Building a Storybrand: Unlocking the Key to Effective Communication

Jul 16, 2023

The Struggle of Knowing What to Say About Your Business

Having worked as a website designer since 2010, I repeatedly encountered the same problem when starting a project with a new client. 

One of the first questions I would ask a new client would be – what do you want your website to say? As a newbie, little did I know that this question would be a conversation-stopper. Almost every time I asked, it was followed by–nothing. 

Crickets. Just a blank stare and silence followed by a statement like, I have no idea; that’s why I’m hiring you. 

So I’d find myself, time and time again, sitting in front of a blank screen, trying to figure out what in the heck to say about a business that I didn’t know anything about. For me, as a web designer, it was extremely frustrating. 

A Solution o My Problem

Then in 2019, as I talked with a fellow web designer about this frustration, he said – “You know, a friend of mine just told me about this book that I think just might help you.” 

Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Marketing Message So Your Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

That book was “Building a Storybrand: Clarify your message so your customer will listen,” and just a few paragraphs into the first chapter, I read what the author Donald Miller said, 

“Before I started Storybrand, I was a writer and spent thousands of hours staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what to say.”  

I remember reading that sentence, and everything within my soul cried, “YES! That is precisely how I feel!” He then went on to say, 

“That soul-wrenching frustration let me to create a “communication framework” based on the proven power of story, and I swear it was like discovering a secret formula.” 

The more I read about the Storybrand marketing framework, the more it made sense. I immediately took what I learned from reading Donald Miller’s book and started using it for my new clients, and it worked. 

It really worked. 

So much so that my new clients began telling their friends and coworkers about the success they were now getting from their new website, and in just a few short months, what first started as a side hustle to make a few extra dollars here and there, turned into the business I run today – StoryWorks.Marketing a Storybrand Website Design Agency. 

It Just Makes Sense

The funny thing is, the effectiveness of this marketing framework is so simple it’s almost comical. Storybrand’s success comes from helping you to know what your customers want to hear when they encounter your marketing. 

And here’s the big shock for most business owners – they don’t want to hear about you or how great your business is. Well, not yet, anyway. 

Every Story Begins With a Problem

The transformational journey of every one of your customers begins with a problem. They have a problem. It may be a leaky sink, bad skin, or that they need a job. Whatever it may be, that problem is why they began their search to find you. So when they visit your website for the first time, they are not ready yet to hear about how great you or your company is; they just want to know one thing – Can you help me solve my problem?

10 Seconds or Less to Answer Your Customers Question

Studies have shown that you have anywhere from 3-10 seconds to answer the question at the top of their mind when they come to your website, or they will mentally check out and leave. 

This means you have less than 10 seconds to tell them:

  • Who you are
  • That you can help them solve their problem
  • That you are going to make their life better
  • And how they can get what you offer

Ten seconds, so you better be using the right words. 

A Simple Strategy to Find the Right Words

So how do you find the right words–by using the Storybrand SB7 Framework. 

The Storybrand SB7 Marketing Framework

storybrand brandscript 300x225 1

The 7 in the Storybrand Framework stands for the seven parts of a clear and compelling story. Those seven parts look like this: 

  1. There is a character. 
  2. Who has a problem?
  3. Who meets a guide who can help them solve their problem.
  4. Who presents a simple plan that will help them.
  5. And then calls them to take action.
  6. To help them avoid failure.
  7. And finally, discovery success.

So let’s dig deeper into the individual pieces of this marketing framework. 

Donald Miller has said that the basis of any story plot is this: There is a Character who wants something but must overcome some obstacle or conflict to get it. 

So, when it comes to the story of your business:

There is a Character

When it comes to telling the story of your business, the character or the hero is not you. It’s your customer. 

As we like to say in what I call Storybrand Land- You are not Luke Skywalker; you are Yoda. (We’ll get to this in a minute.) It’s the customer you serve that is the hero of your story. They are the ones who are trying to overcome conflict to get what they want. 

Who Has a Problem 

To better understand and define the problem your customer is trying to solve, the Storybrand framework breaks down the problem into three pieces. 

  1. The External Problem – This is the actual problem your customer is experiencing, such as having a leaky sink, bad skin, or unmanageable hair. The problem is the conflict they must overcome to get what they want. 
  2. The Internal Problem – The internal problem defines how this problem makes them feel. Are they frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, or drained?   
  3. The Philosophical Problem – Why is it just plain wrong that they must deal with this problem? This question is often answered using words like should or deserve, as in – You should be able to have the beautiful and manageable hair you deserve. 

Who Meets a Guide That Can Help Solve Their Problem?

