Ep 462: StoryBrand 7 Step Method with Dr. JJ Peterson



If you’ve ever struggled to explain your offer, you’re not alone.

It can be daunting trying to pitch what you do (and why it’s important) without coming across as arrogant or cocky, which means we often end up shrinking ourselves or downplaying our abilities in the process.

But what if, instead of concentrating on selling yourself, you focused on your customers and the key problems they need to have solved?

That’s where the groundbreaking StoryBrand method comes in! We are joined today by StoryBrand expert, Dr. JJ Peterson, host of the Marketing Made Simple Podcast and co-author of Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step StoryBrand Guide for Any Business, which he co-wrote with Donald Miller, who first developed the StoryBrand method.

We talk with JJ about the StoryBrand method, how it was developed, and why positioning your customer as the hero of the story, instead of yourself, is such a game changer.

Tuning in you’ll learn about the seven key elements of any good story, how each of these can be applied to marketing, and the power of leveraging storytelling frameworks to share your message and help others.

Join us for a fascinating conversation on marketing, storytelling, and much more!


  • A warm welcome to today’s guest, Dr. JJ Peterson.
  • The renowned StoryBrand approach and how it was developed by Donald Miller.
  • Reflections on why we often struggle to communicate what we have to offer.
  • How centering the other person can transform your communication.
  • Unpacking the hero’s journey; how the protagonist grows over the course of a story.
  • Understanding the role of the guide in any story.
  • Why centering yourself as the hero weakens you and your brand.
  • How to position yourself as a guide to your audience.
  • The seven key elements of any good story.
  • How to apply each element to your marketing.
  • Why having a clear call to action is essential.
  • Find out where you can learn more about Dr. JJ Peterson and Donald Miller’s work.
  • JJ’s parting advice for anyone struggling to articulate what they’re doing.


“If a thought leader has something that’s going to change people’s lives, or a business has something that’s going to change people’s lives, then it actually does not serve the world if nobody knows why they need it.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:05:48]

“The best people who are equipped to help other people win are always the guides. Guides are confident, they are strong – they’re actually the strongest character in any movie.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:13:17]

“So many thought leaders and businesses out there have a hard time explaining what they do to people in a way that makes them money. We help people clarify their marketing and their message by using a story framework.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:18:44]

“If you allow people to delay action, it often becomes inaction.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:27:15]

“You have amazing things to say. But a lot of times people think they don’t have anything new to offer the world. And I’m telling you, you may not have a new idea, but you have a new way of telling it because you’re the only person who’s ever experienced what you’ve experienced.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:34:55]

Longer Quotes:

“[Donald Miller] wanted to [help] people clarify their message, using story as the foundational framework, so that companies and thought leaders could actually communicate more clearly their value proposition. They could position their audience or their customers as the hero, and ultimately, they could grow their companies.” — @DrJJPeterson [0:06:04]

About Dr. JJ Peterson

Dr. J.J. Peterson is the Head of StoryBrand and host of the chart topping Marketing Made Simple Podcast. J.J. holds a PhD in Communication and spent the last 20 years practicing and teaching communication theory. He studied C.S. Lewis in Oxford, debated theology with filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival, directed a documentary, served in marketing for two multinational non-profit organizations, is currently an adjunct professor at the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University, and speaks to thousands of people about creating a clear message.


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RV (00:02): I am so excited to interview my, my good friend Dr. JJ Peterson. We’re gonna be talking about StoryBrand and the StoryBrand framework. I take credit for the success of the StoryBrand book because we did the book launch party at our house. Donald Miller, who was the original author, wasn’t gonna do a book launch. And we’re like, Don, are you crazy? We gotta launch this book. We launched it at our house, and I think it’s gone on to sell a million copies, or, you know, close to, if I think it, I think it sold a million copies. So that’s all because of where Don hosted his book, launch party. And that night I got to meet Dr. JJ Peterson, who now is the head of StoryBrand. He’s also the host of the Chart topping Marketing Made Simple podcast. And JJ is an amazing guy. RV (00:49): So he has a PhD in communication. He spent the last 20 years studying and teaching communication theory. He’s also an adjunct professor at the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University. And I mean, he’s, they, they, they’re, these guys are involved in so much with, you know, helping politicians and filmmakers and business owners and, and academia. I mean, StoryBrand has become mainstream. And it was like, I can’t believe we haven’t actually had you back on the show in such a long time. Never. J’s never been on this show. So we have to do this. Dr. JJ Peterson, welcome to the show, brother. JP (01:29): Oh my goodness. Well, thank you so much for having me. And yes, we still to this day absolutely give you 100% credit for that book, selling a Million . So RV (01:38): Yeah, we we’re gonna start charging a package. Like, if you just wanna sell a million copies host, you can host your book party at the Vaden Villa. JP (01:46): I will give you a testimony right now, , I will give you, we can record a testimony and make it happen. So, RV (01:52): I mean, obviously I, I feel like StoryBrand has become mainstream pervasive. It, it, it’s, it’s become a verb that people use. Like you got a story brand it, but if, if someone’s listening and they’ve, they’ve never heard of the book story building a StoryBrand, what is, what is StoryBrand exactly? Like, give us, you know, take us there. JP (02:12): Well, the, it kind of all goes back to when Donna Miller, who was a, you know, he was an author and had written a bunch of, you know, bestselling books, and most of them were memoirs. And he ended up putting on this conference where he was inviting people to come and kind of become the hero of their own stories to like, basically create these life plans, find purpose in their life. And, you know, he’d sold millions of books at that point. And so they were like, yeah, the conference is a no brainer. He rented out an auditorium for about 1500 people and sold 700 seats for the first event, and which was great, profitable, wonderful. And got great reviews. And then all of a sudden, the next time the conference came around, they’re like, well, we’ll sell out this time. And sold about 700 seats again, Uhhuh, and then sold about 700 seats again. And through the process began to realize that they weren’t able to actually articulate the value of the conference. Like people were coming. ’cause They knew Don they were coming because they’d heard from friends, just word of mouth. But it wasn’t growing because nobody could actually articulate the value or why people needed it or anything in the conference itself. So Don actually went off to a cabin to try to kind of figure out what his next book was going to be, as he RV (03:38): Does JP (03:38): He, as he does, as RV (03:39): He just disappears to the cabin and comes out with another bestseller. Me off, like, JP (03:43): I’m, so, I know it’s a bit annoying. His genius is a bit annoying in that way. But he goes off and he kind of begins to, he gets distracted and starts watching movies and he, he tells the story, you know, and he really, he had been studying story for a while, been he had written a screenplay, and he began to realize that, you know, there really was formula to all movies, formula to all stories. Hmm. And in the moment, what he started realizing is, what if we could apply story frameworks, which really were, you know, the, the, like, they’re powerful mediums. You know, movies are making millions of dollars. Story has been studied for centuries, and there are rules to story. And he thought, well, what if we could take these rules and move it out of the screenwriting space and actually put it into marketing? JP (04:34): And through that position, the customer as the hero of the story, instead of what most businesses do is position themselves as the hero. And so he began to change his marketing for the conference and position the customer as the hero was able clearly to articulate how it worked clearly articulate how the conference was gonna benefit them, help them survive and thrive, all these things that you do in marketing. And the next conference did not spend any money on marketing. The very next conference sold out, then went to a bigger venue, sold out, went to a bigger venue, sold out. And he began to realize that when companies or thought leaders or authors were able to actually articulate the value of what they bring to the table in a way that through their marketing positions, their customers, the hero that both people win out. JP (05:31): Mm-Hmm. Because if a thought leader actually has something that’s gonna change people’s lives, or a business has something that’s gonna change people’s lives, then it actually, it does not serve the world if nobody under nobody knows why they need it or what they’re supposed to do with it when they get it right. And so he wanted to start helping people clarify their message using story as the foundational framework so that companies and thought leaders could actually communicate more clearly their value proposition. They could position their audience or their customers as the hero, and ultimately they could grow their companies. And so that’s kind of how it started. And since then, we’ve worked with thousands and thousands all over the world. RV (06:14): I know you guys do. And, and it’s, it’s funny because it’s like one of the toughest questions for people to answer. And, and I’ll say for mission-driven messengers, like for personal brands, right? Like, the people that we serve are these, like, oftentimes they’re almost like these bleeding heart. I, I wanna change the world, I want to help people. And then someone asks them, what do you do, ? And they just fall apart, right? It’s like, it takes 40 minutes to explain what, because they’re like, well, I have a nonprofit and I have this methodology that I’ve created and I’ve worked over here in this country. And, you know, I work sometimes with educational institutions that sometimes with corporate people and, and you know, like, because, or they just go I don’t know. Like, it’s, it’s so, it’s so much like, how do I communicate that quickly and, and succinctly? RV (07:02): And, you know, I remember the first time I read you know, I still have the, one of the galleys, one of the advanced reader copies of StoryBrand and Mark the whole thing up. And I, I, I called Don and I was like, dude, this is gonna be a game changer. Because it’s, I mean, why do you think we have such a hard time JJ communicating? Like when someone asks you, what do you do when you’re on a airplane, or, you know, you’re at you at a dinner party or whatever, a networking event, it was like, what do you do? Like, why do we fumble that up so much? JP (07:34): I think some of it, if, if I’m, if I’m really digging in, some of it is trying to be, it’s insecurity and also trying to be humble. Like, there’s two things in that. Like, there’s some insecurity about what you do, so you start fumbling through that, or there’s, you’re trying to be, you don’t wanna come across as cocky. Yeah. And so you’re trying to be humble in that. And what we’ve just found with all of that, and what I would say is that when you try to shrink in what you have to offer the world by not coming, you don’t wanna come across too cocky. You don’t like, you’re insecure about the fact that you can make a difference when you actually shrink in that moment, not only are you not serving yourself, but you’re not serving the world, you’re not serving your potential customers. JP (08:17): Because if you actually have experience, if you have things that you figured out along the way that can help pe make people’s lives better and easier, and you don’t know how to, and you lack confidence in your way of communicating that what you’re doing is by shrinking, you’re actually not serving people. And so we teach people how to explain that through through the whole StoryBrand framework really is there are seven talking points really that are essential to every good story. And these, like I said, have been studied for centuries. They go all the way back to Aristotle and Plato who argued that the best way to move people to action, the best way to change culture was through story. If you go back, you know, all the way to poetics it. Like, RV (09:04): No, you guys better be careful. I’m just afraid that Aristotle is going to bring a plagiarism lawsuit against Don here. And I, I don’t know if we should be sharing that. Well, JP (09:13): We, we cite him. We cite him. So we c him. RV (09:15): Him. Okay. JP (09:15): We cite him. Okay. So we definitely cite our sources. You RV (09:18): Tag him. Do you tag him on Instagram? JP (09:19): A hundred percent hash hashtag Aristotle Poetics hashtag Aristotle. RV (09:22): Okay. JP (09:23): And , you know, and these, the, it’s, the formulas have been refined over the years, but really every good story has seven elements to it. Seven talking points, there’s a formula. And when you follow that formula, what you do is you ensure that your story actually is clear and compelling. That’s really what we’re looking for when we’re trying to create good stories, is it has to be clear and it has to be compelling. And so the seven elements, okay. Do you want me to go into those or RV (09:53): I, I, we are gonna, I do want to go into those, but before we do that, you know, you’ve touched on this idea that I think one of the big mantras of StoryBrand, and one of the thing that works really well, and one of the reasons why we believe in it and like we become such emphatic fans about it, is the idea that you as the business owner, as the mission-driven messenger, you as the marketer, you are not the hero. The customer is the hero. And I just wanna connect this back to what you were talking about shrinking. When people shrink themselves, or they wanna be humble, the reason they’re doing that is because they think the conversation is about them, or they’re making the conversation about themselves. And I think a huge, like the big central thing is to go, if, if the conversation’s not about you, if, if the goal of the conversation is not to impress the other person, but to simply help the other person to serve the other person, now all of a sudden there’s no reason to shrink. ’cause It’s like you’re showing up as like, the best helper in the world versus like the most important person in the world. And, and, and so I just wanted you to talk on that part a little bit. ’cause I think, you know, the tactics of StoryBrand are super practical and actionable. I wanna talk about the seven points, but to me, the real heartbeat is this idea that customer’s the hero. JP (11:20): Yes. And you know, you would never see, well, let, let me just say this. We all wake up pretty much every day as the main character of our own story, right? That just really is how it is. Like you’re the main character of your movie. I’m the main character of my movie. And so we’re all kind of walking through life that RV (11:39): Way. And in my head, I have abs that are more defined than what I actually see. But like, yes, I, I wake up, you know, I think of myself as like Brad Pitt, but you know, it’s not JP (11:49): Way Oh, you RV (11:49): Are, you’re, but I’m, but I’m, I I, I get what you’re saying. Keep kick your JP (11:52): . Yeah. Yeah. In my, in my version, I’m six two and I’m really five three . So you know, but we all are heroes of our own story. And what happens in good movies is that the hero, actually in most, in all movies, is actually one of the weakest characters in the story. And they have a lot of self-doubt. They make a lot of mistakes. They are up and they are down, and they’re insecure through the whole thing. They don’t actually become the strong hero till the end of the movie. That’s what the Hero’s Journey is all about, is becoming the hero. But in the beginning of the movie and the rest of the movie, they’re actually very weak and insecure and scared and Ill-equipped. But at some point in the movie, they meet in a good story. They meet a guide, they meet somebody who has been down the path that they’re trying to go down before they’ve, but they’ve also won the day. JP (12:48): So in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is the hero, but he comes in contact with Obi one Kenobi and Yoda wi in Lord of the Rings. There’s Frodo, but then there’s Gandalf in Hunger Games. There’s Katniss. But then there’s Hamid. There’s always this older, wiser guide who comes along to help the hero win the day. And when thought leaders position themselves as the hero, and what I mean by that is when you start talking, quote unquote about just yourself making the conversation about you, what you’re actually doing is positioning yourself as weak. ’cause You’re positioning yourself as a hero in the story. The best people who are equipped to help other people win are always the guides and guides are confident. They are s strong, they’re actually the strongest character in any movie, right? Obi one, Kenobi, Yoda, Gandalf, strongest characters in the movie who are helping other people win. JP (13:50): Now, they’re not out there bragging about themselves. They’re not even talking a lot about their history. In fact, we usually don’t know a ton of their history in a movie. All we know about them is that they are equipped to help the hero win because they’ve been where the hero has been, and they’ve overcome the same obstacles. So when you’re a thought leader, or you’re in business, when you talk about yourself and just make it all about kind of your insecurities, or kind of shrink a little bit, you’re making yourself the hero of the story. And you’re actually positioning yourself as weak, which means you’re actually not able to help other people. But when you talk about yourself in a way that talks about how you’ve overcome the similar problems that the people in your audience or your customers have experienced, right? So if you say, look, say you’re a thought leader on finance, and you stand up in front of an audience, and you don’t have to say, look, I’m really good at finance all this stuff. JP (14:46): But if you get up in front of an audience and you say, Hey, I used to be overwhelmed by finances as well, I get it. I was actually depressed, I was really struggling. What you’re doing in that moment is you’re positioning yourself beginning to position yourself as a guide to your audience with empathy. So when you say, I get it, I was like, you, and then you say, but actually, I was able to figure out a system where I was able to budget and invest in a way that actually has made me a millionaire in the past 10 years. And I wanna share that with you. Mm-Hmm. , that’s not bragging. That’s positioning yourself as a guide to your audience or your customers. You are saying, I am like you. I’ve experienced what you’ve experienced, but I’ve also found a way forward, and I wanna bring you along in that journey. Mm-Hmm. that what say power RV (15:33): Is one of our, one of our flagship, you know, probably most repeated quotes at Brand Builders Group is your most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were. JP (15:45): Yes. I love that. RV (15:46): It, it anchors to what you’re, it anchors exactly to what you’re saying here is to go. You, you can be the guide if you actually are teaching people and selling people something that you know something about because you’ve been there, it automatically, like the default is you are the guide, and it it sets, it sets you up, like in that position perfectly. JP (16:09): And because everybody’s the hero in their own story, they’re looking for a way to overcome their problems. They’re looking for a way to win the day. They’re looking a way to move forward. And so, again, going back to your initial question when somebody says, what do you do? And you start fumbling and you start kind of trying to shrink a little bit and going, well, it’s really complicated. Immediately in their brain, what they’re doing is, oh, I’m not sure this person has really anything to help me move forward. Not in a, like, not, not in a, RV (16:39): In a subconscious JP (16:39): Way. Yeah. But it’s very subconscious. They’re going, this person, it is not gonna help me move ahead. And quite frankly, they’re not interesting . And so you might go, oh, great, nice to meet you. All right. Hey, I gotta leave. I gotta go get a drink. You know, like, it’s the conversation’s over because the person being introduced is not making them curious about what they offer, curious about their product, curious about their thought leadership. And so the best way to answer that question, a very simple way to tell what I would argue is a short story, is the way that you wanna always answer the question. What do you do really is three parts. I mentioned that overall stories, when you create good movies and stuff, there are seven parts. But to tell a short story, there are actually three parts to it. It’s very formulaic. JP (17:28): All right? In order to position your customer or your audience as the hero, what you wanna do is the very first thing you wanna do. And somebody says, so what do you do? You don’t answer that question. You start with a problem that they or your customers are experiencing. So if you asked me, just like, jj, what do you do? I would start, I wouldn’t say I work at StoryBrand. I would start by saying, so many businesses and thought leaders have a hard time explaining what it is that they do in a way that can actually make them a ton of money. So I just start that like, people have a hard time explaining what they do to grow their business, RV (18:06): Articulate the problem, JP (18:07): Articulate the problem. What you’re doing in that moment is you’re actually making the story about the person you’re talking to, not about yourself. So you start with the problem, then you come in as the guide and position yourself as a solution. So I’ve said, you know, a lot of thought leaders and businesses have a hard time explaining what they do. So they’re actually missing out on a, on a lot of money. What we do at StoryBrand is come in and help people create a clear message using the elements of story. So now I’ve just positioned myself as a guide to, to you the hero. And then I finish out the story with my customer success. So then I say, when people go through this, they’re able to not only articulate what they do in a really powerful way, but they’re able to actually help more people and grow their business. So it’s what the, the three elements are problem, solution, success. That’s a short story. So I’ll just put it all together. I would say so many thought leaders and businesses out there have a hard time explaining what they do to people in a way that makes them money. We help people clarify their marketing and their message by using a story framework so that then they ultimately have a clear way of explaining their value proposition can help more people and grow their business. Mm-Hmm. . RV (19:26): Got it. So yeah, give us the seven points. I wanna make sure that we at least hit, hit high level on ’em. I know you, they go deep in the book and in the course. Yeah, yeah. And the training that you guys do. But like, walk us through the seven parts. ’cause, And I want for you listening, these are the seven parts of a story. But then this is also like a checklist for like how you would write out the copy of describing whatever it is that you do. So all right. Hit us, jj. JP (19:53): All right. So the seven elements of any good story are that in the first bit of the story, right at the very beginning, there is a hero. And that hero wants something in a movie within the first nine minutes of a movie for the story to be good. We have to know what that hero wants. And we could probably all think of movies where we just could say, oh yeah, the hero wants this. It should be very clear, it should be very obvious, and it should be really one thing. Jason Bourne wants to know his identity, but he can’t also open a cupcake shop and want to run a marathon. And all these other things has to be one thing, right? How that RV (20:32): Someone wants to get married, couple wants to have kids, somebody wants to be rich. Well, someone wants to find their dad. You know, finding Nemo wants to find their parents like Uhhuh. JP (20:41): Yep. Very, very clear. How that then applies to marketing is the principle is that companies need to, if you’re positioning your customer as the hero, companies need to be able to clearly articulate what they offer. And it actually has to be one thing. It can’t be 50 things. And that is what enters your customer into the story. So you have to be able to say, not just say like, I help people