My Favorite Building a StoryBrand Quotes

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Building a StoryBrand bBuilding a StoryBrand by Donald Miller is one of my favorite business books. I read it 6 years ago, and I still reference it almost daily.

Because it’s been so powerful in creating website messages for clients that turn into revenue, I wanted to share some of my favorite Building a Storybrand quotes.


Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand. This is the secret of every phenomenally successful business understands.

Agree with this 💯! If your story doesn’t serve the customer, it’s irrelevant.

Words sell things. And if we haven’t clarified our message, our customers won’t listen.

Here’s where I have to pause for a moment. Because this is true. Words DO sell things. But it’s not JUST about the words. Your photos and videos should tell the story along with your words.

I always remind my clients that we need to see people who look like the people they serve. Not only that, we should see them moving into the success you promise on your website. Don’t forget, people are drawn to faces, specifically eyes. And our eyes follow the direction of the eyes in photographs. So, get photos that are looking toward your call to action. That’s exactly where your visitors will look!

The more simple and predictable the communication, the easier it is for the brain to digest.

Don’t make me work for it! That’s a constant refrain. This is where you want to get an outsider to look at your website and copy. They can tell you if it’s simple. And they can tell you if it’s easy to digest.

The first mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive.

When I was coaching at the StoryBrand live events, Don was always saying, “Get clear first. And then you can be clever.” He regularly made this point because people try really hard to sound cute or funny or aspirational. And most of the time, that sacrifices clarity. Clarity will win every time.

The second mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive.

The key is to make your company’s message about something that helps the customer survive and to do so in such a way that they can understand it without burning too many calories.

In a story, audiences must always know who the hero is, what the hero wants, who the hero has to defeat to get what they want, what tragic thing will happen if the hero doesn’t win, and what wonderful thing will happen if they do.

This previous quote is the entire framework, simplified. Tell the story on your website, making sure each of these elements is there. And your website will be more effective than your competition’s.

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Here is nearly every story you see or hear in a nutshell: A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.

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Customers don’t care about your story; they care about their own.

This becomes especially important when you work on your about section. Once you start talking about yourself, it’s easy to forget your customer.

Reminder: Only add the parts of your story that serve your potential clients/customers. If you talk about your grandfather who founded the company, make sure you think about why that would be important to someone doing business with you. Maybe that creates a feeling of stability. Maybe it’s a sense of family and community. It can be relevant as long as you’re framing it in a way that highlights how that’s advantageous to your customers.

Businesses that invite their customers into a  heroic story grow.

Even if we have the best product in the marketplace, we’ll lose to an inferior product is our competitor’s offer is communicated more clearly.

Story helps because it is a sense-making mechanism. Essentially, story formulas put everything in order so the brain doesn’t have to work to understand what’s going on.

The overriding function of the brain is to help an individual survive and thrive.

All great stories are about survival – either physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual.

When somebody visits our website, they’re burning calories to process the information we’re sharing.

What we think we are saying to our customers and what our customers actually hear are two different things. And customers make buying decisions not based on what we say but on what they hear.

Story is the one thing that can hold a human being’s attention for hours.

If a character or scene doesn’t serve the plot, it has to go.

The greatest enemy our business faces is the same enemy that good stories face: noise.

When customers finally understand how you can help them live a wonderful story, your company will grow.

When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resources to help them overcome their own challenges.

Brands that position themselves as heroes unknowingly compete with their potential customers.

Human beings take action when their story challenges them to do so.

Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending.

Failure is like salt: use too much and you’ll ruin the flavor; leave it out and the recipe will taste bland.

Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.


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