Book Review: Building a Story Brand

One of my favorite reads on brand marketing is Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand. Miller writes persuasively on how to build a brand and how to elevate it. In other words, whether your company is in its infancy stage, or it is a mature company looking to expand into another market, there are some useful tools throughout the book. How does Miller’s brand strategy teachings effectively cover such a wide spectrum?

Miller has developed and tested a seven-part branding framework, which demands the reader to break down their brand, and analyze it from all sorts of angles. This framework can be applied to just about any future and or established brand. Miller argues that consistency and clarity are key in terms of the content on your site, the actual deliverable, and how your sales team goes to market. The major takeaway: your value proposition should identify customers' pain points and how your company offers pragmatic solutions. In other words, stay away from platitudes: your company is better than the competition, has the best culture, or has been around for a century, etc. 

I highly recommend this read. As for criticism, I am not sure you have to follow every step of his framework to create a compelling story around your brand and its services. Moreover, one could argue that there is some affirmation bias in some of his business historical examples. For example, Miller points out where major firms deviated from his marketing framework, and consequently, either the company or the campaign failed. In some respects, his argument is warranted, but I believe sometimes “misses” have more to do with overall market dynamics (e.g., The Great Recession, inflation, new technology) than overlooking a step in Building a Story Brand. In conclusion, this book challenges you to be an interactive reader, review your brand strategy, and distill your message, which I believe are all good marketing habits.

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