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  • Writer's pictureSamradni

Building a Story Brand: Which one is better 'Story Brand' or 'Brand Story'?

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

So what is the difference between both?

The former one looks at developing a story around your brand, whereas the latter one looks at having a story just to back up your brand.

The book ‘Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller’ gives us a deeper understanding in regards to building a Story Brand and provides reasons as to why it should be your preferred choice.

One of the most important point to note, is the fact that this book very reader-friendly, it talks to you!

The language is so simple to understand that you are hooked right from the first page and eager to know what comes next.

The premise is based on the fact that ‘Pretty Websites don’t sell things; words do’.

This is so true, imagine you come across a pretty looking brand, but the marketer doesn’t talk about what the product helps a consumer do, will you be interested in purchasing this product?

Of course not!

The book talks about two grave mistakes that brands make when they talk about their products or services:

1. They do not highlight the aspects of their products that would help consumers thrive and survive

This is actually, all that the consumer is looking for in a product.

The question ‘how does this help me?’ or the urgency being created with respect to ‘what do I lose out on if I don’t own this product?’.

If this is not communicated well, there is no way the consumer can connect with your brand.

2. They expect the consumers to think over the offer to understand it

Most of the time, in order to communicate the brand message, the marketers put in various layers of creativity.

However, as a matter of fact, it’s important to note that on a day to day basis, a consumer is exposed to so many messages, that the simpler your message, more easily it would be understood and appreciated.

Now let’s get into the main content of the book.

The book introduces ‘THE STORYBRAND FRAMEWORK’, which is the sure-shot way of getting your content marketing spot on!

Here we look at each of the principles involved in the framework and look at brand examples who incorporate this perfectly.

The framework focuses on having all the 7 principles in one brand communication, however here I have tried to provide a different example for each


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

It’s about time that the focus shifts from the brand to what the customer wants, and this has to be a well thought through shift because it begins from understanding what your customers actually want.

Sadly, a customer doesn’t wear this on top of his sleeve, telling the world, Hey this is what I want!

You need to dig deeper and understand this.

AirBnB did just that, they launched a campaign around ‘experiences’ which beautifully highlighted what the customer experiences would be like, if they rent an AirBnB.

The campaign was beautifully executed as well because the brand was not the most important part of the communication, people were, their experiences were, which developed a strong bonding with the brand.


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

It’s important to dig deeper and understand the internal problems of our customers instead of just providing a solution for external problems.

The new Rin ‘Keep Shining’ campaign targets the internal problems that consumers face, and the ad beautifully captures how bright and clean clothes can add to your overall confidence level.

They are not just talking about the benefits of their product but adding another internal layer to it, to establish a stronger connect. Watch the ad below


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

Imagine you come across an ad, which tells you that your life is complete only if you have my brand, that blunt and to the point!

Will this work?

Not a chance.

Consumers want to believe they are the hero of their own life, not some brand who tells them otherwise.

HDFC Mutual Fund ‘Sarr Utha Ke Jiyo’ ad campaigns utilize this principle very well. They understand that a man’s respect matters the most and while he ensures to keep it that way, here’s a guide in the form of a mutual fund who helps him further. Watch the ad below


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

We have already established that your customers need a guide, not a hero, but what next. It’s important for this guide to have a plan of action if the customer feels the need to have the brand in his life.

Basically, a Call to Action.

Airtel Ads portray this very well, the recent Airtel Payments Bank ad, actually demonstrates each and every step in the form of a story to show the plan of using their product. Watch the ad below


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

Even while reading this principle, the first brand that came to my mind was Ghadi detergent, the iconic tagline ‘Pehle istamaal kare, fir vishwas kare’.

I mean, lets pause here and think how amazingly effective this tagline is, you believe in your brand so confidently that you want to challenge your consumers to try it.

Works really well for the brand indeed. Watch the ad below


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

It’s important for every story to have some stakes involved, or it’s just boring.

If you do not tell your consumer what terrible thing might happen to them if they fail to use your brand, why will the consumer relate to your brand?

CEAT tyres capture this principle so well in their ad campaign ‘Streets are filled with Idiots’.

It focuses on this tragic ending that could have been encountered by the consumer had he not used CEAT tyres. Watch the ad below


Building a story brand by Donald Miller

Be as explicit as possible, if you leave anything to assumption, you are at a big risk of failure.

We need to tell our customers the story in two parts- how your life is before using our brand and how your life is, after using our brand.

It always has to be both and not just the latter, for the customers to react in the desired way.

Let’s take an example of ‘Complan- I am a Complan boy’.

Their ad campaign ‘khata kya hai’ explicitly narrates a before and after scenario which shows how the brand helps. Watch the ad below

The book teaches us the correct way of even ending a story, by ensuring at least one of the following-

1. Your customer has won some sort of power or position- only then will it sound aspirational to others

2. Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole- if you do not make them feel complete with your brand, you haven’t served your purpose.

3. Experience some kind of self-realization that also makes them whole- It’s important for them to realize a problem that your brand aims to solve, this self-realization should basically create a space for your brand to get in.

So now we clearly now how a Story Brand is a much better choice than a Brand Story!

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