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Octo Book Reviews: Building a Story Brand

A periodic book review series by Octonano’s team members

This month, our Co-Founder Annalisa Menin shares her thoughts on Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller, New York Times Bestselling Author.

In this book, perfectly summarized by the subtitle “Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen,” Miller takes inspiration from Aristotle’s seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve the way they connect with their customers and grow their businesses.

As branding experts, when talking to business leaders, it’s a challenge to avoid being put in the category of artists or creatives. If you are reading this article and you are in the branding business, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are a client, you’ve probably asked yourself: How are branding experts different from other creatives? How is branding different from marketing? Why do I need to consider storytelling for my brand?

Well, while there is of course a great deal of creativity and artistry to any storytelling used to propagate the power of a brand, there is also - according to Miller - a concrete formula that companies can use to attract distracted customers. The proper use of storytelling marries creative expertise with business strategy to boost the effectiveness of how a brand communicates with consumers.

Miller’s formula is based on the fact that “storytellers have figured out how to keep an audience's attention for hours.” How do they do it? Clarity. The narrative coming out of a company must be clear.

So, if a company’s storytelling is created with the idea of a “brand script” in mind, a particular formula emerges: The script follows a specific framework that clearly answers specific questions, creating a sort of dialogue that makes engaging with consumers a piece of cake.

Here's the basic story framework you can customize to write your company’s “brand script,” per Miller’s suggestion. First, imagine a character who wants something encounters a problem before they can get what they want. At the peak of the character’s despair, a guide steps into their lives, gives them a plan, and calls them to action. That defined action helps the character avoid failure and end their story in success.

Every company has its own version of a story board, and I found Miller’s example to be very simple, clear, and immediate. He refers to movies and books to help associate his storytelling ideas, offering great examples to take inspiration from.

To learn more about Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller, click here.

Disclaimer: this is not a paid review. Octonano did not receive this book in exchange for this review nor do we receive commission.

Octonano supports culture, personal development and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

― Marcus Tullius Cicero


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