How storytelling works - by Chuck Sink

August 07, 2020 - Front Section
Chuck Sink

Storytelling is more than a marketing buzzword. Stories have mind-attracting power and are like personal guides leading readers and listeners to the prize of knowledge. Marketers who effectively apply storytelling have real-life success stories of their own to tell.

Every Brand Tells a Story
According to the book, “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller, every customer success story consists of five common elements:
1. The main character (customer)
2. A problem
3. A hero, leader or guide (the brand)
4. A plan to solve the problem (product/service offer)
5. The call to action that if taken solves the problem and avoids failure (purchase and acquisition)

Success Story:
In 2005, Lola, a book lover and retail store customer, has an uncommon reading list that’s difficult to fill. Her most wanted titles have been out of print for years and can be “impossible” to find. Lola becomes frustrated that she’s missing out on wonderful reading adventures.

Lola has been hearing and seeing ads pop up about some company called “Amazon.” Out of curiosity, she logs on to a computer at the library and looks up Amazon on the internet. She quickly sees the website’s main call to action; you can search for your own titles and authors from around the world!

She types in the title of a cherished book title and up come five various copies for sale in either new or used condition. That rare, cherished book is right on the screen inviting her to buy it. 

She takes a leap of faith and pulls out her credit card, trusting that the book will be delivered. Within three days, Lola is curled up on her couch, 8 chapters into her new reading odyssey.

How this brand story breaks down:
1. Lola is the main character.
2. Her problem is not finding the books she wants.
3. Amazon’s website is the hero. 
4. Lola’s plan to solve the problem is: “Maybe I can find the books I want online.”
5. Then Lola answers the call to action – search for and buy books on Amazon.

Conclusion: Mutual brand and customer success – a brand story that turned into many $billions!

What’s your story? Who is the main character? Why and how are you the hero?

Chuck Sink is the owner of Chuck Sink Link, Contoocook, N.H.

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