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StoryBrand Certified Agency vs Guides: Which is Right for Your Business?

Your marketing efforts haven’t been working, and you’re ready to try something different. That makes StoryBrand the natural choice—Don Miller created the philosophy when he realised how much the average business was overspending on marketing: 

“For years, I threw tons of money at marketing that never really worked. In one of my previous businesses, we redesigned our website, cranked out brochures, and went to tradeshows — always hoping that whatever we tried next would FINALLY be the ‘magic’ strategy that actually drove registrations.”

Spoiler alert: none of it ever worked — even though we had a great product. 

“We had fallen into the marketing money pit — spending too much money on great-looking marketing materials that just didn’t work.” 

Miller realized that it was content—especially, content that focused on one resonate message—that made the difference between effective and ineffective marketing. And StoryBrand was born.  

Today, there are 25 StoryBrand Certified Agencies, over 500 StoryBrand Guides, and 11 Certified StoryBrand Facilitators. But what is the difference between them? And more importantly—which is right for your business? 

What is StoryBrand?

Have you ever felt like your marketing is more like shouting confusing messaging into the void? Your lack of traction may be less about where you’re putting your message, and more about what you’re saying. 

StoryBrand is a framework that helps brands clarify their message. When crafting their message, organizations too often focus on who they are and their role as a hero.  The StoryBrand framework instead places customers in the role of the hero of the story. The idea is that brands should position themselves as the guides who help their hero customers overcome their primary struggle.  

Once your brand message has been clarified, you have the foundation to create assets to help communicate your message to customers. That includes basics such as website copy, but also includes creation of a lead magnet, and sales funnels—everything you need to attract customers and make them sure they should be doing business with you. 

Many people who learn about StoryBrand through Don Miller’s books become inspired to overhaul their brand’s marketing. But that can be a bit daunting if you don’t have a lot of marketing experience. That’s where StoryBrand Agencies and Guides come in.  

Who Are StoryBrand Guides? 

Implementing the StoryBrand framework may not seem difficult at first. But trust us, guiding a new brand—or an established one with a very set idea of who they are—takes training and practice. That’s where Certified StoryBrand Guides play an important role.  

StoryBrand Guides are trained by StoryBrand and certified to help companies like yours clarify their message. Working with a StoryBrand Guide gives you a chance to work closely on a one-on-one basis. They are located worldwide, and many StoryBrand Guides specialize in different industries, bringing different strengths to the process. Ultimately, StoryBrand guides are consultants. They are typically solopreneurs, each with their own wealth of information and experience. Because one person can only do so much, working with a StoryBrand Guide may in fact mean working with several so you can execute all aspects of your new marketing plan

There is one potential downside to working with a StoryBrand Guide; you’re typically working within the capabilities of just one person (some guides have teams, but only the Guide will be trained and certified by StoryBrand). Sure, there are some people who can do it all—create your brand story, write your lead magnet, build your website, launch your social—but they may not equally excel at all skills, or have the time and flexibility to devote to you. Who could be? 

If you’re already an adept marketer who just needs a little guidance, working with a StoryBrand Guide can be a great arrangement. Also, if you have a specific need – like content development or website content – a Guide is a great option. In many instances, they can walk you through the StoryBrand framework so you can clarify your message and create compelling assets.  

What is a StoryBrand Certified Agency? 

Businesses that may be a bit further in their marketing maturity often need multiple services in the marketing stack delivered by integrated projects and multi-step campaigns. They simply need more support, and they’re looking for a team of people who all understand the framework. A StoryBrand Certified Agency is a team that have all been trained and certified by StoryBrand: everyone from the Brand consultant to the junior website developer.  

Certified Marketing Agencies work together to create your brand story & execute your digital marketing. Similar to the StoryBrand Certified Guides, they specialize in specific industries. But unlike a single StoryBrand Guide, they can divide and conquer each aspect of your marketing plan, and they’ll use the StoryBrand framework each step of the way.  

StoryBrand Certified Agencies also have people who can create your newly clarified message, build your website, refresh your visual style, design assets, execute email marketing, and build social media marketing tactics for you. The drawbacks? They’re often more expensive than working with a single StoryBrand Guide (though not always), and they tend to have their own process for executing work. 

So Which is Right for You? 

 Overwhelmed by the choices? You know you need to rethink your marketing if you’re going to survive and thrive in 2021. This is your company we’re talking about—you can’t make this decision lightly!  

Working with a StoryBrand Guide may be right for you if: 

  • You want to develop a deeper, one-on-one relationship with one person 
  • You feel confident about executing some of your new marketing plan or have time to find several contractors to cover off all aspects of your plan. 
  • You’re not ready to hand over control of your brand identity 
  • Your budget is small 

Working with a StoryBrand Agency may be right for you if you: 

  • Don’t have time to look for several ‘perfect’ people able to execute all parts of your new plan 
  • Are happy to entrust your brand creative to experts 
  • Have more ambitious plans for marketing across different channels 
  • Are able to invest in well-rounded branding and marketing that is executed for you.  

Deciding who to trust with your brand is a big decision. And given that it’s just the first in many big decisions made when you decide to rebrand, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. Don’t be!  

The very best StoryBrand Agencies and StoryBrand Guides will be excited to meet with you to talk about your brand before you make any major decisions. Ask questions. Take time to consider. And you’ll be sure to choose the StoryBrand Agency or Guide that can help make your brand into something amazing.  

What if I Want to Empower My Team with StoryBrand? 

We focused on two different option for hired marketing services, which makes works for a lot of organizations with no in-house marketing. But what if you want your team using the StoryBrand framework? 

You can hire a StoryBrand facilitator. Facilitators get special training and certification, which equips them to lead workshops that teach StoryBrand to an entire team. When your team participates in StoryBrand training, and truly understands the system, you’ll find everyone more easily aligned around your messaging. Even if you still plan on engaging the help of a StoryBrand Guide or Agency, a facilitator-led workshop can be a critical part of your internal marketing efforts to put everyone on the same page.  

To find out more about booking a Facilitator that can show your team the ins and outs of StoryBrand, and how to apply its framework to your marketing, get in touch with us today.