"Building a Story Brand" by Donald Miller

Discover how to clarify your business message and engage customers with storytelling in Donald Miller's "Building a StoryBrand." Essential for marketers, procurement, and supply chain pros.


The Procure 4 Marketing Team

10/15/20245 min read

a book on a desk
a book on a desk

Donald Miller’s "Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen" is a transformative guide that redefines how businesses communicate with their customers. By leveraging the power of storytelling, Miller offers a seven-part framework that helps companies clarify their message and create compelling narratives that resonate with their audience. For procurement, supply chain, and marketing professionals, understanding and applying these principles can enhance communication strategies, foster stronger relationships, and drive business success. This review explores the key themes, critical analysis, and practical applications of Miller’s work for these fields.


"Building a StoryBrand" is structured around a seven-part framework that simplifies the process of crafting clear and engaging messages. Miller argues that businesses often make the mistake of positioning themselves as the hero of the story when they should be positioning their customers as the hero. The StoryBrand framework helps companies create a narrative where the customer is the central character, and the business acts as a guide that helps the customer overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

Key Themes

1. Customer-Centric Storytelling: The core of Miller’s framework is the idea that businesses should focus on their customers' needs and desires rather than their own. By positioning the customer as the hero and the business as the guide, companies can create more relatable and impactful messages. This theme is crucial for marketing professionals who aim to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

2. The Seven-Part Framework: Miller’s StoryBrand framework consists of seven elements:

o A Character

o Has a Problem

o And Meets a Guide

o Who Gives Them a Plan

o And Calls Them to Action

o That Helps Them Avoid Failure

o And Ends in Success

Each element of the framework is designed to create a clear and compelling narrative that engages the audience. For procurement and supply chain professionals, this framework can be used to communicate complex processes and value propositions more effectively.

3. Clarity and Simplicity: One of the key takeaways from the book is the importance of clarity and simplicity in messaging. Miller emphasizes that businesses should eliminate unnecessary jargon and focus on delivering clear, straightforward messages that are easy for customers to understand. This principle is particularly relevant for professionals who need to communicate complex information to diverse stakeholders.

4. Emotional Engagement: Miller highlights the power of emotional engagement in storytelling. By tapping into customers' emotions and addressing their pain points, businesses can create more meaningful connections and foster loyalty. Marketing professionals can leverage this insight to craft campaigns that resonate on an emotional level.

5. Consistent Messaging: Consistency in messaging is another critical theme in the book. Miller advises businesses to ensure that their messaging is consistent across all touchpoints, from marketing materials to customer interactions. This helps build trust and reinforces the brand’s value proposition.

Critical Analysis

While "Building a StoryBrand" offers valuable insights, it also presents some challenges and areas for further exploration.

1. Implementation Challenges: Implementing the StoryBrand framework requires a thorough understanding of the customer journey and the ability to distill complex information into simple, clear messages. This can be challenging for professionals who are used to technical language and detailed processes.

2. Broad Applicability: The principles outlined in the book are broadly applicable, but they may need to be adapted to fit specific industries and contexts. For instance, procurement and supply chain professionals may need to modify the framework to address the unique challenges and needs of their stakeholders.

3. Focus on Marketing: While the book is heavily focused on marketing, the principles of storytelling and clear messaging can be applied to other areas of business. Professionals in procurement and supply chain management can benefit from these insights by using storytelling to explain complex processes and build stronger relationships with suppliers and partners.

Implications for Procurement, Supply Chain, and Marketing Professionals

1. Procurement: For procurement professionals, the StoryBrand framework can be used to communicate the value of procurement strategies and initiatives to internal stakeholders. By framing procurement efforts as a story where the company is the hero, procurement managers can create more compelling narratives that highlight the impact of their work on the organization’s success.

2. Supply Chain: Supply chain managers can leverage the principles of storytelling to explain complex logistics and supply chain processes to non-experts. By positioning the supply chain team as a guide that helps the company overcome logistical challenges, managers can build a stronger case for investments in supply chain improvements and innovations.

3. Marketing: Marketing professionals can directly apply the StoryBrand framework to create more effective and engaging campaigns. By focusing on the customer’s journey and addressing their needs and desires, marketers can craft messages that resonate and drive action. Additionally, the emphasis on clarity and simplicity can help marketers cut through the noise and deliver more impactful messages.

Practical Applications

1. Developing Customer-Centric Narratives: Professionals should start by identifying their customers' needs and challenges. This involves conducting thorough market research and gathering feedback from customers. Once these insights are gathered, professionals can use the StoryBrand framework to create narratives that position the customer as the hero and the business as the guide.

2. Simplifying Complex Information: To implement the principles of clarity and simplicity, professionals should review their existing communication materials and identify areas where jargon and complex language can be eliminated. This may involve creating simplified versions of technical documents and using visual aids to enhance understanding.

3. Emotional Engagement: Marketing professionals should focus on creating emotionally engaging content by addressing the pain points and desires of their audience. This can involve using storytelling techniques, such as case studies and testimonials, to highlight the impact of the company’s products or services.

4. Consistent Messaging: Ensuring consistency in messaging requires a coordinated effort across all departments and touchpoints. Professionals should develop clear brand guidelines that outline the key messages and tone of voice for the company. Regular training and communication can help ensure that all team members are aligned and delivering consistent messages.

5. Leveraging Technology: Tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems and data analytics can help professionals understand customer behavior and tailor their messaging accordingly. By leveraging technology, professionals can deliver personalized and relevant messages that enhance the customer experience.


"Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen" by Donald Miller offers a powerful framework for creating clear and compelling business narratives. For procurement, supply chain, and marketing professionals, mastering the art of storytelling can lead to more effective communication, stronger relationships, and greater business success.

While implementing the StoryBrand framework may require adaptation to specific contexts and overcoming challenges in simplifying complex information, the potential benefits are significant. By focusing on the customer’s journey, creating emotionally engaging content, and ensuring consistent messaging, professionals can enhance their communication strategies and drive better outcomes.

In conclusion, "Building a StoryBrand" is a must-read for professionals seeking to improve their messaging and connect with their audience on a deeper level. By applying the principles outlined in the book, procurement, supply chain, and marketing professionals can achieve greater clarity, engagement, and success in their roles.