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Hook Your Hero: How To Solve Your Customer’s Problems with StoryBrand

by Michael O'Mara, on May 11, 2021 10:13:25 AM

Hook the hero into your story.

People do not take action unless they are challenged to take action. A story without conflict is not a story at all. Your brand needs to address this conflict in an empathetic manner, display authority with a clear solution, and offer reciprocal value before commitment. This is what it means to hook the hero. 

Do not craft a passive message that positions you as an option in a sea of choice. Create a message that challenges and motivates customers to take meaningful action. 

You know you are the correct choice to solve your customer’s problems. But how do your customers learn that too? The most effective way to do this is the StoryBrand messaging framework. In this blog, read about what StoryBrand is, how to identify your customer’s motivations, and why it translates to better business. 

What is StoryBrand?

StoryBrand, developed by author Donald Miller, is a popular messaging framework that helps your brand tell a clear and compelling story. We’ve covered StoryBrand quite a bit here at Sauce. As we learn, so do you. Here are several helpful blogs about the StoryBrand marketing framework:

Traditionally, marketing initiatives focus on your business or your product. StoryBrand doesn’t. Instead, it treats your business as a guide and the customer as a hero. A compelling, engaging story that positions customers as the hero ensures a successful sales path.

The hero of your story is your customer

Every story worth telling features a hero who encounters a problem and overcomes conflict to win. No matter what, the hero of your story is not you and your business—it’s your customers. Your customers are the reason your business thrives or dives. Don’t waste time guessing what customers want to hear; use the StoryBrand marketing framework to position yourself as an empathetic authority.

Your story needs the right hook

Nobody wants to work with you and your product if you lack confidence. People assume the worst. If you’re not confident, how could you possibly solve their problem? I’m not accusing you of lacking confidence, but I am saying there is a chance your existing marketing messaging might. 

The StoryBrand BrandScript changes your message from a passive question to an active hook that keeps customers engaged. People head toward a vision of what their life could be. As a customer is researching options to solve their problem, they’re thinking these questions:

    • Where is this company going to take me? 
    • Where will my life go if I engage with your products?
    • How will I feel better about my problem?

You must show your customers the positive impact has on their life. You must tell your customers how they will feel better investing in your product. You do this by defining a problem.

Define the problem

People are motivated to solve problems. The StoryBrand BrandScript hones in on what keeps people from getting what they want. In this case, what they want is a solution to their problem. You know your product or service is that solution. But how can you convince them that you are the right solution? Here are the three types of problems customers face and several working examples on how to solve them.

  • External: The physical problem that impedes the journey 
  • Internal: Do I have what it takes to solve the external problem?
  • Philosophical: The big picture effect: Good Vs. Evil, Right Vs. Wrong

Explain the problem

Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Avengers (2012). Let’s take these problems and consider an example in film. In the first Avengers movie, Iron Man faces an external, extraterrestrial problem: Loki and the invasion of Earth. As the plot thickens, Captain America challenges Iron Man in a tense scene:

The only thing you fight for is yourself. You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you. You may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero.  

- Captain America 

Captain America speaks to Iron Man’s internal struggle— he thinks he is not good enough to be the hero. At some level, each one of us deals with this question: when it’s time to face the music, do you cut and run?

The philosophical question surrounding Iron Man’s internal and external struggle is clearly defined as good vs. evil much earlier in the film.  

At the end of the film, Iron Man faces the biggest challenge of his life: a nuclear missile heads for New York as a wormhole invites tens of thousands of aliens to destroy the planet. 

Iron Man realizes he is the only one who can solve all three problems at once. In doing so, he will likely die. He grabs the incoming missile, flies into the wormhole, and destroys the invading force. Even though he survived at the last second, Iron Man laid down on the wire. He accepted death in favor of saving the planet.

  • External: Invasion
  • Internal: The doubt he can be the hero the thinks he is
  • Philosophical: Good triumphs over evil

In one single action, the external, internal, and philosophical problems reached a satisfying solution. Now that’s how you close a story!

Avoid the storytelling pitfalls

Companies tend to offer solutions to external problems. But people are not motivated to solve external problems—they’re motivated to solve internal problems. 

Captain America motivated Iron Man to be the hero. Iron Man accepted the challenge. He transformed into the hero before our very eyes. In Iron Man’s BrandScript, the guide is Captain America.

Be Captain America as you consider these questions:

  • External: What is my customer’s problem?
  • Internal: How is this problem making my customer feel?
  • Philosophical: Why is their problem just wrong?

Now, here’s an everyday challenge that doesn’t involve nuclear detonation.

A 30-year-old American man is concerned about weight gain and inactivity. He needs a replicable, accessible, and affordable way to establish and maintain a workout routine. He is vaccinated from COVID-19, but still pretty cautious about what he does. How exactly does he exercise and stay safe?

Let’s assume you manage advertising strategy for a gym. We need to identify the prospective customer’s problems through an effective brainstorming session:

  • External: COVID-19 and weight gain 
  • Internal: Doubting ability to maintain a workout routine
  • Philosophical: You should be able to find a safe, considerate place to exercise 

How do you solve the external problem? Well, offer a clear yet detailed description on your website explaining every step to provide the safest workout space possible. What about the internal problem? Do you offer personalized training regimens? What can your gym do to provide an actionable, sustainable plan to maintain a workout routine in and out of the gym? 

As for the philosophical challenge, speak to the shared frustrations of COVID-19 and how it’s fundamentally wrong how much our lives are impacted.

In short: a simple campaign addressing this persona’s problems. 

From hesitant, unhealthy couch potato to confident, active community member. That is the power of StoryBrand. Understand the motivations behind your ideal customer, position yourself as a guide, and help them reach a mutually beneficial goal. Everyone wins.

Tell your story and grow

Storytelling is a powerful tool that makes or breaks a business. Do it right, and you’re on the path to success. Tell it wrong and you’re lost in a sea of deafening noise. Our Growth Guides at Sauce can help. We guide you through the StoryBrand process, fix problems in your existing marketing efforts, and craft effective solutions. Essentially, we help you #GrowSmarter.


Schedule a call to talk with a Growth Guide today.

Topics:BrandingStorytelling