Joyful Design

Brand Story Framework by Arek Dvornechcuck

One major message from Arek Dvornechcuck is that the hero is always the customer and never the brand. That message needs to be internalised as it is the main aspect for a successful brand (story).

The utmost goal should always be to be transparent and to let customers know where you want to take them.

Step 1—Hero

Every story starts with a hero who wants something.
So in the first steps we will have to define the Wants and Needs.

What does the customer (Hero) want as it relates to our brand?

Simple, tangible things.

Refer to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

1. Conserving financial resources
2. Conserving time
3. Building social networks
4. Gaining status
5. Accumulating resources
6. Desire to be generous
7. Desire for meaning

Step 2—Problem

The problems open up a story gap—means, they tell us what to talk about.

The more we talk about that problem, the more interest they will have in our brand.

There are three main levels of problems we can identify in every story

What’s the physical problem that the hero has to deal with?
Example: The external problem a delivery service fixes is hunger.

How does this external problem make the character feel?
Example: Hungry, or if delivery service takes too long even hangry 😉

Why is it wrong to experience that problem on a higher level?
Example: A delivery service should not take too long

Who wreaks havoc on the hero? (personified problem)

The reasons why we should talk about those different kinds of problems is, because they help us to build better connections with our customers.

Step 3—Guide

The brand should always act as the guide, never as the hero. Remember: The customer is always the hero. The brand is the guide who helps the hero win.

How can we demonstrate that your brand is able to help the hero win?

The guide must communicate Empathy and Authority.

To express empathy you will have to look at the problems, and simply let them know that you understand the pain points.

Define empathy statements such as:
We understand how it feels to…
“Nobody should have to experience [this]” 
“Like you, we’re frustrated by [that]”.

Authority means demonstrating competence. Means, communicating that you are an expert and trustworthy.

Four ways to demonstrate authority are:

Step 4—Plan

We need to show the customers what steps to take and what exactly is going to happen. The plan should get them clarity and assurance. It will will also remove the sense of risk.

How can we easily illustrate the steps customers need to take to win?

Process plan
Lists the steps the customer needs to take.

1. Find your perfect car
2. Explore best options
3. Drive off happy.

Agreement plan
Lists things your customers might be concerned about and then encounters them with an agreement that will alleviate their fears.

“Quality Guaranteed”
“100% Customers Satisfaction”
“30-day money back guarantee”

Step 5—Action

Customers need to be engaged to take decisions—nobody takes decisions until someone gets forced to do so.

How can we propel the hero (customer) to take an action?

Calls to action have to be bold and clear

Direct CTA
“Buy now”
“Book an appointment”
“Call today”

Transitional CTA
Transitionals CTAs enable us to engage with customers who are not ready yet to engage. Therefore free educational content can be used to lead to an action.


But remember, a hero will never take a decision if there is nothing to gain or to loose.

Step 6—Outcome

How can we show our customers what success and failure could look like?

What’s in it for the customers if they DO or DO NOT choose to do business with you? There are only two motivations:
1) to escape something bad or
2) experience something good

We need to picture two scenarios. The scenario of failure and the scenario of success.


What not good, terrible, awful things might happen to the Hero?

Simply put: What will the customer loose if they don’t buy form us?

People are three times more motivated to make a change to avoid pain than to gain pleasure.


What good, awesome, incredible things can happen to the Hero?

Simply put: Define the happy ending. Do that in a specific and clear way and refer to problems and needs to define success.

Step 7—Transformation

The transformation serves basically as the Storytelling Script. It helps in creating a guiding focus for the brand and communication.

Important: People always desire transformation.

“Who does our customer want to become as it relates to our products and services?”

Example: Our brand can transform them from being confused and weak to someone who is strong and competent now.

In the end the story framework is the perfect guide to create compelling, coherent stories, which not only engage customers but also support in creating pleasurable experiences.

Source: Arek Dvornechcuck. How To Tell Your Brand Story. URL: