There’s been a flat-out revolution in the marketing world.
Since the 2017 release of Donald Miller’s bestseller, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, StoryBrand certified guides and StoryBrand certified agencies have popped up all over the place.
Maybe you’ve even seen it: the certification badge on websites as you search for marketing help. But what does it all mean?
What is a StoryBrand guide?
What is a StoryBrand certified agency?
How do you choose between the two?
In this post, you’ll learn what StoryBrand is, how it can help you and your client’s businesses, and how to decide if a StoryBrand guide or a StoryBrand certified agency is best for your business.
What Is StoryBrand?
In simplest terms, StoryBrand is a marketing framework that helps companies clarify their message. The StoryBrand framework is designed to work for any company, but it’s particularly effective for companies and people who:
- Struggle to find new leads
- Have a stale website
- Need a common story to unite their staff
- Can’t clearly explain what they do
- Haven’t had luck with marketing in the past
Plenty of agencies promise to alleviate these pain points, but what makes StoryBrand different from other marketing frameworks is that it teaches you to stop being the hero of your company’s story. Instead, your marketing focuses on your customers, and they become the hero of your story.
Incorporating the same proven formula used in thousands of motion pictures, the StoryBrand framework encourages you to use the most powerful tool in your efforts to captivate potential clients: story.
Based on the principles laid out in Don’s book, individual marketers and agencies alike can go through a rigorous interview, training, and workshop process to become StoryBrand certified. This means they follow and teach the StoryBrand framework to clarify and share their clients’ messages.
StoryBrand can completely revolutionize your marketing, but it’s overwhelming to try to tackle everything on your own. That’s where hiring a consultant or an agency comes in. These individuals or groups of individuals are trained and certified in the StoryBrand Framework. They ensure you incorporate the framework the right way.
Even if you’re sold on StoryBrand, you still have a big decision to make: whether you want to work with a StoryBrand certified guide or agency.
The Pros and Cons of Working an Individual StoryBrand Certified Guide
While working with an individual StoryBrand guide, you’ll build a relationship with a single person, rather than with a team of people like you would with an agency. The benefit of this is the relationship you develop with your guide.
As your guide works through your project, they acquire a deep understanding of your business, your goals, and you as a person. This allows them to capture your voice clearly. You’ll also know exactly who’s working on your project. If you like their work, there’s a good chance you’ll be satisfied with everything they do for your business.
Finally, an individual StoryBrand guide is usually more affordable than hiring an agency. They provide you with great content for a smaller bill.
There are a lot of StoryBrand guides out there, and they don’t all provide the same quality of work. As a result, finding the perfect one for your business can be tedious and stressful.
You’ll have to shop around. And, chances are, you’ll need to find a lot more than just a guide. Unless you find a guide who provides content, graphic design services, and web development, you’ll need to hire separate contractors to finish your project.
That’s a lot of time and energy spent “dating around” to find the multiple members of a team to tell your company’s story to the world. This can also cancel out the affordability of hiring a single guide. You could easily end up spending more hiring a content writer, developer, and designer than you would for a single agency.
Depending on the level of service a certified guide may provide, you may still have to implement all of the BrandScript content yourself.
The Pros and Cons of Working With A StoryBrand Certified Agency
The biggest advantage of working with an agency is that they give you an entire team of StoryBrand certified experts who handle every part of your marketing—from content and design to development and implementation. They’ll guide you through the entire process, so all you have to worry about is showing up to your meetings.
A certified agency brings the experience and talent of individually certified StoryBrand guides together to create a team of diverse experts who build your brand meticulously, piece-by-piece. These companies also typically have strong in-house support to ensure your content and design are top-notch, including editors and multiple graphic designers.
Another perk of hiring an agency is convenience. You don’t have to go around hunting for individual contributors when you hire an agency; the team is already there waiting for you. And, if you need more help after your project is over, you can continue to work with them to grow your business.
Working with an agency can be much more costly than working with an individual guide. You get commensurate value to match your larger investment, but depending on your goals and the size of your operation, it may be best for you to go with the cheaper option of an individual StoryBrand guide.
Working with an agency may not be best for you if:
- Your company is young and you don’t have the resources to hire an agency.
- You prefer to build a deeper relationship with just one marketer, rather than working with an entire team.
- You’re not ready to hand over the reins of your branding.
- You feel you need to work with someone who will have intimate knowledge of your industry.
Another trust-building factor is social media reviews. Make sure if you are spending time with your social profiles. Take the time to ask your clients to leave reviews and thank them for their feedback with a gift. 90% of customers say they rely on a company's social reviews to decide to buy from a company.
If you have many people on your StoryBrand project, they will have less specific industry than an individual StoryBrand certified guide would have. But, in a way, this can be a good thing. If your guide becomes too familiar with your industry, they can fall into the curse of knowledge. Intimate knowledge of your industry isn’t necessary to create StoryBrand content, but it’s important to some people, so it’s worth noting.
So Which One Is Right For You?
The shape of marketing is changing. Today, promoting your business isn’t enough to capture your audience’s attention. You need a system like StoryBrand to create content that truly resonates with potential customers, and you need a guide to help you do it the right way so you can get an ROI from the process.
So now you have a big decision to make. You’ll have to decide whether an individual StoryBrand guide or a StoryBrand certified agency is right for your company. Regardless of which direction you go in, you’ll be working with people who understand story, branding, and the importance of clarity in your messaging.
Don’t leave your marketing efforts to chance. Team up with the original StoryBrand Certified Agency!
At ROI Online, we’ve helped businesses of all shapes and sizes clarify their message using StoryBrand. We’ll build an automated marketing machine to set your business up for success, so you can focus on doing what you love.
Schedule a free strategy session, and let’s get to work!