What Is The StoryBrand Framework?

ClearBrand Marketing Podcast

DISCLAIMER: Ryan Toth is no longer a StoryBrand Certified Guide. After over 6 years, he decided it was time to part ways. We’re still big fans, though!


Back in the nineties, a website wasn’t much more than a fancy, virtual business card. In relation to your business, it played a much less significant role than it does now. Today’s internet is much more capable than it was 30 years ago. It’s more interactive than ever, meaning it’s easier than ever to engage with customers over the web.

That’s why you build a website in the first place. You want more customers. The entire point of a website is to make you money.

But if your website is broken in any way, you’re leaving revenue on the table.

Plenty of factors could produce a bad site. Maybe it lacks functionality or has an outdated design. Or it could be insanely hard for customers to use.

The fact is this: if a website has even one of these issues, there’s a solid chance it also suffers from using ineffective marketing strategies.

It’s easy to feel discouraged when your website doesn’t make an immediate difference in your bottom line right after launch. It’s frustrating. But if this happens, it doesn’t speak to the quality of your company’s products and services.

It just means it’s time to reassess how you appeal to new customers online.

That’s where the StoryBrand Framework comes into play. Even if you manage to build a top-of-the-line website, it’s no good if it doesn’t appeal to your intended audience.

ClearBrand knows how much of a difference the StoryBrand Framework makes when growing your business. For over 6 years, Alexander Toth was a StoryBrand Certified Guide and helped clients build StoryBranded websites that get more leads and sales.

Since we still get many questions about the StoryBrand Framework, we’ve decided to explain its history in more detail.

We truly believe that implementing the StoryBrand Framework can benefit every business and industry. StoryBrand really does change lives. Read on to learn how.

What Is StoryBrand?

The StoryBrand Framework is a marketing framework that uses the power of storytelling to help businesses connect with potential customers by empathizing with their journey and goals.

We briefly mentioned that StoryBrand is a marketing framework, but let’s understand how it came to be. Donald Miller, the founder of StoryBrand, realized that most companies want to tell their own stories to propel growth. But it’s not practical or effective.

He understood something that many marketing agencies still seem to miss: when you sell a product or service, you need to appeal to the wants and needs of your audience.

If your company has been around for generations or is the biggest in the area, that’s great. But the customer doesn’t come to learn about your company.

They come looking for whatever your company has to offer.

Why Is The StoryBrand Framework Good For Business?

Many companies opt for flashy marketing that relies heavily on visual appeal and design. However, spending too much time focused on how your page looks to new visitors makes it easy to neglect how well it communicates with them.

It can be tempting to go overboard with web design, especially when DIYing it ourselves. It’s easy to get caught up in big ideas. So easy that sometimes, we end up obscuring our message when our original goal is to clarify it.

If we focus too much on website imagery and not enough on messaging, then the backbone of our marketing strategy falls apart. Ultimately, we’re left with a flashy website that doesn’t offer anything to the customer unless they dig for it.

The StoryBrand framework avoids that issue altogether.

When you integrate StoryBrand into your marketing strategy, your messaging aligns with your customer’s goals.

From their first visit, customers see your company offers a solution to a problem they’re actually facing.

The result? You become a top contender for their business.

How Do You Write A StoryBrand Website?

To follow the StoryBrand Framework, your website needs to introduce a minimum of three things: A problem, a solution, and a successful result. All of these should be from the perspective of a customer.

StoryBrand focuses all your website’s content on the customer to ensure clear, consistent messaging. This is where other marketing frameworks fall short.

You could offer the best products and services in the world, but they won’t sell unless the customer understands why they need to work with you.

The goal isn’t to position yourself as the best solution, but as the only solution.

So how can you make that happen?

We won’t give up all of our secrets today, but we will dig deeper into the general framework that makes the StoryBrand Framework so effective. It can be broken down into three parts.

The Problem

When you write anything using the StoryBrand Framework, the overarching goal is to remain as customer-centric as possible.

Part of that entails identifying their problem. But be careful here! It’s important to make sure that you’re identifying a problem the customer faces. That’s how you empathize with their experience.

So why should you be careful? Identifying what your customer needs is easy enough, right?

Not necessarily.

There are times when you may know your customer’s needs before they do, but your product or service offers a solution to a problem they aren’t currently aware of. But if you’re trying to solve a problem they aren’t aware of, then you’re offering a solution customers don’t realize they need. That doesn’t create empathy, and it doesn’t generate more leads. This is why it’s essential to be careful when considering which problems your customers face.

The Solution

After you’ve identified your customer’s primary issue, it’s time to introduce the solution.

But again, be careful. It’s easy to frame the solution in terms of what you offer the customer. Instead, frame the solution in terms of what the customer gains from you. The difference is subtle, but it isn’t small.

In other words, just listing the benefits you offer isn’t enough. The customer needs to be completely sold on why your solution is top-of-the-line.

Think of it like this: the goal isn’t to share how much experience you have in providing solutions, and it isn’t to demonstrate why you’re better than the competition.

The goal is to naturally position your product or service as the only solution to the customer’s problem.

Imagine I sell fences. If you want to buy a fence, do you care if my grandfather started the company 70 years ago? Or do you care about the protection the fence offers your family? What matters more?

