Building a StoryBrand: A book review by Bob Morris

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
Donald Miller
HarperCollins Leadership/An Imprint of HarperCollins (October 2017)

How and why “story makes music out of noise” and “can grow your business” if performed well

If you did not buy your copy of this book from Amazon (mine was a gift), don’t bother to review it because — with rare exception — Amazon only features reviews of verified purchases. That policy may be legal but it is certainly contemptible.

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A number of major research studies suggest that, during a face-to-face interaction, body language and tone of voice determine 75-80% of the impact, for better or worse. What is actually said determines only 20-25%, if that. Keep all that in mind as you consider the fact each of us receives more “messages” each day from myriad sources than at any prior time in history. Attention is without doubt the currency of communication.

Donald Miller asserts – and I wholeheartedly agree – that it is imperative that a message be crystal clear, especially given its relative impact. He introduces what he characterizes as “The Simple SB7 Framework” which is best understood in the form of a template:

“[1] A character [2] has a problem and [3] needs a guide who [4] gives them a plan and [5] calls them to action that [6] helps them avoid failure [7] and ends in success.”

There are seven key principles to keep in mind:

1. “The customer is your hero, not your brand.”
2. “Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems.”
3. “Customers aren’t looking for another hero; they’re looking for a guide.”
4. “Customers trust a guide who has a plan.”
5. “Customers do not take action unless they are challenged to take action.”
6. “Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending.”
7. “Never assume people understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.”

In a timely manner, Donald Miller explains the WHAT (e.g. “The Simple SB7 Framework”) but devotes the bulk of his attention to explaining the HOW. His explanations are crystal clear.

Yes, his focus is on leaders and communications in business but, in my opinion, with only minor modification, almost all of the information, insights, and counsel he provides can be of substantial benefit to almost anyone during almost any interaction within and beyond the workplace.

I conclude with an observation by Maya Angelou that should be kept in mind when communicating with others: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Hence the unique importance of “The Simple SB7 Framework.”

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