September '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 8 3 business as a unique identity, you build a bridge between your- self and your audience. Storytelling allows you to share your mis- sion, vision, and values with clarity. e original hero's adventure from Professor Joseph Campbell laid out 17 stages of a hero's journey, as he defined it in his book, "e Hero with a ousand Faces." Since then, it has been sim- plified, and we can use just four key areas to get to the heart of the story we want to tell our customers. YOUR CUSTOMER IS THE HERO As storytellers, we must first make sure we are talking as if we are always talking to the reader and sharing from their perspec- tive. What is in it for them? What is the journey they get to go on that you will be the guide to help them achieve their goals? e No. 1 rule is that you are not the hero! e customer is the hero. I know we tend to want to show ourselves as the victor or to be viewed as the hero. We want to be regarded as the one who saves the day. But a good story allows the customer to be the hero, and you are the wise guide who is there to enable them to come back victorious as they overcome their challenge. So, knowing that your customer is the hero, here is how you break it down. • Who is the character? Your ideal customer and what best describes them in their state before they do business with you. • What problem do you solve? What is your ideal customer's common problem they come to you to solve? • How do you plan to solve the problem? What is the process or plan for how you solve the problem for your ideal customer? • What does success look like? What is the specific success your customers (the character) have after doing business with you? Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. e four-part framework is the work of Donald Miller, and he details this and more in his book, "Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen." But I want to show you how this might work for you in your business. Remember that when we first start describing our business, most of us will talk about our- selves, how great we are, and the features we offer. Here is a real- world example. I found this off a local personalized gift company's website talking about what they do or, in other words, their story: {Name Withheld} Gifts for Simply Southern T-shirts, Hello Mello lounge wear, and unique jewelry! Find the perfect baby gift, personalized jewelry, or self-care gifts in our cute bou- tique. Please stop by our store on Main Street in {location withheld}! We are ranked #1 for "Best Gift Shops." Now let's convert that story based on some assumptions I am making about their ideal customer and the core values they have as a company. Have you scoured the internet looking for the perfect baby gift, personalized jewelry, or self-care gift only to be over- whelmed and left with a feeling of worry that your gift won't be what you expect? As a caring loving gift giver, we know you desire Simply Southern T-shirts, Hello Mello lounge wear, and unique jewelry. And you can touch and feel the personalized bits of perfection in our cute downtown Main Street boutique. Come experience the #1 ranked gift shop in {location withheld} and be known as the perfect gift-giver who is invited to all the best parties. e first description is not bad, but as you read both, side by side, you can see a lack of clarity in the first. e lack of clarity is because we, the "potential customers," must create the story ourselves to see how it might align with our needs. We must cal- culate on our own to determine if their features equal the desired benefits. In the second version, we introduce a character with a problem and show them exactly how we solve it and give them an easy visual of what their life might look like after doing busi- ness with us. Which one provides more clarity, and which one will attract more people to buy? GP Aaron Montgomery is certified by New York Times best-selling author Jack Canfield as a Success Principles Trainer and is the co-founder of Aaron has 25+ years of experience with personalized products and small business development and is the co-creator of the "5 Keys of Business Success." Find Aaron co-hosting the 2 Regular Guys Podcast (, and check him out on his podcast channel called Small Business Saturdays ( For more must-know business tips, check out Aaron Montgomery's content at "The people you care about connecting with are the ones coming to your website."

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