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Book Summary – Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Building a Storybrand - Book summary

Did you know that many companies waste money in marketing because their messages are totally ineffective in the first place? Donald Miller’s book provides a 7-part framework to help you present a clear, effective message that’d get your customers’ attention and grow your business. In our free Building A StoryBrand summary, you’ll get an overview of the 7 components of a BrandScript and what it takes to build and implement your own StoryBrand.

What is “Building A StoryBrand” about?

All human beings are fundamentally driven by our primitive survival instincts: We subconsciously scan the environment for things that can help us to survive and flourish, and we try to do this with the least amount of energy/effort.

Unfortunately, most brands make 2 key mistakes in their marketing campaigns: (i) They focus on their brand/company instead of how they can help the customers to survive/thrive, and (ii) their message is too complex. The StoryBrand framework is a proven formula that uses a story-line to combine seemingly-disconnected parts into a coherent whole, making the message easy to follow and remember.

Building a StoryBrand summary_Book Overview
There are 7 key “plot points” in a winning story. It’s like having 7 musical chords that can be combined to create an infinite number of musical pieces. In fact, if you examine any blockbuster movie—from Hunger Games to Star Wars—you’ll see the same formula at work.

Developing your StoryBrand BrandScript

Here’s a quick overview of the 7 plot points in a good script: A Character (who wants something) has a Problem that he/she is struggling with. A Guide enters the picture, gives a Plan and calls the character to Action. As a result, the character manages to avoid Failure and attain Success.

We’ll now briefly introduce these 7 components, how to create your BrandScript and implement it. For the full details and examples, check out our complete 13-page version of Building a StoryBrand summary. You can create your 1-page BrandScript for free at

Building a StoryBrand summary_StoryBrand BrandScript

1. The Character

Your customer is the hero of the story, not your brand. Our complete summary bundle includes a walk-through of how to define (i) who your customer is, (ii) what he/she wants and (iii) 1 thing that helps him/her to survive or thrive.

2. The Problem

Draw your customers deeper into the story by (i) identifying the villain between them and their desires and (ii) offering a solution that addresses their problems at 3 levels. You can get a detailed outline of the numerous tips and examples on the characteristics of a “good” villain and the 3 problem levels to address. You can also get a detailed outline with the full Building a StoryBrand summary.

3. The Guide

The heroes in stories start out with self-doubts and problems they can’t solve on their own. They need a guide who has “been there, done that”. Be that guide (but don’t compete with your customer to be the hero).  Be the guide they’re looking for. If you focus on your customers’ success, your own success will follow. You can learn more about how to establish yourself as a trustworthy guide in the complete 13-page version of Building a StoryBrand summary.

4. The Plan

Customers will only trust a guide with a plan. To get customers to commit to a purchase, you can present 2 types of plan–a process plan and an agreement plan–to show them what to do and remove any possible fears of doing business with you.

5. Calls to Action

Customers won’t take action unless they’re challenged to do so.  Learn to use 2 types of calls to action (Direct + Transitional) to close the sale.

6. Avoid Failure

Everyone wants to avoid a tragic ending. Define what’s at stake so your potential customers feel motivated to take action. Specifically, you can highlight (i) potential losses or (ii) bad outcomes if they don’t use your product or service, both of which are explained in more detail in our complete Building a StoryBrand summary.

7. Attain Success

This is where you give customers the happy ending to their story. Tell people exactly how you can improve their lives;don’t assume they know. In our full 13-page summary, you can get more tips on how to paint a clear, aspirational picture of what their life could look like if they use your products, and the 3 ways to end the story powerfully for your customers.

Going Beyond the 7 Elements: Personal Transformation

The 7 plot-points above will help to set the ground for you to identify the strongest motivator for action: the human desire for transformation. All of us want to become a better version of who we are, e.g. to be fitter, wiser, more attractive, more respected etc. Here, you’re defining the aspirational identity behind your brand, which will drive all your communications and serve as a guide for your business.

Implementing your StoryBrand

Once you’ve created your BrandScript, you can apply it in several parts/phases:

(i) improve your website by including a clear call to action, success stories and breaking down your revenue streams in a way that helps clients pick the right product for them.

(ii) transform your organization by bringing your mission to life and creating employee engagement.

(iii) grow your business by creating lead generators, sharing transformation stories and converting happy customers into your brand ambassadors etc.

Getting the Most from “Building a StoryBrand”

If you’d like to learn the specific tips for each of these areas from Building a StoryBrand, do check out our  full book summary bundle which includes an infographic, a 13-page text summary, and a 27-minute audio summary.

Building A Storybrand summary - book summary bundle

This is a detailed guidebook that takes you through the why, what and how of developing a StoryBrand.
• For each of the 7 key elements, Miller includes various useful movie and business examples to illustrate the key ideas.
• The book also includes more details on how to implement the StoryBrand BrandScript, including specific tips and examples for each of the steps outlined in this summary.
If you’d like a more detailed, step-by-step walk-through, you can purchase the book here. You can also create your BrandScript and get more resources at or

Looking for more marketing insights? Do also check out The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Purple Cow.

About the Author of Building a StoryBrand

Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen is written by Donald Miller–an American author, speaker, and business owner. He is the CEO of StoryBrand, a company that helps businesses to clarify their messages. Miller used to own a textbook publishing company. Besides his 2 New York Times bestselling books, he has also written many memoirs about faith, God, and self-discovery.

Building a StoryBrand Quotes

“What we think we are saying to our customers and what our customers actually hear are two different things.”

“People don’t buy the best products; they buy the products they can understand the fastest.”

“The customer is the hero, not your brand.”

“Brands that participate in the identity transformation of their customers create passionate brand evangelists.”

“A true mission isn’t a statement; it’s a way of living and being.”

“With a StoryBrand-inspired narrative, ordinary jobs become extraordinary adventures.”

“A great digital presence starts with a clear and effective website.”

Click here to download the Building a Storybrand summary & infographic

One Comment

  • Evan says:

    I love the book summary. As a StoryBrand certified guide, I use the 7-part StoryBrand framework all the time and I might share this as a quick synopsis.

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