achieve a great life. No, no, no. What do you actually offer? And it needs to be clear. So you need to create talking points that articulate what you offer. ’cause That is really what your customer’s looking for. The second element of any good story is that once the hero, we know what the hero wants. A problem has to get in the way. The only way a story gets interesting is if the hero encounters a problem, right? JP (21:32): It’s like, if Liam Neeson’s daughter gets kidnapped for the eighth time, and he gets that phone call that says, you know, I have your daughter. And then all of a sudden she hops on and goes, just kidding. It’s a joke. Do you want to come over to Europe and we’ll just go shopping and look at colleges? And then the rest of the movie is about that very boring movie, right? We’re not interested in it. The hook of the story that makes the story interesting is the problem. The bigger the problem, the more interesting the story. How that applies to our marketing is the only reason people are paying attention to your marketing or coming to you to buy a product or service is because you solve a problem for them. So you have to clearly articulate what problem your customers are experiencing that is gonna hook them in the marketing. JP (22:25): These two pieces are the two biggest pieces when it comes to writing a good story and creating good marketing. If you don’t articulate what you offer and you don’t constantly talk about the problems your customers experience, then people won’t pay attention to you. And if you can get those two things right in a movie and in marketing, you’re gonna do great. But the story keeps going and gets even more interesting. So then the element comes in that we’ve already talked about. The third principle of the StoryBrand framework is that the hero meets a guide. Mm-Hmm. They meet somebody who comes along and helps them win the day. Mr. RV (23:02): Miyagi, here you come. Yes, here he comes. Daniel son, Mr. JP (23:05): Mgi. Yes, exactly. , yes. And so that say, we’ve already talked about this, but the really, the paradigm, big paradigm shift in the StoryBrand framework is you’re not the hero of the story. You’re the guide. So stop talking about yourself and talk about your customer’s problems and talk about how you understand them. You have empathy for it, and you have authority to fix it. You have, you kind of give evidence that you’ve solved it for other people, testimonies, awards, things like that. Then the fourth element of a good story is that the guide gives the hero a plan. In every movie, I actually wanna do like some dissertation research to see how many times or in how many movies, the phrase what’s the plan, or here’s the plan appears. Hmm, I bet I mean, you, if you think about it, it’s in every movie, and it doesn’t matter how complicated the plot is or how complicated the problem is, they’ll go, but here’s the plan, right? JP (24:01): And what that does in a movie is show the audience that there is a clear path forward, easy and clear path forward for the hero to win, right? Even in Oceans 11, they’re gonna rob the Bellagio, it’s never been done before, it’s impossible. And then they go, but here’s the plan, right? . And then they follow the plan. Nice. The principle for that in marketing is you need to show your customers that there’s a clear and easy way to do business with you. What are the three steps that you guide them through to either purchase your product or work with them? So it can be schedule a call, we create a plan, then we meet monthly to make sure that that happens. You know, something in your, you know, we do an intake session, you join a mastermind group, and then we meet one-on-one after that, right? JP (24:50): We just have three steps to show them this is how you win the day. Then the fifth element in a good story is that after the hero gets the plan, there’s a moment where they have to be called to action. They have to be either in or out. And so the, in a lot of movies, there is a ticking time bomb that is gonna force the hero to act, right? Like, it’s gonna go off in five minutes and they’ve gotta be in or out, they’ve gotta run towards it. Or runaway a tsunami’s coming to de destroy Los Angeles, and they’ve gotta get their daughter out of the city. You know, there’s all of these kind of this countdown that says you need to act or there may be consequences. The principle for that in the marketing is we actually need to have clear calls to action in our marketing, our heroes. JP (25:40): Our customers need to know exactly what they need to do in order to buy our product and service. There is a study that was done recently that said 70% of small businesses in America do not have a clear call to action on their website that people are losing money if they don’t know if, if your customers or your audience doesn’t know what they’re supposed to do next. If you’re a thought leader and you’re up on a stage, you better at the end of your talk have something that they’re supposed to do that will connect them to your products and services. What’s the next step they’re supposed to take in order to work with you? RV (26:16): Yeah. And I, you know, it’s interesting. It’s never really dawned on me the, the, the, the, the dynamic of the ticking bomb part of it, right? So there’s a clear action, but then, you know, obviously, like you know, we do a lot of