We have a nasty habit of taking information apart and placing it in boxes, marked in felt marker to identify what it is, where it goes, and how it applies. This is a great way to make sense of the world, however it has the side effect of making us slow to understand it also.
Naturally, all ideas have a connecting point somewhere, it’s just a matter of finding where. Fortunately, the ties between marketing and storytelling, are fairly easy to see. What’s surprising is that it’s taken this long to reunite them.
Donald Miller wrote a book, Building A StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen that applies the concept of The Heroes Journey popularized by Joseph Campbell, to sales and marketing. The focus is exactly where you’d expect it to be, but not how you expect it to be.
The whole concept revolves around how you can invite the customers on a journey, much like Luke Skywalker getting the message from Princess Leia, or Bilbo Baggins getting the One Ring and the burden of delivering it to Mount Doom.
Where this book goes different than you’d expect is a revolutionary idea: Your company is not the hero of the story, it’s your customer. Incredible, isn’t it? A simple, yet powerfully radical shift in how you present your message that will resonate with your customers.
This is a mistake a lot of farmer’s in the Sustainable-Local movement make. They talk to their customers as if they are the heroes, saving the earth one kale plant at a time. The customer hears this, sees that they are simply meeting another hero, and continue looking for a guide to help them on their own journey.
When you shift your role, placing the customer as the hero, and yourself as a guide, suddenly you have the ability to share with them how you can help them on their journey with your product.
They are the ones saving the world, purchasing one bundle of kale at a time. By framing it this way, they will be attracted to you and your company as a way of completing their journey, and ultimately saving the day in their story, with your help….. And the kale.
Building A StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller