I was reviewing a website recently where the organization was very clear on what they did and how they did it. Crystal clear. And yet the overall effect was incredibly uninspiring. There was nothing there that gave anyone a reason to care.
Clarity is not enough
We live in an information-overload world. It’s been well documented how this has made it harder for us to get our message to those we hope to serve. A section of my book is dedicated to this phenomenon because it has such an impact on our ability to communicate.
Clarity is incredibly important. If you are not clear, prospects will walk away. But clarity is the table stakes, today. If you haven’t figured out how your message can be irresistible to those you hope to serve, then just focusing on making the message clear will leave you far short of what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s not your story that matters
You can be extremely clear about your story. You can talk about yourself and what you offer in very unambiguous terms. But that’s not what your prospects want to hear. That was the problem with the website I was reviewing. The organization wanted to tell me about their products, their services, their awards, and I’m sure a whole lot of other stuff but I stopped caring and just moved on.
What smart organizations realize is that the prospect that they want to engage with has his or her own story. That story has a hero (the prospect) and a villain (the challenge the prospect is wrestling). Smart organizations understand that they need to tell a story of how that hero defeats that villain, experiences the triumph, and undergoes a transformation.
This is a very different story than what we encounter on the vast majority of websites out there. It is one that puts the prospect (hero) at the center of the story. It is one that recognizes that our role is to be a sage guide on our hero’s quest. And it is one that goes beyond clarity to deliver something irresistible.
The Thrust Story Framework
In order to create this irresistible story, you need a strategic structure that will help guide your efforts. The Thrust Story Framework is the most powerful way to capture all the elements and do it in a way that will help you create the most engaging story possible. Here are the elements for the framework:
There is a Hero (a description of who it is we hope to serve).
This Hero has a Villain (the challenge that is keeping the Hero’s life from becoming better).
To defeat this Villain, our Hero embarks on a journey led by a Sage Guide (an explanation of why we are uniquely qualified to help this Hero defeat the Villain).
This Sage Guide helps our Hero avoid the False Paths (the less ideal alternative routes our Hero could take — from choosing a competitor to doing nothing at all).
All along the way, our Sage Guide helps our Hero experience the Discoveries (these are the unique things we do that will help our Hero Triumph over the Villain).
All of this helps our Hero crush the Villain and experience the Triumph (the emotions the Hero experiences from defeating the Villain).
Ultimately, this leads our Hero to experience the Transformation (the feeling that they are helping to make a difference in the world by joining in on our purpose).
Following the framework does some pretty awesome things. For starters, it gets you thinking in a narrative form, helping you to harness the power of storytelling to communicate in a way that is more engaging and more memorable. Most importantly, it focuses the story on those you hope to serve, improving your ability to communicate with them in a way that they will find captivating (who doesn’t want to hear a story about themselves?)
Go beyond just being clear to being irresistible. Follow the framework. And tell that story your hero is waiting to hear.
Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.
Originally published at www.dansalva.com.