reads: Building a story brand by Donald Miller

Anyone big on branding will love Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand. Loaded with practical solutions about establishing your business identity, this is a read you’ll want to keep revisiting now and then. Articulating seven fantastic ideas, Miller does a tremendous job writing about how your brand should revolve around your market’s narrative.

Contrary to what a budding entrepreneur might think, Miller establishes that the protagonist in your story isn’t your business but your customer. Every tale calls for some form of hero. In your customers’ business, you’re going to want to make sure that that hero is them. The wiser you are in positioning which role you play in the equation, the easier it will be to win an audience.

Here are a few of our favorite takeaways from Building a StoryBrand

The principles of StoryBrand

  1. Your brand is not the hero. The customer is.
  2. It’s easier to sell solutions when you think only of external problems. The thing is, customers don’t think that way. They purchase solutions to internal issues, not the other way around.
  3. Because our customers are the hero, they’re not looking for a sidekick or another superhero. They’re looking for a guide, and this is what your brand should be.
  4. Customers are more likely to support guides that are straightforward and clear.
  5. Unless your customers are challenged, they will never take action on their own.
  6. Like you, your customers veer away from sad endings.
  7. You have to learn to spell everything out to your market. Never assume, no matter how obvious, that your audience automatically knows how your brand can help them.

Watch your language

Your website can be the most dynamic piece of digital the whole internet has to offer, but your brand will never thrive if it doesn’t hold clarity. In other words, when your message isn’t straightforward, you will quickly lose your customers. Miller’s friend, Mike McHargue, punctuates this concept by saying that there are two critical mistakes entrepreneurs make when selling their products and services.

1. Plenty of business people go straight into selling a commodity without highlighting the benefits of their offering. For instance, when you sell a cereal bar, don’t just tell everyone that you have a treat up for grabs. Inform everyone how they’ll feel when they snack on your food. What vitamins and nutrients, if ever, do people take from your goody? Sell the lifestyle, not the product.

2. Some businesses unknowingly let their customers go through many hassles to understand what the offer is. 

Customers are much more interested in guides.

As with every story, there are life moments that conclude and open particular chapters in our journeys. If you look closely, you will notice that there’s often a force of energy that guides us through it all. In your customer’s narrative, that’s the role you want to play. As a business, your goal is to become their go-to solution. Consider yourself the weapon the hero uses during a fight.

While you play a crucial role in their ongoing destination, the protagonist will always be your customer as they are the hero. Your business is merely the guide that sees them through. Make sure to position your messaging to highlight your customer’s success, not your own. It may sound counterintuitive, but when you only ever truly win when your customers win first.

When you express both authority and empathy as aptly as possible, your customer, the hero, will keep gravitating toward you. You are, after all, their guide and solution.

People love stories

We’re all inherent suckers for transformation stories. Whether we admit it or not, the idea of having one person go from one point to the next is stimulative.


Because transformation is a fundamental yearning for every person.

We all dream of changing ourselves for the better. As an entrepreneur, learn how to bank on that innateness. One of the most fascinating and effective ways to go about this reality is by collecting customer testimonials. Have willing parties write their thoughts about your products and services. Structure your questions in such a way that weaves their answers in the shape of a story. Your ultimate target here is to display transformation.

Here are a few questions that can help you form their story:

What problem did you have specifically before you found out about our brand?

Can you describe the level of inconvenience or frustration you experienced before you found out about us?

What did you like about the product when you first tried it out?

Please walk us through when you realized our product made things better for you.

Talk to us about how your life has been different since your problem’s been solved.


Ultimately, Building a StoryBrand is one of the better reads we have in our book list. Miller is a captivating writer that defines, with utmost clarity, how a customer thinks and what role your brand continually plays in the face of consumerism.

Do you have a startup in mind you’d like to build? Talk to us about it, and we’ll help you make it happen!

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