overcome their problems.

    Your messaging should be focused on your customer’s success rather than your own. When your customer wins, you both do.

  4. Have a plan. The bottom line is that this is about trust. People trust guides who have a plan.

    For example, in your business customers are unlikely to commit to a purchase without a plan. You can lay this out in a clear series of steps that helps to guide them to your solution. This helps to bring the customer to that climactic scene in the story where their problems are resolved.

    The plan helps to avoid confusion. If you don’t clearly answer “what do I need to do to buy it?” the customer will probably disappear.

  5. The call to action. As Miller puts it, customers don’t take action unless they are challenged to do so. The hero in a story is often challenged to take action when they are having doubts – the same goes for that customer story. Put simply, calls to action should be simple, clear and repeated.

  6. Avoidance of failure. As the Storybrand principle goes, every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending. In fact, psychological studies tell us that humans are more powerfully motivated to avoid pain than to seek pleasure.

    As part of your story, remind customers of the potential consequences if they don’t take action. Emphasize that following your plan helps them to avoid that pain.

  7. Success. Be sure to tell people how your brand can change their lives. When you position success, there are three main psychological desires that may be used as appropriate. People want to:

    • Win some sort of power or position/status.
    • Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole.
    • Experience some self-realization or transcendence that makes them whole.

These seven areas form the basic template of a Brandscript that any small business can use.

Storybrand brandscript

How a Brandscript benefits small businesses

The basic benefits to small businesses of using a Brandscript include:

  • Better use of marketing spend. As Miller puts it, “marketing shouldn’t be a ripoff.” The bottom line of clarifying your brand message IS your bottom line! People buy when the messaging is clear.

  • Better overall results with or without marketing spend. A clearer journey to the conclusion of a purchase helps more people to make that “buy now” decision (just look at the photography website example we mentioned).

  • An engaged audience. The Brandscript format invites people into your story and encourages them to stay. This is a great opportunity for brands to develop long-term, loyal customer relationships.

  • Develop brand evangelists. When you give customers a great overall experience, they tell others about it.

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Final thoughts

We recommend the Storybrand Brandscript for small businesses because it is genius in its simplicity and it gets results. In our experience with website development, messaging is most often the area that needs work. You can hear more from Donald Miller and Storybrand on their podcast here, their website, or by attending a Storybrand workshop.

When you follow the framework Miller and his Storybrand lay out, you develop a story formula that resonates with people. Storytelling and responding to stories is in our DNA – it engages audiences and it improves their understanding.