The StoryBrand Framework: A Brief Outline

The StoryBrand Framework: A Brief Outline

Our brains LOVE stories. 

From reading to movie-going, we love a good story that captures our attention, pulls us in, and resonates with us so deeply that it evokes emotion.

Think: Marley & Me. 🐾

Stories are a sense-making device that is used primarily by the movie industry to hook your curiosity and generate billions of dollars every year. 

So, when Donald Miller took the story framework that’s been used for centuries, from Aristotle to modern-day Hollywood, and applied the same principles to marketing, customers paid attention and engaged. And the good news is, you can use this same framework in your business! 🚀

At Heights Strategic Marketing, we help businesses like yours leverage the power of story in their marketing to reach their ideal customers and ultimately, get more results, through Donald Miller’s StoryBrand Framework.

What’s the framework exactly?

In this article, we outline a high-level overview of the StoryBrand Framework and highlight a few key areas where you can start implementing it into your business. Let’s get started. 

The StoryBrand Framework: The Cliff Notes

In case it’s been a while since you read “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller,  or you’re new to the StoryBrand concept, here’ is a brief outline’s an overview of how the StoryBrand Framework goes:

“A character > has a problem > who meets a guide > who gives the hero a plan > and calls the hero to action > that results in either > success > or failure.”

👤 Who’s the character? It’s not you, your offer, or your business. It’s your ideal customer and what they ultimately want (“Neighborhood dad who works a 9-5 and wants a beautiful lawn”).

⚠️ What’s the problem? This is the problem that your ideal customer is facing before they know about your service or product. 

Typically, they’re facing an external problem (“My lawn is overgrown. But I don’t have the time to landscape it”), which causes an internal feeling (“I’m embarrassed that my lawn looks like this. I’m so overwhelmed”), which leads to a philosophical belief (“I deserve to have a lawn I’m proud of”)

🧙 Who’s the guide? Your company. You are the one who can help your ideal customer solve their problem (“Save your time and energy, we’re a landscaping company. We want to help you enjoy your lawn”).

📋 What’s the plan? This is how you help your ideal customer solve their problem, whether that’s through a clear process of working with you or the steps to take when using your products (“Give us a call, We’ll cut your grass, Enjoy a lawn you’re proud of”).

Tip: Your plan really shouldn’t be more than three steps. Anything longer might cause your customer to get overwhelmed or confused. Try to simplify the process of working with you or using your products down to three fundamental steps. Typically the first step of your plan is also your Call to Action (see next section!) 

📣 What’s the call to action? Imagine you’re talking to a crowd of people. What’s the #1 thing you want them to go do after you’re done speaking to them? This is your call to action – the #1 thing you want your ideal customer to do after they’re done reading your website (“Give us a call”).

🌷 What’s the success? This is what your ideal customer experiences after you help them solve their problem. Remember: this story is really all about them. You are just a guide that helps them get to where they want to go (“I have a lawn I’m proud of. I’ve got to invite my neighbors over for an outdoor cookout. My kids are actually playing outside again. I can’t wait to spend the summer out here with them”). 

⛈️ What’s the failure? We don’t like to talk about failure, but when it comes to a story, there has to be something at stake. Otherwise, how will your ideal customer be motivated further to take action? Simply call out a few failures that might happen if they don’t end up doing business with you (“My lawn keeps growing, along with my stress. My family doesn’t have a space outside to enjoy the summer. I wish I could host another neighborhood cookout. My house feels like the odd-one-out on the block”)

Tip: Don’t exaggerate or spend too much time here — we don’t want the story to end “doom and gloom!”

How Does the StoryBrand Framework Translate to Your Marketing?

Once you have a clear story that’s less about you and more about your customers, it’s time to tell the story throughout your marketing.


Here are a few key areas to apply the StoryBrand Framework to your marketing, and set your business apart from the rest.

Key Areas to Use StoryBrand in Your Marketing:

  • Company website 
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • Sales collateral (think: scripts, conversations, and pitch decks)
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Digital advertising
  • Video scripts

Wanna be inspired? ✨ Check out our portfolio for ideas on how you can apply the StoryBrand Framework to your business (and if you want some help, you can always request a call!).

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