This is part 3 of a 3-part series of notes from Donald Miller’s, Building a Story Brand book. Go back to part 1 or part 2.

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The three dominant ways storytellers end a story is by allowing the hero to:
1: Win some sort of power or position.
– Offer access (membership, points, intangible status)
– Create scarcity (offer a limited number of specific items)
– Offer a premium (client titles, preferred, diamond member, perks, privileges)
– Offer identity association (status)
2: Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole.
– Reduced anxiety (glass cleaners offering satisfaction for a job well done and a feeling of closure about a clean house)
– Will the use of your product to lead to the relief of stress and the feeling of completeness? If so, talk about it and show it in the marketing material
– Reduced workload. Customers don’t have the right tools must work harder because they are incomplete. Do you have a tool to offer to give them what they’re missing?
– More time. Not being able to “fit it all in“ is often perceived by our customers as a personal deficiency. Any tool, system, philosophy, or even person who can expand time may offer a sense of completeness
3: Experience some kind of self-realization that also makes them whole.
– Inspiration. If an aspect of your brand can offer or be associated with an inspirational feat, open the floodgates. Many brands like Redbull or Under Armor have associated themselves with athletic and intellectual accomplishment and thus a sense of self-actualization.
– Acceptance. Helping people except themselves as they are isn’t just a thoughtful thing to do, it’s good marketing.
– Transcendence. Brands that invite customers to participate in a larger movement offer a greater, more impactful life along with their products and services.
Think of all this as closing the story loop.
Brands that participate in the identity transformation of their customers create passionate brand evangelists.
A few important questions we have to ask ourselves when we are representing our brand are: what does your customer want to become? What kind of person do they want to be? What is their aspirational identity?
Example, a writer buying a Gerber knife made for adventure. There aspirational identity was to be adventurous and brave and Gerber marketing help them feel that.
The best way to identify an aspirational identity that our customers may be attracted to is to consider how they want their friends to talk about them. Think about it. When others talk about you what do you want them to say? How we answer that question reveals who it is we’d like to be. It’s the same for our customers. As it relates to your brand, how does your customer want to be perceived by their friends? And can you help them become that kind of person? Can you participate in their identity transformation?
If you offer executive coaching, your clients may want to be seen as competent, generous, and disciplined. If you sell sports equipment, your customers likely want to be perceived as active, fit, and successful in their athletic pursuits. Once we know who our customers want to be, we will have language to use in emails, blog post, and all matter of marketing material.
Being the guide is more than a marketing strategy; it’s a position of the heart. When the brand commits itself to their customers journey, to helping resolve their external, internal, and philosophical problems, and then inspires them with an aspirational identity, they do more than sell products… they change lives. And leaders who care more about changing lives than they do about selling products tend to do a good bit of both.
Brands that realize their customers are human, filled with emotion, driven to transform, and in need of help truly do more than sell products, they change people.
Examples of aspirational identities:
Pet food brand
From: Passive dog owner
To: Every dogs hero
Financial advisor
From: Confused and ill-equipped
To: Competent and smart
Have you thought about who you want your customers to become? Participating in your customers’ transformation can give new life and meaning to your business. When your team realizes that they sell more than products, that they guide people toward a stronger belief in themselves, then their work will have a greater meaning. Spend some time thinking about who you want your customers to become. How can you improve the way they see themselves? How can your brand participate in your customers transformational journey? Let’s do more than help our heroes win; let’s help them transform.
Five things the website should include:
An offer above the fold. Short, enticing, and exclusively customer-centric. One short sentence to help viewers understand what you offer. Viewers need to know what’s in it for them right when they read the text.
Obvious calls to action. Either in the top right or in the center of the screen above the fold. Different from any other color on the side, preferably brighter and all CTA buttons should look the same. If there is a secondary call to action, put it in a less bright button next to the main one.
Images of success. In general we need to communicate a sense of health, well-being, and satisfaction with our brand. The easiest way to do this is by displaying happy customers. If people come to our website and see pictures of our building, we’re wasting some of their mental bandwidth on meaningless messages.
A bite-sized breakdown of your revenue streams. A common challenge for many businesses is that they need to communicate simply about what they do but they’ve diversified the revenue stream so widely that they don’t know where to start. Find an overall umbrella message that unifies your various streams. Once we have an umbrella message, we can separate the divisions using different web pages. The key is clarity.
Very few words! People don’t read websites anymore, they scan them. A person has to hear something or read something many times before they process the information, so we want to repeat our main call to action several times. It there’s a paragraph above the fold in your website, it’s being passed over, I promise. As customer scroll down your page, it’s OK to use more and more words, but by more and more, I really mean a few sentences here and there. If you do want to use a long section of text to explain something, just place a little read more link at the end of the first or second sentence.
*Notes in this document are quotes that have been compiled from Donald Miller’s book and may have inaccuracies as compared to the original text. They in no way reflect the thoughts or opinions of GrowFly, LLC, but solely from Donald Miller and his book, Building a Story Brand. This document’s only intent is to share excerpts from Donald Miller’s book to those who want a quick, overall understanding of the book, or need a refresher for themselves.
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