It’s at this point in your customer’s story where you, as the business owner, are introduced into their story- as the helpful guide. Someone who has “been there, done that.” You’ve faced and solved the problem your customers are dealing with, and if they follow your advice, you can lead them to success. 

Who Presents a Plan

If finding a solution to their problem was easy, they would just do it, right? But unless you have the right experience or guidance, solving our problems is complicated and often overwhelming to the point of giving up. This is why, as the helpful guide, you need to present to your customers a simple three or four-step plan to help them understand what steps will be required to find success.

Just like seeing three stones to hop on, one to the other to cross a stream, your three-step plans help your customer know it’s possible to get to the other side of their problem.

And Calls Them to Action  

This is where, as my dad used to say, “the rubber hits the road.” Until now, your customer hasn’t had any skin in the game or hasn’t had to make a choice. Your Call To Action is a direct challenge for them to make a stand and take that first and necessary step to find success. Your call to action should not be a passive ask like “learn more” no. The call to action should be a direct challenge like “Buy Now,” ‘Schedule a Call,” or “Book a Consultation.” When your customers see your CTA, there should be no confusion about what you are calling them to do.

To Help Avoid Failure

In my four years as a Certified Storybrand Guide, I have seen that talking about failure causes the most stress for my clients. For some, talking about or reminding your potential client of what horrible thing might happen if they don’t hire you seems negative or manipulative. But just for a moment, think about your own life and why you do some of the things you do even though you hate doing them. It’s accounting for me. I don’t particularly appreciate keeping track of my books, receipts, and categories, but I also know there is something much worse in store if I don’t do it. 

When speaking with clients, I always say that failure should be used as you use salt, just like when baking. Too much salt will ruin your baked goods, but without salt, it will taste bland and lack flavor. 

And Discover Success

One of your jobs as a helpful guide is to paint a picture for your customers of what their life could look like if they follow your advice and find success. Like our baking analogy, success is like flour. When baking, you use a lot of flour, and when speaking to your customer, you want to paint their story with great success. 

Character Transformation  

The last and final piece of the SB7 is Character Transformation. Although not considered one of the “official” seven parts of the framework, I’ve found that if you can identify who your customer want to either become or be known as when using your product or service, it allows you to find the words that will inspire them. 

The Results Are In

In conclusion, the struggle to know what to say about your business is a common challenge many entrepreneurs and website designers face. The frustration of sitting in front of a blank screen, trying to capture the essence of a business you don’t yet know well, can be overwhelming. However, you’ll find, as I did, there is a solution – the Storybrand marketing framework.

Discovering the power of the Storybrand framework was a game-changer for me as a web designer. By understanding the principles outlined in Donald Miller’s book, “Building a Storybrand,” I was able to transform my approach to client projects and create websites that truly resonated with their target audience.

The effectiveness of the Storybrand marketing framework lies in its simplicity. It helps you understand what your customers want to hear when they encounter your marketing. Rather than showcasing how great your business is, the framework emphasizes addressing the problem your customers are facing and presenting yourself as the guide who can help them overcome it.

Within the Storybrand SB7 Framework are seven key elements of a clear and compelling story. From identifying the character (your customer) and their problem to presenting a plan, calling them to action, and painting a picture of success, each step plays a vital role in engaging your audience.

Remember, you have mere seconds to capture your customer’s attention and communicate your value proposition. The right words are crucial in conveying who you are, how you can help, and why they should choose you.

By embracing the Storybrand marketing framework, you can create a compelling narrative that resonates with your audience, drives engagement, and ultimately leads to business success. So, take the time to delve deeper into each framework element and apply it to your business.

In doing so, you’ll discover the transformative power of storytelling and its incredible impact on your business’s growth. Start embracing the Storybrand approach today and watch your customers connect with your brand on a deeper level, driving meaningful results for your business.

If you would like to create your own brandscript you can do it for free here at

If you would like to create your own brandscript but would still like the help of a Certified Storybrand Guide you can schedule a time for us to meet here at StoryWorks.Marketing/Certified-Storybrand-Coach

If you want the full benefits of using the Storybrand Framework to transform your marketing but know you are not going to have the time to do it yourself you can Schedule a Discovery Call with Certified Storybrand Guide Tim Yates. With Tim’s help you can transform your marketing after a short 90-minute Zoom Meeting. To schedule a Discovery Session go to StoryWorks.Marketing/Discovery Session

Have Questions?

Schedule a Free Discovery Call with Certified Storybrand Guide Tim Yates today.

Don't Miss The Next Storybrand Marketing Livestream Workshop!

July 23 & 24, 2024

Clarify Your Message

Schedule a 90-Minute Zoom Session with Certified Storybrand Guide Tim Yates to clarify your marketing message and discover the words to grow your business.


More helpful blog posts