The Hero’s Journey

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The Core Myth

You’ve likely heard much about the great value of brand storytelling.

Many people will tell you to market your brand as a story that you can tell your prospects.

Sounds clichéd?

FACT: It’s actually not!

Did you know?

Stories lie at the centre of every brand.

A core myth, so to speak…

Want to know the best part?

If crafted successfully, a core myth will…

  • Become a rallying point for your employees, freelancers and outsourcers.
  • Help you recruit the best talent to your company.
  • Give your customers a reason to have trust in you and in the service you’re providing them.
  • Give your stakeholders a deeper sense of determination to see your business succeed.
  • Tie in well with your business automation strategy.

In a nutshell, a core myth tells the world the story about your brand.

It’s an extraordinary story of motivation, passion and overcoming obstacles.

Behind every successful company is an exciting story that is the stuff of legends.

Each of the biggest companies were once struggling startups, contending with multiple obstacles.

They took the right decisions, did things the right way, and ultimately found success.

In the same way, your core myth is about your company, its vision, the obstacles you’ve faced, the decisions you’ve made, how you’ve reached the point you’re at now.

Why Storytelling?

You may be wondering: why should I use storytelling to market my brand?

What’s so great about stories, anyway?

  • Role Of The Core Myth In Today’s Markets

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Stories are great tools to compress chunks of information into reader-friendly forms.

A brand story ties in at the centre of a business right alongside its core beliefs and its marketing promise.

A core myth are far more than just a marketing story.

It has the power to influence and inspire your prospects.

Sounds incredible, no?

Here, Terri Batsakis, founder of Terrific Fitness, shares her inspirational story about beating illness and staying fit and healthy against all odds.

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It’s a story that is capable of engendering positive change in people’s lives.

Likewise, your core myth is a tool of change that you can use to offer guidance, direction and a sense of purpose and belonging to others.

FACT: Story make the choice for your prospects!

Prospects have so many choices today, it’s mind boggling!

They are face with literally millions of options, each one offering them practically the same thing!

They often get confused and frustrated as a result.

So how do you suppose they choose?

The answer: the story, of course!

They look at how each brand humanises itself through its core myth and appeals to their deeper emotions.

Brands that can channel that element of humanism successfully wins the race!

And, of course, you want to be a brand that wins, right?

You want to ride in and save the day, or, in other words, end your prospects’ frustration.

To do that, you have to tell them a story that gels with them effectively.

FACT: Embed your marketing message in a story and see.

Channelling Your Marketing Message Through A Story

People are curious and inquisitive by nature, and they want to know the “why” and “how” of things.

That’s why they love listening to stories.

Your prospects are the same!

They want to know all about your brand before they decide to buy your service.

Stories are a great way to make your marketing message more interesting and compelling.

Consider the quote below:

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Stories are a creative way to answer the what, why, when, where and how of your brand message.

Telling a good story is a better way to inform prospects about your services than bombarding them with lengthy paragraphs of facts and information.

Stories captivate. Facts bore.

Thus, designing a successful brand story is very important.

Especially so if you want to stand apart from the million and one other marketers vying for your prospects’ attention.

The digital era of today is all about stories to captivate and attract prospects.

Here’s the simple truth you’ve got to realise…

If you don’t step up your game, you’ll be left behind!

Service markets are moving at such a fast pace that, unless you have an ace story up your sleeve, you’ll lose the competitive race!

And that’s not something you want to see happening, is it?

So you want to find out all about telling a good story!

Let’s take a look…

How to Tell a Good Story

A successful brand is one that integrates human challenges.

Such a larger-than-life story will resonate with prospects more than purely fictional imaginings.

Moreover, a brand story must be honest and transparent.

Yes, you’re a telling a “story”, but it should be grounded in the reality of your vision and your services.

A core myth is strong enough to create a brand.

What do you think a brand really is?

It’s more than just the name and identity of your business.

In fact, your brand is a complete belief system of all that your business stands for.

It’s what will stay in the mind of your employees, prospects and customers.

Isn’t it amazing—the power that lies behind a single story?

Here’s an example of a brand story from the health brand, Fitness First.

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The core myth will augment and enrich your brand and reap benefits for it.

Central benefits like…

  • Purpose
  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Relevance
  • Leadership
  • A sense of values
  • Vision
  • Commitment
  • Empathy

And many more…

Through your core myth, you, as a business owner, can attract your prospects towards your brand.

