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Best Storytelling Framework: From Mystery to Epiphany to Your Brand Story

I'll never forget how clueless I felt sitting in that Seattle bar with three business people who were generously brainstorming ideas for my new storytelling business.

One was an executive at a global marketing firm, one worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and was about to go on a global tour with Melinda, and the other was an experienced marketer at Microsoft.

I left TV in 2019 to start my business with eyes wide open that there was A TON I didn't know about business. Seventeen years as a news anchor/reporter helped me sharpen my storytelling skills, but the TV broadcasting world is its own weird, little bubble.

That's not to say other broadcasters were clueless about business. But I felt like a high school freshman sitting at a table with a bunch of Harvard Business School professors.

The Microsoft marketing guy said, "You need a good framework. I love frameworks!"

I took a sip and nodded as if I knew what he was talking about. I didn't.

The three of them proceeded to talk about favorite frameworks they use in business. I felt a sudden longing for a teleprompter.

I had a follow up meeting with the Microsoft marketer in an attempt to better understand the framework concept. I wish I could say it clicked for me right then, but in reality it took many more business books, podcasts, and conversations with mentors.

The framework epiphany came from a business concept around something in my wheelhouse, storytelling.

Through relationships with a few other people at Microsoft, I got to meet Steve Clayton, who at that time was Microsoft's Chief Storyteller (he's now Microsoft's VP of Global Affairs). I got to have a pint with the very down-to-earth British man at a pub in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood.

I studied everything I could find of Steve's online, including this TEDx Talk on Storytelling. At last, a framework that easily resonated with me: The Hero's Journey.

Now I started to see The Hero's Journey pop up in other business conversations. Shane Meeker, Procter and Gamble's Chief Storyteller, was gracious to do a few zoom calls to help teach me. Guess what, he has a TEDx Talk on The Hero's Journey as well.

I found Donald Miller's Story Brand content with more use of The Hero's Journey framework.

And then I started to use it. At first I used the framework to help craft the story outline for brand videos. It worked. The clients were happy and felt like it positioned their brand perfectly to reach ideal customers. It allowed them to tell their story in a way that focused on the customer and to authentically share their story in that context.

Then I started to use it in workshops. What seemed elementary and obvious to me was creating epiphany moments for seasoned business people.

The "aha" moments I saw with each team led me to call the workshops "Instant Clarity Sessions."

We saw it lead to deeper messaging clarity and team alignment with CMA Global, a team of clinical psychologists who help companies navigate complex people issues.

We saw it lead to product innovation and new sales collateral with Gasket and Seal Fabricators, a manufacturing company guessed it...makes gaskets and seals for other manufacturers.

We saw it help solar panel experts at EFS Energy understand and apply the story framework to three very unique target audiences. You don't tell a different story to different audiences, but you do tell your story differently to maximize their engagement.

We used the Instant Clarity framework to help the National Alliance on Mental Illness create content targeted to a specific audience; employee engagement committees at large St. Louis employers.

What is the Instant Clarity framework? Glad you asked! It's the best storytelling framework we've found. Check out the infographic below. (Reach out if interested in a similar infographic for your business objectives)

Hero's journey framework for Brand Storytelling
Instant Clarity Hero's Journey Framework



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