You know when you’re in an interview or meeting with a new client and get the dreaded question, “Tell me about yourself”? Cue the sweaty palms, burning cheeks, and nervous laughter. Trying to boil down all your interests, experiences and work into just a few sentences is harder than it seems, right?
Why is telling people what you do easier said than done? It’s because it’s difficult to know what about yourself and your company people are most interested in. Therefore, it can be a struggle to clearly illustrate what exactly it is that you do.
In 2017 Donald Miller published the book Story Brand, in which he discusses the basic concept that to engage potential customers you need to show them how you can solve their problem. Basically, you need to lure them into a story where they, the hero, assisted by your help (the guide), solve the problem, and ride off happily into the sunset. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet we give this book the Honey stamp of approval for your next read! But in the meantime, we’ll explain one very important piece of Donald Miller’s puzzle – the Storybrand one-liner.
What is a One-Liner?
A one-liner is a single statement that expresses precisely what your organization does and why people should care. Think of it as a 2-3 sentence elevator pitch for your business. Longer than a tagline and shorter than a descriptive paragraph, a one-liner should give your audience a clear, simple and memorable way to communicate what you do. More importantly, it should communicate how “what you do” benefits them!
Why Storybrand One-Liners Improve Marketing for Non-profits
Your org needs a storybrand one-liner because people have to decide whether your cause meets their goals. Many organizations make the mistake of writing one-liners that take too much brain power to understand. According to Donald Miller, “If you confuse, You Lose.” This means that you’ll never gain traction no matter your intentions if people don’t understand your bottom line.
How to Come Up With a One-Liner
In order to create a solid Storybrand one-liner, there are three equally important parts:
- The Problem
- The Solution
- The Reward
Want to see it in action? Of course you do! Let’s break down each section individually and then we’ll combine everything at the end.
As a nonprofit or small business owner, when someone asks you what it is that you do, your habit may be to give them a not so compelling answer. For example, if you run a house cleaning business, then you’d likely answer, “I clean people’s houses”. When you answer in a direct way like this, you’ve missed the perfect opportunity to connect with people – which is exactly what The Problem of your Storybrand one-liner does!
The Problem invites them into a story, and we all love a good story! This is why it’s important not to lead with The Solution, because then you have nowhere to go in the conversation. Instead of answering with “I clean people’s houses” try rephrasing the beginning of your response with “Most people hate cleaning their houses every week. Between work, caring for their children, obligations and just wanting some relaxing downtime, it’s a dreaded task that robs them of their Saturday mornings.” Now, you’ve just turned on a lightbulb in their brain that says, “You’re right! I HATE cleaning my house” which leaves them engaged and eager to hear the rest of what you have to say. Effective marketing at its finest!
Aka, the “big reveal” after you’ve grounded out the “sore points”. The Solution component of your Storybrand one-liner is exactly as it sounds – it tells them precisely what you offer and how it will solve their problem.
Going back to our house cleaning example, you could continue by saying, “So I run a house cleaning business with a dedicated team of professionals who will clean your home using top of the line equipment.” Use this section to think about what makes your business stand out amongst a crowded market and factor that in.
The Reward (aka the Honey ?)
At this point, you’ve introduced your customers to a problem that they may be facing, and you’ve positioned your brand as being able to provide a solution. The Reward section of your Storybrand one-liner is where you can toot your own horn a little louder and tell them what life looks like after they’ve utilized your product or service.
Using our same house cleaning example, people don’t just want a clean house – they want time back in their weekend! The Reward is where you remind them that your services will give them just that.
Let’s tie is all together:
[Problem] Most people hate cleaning their houses every week. Between work, caring for their children, obligations and just wanting some relaxing downtime, it’s a dreaded task that robs them of their Saturday mornings [Solution] So I run a house cleaning business with a dedicated team of professionals who will clean your home using top of the line equipment.[Success]As a result, my customers get time back in their weekend to focus on the things they love or other priorities.
Does Your Business Have a Storybrand One-Liner?
At the end of day, your Storybrand one-liner really just needs to be direct, clear, and simple to grasp. No need to overthink it. As long as your providing your audience an easy and straightforward answer to their problems, it will resonate with the right customers.
If you’d like some help, we’ve got you covered! Honey Creative is a branding agency that focuses on providing helpful branding resources for non-profit organizations so they can fulfill their missions and make the world better. Get in touch with us today!