Most of us probably care more about the security a fence provides than how old the company is. The point is that you need to frame your solution from the customer’s perspective.

The Success

It’s common for people to think that “the success” and “the solution” are the same.

They’re not.

From your perspective, your success may be the solution you’ve created. But again, that’s your perspective. The goal of the StoryBrand Framework is to write from the customer’s perspective, not your own.

After detailing a problem and providing a solution, it’s time to help the customer imagine how their lives could improve after working with you.

Let’s return to the fence analogy for a moment.

If I want to convince you to make a purchase, should I tell you that your life is better because you got your fence from a guy who worked super hard to start and grow his company? Or should I tell you that your life is better because now, you can sleep soundly knowing your family is safe every night?

The second statement is more likely to convince you to buy my product than the first. When crafting any statement about success, it’s crucial to consider the practical benefits your solution gives customers.

Is The StoryBrand Framework Certification Free?

Initial certification with StoryBrand costs $12,000 for the first year. Each subsequent year has a renewal fee of $5,000.

There’s no getting around it. Certification isn’t cheap. However, if you’re serious about gaining the skills needed to market any business effectively and gain leads in any industry, then the investment is more than worth it.

To become a StoryBrand Certified Guide, apply on the StoryBrand official website.

Which Companies Utilize The StoryBrand Framework?

Bulletproof is one example of a company that uses the StoryBrand Framework properly right from the start. Open any page from their navigation menu, and the first words on the page appeal directly to something the customer needs every time.

Hundreds of successful companies use the StoryBrand Framework to generate more leads and sales. A list of some of our favorites is available here.

If you’ve looked at the list and can’t decide which example you like best, we recommend checking out Bulletproof. Their website does a great job of appealing to the customer, pulling them in every step of the way.

As you scroll through their homepage, note that it contains zero fat. Every word on the page has a purpose.

It doesn’t matter which page you open. Bulletproof doesn’t try to compete with other companies on their website. They focus on empathizing with customers instead.

Continue scrolling through any page, and the next section tells customers what they get when they work with Bulletproof – but they don’t do this in terms of how cool they are. Instead, what the customer receives are health benefits that let them improve their lives.

Bulletproof isn’t selling supplements and wellness products. They’re selling a richer, healthier lifestyle by positioning themselves so that their products seem like the only solution to the customer’s problems.

Bulletproof also does a great job of inviting customers to imagine how life improves after choosing their products. They appeal to your success every time they list a product’s benefit. Notice how the benefits listed throughout their site are all framed to show you how your life improves with Bulletproof. This is “the success” mentioned earlier.

The StoryBrand Framework is what makes this deep appeal possible. Every single word is deliberate. Every benefit is about the customer, not the company.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A StoryBrand Certified Guide?

If you want a StoryBrand Certified Guide to help you craft and clarify your brand story, the price of hiring an individual starts at $1,500 and can go up to $10,000 or more, depending on the project.

This is an excellent option for those not ready to commit to certification.

Hiring a certified guide gives you exposure to the StoryBrand Framework without making any full-on commitments for certification.

How Long Does It Take To Become A StoryBrand Certified Guide?

It takes only four days to become a StoryBrand Certified Guide.

That time is spent working directly with Donald Miller and his team. Every second is packed with valuable information that enables you to start scaling your business today.

This is the way to go if you’re serious about advancing your marketing career. Those interested can begin the application process here.

How Do You Begin Writing A Brand Story?

The first step is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and determine the problems they are experiencing now. With these problems in mind, you can begin to write a brand story that appeals directly to your client base.

Building empathy and trust with your audience is key to successfully using the StoryBrand Framework. As you consider the problems facing your customers, do your best to imagine why they need your solution.

Imagine their situation. How might they feel before working with you? Have you been in a similar position before? If so, how did you feel before you solved the problem?

Use the answers to the questions above to begin crafting your brand story. Always write from your customer’s perspective. Never from your company.

How Long Is The Ideal Brand Story?

Ideally, your brand story is short. If your brand story can’t appeal to a customer within 5-7 seconds, it isn’t effective and probably needs revision.

Everyone values their own time. People don’t want to spend it on uninteresting content. This is why having a strong, clearly visible one-liner on your website contributes to success.

A witty, punchy statement that connects with your audience through shared experience and emotion makes your company seem relatable. It’s engagement that drives more leads

Is The StoryBrand Framework Worth Learning?

The StoryBrand Framework is a proven method of increasing leads and sales. It’s absolutely worth learning and using. The certification process provides knowledge and skills that typical universities don’t necessarily offer.

Plus, you get hands-on experience with the people who created StoryBrand. They go beyond knowledge and offer practice too. This is great since so many people learn best by doing.

The StoryBrand Framework has something to offer for everyone. Assuming you’re accepted into the certification program, you’ll gain valuable, practical skills in a fraction of the time it would take to complete a typical university degree.

When Your Customer Succeeds, Your Business Succeeds.

StoryBrand helps you harness the power of storytelling to appeal to customers’ emotions. When your website shares your customer’s success story, it forges a connection that encourages both new and current customers to come back for more.

It’s one of the most broadly applicable marketing frameworks available, suitable for use in any industry.

The success of your business relies upon how well you can relate to your customers and their needs. The better you connect with them, the more your business has to gain.

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