Becoming a StoryBrand Guide

Content about Becoming a StoryBrand Guide

Was becoming a StoryBrand Guide during a pandemic nuts? Maybe. Here’s the story of how I did it.

My Road to Becoming a StoryBrand Guide

For more than 30 years, I’ve been learning the crafts of marketing and selling by doing them every day. In that time, I learned that a quick story is an easier way to engage people than blunt force asking. 

As an example, if you are talking with someone and they tell you about something you’ve been through before, what do you say? You might say, “Let me tell you how to solve that problem.” Or, you say, “Are you open to hearing a quick story about a person a lot like you who solved that problem?”

It helped me, too, because my Father-in-Law, Dick LeClaire, might be one of the best storytellers around. No matter the situation, he’s always quick with a story that helps him communicate a message - personal or business.

Also, I’m a big fan of the Beatles music and I wrote a blog post about what you might learn from their music. John Lennon called Chuck Barry the “Master of the Three Minute Story.”

Reading and Listening My Way to Becoming a Storybrand Guide

I spent a summer while I was training for running a marathon learning about the power of story from Robert McKee. I listened to the audio version of his book called, “Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting” (Affiliate Link). That summer made me a better Storyteller and Story builder.

For a long time, I kept working at getting better at writing stories, but never felt like I had a consistent way to produce good stories that engaged interest.  I kept reading. More of McKee’s work, Joseph Campbell, Art Catmull, you name it, I was into it with story. But it just never felt authentic to me. I felt like a poser.

Then, in late 2019, I read Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand (Affiliate Link) and it resonated with me on a level that’s hard for me to describe. Then his book, “Marketing Made Simple” (Affiliate Link) came out in February of 2020, I devoured that, and it tied everything together for me.

In these books, Don Miller talks about “Guides” and how becoming a StoryBrand Guide can be a way to get immersed in the model he teaches. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. You had to travel to Nashville, spend a week there, and I just didn’t want to invest the time or money.

How a Pandemic Shifted My Thinking

What “Building a StoryBrand” teaches is Don Miller’s 7-part framework for building stories that convey a clear message. He says, over-and-over, “If you confuse, you will lose.” And he’s right.

Don also warns the reader early that he is going to wreck movies for you because they are all formulaic. He ruins them because you are now armed with a new way to think, and can always see what is coming in the story!

Again, he’s right.  And he supports this with examples of movies that buck the strategy and fail. 

It Doesn’t Have to be New, Just Unique

It’s not new what he’s teaching. But it is packaged in a way that makes it easy and why becoming a StoryBrand Guide became a possibility for me. If you think of all good stories, they are about a character wanting something, who has internal, external, and philosophical problems to overcome, meets a guide to help her with these challenges, she experiences some setbacks, ends in success, and is transformed into whatever she was seeking from the beginning. 

Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero’s Journey.”  Well, all the way back to Homer’s “Iliad and Odyssey,” if you think about it.

In March 2020, the world shook for me. I work at Sightpath Medical as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In late March 2020, all of the states in the United States issued executive orders banning elective surgery. That’s. Our. Entire. Business.

As a result, we all had a lot more time on our hands as the Pandemic played out, doctors struggled to reopen practices, and patients began to feel safe to go back into the elective surgery water.  So in the first week of May, I enrolled in the online course to learn more about implementing StoryBrand at Sightpath.

And during this time, Donald Miller announced that they were doing the first “Virtual Guide Training” they’d ever done two weeks later. If you recall, I wrote earlier about how you had to travel to Nashville for a week to participate in this training.

I signed-up, and on May 22, 2020, I completed the course on Becoming a StoryBrand Guide.

How Did Becoming a StoryBrand Guide Change Me?

There’s an old saying that a rubber band stretched past its normal state never goes back to being the same. So it was with me and becoming a StoryBrand Guide.

I now look at every advertisement and piece of marketing collateral eye see through the lens of a clear message. When I visit a website (And I visit a lot of Ophthalmologists website - most are terrible) I am amazed at how much people spend and cannot be getting any useful return on investment.

At Sightpath, I’m working all of our services through the brand script process so that during 2021 we can make our message more clear and win more.

And in my own business, Joel Gaslin Consulting, I am working with several companies to help them begin a journey toward clarity of message and growing their businesses this year.

Why Did I Choose StoryBrand and Donald Miller?

Do you believe in fate? I do.

Donald Miller wrote Building a StoryBrand in 2017. Now I am an avid reader of business books, was actively engaged in studying the concepts of story in business, and somehow missed this book until late 2019. 

Serendipity? Maybe. And then the timing of Marketing Made Simple and Business Made Simple University just pulled me into the vortex. Don and his associates, Koula Callahan, and JJ Peterson, Ph.D. put together a terrific suite of products.

And now that I am a StoryBrand Certified Guide, the network of smart, hard-working, and collaborative people is one of the unexpected benefits of the program. Is it expensive? Yes. Well, at least for me and most people. For you, perhaps not.

I wish all of the Ophthalmology practices that we work with would explore implementing the StoryBrand method into their practices. I wrote a post here about branding, and using StoryBrand can be a way for a LASIK practice to compete with Corporate LASIK.

How Do You Engage With StoryBrand?

It’s easy! You can send me an email at Check out Business Made Simple University here. Or buy the books I linked to above, read them, and see what you think. And if after that, you want some help, I’d be grateful for a chat.

Five Marketing Strategies You May Learn From Beatles Music

By Joel Gaslin | April 25, 2020 |

Have you listened to the new Beatles channel on Sirius Radio? I do on my daily fifteen-minute commute to the office and it’s terrific. Hearing the stories and interviews made me think of five marketing strategies from the greatest Rock and Roll band. Ever. Even if you’re not like me and The Beatles aren’t your…

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