Storytelling was the missing puzzle piece

by | 13, Sep, 2019 | StoryBrand

For years, I have been successfully helping companies and startups to better understand their customers, extend their offers, position their products. But I was missing a piece of the puzzle. How could they translate those learnings to intentionally grow their business?

They need to tell a compelling story.

I started reading every book I could find about business storytelling.

And I was disappointed.

There were a few good ideas, but nothing that I felt was worth more than a blog post…

One book was getting more and more attention: “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller. 

I soon understood why. It really made sense. I put the book down thinking “I need to implement that”. If you want to read one book on business storytelling, this is the one.


StoryBrand is a framework that helps you tell your customer’s story in relation to your company. It clarifies your message so they will hear you.

If you confuse, you’ll lose.


Businesses have trouble explaining what they do. StoryBrand solves that problem with seven story points.

When I was asked what I do, I would answer something like “I’m a consultant, a coach, a teacher, a speaker…”. That didn’t help the person discover what I did.

Now, I say something like “Businesses have great products and services, but they are frustrated with not being more successful. I facilitate workshops to help them truly understand their customer and build a powerful story. This becomes the foundation for all their marketing. They attract more customers and dramatically grow their business.”



That’s the short version. Here are the seven points:

Your customer, the character, has an aspiration but has a problem stopping them from achieving their goal. You, the company, position yourself as the guide, who will give the customer, the hero, a plan and call them to action. This avoids failure and ends in success.

If that sounds like a movie you have seen, that’s normal. It’s a basic story formula.

It sounds simple, almost obvious. But it needed to be clearly described.


The book then expands to practical tips on how to use the framework to improve your marketing, your website, your emails… It pushed me to replace my rambling 20-page website with 3 focused pages.

The book is a short and easy read but full of information. I go back to it all the time.

I got excited to the point of going to Nashville to get certified in this framework. With this new skill set, I have changed my way of writing and improved the results of the companies I have worked with.


Don’t worry. Everything is in the book. It’s all you need. Read it.


Tell me what you think.


P.S. It’s also available in French.



John Elbing
Geneva, 11 September 2019