copywriting, like sales copywriting, like to, you know, how do you create page that gets someone to pull out their credit card? And you know, urgency is like a really big part, is people, people always procrastinate. And I’ve never thought about that with the relation, like the connection to StoryBrand in movies, how it’s like, you know, he, he’s about to get on an airplane and leave your life forever, or you know, you better ask her out on a date before she like gets on the train That there, like that kind of a thing. So do you guys advocate kind of like deadlines and countdowns and that kind of stuff? JP (27:07): Absolutely. Absolutely. Because if you allow people to delay action, it often becomes inaction. So I, I say that a lot. Delayed action usually is inaction. And so when you, it’s always in a movie, like you said, it’s very clear, there’s a moment, right? It’s, it’s not kind of wishy-washy of what the hero is supposed to do. They have to go get the girl, they have to disarm the bomb, they have to hop in the helicopter. There’s something that they have to do. And all the sports very, RV (27:35): Very clear. Every i’ll I have the built in clock, like JP (27:37): Exactly. And if, if you’re saying, okay, so let’s say Tom Cruise is running through the airport to disarm a bomb, and all of a sudden he finds out it’s going off in a month, well, there’s no urgency for that action , right? He’s just like, what am I doing? I’m not gonna sprain my ankle doing this. There’s no urgency. So that’s why there’s so often like literally a ticking time bomb. So in calls to action, when you can create a sense of urgency that in, in your emails and on even on your webpage or on your social media, then absolutely. But even almost, I would argue more important than that is most people, their calls to action are often like, well, if you wanna learn more or it, or, you know, or, you know, Hey, let me know if you have any questions. No, no, no. JP (28:21): What you’re doing again, in that moment is you’re shrinking. And again, I’ll remind everybody, you shrinking does not serve your customers or the world . And so what you’re saying when you’re just like, well, you know, if you have any questions or blah, blah, blah, what you’re actually doing is saying, I’m not quite sure I believe in my product or what I’m willing to offer you. I don’t believe that it’s actually gonna change your life or make a difference. And our customers subconsciously feel that. So be strong, buy now, schedule a call, sign up. You know, any of those kind of things, you need to be very RV (28:53): Clear. And I think of it, you know, so like, as a parent of two toddlers, I go, if my son is about to pick up a marble and put it in his mouth, I don’t kind of politely say, Hey, you should maybe not do that. Or like, I reach over and I smack it out of his hand like now. Right? And so, mm-hmm, , when you have that, when you truly have that service centered mindset, there’s urgency on your part to create urgency on their part. Yes. And, and, and I think, I think a lot of people miss that, especially the mission driven messengers. ’cause It’s like, I just want to help everybody and I just wanna encourage ’em. And it’s like, yeah. And a part of that is giving ’em a freaking deadline. Yes. If you don’t give ’em a freaking deadline, they’re not gonna do your thing, which means they’re not gonna change their life, which means they’re gonna do exactly what they’ve been doing, which means they’re gonna continue to be a mess. So it’s like a part of a creating a service is giving people a deadline. Absolutely. That’s what you’re gonna change their life. JP (29:54): Absolutely. Clarity is kindness and showing people where they’re supposed to go, what they’re supposed to do is actually an act of service. So if, if , I would almost say literally, if you hear nothing out of this out of this podcast, make sure that your calls to action are clear on your website and your social media and in all of your marketing, that is actually a gift to the people you serve. The last two elements of the StoryBrand framework are what we call success and failure. These are what are really in a good movie, the stakes in the story, and they’ve kind of been forecast through the whole foreshadowed through the whole movie. We know what a happy ending looks like for a hero, and we’re rooting for that. But we also know what tragedy can look like for them. That, you know, they’re gonna win the day. JP (30:42): They’re gonna get the girl they’re gonna hit the home run, or that actually they’re gonna strike out and everybody loses. They’re gonna miss out on the girl and she’s gonna marry his brother. You know, like we know what the tragedy, what we’re pain we’re trying to avoid, and what success we’re cheering for. And it’s the same thing in marketing. You need to create talking points and value proposition around what their, your customer’s life will look like once they do business with you. That’s called success. So what, what are they gonna save time, save money? Are they gonna be more confident? Are they gonna be able to get ahead? What are the things they’re actually gonna be able to benefit from, from your product or service? And we need to write those out and articulate those, but we also need to articulate what they’re going to miss out on, or what pain they’re going to continue to experience if they don’t work with