Focused Messaging in 8 Steps

For us, telling a story is like cooking a well-balanced meal. The goal is to present pieces of informationthe “ingredients”in a way that makes them easier to digest. The brain can be a bit of a picky eater, but a story offers a tasty, familiar shortcut.

Our storytelling framework is essentially a recipe for breaking down and arranging information into a digestible story. We’ve modeled it after the ageless, classic, and time-tested Hero’s Journey.

Almost every story ever told arguably follows a version of this arc, and that’s actually great news for us. Why? Because your customers’ brains already have the shortcuts in place to understand this structure. It’s a recipe the “picky eater” in all of us has already tried—and liked!

See if you can guess what story this page’s animations are based on!


When the story begins, our hero is oblivious of the journey to come. We learn their true nature, capabilities, and outlook on life. The marketing term for this is a persona.

In order to make a meaningful connection with your audience, you need to understand who they are. Know what makes them tick.


Our hero’s journey begins when she faces a problem, like a direct threat to her safety, her family, her way of life, or the peace of the community in which she lives. This problem disrupts the status quo and sets the story in motion. What problems do your customers face?


When confronted with the problem, our hero is forced to decide how to respond. With persona and problem in hand, the final analysis of our hero is where they fit into the decision journey with your brand.

Our hero will make different choices based on their experiences, just as an ex-Navy Seal will respond differently than an accountant.


It wouldn’t be very logical to have our hero immediately solve the problem on their own. The mentor becomes a close ally, beloved oracle, and friend to the hero.
Establishing your brand as the mentor (not the hero) in the story allows you to show the customer compassion, provide insight into the problem, and offer advice, training, or encouragement to defeat the villain (the problem).


Before our hero rushes into battle, she needs a plan to succeed. The mentor puts the hero’s focus on the “path of hope” and sets her mind to the task.
Your customers are overwhelmed by the pressure to make any change. How can you present them the simplest path to success, your “easy installation plan” to show customers how to begin working with you?


Often called crossing the threshold, our hero is ready take on the challenge. But she’s not going to defeat the villain by merely being prepared. The mentor kicks her out of the Dojo, which forces the hero to confront the villain one on one.
No one will buy your product if you don’t tell them the next step. What are you asking your customer to do? Be direct.


The hero’s journey pulls at the heart strings, tying the viewer even closer to our hero, sharing in the conflict and the reward.
Without stakes, the story isn’t interesting.

According to David Kahneman’s concept of Loss Aversion, people tend to be more dissatisfied with a loss than they are satisfied with a gain. If the customer doesn’t use your product, what is going to happen? What’s at stake?


Our hero earns her final reward – she’s at peace with the past, reunited with family, or given the recognition she deserves.

When you laugh and shake hands across the boardroom table, how will that feel? Cast the vision for what doing business with you will feel like.

Use the framework in your own project!

Download our free worksheet: