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How to Use the Hero’s Journey Formula to Craft Your Brand Story

Stories are important in attracting attention, giving context and making our message more memorable. Stories work because our minds are wired to remember them easily — it’s how our history and culture are passed on from generation to generation. Mythology and Literature Professor Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ is a common narrative formula used for brand storytelling. In this article, I provide an overview of the approach and a quick guide for using it to craft your own brand story.

Hero’s Journey Overview

The Hero’s Journey framework has 12 steps and three key parts: 1) Old world; 2) The quest; and 3) New world.  In summary, the gist of the storyline involves a hero who leaves the known, comfortable world to go on an adventure, meets a mentor, faces myriad tests and challenges, learns valuable lessons, wins a victory and, with newfound insights, returns home transformed.

Many movies follow this familiar story pattern – think of Luke in ‘Star Wars’, Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Neo in ‘The Matrix’, Clarke in ‘Superman’, Harry in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Simba in ‘The Lion King’.

The Hero’s Journey framework is particularly powerful as a brand story template for coaches, consultants and advisors who, through their practice, may be working with clients who have been through a similar life experience.

For example, the weight loss consultant who struggled with their weight since childhood, trying every diet, until one day later in the life they connect with a health consultant who gives them an insight that changes their entire thinking around food and diets, and transforms their life. They then use their newfound wisdom and specific philosophical approach to help others going through the same struggles.

Hero’s Journey Quick Guide

Below is a simplified approach of the Hero’s Journey, with some prompter questions to consider when crafting your brand story.

Part 1 – Old World

  • What was work, business or life like before you made the change?
  • What was the problem, challenge, frustration, need in your work, business or life that presented itself and had to be resolved?
  • Who in your life came along and inspired you to seek the solution to the problem, challenge, frustration or need?
  • If there was no particular person or mentor, what was the defining moment when you made the decision to seek a better way of doing things?

Part 2 – The Quest

  • What fears and challenges – internally and externally – did you face in the journey of seeking to overcome the problem?
  • What lessons did you learn along the way?
  • What was the ultimate insight, realisation or epiphany you had as a result of confronting the various fears and challenges? Perhaps the insight came to you as a result of a customer experience, a technological discovery, a process improvement, a crisis, a conversation with a mentor or an industry disruption, for example.

Part 3 – New World

  • How did the insight change your thinking, beliefs or values, and what was the ultimate transformation for you?
  • How are you now using the elixir – the newfound knowledge or insight– to bring value to your clients through your product, service or programs?
  • What brand promise do you now deliver to your customers?

Get More Storytelling Info

Want more tips on brand storytelling? Check out some of my other articles, including:

The # 1 Criteria for Great Brand Storytelling

If You’re a Storyteller, Your Great Power Comes with Great Responsibility

Infusing Age-Old Wisdom into Modern Business Storytelling

©Ros Weadman 2022   To receive this enews straight to your inbox, subscribe here. You can connect with Ros via email or by phone 1800 677 600.