The core myth can take a business places.

Establishing that the easy part.

The hard part is when you begin creating your own core myth.

For a lot of business owners, coming up with a good marketing story and aligning it with their brand presents quite a challenge.

Unfortunately, there’s no golden rule to guide you in developing your core myth.

But there are useful strategies that can help you achieve successful brand storytelling.

Classic Storytelling

You’re creating a myth for your brand, so it makes sense to use the structure of classic storytelling as a guide map.

The world around us is one big story.

FACT: Every person out there has a story to tell!

You just need to know where to look.

That sounds like an exciting task, right?

Read as many stories as you can from as many sources as you can find.

Blogs, newspapers, magazines, poetry, essays—these are all good sources of storytelling that will prove useful to you.

Here are some valuable resources that can aid you on your way to a great core myth:

1) Campbell’s monomyth

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A great way to begin your foray into brand storytelling is to take a leaf out of Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

In his book, Campbell introduces the concept of the “hero’s journey”—what he calls the monomyth.

The hero’s journey is a commonly used template in a wide category of stories.

The basic gist involves a hero embarking on a life-changing journey, prevailing through a slew of hardships and misfortunes, and then returning home transformed by his experiences.

The quest is usually mythic and involves iconic battles with supernatural forces, which the hero wins through a combination of valour and inner strength.

Campbell’s structure of the hero’s journey is divided into three sections:

I. Departure/Separation

At this stage, the hero lives an ordinary life and is called onto an adventure. He is reluctant to begin the journey, but receives help from a mentor.

II. Initiation

The initiation begins with the hero crossing into unfamiliar territory, a “special world” where he faces a series of trials or tests, sometimes receiving assistance from helpers.

All the while, the hero draws closer to his main enemy or obstacle, and eventually defeats the evil in an epic battle.

He gains a reward, which he has to take back to the ordinary world.

III. Return

The hero re-crosses the threshold between the two realms and returns to his home armed with the elixir or treasure he has won.

He is changed by his journey and gains spiritual wisdom as a result.

Campbell is of the view that this hero’s journey represents a central focal structure of storytelling over the ages.

2) Vogler’s 12-Step Mythic Structure

Christopher Vogler modified Campbell’s book into a body of work more fitting for a modern audience.

His 2007 guidebook, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, builds upon Campbell’s idea by presenting storytelling in 12 broad steps.

These steps are illustrated below:

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Vogler’s 12 steps have simplified the process of creating a story.

His concept of the Writer’s Journey is an exploration into the deep impact of classical mythology on contemporary storytelling.

He presents ways for businesses to incorporate the Hero’s journey into their storytelling.

Vogler’s study of mythology presents a well of classic information that companies can tap into when creating their own epic brand story.

Seeing the global success of classic fantasies like Star Wars, it is easy to see how much people appreciate epic sagas full of adventure and twists.

Applying these features to your own storytelling can give you an unparalleled edge over your competitors.

By integrating the elements of epic adventure, drama and human interaction, your story will have a potent and powerful impact on your prospects.

Using a step-by-step procedure, you can integrate this model of a hero’s journey into your own brand story.

  1. Know Your Market

Knowing the market you’re selling to is key to creating a good story.

Unless you know your prospects’ likes and dislikes, any brand story you come up with will lack depth and will, therefore, be unconvincing.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start:

  • What do your prospects want (their tastes and preferences)?
  • What should be the core selling points that will make your service attractive to customers?
  • What’s the competitive climate like?
  • What are the popular trends in the market you’re catering to?

The answers to these questions are based on keen insight and understanding of your market.

  1. The What If Questions

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Your foray into brand storytelling is your own hero’s journey.

Before a hero embarks on his journey, he always prepares and plans.

Do the same with your journey.

Ask yourself these make-or-break questions that need answering before getting your story off the ground.

  • What’s the big twist of adventure for your service?
  • What’s your big promise?
  • Do you have any conflicts about this?
  • How will your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) affect your overall business?
  • Who will be the driving force behind this journey? Will it be you? The CEO? Someone external? Do you even have such a person?
  • Do you need to whip up a fictional character who’ll act as your mentor or sage?
  • Who should be the face of your story? In other words, who can convincingly tell the world about your journey?
  1. Choose A Hero

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At the centre of every successful story is a brave hero who confronts a horde of challenges and emerges victorious.

People love the idea of a hero who triumphs against all the odds stacked against him.

