StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through The Power of Story


Why would a 30-year advertising verteran claim that most advertising is a waste of money?

Having worked on many famous brands as an advertising executive, Jim Signorelli has found that today, in order for advertising to be truly effective, the brand being promoted must work the way a good story works. Many brands continue to get in their own way with an over-reliance on editorialized benefits. "Today, that's  a death-wish," says Signorelli. "To remain competitive, brands ...

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Why would a 30-year advertising verteran claim that most advertising is a waste of money?

Having worked on many famous brands as an advertising executive, Jim Signorelli has found that today, in order for advertising to be truly effective, the brand being promoted must work the way a good story works. Many brands continue to get in their own way with an over-reliance on editorialized benefits. "Today, that's  a death-wish," says Signorelli. "To remain competitive, brands must provide consumers with story themes they can relate to, identify with, and share with their tribes."   

There are a number of books that discuss the parallels between stories and brands. But until this book was written, few, if any provide practical advice on how to apply story thinking to branding. Whether your brand is a product, service, or yourself, you'll be taken through the 6 steps that every brand should take in order to find it's oft-hidden story, the one that will make it most attractive to its audience. An easy, entertaining, and educational read, critics are saying this revolutionary book on branding is a must-read.   

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Advertising executive Signorelli was tired of the traditional approach to his craft, which he feels resulted in soulless hyperbole and mindless drivel. When preparing for a client meeting, he had an epiphany. Rather than doing a traditional brief for the client, identifying its brand's unique selling proposition, he wrote a story: a first-person narrative told from the prospective customer's point of view. Customers have problems they want solved, and their stories provide clues to understanding how the brand can solve them. Signorelli compares the "storybranding" process, which helps brands understand themselves, to the way stories teach us about the people in them. VERDICT Since advertising is, among other things, about building and nurturing relationships between the brand and the customer, the timeless tradition of storytelling is a natural approach to facilitate the process. Signorelli skillfully coaches his readers through understanding a brand's core values and aligning them to customers' needs. While branding and advertising books are a dime a dozen, the author's original approach and competent storytelling skills serve his topic well. After all, who doesn't like a good story?—Carol Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater Libs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608321452
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 1,447,243
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Signorelli is an advertising executive whose career has been spent at major national advertising agencies, including N.W. Ayer, W.B. Doner, Marsteller, Lois USA, and Frankel & Co. His clients have included Citibank, General Electric, Toshiba, Burger King, Arby’s, KFC, International Harvester, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, McDonald’s, The American Marketing Association, and many others. Jim is the cofounder and CEO of ESW StoryLab, a Chicago-based full-portfolio marketing firm, which was recognized by Inc. magazine three times as one of the fastest growing independent companies in the United States.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Foreword xiii

Chapter 5 Almost Chapter 1 1

Part I The Birth of a Notion

Chapter 1 The Inspiration 9

Chapter 2 Why Stories? 23

Chapter 3 What Is a Story? 29

Chapter 4 The Brand Story's "Cells" 39

Chapter 5 What Is a "Good" Brand Story? 47

Part II Storybranding

Chapter 6 The StoryBranding Process 63

Step 1 Collecting the Backstory

Chapter 7 Where are We Now and How Did We Get Here? 73

Step 2 Characterizing the Brand

Chapter 8 Brand First 79

Chapter 9 The Brand's Inner Layer 91

Chapter 10 Using Archetypal Analysis 103

Chapter 11 The Brand's Outer Layer 127

Step 3 Characterizing the Prospect

Chapter 12 The Prospect's Layers 143

Step 4 Connecting the Characters

Chapter 13 Finding the Right Match 153

Step 5 Confronting the Obstacles

Chapter 14 The Obstacles 161

Step 6 Completing the Storybrief

Chapter 15 The StoryBrief 171

Chapter 16 I AM Statements 183

Chapter 17 I AM Examples 195

Chapter 18 The Unique Value Proposition 199

Part III Telling the Story

Chapter 19 Testing 211

Chapter 20 Big-T vs. small-t Truth 215

Chapter 21 The Care and Feeding of the Creative Animal 221

Chapter 22 Sell the Truth 225

References and Suggested Reading 229

About the Author 231

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 30, 2012

    Last year I attended a conference by Don Miller called Storyline

    Last year I attended a conference by Don Miller called Storyline. It was all about writing the story of your life before you live it, not when it’s too late to change anything. The idea of writing a great story and living it out really appeals to me. As much as I liked the idea of writing a story with my life, I also wondered where business figures into it. I know that the source of my income plays into my story in a big way, but is it possible to write the story that I want my business ventures to live out as their own story?
    Turns out there is a way to do this. I recently started reading a book called StoryBranding by Jim Signorelli. It’s all about telling stories through your business and telling a story with your business. Your own personal story is rather easy. After all, you’re the main character and everyone else is only supporting cast. With a business, even your own, It is the main character and You are part of the supporting cast. Each individual part of your business plays a role in its story, from customer service to the bookkeepers. Even your customers will p ay roles, sometimes even pivotal ones, so be sure how you both select and treat them.
    So far though, I’ve only spoken of story. There’s also the devotion to branding that exists as well. After all, that is the purpose of the story, to create a brand that stands out.
    The book is very good from several points of view. Of course, there’s the business side of things, which is amply discussed. Then there’s also the storytelling view of things. We are all storytellers, even if we do not realize it. Our lives tell a story. We relate stories to family and friends every day. It’s interesting to understand the business side of that function. I could see the usefulness of reading this book from a consumer’s point of view as well. Imagine if you had the choice to choose between two businesses to spend your money with. If all else were similar, would you rather spend your money with one that cultivated a memorable story or one that simply existed only to make money?

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  • Posted January 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer


    Marketing consultant Jim Signorelli tells an interesting tale as he takes readers through his innovative “StoryBranding” strategy. He explains why human beings find good stories powerful, how the plots of great narratives thematically illustrate principles and beliefs that their audiences share and why marketers must connect the “inner and outer layers” of their products with their prospects’ values. Easy to read and filled with examples of companies whose brands connect with their customers through stories, this manual outlines a six-step approach to discovering the story of your brand. getAbstract recommends Signorelli’s innovative technique to marketing professionals who must create or re-create a brand that earns customer loyalty.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    The power of a story well told---a must for anyone who wishes to communicate well.

    Everybody has a story. It's how we communicate. It's part of our collective DNA. Throughout history, humans have used stories to pass along knowledge, feelings, facts, fears and beliefs. Research has proven that the human brain automatically thinks, understands, and remembers through stories. The powerful elements found in stories have been used to inspire, teach, share values and persuade. Exactly what advertising is supposed to do. "StoryBranding", the new book from Jim Signorelli gives you a step-by-step guide for telling a great stories. He deconstructs the power of stories to create a potent new approach for marketers---and anyone else who needs to communicate well (and isn't that all of us?). It's an approach that will help you develop a strong, enduring, brand affinity with your audience.

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