Book review Marketing Recommended Read

Book Review | Building a StoryBrand

A Valuable Book for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Building a StoryBrand is an engaging book, written with a specific objective with a specific audience in mind. I have not read many marketing books lately; not many great marketing books have hit the bookstores in recent times either 🙂

Levity apart, Donald Miller’s book is a neat read. It ticks off all the points Miller conveys in the introduction of the book. His key objective is to help the reader build a telling narrative around his/her brand.

I found that a big chunk of subject matter in the book lends to resolving the marketing problems of small businesses and online business ventures.

If you are a blogger or a solopreneur, you’d find this book even more rewarding than if you are the CMO of a Fortune 500 company.

Miller’s grouse is that businesses often fail to put their finger on the buying behavior of their customers. Here’s Miller on what businesses often fail to see:

“How many sales are we missing out on because customers can’t figure out what our offer is within five seconds of visiting our website?”

Donald Miller

He comments that unless your product or service is not helping your customers survive and thrive, it won’t stick around for long.

Your customers will soon start looking for alternatives once the effect of your marketing blitzkreig wears out. To create an engaging story, Miller proposes a seven-step framework.

The SB7 Framework

This SB7 framework (SB stands for StoryBrand) acts as the lynchpin of Building the StoryBrand.

Donald Miller states that a good story is central to building a strong brand and the SB7 framework, at its heart, has both your customer and your brand’s story.

It works around the following 7 elements or principles:

#1. The Customer is the Hero, not your Brand. Don’t push your brand as a hero, though your instincts would tell you to.

#2. Customers buy solutions to internal problems, don’t sell them solutions to external problems.

#3. Customers aren’t looking for a Hero, they want a guide. While you see the customer as a hero (step #1), your customer seeks a guide to help them in their transformation.

#4. Your customers will only trust you if you have a plan.

#5. Customers don’t take action unless they are challenged to take action.

#6. Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending.

#7. Don’t assume that people understand how your brand can help them overcome their problems or challenges, you have to tell them.

Each of the above principles has a chapter dedicated to it.

And, at the end of every chapter, there is a call to action (which incidentally goes with step no 5) challenging the reader to visit the author’s website and create a brandscript from what he/she has learnt in that chapter.

After you have thoroughly read the seven chapters and actioned on the author’s call, you’ll have a complete storybrand framework in front of you.

The StoryBrand Framework (courtesy:

My personal favorite in the book is chapter no. 12 titled Building a Better Website. For those willing to implement, there are several great tips in the chapter to build a great website.

Now whenever we read a book which has sold well or a book whose author has been on numerous podcasts and business TV shows, our expectation from the book tends to approach stratospheric levels.

Candidly speaking, Building a StoryBrand is not a marketing classic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. I picked up quite a few actionable points myself. But, the problem is that after the initial hurrah, Miller’s narrative waxes and wanes.

The gratuitous self-promotion of his blog and consultancy services doesn’t help either. So many times while reading the book, I felt like I was reading an astutely-crafted sales pitch.

All said and done, I would recommend this book to all bloggers who seek to build an online business and small business owners who want to advance their marketing programs.

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