Your hero should portray your brand in the best light so that your prospects are compelled to buy it.

You need a hero who tries, fails, tries again, fails again, tries yet again and, in these trials, ultimately finds victory.

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  1. Appoint A Mentor

Every hero needs a mentor. Every journey needs a helping hand to reach a productive conclusion.

Once you’re fully invested in the idea of your brand story, you’ll need a sage.

A sage is a wise and sagacious guide who helps you at a critical point in life and brings about a turning point in your fortunes.

Appoint a sage who will guide the hero at an opportune moment in their life.

In the example below, Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club uses real-life mentors who are valuable in guiding heroes in their quest to attain a fantastic figure:

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  1. Crossing The Point Of No Return

Once you reach this point, there’s no going back.

You’re in unfamiliar territory, and the only way out is forward.

Ultimately, on your creative journey, you and your brand must adopt a stance that differentiates you from the norm.

Your story must stand out.

Otherwise, there’s little point to it.

Here, Nerd Fitness promotes the image of a rebellious hero to promote its latest fitness launch:

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This is the point where you give it your all.

You’ve burnt your bridges; now you have to complete the journey to its veritable conclusion.

  1. Map Out The Challenges

No quest is easy!

A hero’s journey is fraught with trials and tribulations at every turn.

The hero, due to his conflicting point of view, causes controversy and makes enemies.

In the same way, the path your brand story takes will determine the challenges you’ll face.

Mapping these challenges will make it easier to craft out the loops and twists in your story.

  • Who do you plan to align your brand with?
  • What can they bring to the table?
  • What trials and challenges will you integrate into your brand story?
  • Who will be the foes and the antagonists?
  • What challenges and tests should you be prepared for?
  1. Your Ultimate Challenge

As your brand diverges from the median, it will acquire friends and naysayers along the way.

But the final challenge you have to face is to be different.

Being different is to be a leader.

Look at all the successful brands out there—they all have a unique feature and approach.

Consider these fitness brands:

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All these brands have a unique selling point they are marketing to clients.

  • Brand 1 markets the “POWER” of their fitness services.
  • Brand 2 uses the element of “REINVENTION” in their sports and fitness skills.
  • Brand 3 promotes the “FREEDOM” their workouts offer their customers.

In the same way, you have to incorporate a unique feature into your brand that will create interest among prospects.

That’s your ultimate goal—what you set out to achieve in the first place!

You have to determine:

  • What your final challenge will be,
  • What attributes or skills your brand will integrate into that challenge, and
  • What you ultimately want to achieve

This should be the finale of your hero’s journey.

While you may want to continue your brand story onto the next episode, it should be fully aligned with the final challenge.

  1. Take A Moment To Reflect

Your story is out there now.

Your brand and your service are different now.

Ask yourself: How can I market this differentiation to my advantage?

  1. The Challenges That Come With Differentiation

Now that your brand has taken on a new entity, your journey is going to be riddled with even tougher challenges.

What will these challenges be?

How will the competition react—and how do you continue in the face of that reaction?

  1.  The Dénouement

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This is the veritable finale of your story.

Your business core myth is now ready to be marketed to your prospects.

But it isn’t just the culmination of a story…

It is also the culmination of your brand’s journey.

This is the structural template you can follow in planning and designing  your own core myth.

The hero’s journey structure is only a reference model to design and enhance your brand story.

Your story should be unique to your brand, your vision, your niche and your prospects.

Its plot, characters and twists will be the product of your own creativity and imagination, not what Campbell and Vogler have laid out for you.

 

Want your story to reach your prospects effectively?

You need the right fit of business automation tools to maximise the impact of your brand story.

Deciding on the best tools for your brand plays an important role in ensuring the success of your story.

But that’s the hard part, isn’t it?

Considering the sheer amount of automation tools available, getting tools that will fit your business can prove a challenge.

In case you’re having trouble finding a solution, feel free to contact me anytime.

I’m always ready to provide you with a quick marketing automation fix!

As you’re probably aware, I’m known as something of a Marketing Automation MAD scientist and can fully use my expertise to help you out in the Comments section below!

Mike Doughty
Described as a Marketing Automation MAD Scientist, which is fitting since his initials are M.A.D! Mike is an awarding winning entrepreneur who is obsessed with helping business owners learn, leverage and liberate themselves from their business. He’s a creative and lateral thinker with a strong mind for numbers.
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