I’m always a bit sceptical with marketing books. It’s not so much that I don’t believe in the content, but rather that it just won’t engage me as they can all be a bit dull — to put it bluntly! My past experiences of business books had been more around marketing strategy, and so I suppose in that nature they can be a little unexciting. But I was pleasantly surprised by Donald Miller’s ‘Building a Storybrand’ for the way he describes his marketing theories using a visual of something I could picture really clearly… a film script! It made the ‘typical marketing book’ a much more relatable read.

Miller breaks his theory down into four easy-to-read areas:

  • How to build your brand’s story in the same way you would build a film script, using the 7 Universal Story Points that all customers respond to.
  • How to clarify your brand’s message and get customers to listen.
  • How to create the most effective messaging for your brand.
  • How to implement these points when planning your marketing strategy.

Miller’s model is, at its heart, customer centric — you build your brand story based on your customer’s needs, not on your business ideals. And we mustn’t forget to consider not just our customers, but also our customer’s customers, who will all have differing roles in the development of our brand story! Using the structure of a film script, Miller helps us to identify these customers based on their ‘characters’ in our ‘film,’ to help us get to know what they want and in turn give them what they need to ensure they feel more engaged with our brand. The point of course being that they feel their needs are so understood by our brand that they make a purchase or use our services.

It’s simple, really! And this simplicity brought out a more functional, operational side of branding which was far more engaging and understandable as a marketeer than a bog-standard marketing book. Having been around for the development of the Cracked re-brand and story building, I knew we’d already followed the process of identifying our audience and our brand, but I think Miller’s ideas fit with ours — in that we knew our audience wanted a more operational understanding of marketing alongside our creative touch.

I really enjoyed the relationship Miller creates between film and customer, and it not only helped simplify his theory of how we speak to our audiences, but made it much more relatable too. It all felt familiar and easy to follow, but at the same time it was a real thought-provoking read. I’m a random thinker, and I’ve always got an idea swirling around in my head, (normally on a car journey or when I’m putting out the washing!) but this book helped me to start focusing those ideas through applying Miller’s film script theory to my thinking when it comes to the brand building side of my role. How would the customer characters think, and what would they want? I’m really looking forward to seeing where this theory takes us in building stories for our clients in a relatable and effective way.