us, that they’re gonna continue to be tired, they’re gonna continue to be overwhelmed. JP (31:38): And that might get a little bit worse where they actually struggle with burnout, right? You can kind of forecast what can happen to them if they don’t work with you. And mainly it’s that their problems either are solved if they work with you or are not solved. If they don’t, and they either can get then a little bit better or a little bit worse. And those really are the seven elements of a good story. And a seven, the seven elements of good marketing. So what we actually do is then teach people how to create talking points for all seven of those elements so that you can make sure that on your website emails, when you’re giving keynote addresses, when you’re doing webinars, that everything you’re talking about is very clear. It’s positioning your customers the hero, you as the guide, and showing how you can make their life better if you work with them by giving them a clear call to action. Mm-Hmm, RV (32:30): . Yep. Yep. So I mean, on that note, jj, where should people go if they wanna learn more about you guys and all things StoryBrand and Donald Miller and like all, all the stuff you guys got going on? JP (32:44): Yeah, we actually have a little a little gif for everybody who’s listening is that you can actually go to storybrand.com/brand script. And when you go to storybrand.com/brand script, you’re actually gonna see what we call an online brand script where it has these different elements that I’ve just been talking about. And there are boxes to be able to create, start working on your own story, your company story, your entrepreneurial story, to try to create talking points around those pieces. So it’s actually like an online version of everything that I just talked about. So you can go there and practice creating your marketing and your messaging, and that’s storybrand.com/brandscript. RV (33:27): So Cool. Yeah, so we’ll link up in the show notes. And you know, I guess this last thing, jj, like, if, if someone is starting out, you know, right now and they’re hearing this and they’re going, oh my gosh. Like, you know, I, I I’m, I I I struggle with articulating what I’m doing and y you know, like, I don’t know, you know, I’m not a great writer, et cetera. I mean, you’ve given ’em some really great tools and, and stuff, but just kind of more like on the emotional side, you know, what, what’s kind of the encouragement or the reminder that you would want that person to hear? JP (34:05): Yeah, I think, you know, I, for me, for a long time, ’cause I’ve been in marketing and public relations and things for a very long time, and the thing that I struggled most with was I, I never wanted to brag about myself. I never wanted to elevate myself. And it, it meant much of that came from kind of a false humility. Truthfully, , it was like I was a little arrogant, but then I didn’t want people to think I was arrogant, . And so, you know, it was like, almost like a false sense of humility. And so I didn’t know how to talk about myself. And when I discovered the StoryBrand framework and realized that actually I am not the hero, I don’t want to be the hero of my own story. I want to be a guide for other people to help them win this, their story that changed everything for me. JP (34:54): And it actually lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders and allowed me to talk about myself and the things that I do in a way that really serves others versus serving myself. And so if you’re in that spot where you’re like, I don’t know how to do this. I’m, I, I feel weird talking about myself getting on podcasts or going, getting up and giving speeches ’cause it feels like, what do I have to say? Well, the first thing I would say is you have amazing things to say, everybody. A lot of times people think they don’t have anything new to offer the world. And I’m telling you, you may not have a new idea, but you have a new way of telling it because you’re the only person who’s ever experienced what you’ve experienced. So stand in that authority that you have that there is only one you. JP (35:39): And then the second thing is, stop thinking about what you do and start thinking about the problems that you solve for other people. What pain are people experiencing? What problems are they experiencing? And what wisdom do you have, or tools or tips or tricks do you have in your arsenal that can help them solve their problem? If you start just thinking in that way, the weight will come off your shoulders. You’re gonna get so much more excited about talking about what you do and selling your services because you are going to make the world a better place. People need you. They need your wisdom, they need your experience, and they need what you have in order to make their lives better and the lives of the people they serve. So, RV (36:25): Amen. JP (36:25): Think about that and solve problems. Don’t talk about yourself. Solve problems. RV (36:31): Yeah. Amen, brother. Don’t, don’t be the hero. Be the guide. Dr. JJ Peterson, thank you for coming and for sharing your wisdom, brother. We love you guys. And we, we, you know, we always want the best for you guys, so keep kicking butt. JP (36:45): Oh, thanks. It’s such an honor to be here. Love you guys too.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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