Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.
So if you’ve listened to any of our Marketing in the Wild podcasts, or if you’ve worked with us at Stratos, you know that we use the StoryBrand framework for all of the material that we create. And today I’m gonna talk a little bit about why. I’m a StoryBrand certified guide and I got that certification back in February 2019. A year and a month earlier, I had just gone off on my own, started freelancing and I was doing fine, but more and more, I wished I had a degree or something that would give me some authority in this area, because right now I just have this experience. I had the experience that I had grown at several nonprofits and I also had good techniques and good results.
But at the time I was actually thinking about going and getting a masters in marketing or communications. And then I came across StoryBrand and everything kind of changed. So let me just tell you about the story and then I will tell you why I have chosen the StoryBrand certification program as a foundation for all of the work that we do.
So at the time of starting my work and my freelancing work, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin has this really cool place run by American Family Insurance called the Dream Bank. And they had a book club that would happen quarterly or monthly. I’m not really sure. And they were doing this StoryBrand book, Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. I had heard a couple people talking about it, but didn’t know much about it, but I wanted a place to find like structure to my day. I also wanted to meet more people because I didn’t have coworkers anymore. So I signed up for this book club and actually the person who’s leading, it was Chris Rudolph, who is now my business coach. So full circle. That’s how we met. Now, I work with him as a business coach. Love everything he does; shout out to Chris Rudolph.
But anyway, I was part of this book. I think the book club lasted six to eight weeks. I actually read it all in one week because it was so good. The whole time I was reading it, I was like, “This is what I’ve been looking for.” I wanted something that would help me tell stories. Every marketer—this is what I tell a lot of people, is every marketer will tell you that you need to tell a story with your marketing, but very few will tell you how and building a StoryBrand does exactly that and it makes it in this plug-and-play framework. And so this is what I loved about it.
So I started using it with all of my clients. Mind you, I was not certified at this point. I just had read the book and started implementing it. And one of my clients, I worked with a small nonprofit and they were doing their end-of-year fundraiser. We had six weeks to raise $10,000. That’s what they had raised every end-of-year and they wanted to raise it. I said, I knew the executive director, I was like, “Let’s do this. Let’s position the nonprofit as the guide and the donors as the heroes and build this story framework.” And so we did social media, we did email marketing. We did some letters. In six weeks, what they normally would’ve raised is $10,000. We raised $20,000. I was ecstatic . So I immediately looked into the StoryBrand certification process. I figured, wow, if this is what I could help this organization do without formal training, what could I do with this formal training?
And remember: I have been thinking about getting a masters, but I figured, hey, I’m gonna have to pay money for a masters. Maybe I should just use that money that I would have paid and put it towards the StoryBrand certification.
Guys. I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I wanna share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.
Hey, this is Bryce with Stratos. Do you need some help refreshing your brand guidelines? Our team has put together the ultimate branding worksheet so you can fill in the blanks to develop your own cohesive and comprehensive brand guidelines. Get your free copy at marketingandthewildpodcast.com/freebies.
So that is how it all started. So, middle of February 2019, I drove down to Nashville and I had to take a rental car. This is like a total side story, but I wrecked my car so I had to take a rental car. Then I wrecked the rental car on the way back. So that’s like a whole different story. Happy to share, not right now. But about the certification program. So the certification program used to be in Nashville; now it’s virtual, but it was four days long. The first two days you were in this big conference center with all of these businesses, all doing their StoryBrand brand script. That’s like the seven part framework for those of you who aren’t familiar with it.
And then the second two days is when the guides separate. The first two days are just for everybody general attendees, VIP attendees, but all businesses. The second two days are for marketers only who are going to be part of the guide program. Those marketers get to learn how to help people build a brand script and then implement it into a lead generator, sales emails, website, etc. And so what we did is we would sit there from 8 or 9, all the way to like 4 to 5. It was really, really long days. I’m like a people person, definitely. But I am learning more and more that I have an introverted side and this is how I knew; Sunday night, there was like a happy hour and I got to talk to people. Monday night, I went out for dinner with people with StoryBrand guides. Tuesday night, I went out with people who were StoryBrand guides. Wednesday night after the conference was over, I took my rental car—it was still not wrecked yet—and drove myself to Pizza Hut. Picked up a pizza, full pizza for myself, drove back to my Airbnb and watched Netflix by myself, eating a pizza in bed in my Airbnb, because I was so tired.
If you’ve ever heard a StoryBrand presentation, we do talk about how there’s these bowling balls and our brain eventually tunes out because we can’t process things. And bowling balls are chunks of information and the more you get, the more you drop. And that’s how and why we need to be like clear, etc.
But it has given me like a renewed appreciation for how much our brains have to take in, especially at conferences. That is a lot for us to intake . So, anyway, that night I think I went to bed at 7:30. I felt great on Thursday. I really needed that break.
That is kind of how it all happened. The rest is history. I came back, this is my fourth year into the certification program. Now we’ve developed frameworks on how to do social media with StoryBrand that my team implements, I get to help people with their brand scripts, etc. So, this is the foundation. It’s become the foundation of all we do. And I’m here to tell you why.
The reason that we do it is, like I said earlier, every marketer will tell you that you need to tell a story, but people don’t tell you how. And oftentimes it is because they want you to tell the story of yourself. And yes, that will capture people’s attention more than just facts and figures, but what will really capture their attention is when you make your customer the hero of the story.
So this pivotal change from you being the hero of your story to making your customer the hero of the story, that is what was the game changer for me. I love that it is storytelling. I love that we position businesses as guides. That is very aligned with our desire at Stratos to be very service-oriented. If you’ve hung out with us for two seconds, you know, we’re all about serving people and frankly, using the StoryBrand framework just makes marketing easier because suddenly you have this framework for content and yes, you still have to make the automations. You still have to do the strategy and the hashtags, all of those things are just as important, but you’re not reinventing the wheel every time that you have to do the content.
So that’s why we use StoryBrand. We love it. It works. We have seen businesses grow. We have seen them generate leads. We’ve seen our business grow since we’ve implemented this, I believe in it through and through. Is it the only way to do marketing? No, but it is a really, really, really good foundation.
So if you are listening to this and you’ve made it this far, I wanna tell you that this is not an episode to make myself the hero because suddenly I’m the StoryBrand guide. But what I am telling you is that you can also have just an easy, as easy time as I do talking about your marketing. The way to do that is through the live stream, if you want to opt into that.
You could also just read the book and do it on your own. That will get you places. That’ll help you create the framework for yourself. You may want somebody who’s certified to look over it for you because sometimes, it’s not that we can’t do it. It’s just, sometimes we are so close to our own business that it’s hard to be able to create that framework.
Trust me. I know I have other people look over my brand scripts too, when I do them for our company. Because again, sometimes we’re just too close and we need a second opinion. Hopefully, this has been helpful. It’s a little bit of our background, why we started using StoryBrand. Why I believe in it, why it has worked for us and for our clients. I would invite you to read the book. It is such a good read.
And I always have a standing offer. If you want to learn more about StoryBrand, I’m happy to jump on a call with you, walk you through the framework, kind of show you what it’s like and how it could be useful for you and how it could apply to you.
So, we’ll see you back here next week. In the meantime, what story are you telling with your marketing? Are you positioning yourself as the guide or as the hero? Because in the end, a story can only have one hero and you really, really, really want your customer to be that hero because then the only way that they can get to that success is by using you as the guide.
Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.
Also thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.