Miller: The SB Seven framework amounts to the seven things that happen in almost every single story. Those seven things are: you have a character with a problem that meets a guide who gives them a plan and calls them to action that either ends in success or failure. Those are the seven things that always happen in stories, and so each of those has a bit of a business paradigm shift to it. The character, we have to define exactly what that character wants.

How that translates to our business is you have to define something that your customer wants. You have to talk about that over and over in the same language, making it really crystal clear what it is your company offers. Most companies are too vague and offer 23 things that a customer wants.

Every customer is coming to you because you solve a problem. We want to define that problem really clearly. Then we want to position ourselves as the guide in their life. The biggest StoryBrand paradigm shift is “Never play the hero in the story. Always play the guide.”

There are two reasons that you don’t want to play the hero. One is the hero is a weak character. They are ill-equipped. They are unwilling to take action. They’re not sure they can get the job done. They’re getting their butt kicked or the story’s no good, so you don’t want to position yourself as a hero.

There is another character in the story, though, that is extremely strong, and that character is the guide. This is the Yoda, the Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Lionel in The King’s Speech. The guide has already conquered the demons in their past and is here only to help the hero win the day. The guide enters into the customer’s story, which is exactly what you want to do.

The next thing you want to do is demonstrate competency. That you have what it takes to help the hero win the day, so you want to express empathy and demonstrate competency. If you do that, you’ll position yourself as the guide in the story. They’re looking for somebody who understands their pain and can get them out of it.

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