Jeremy McLean, StoryBrand Marketer, New Brunswick

31 OCTOBER 2018


It’s pretty evident that almost all stories start with a problem or some type of conflict. Every cop show we’ve ever watched typically starts out with a crime scene. Every great book has an amazing first chapter that dives right into some type of scenario that defines the “problem”. It’s the hook that all get’s us engaged. Translate this into business terms and we ask ourselves, “what is the problem we are solving?” If you haven’t asked yourself that, then your messaging is not clear to your customers. In turn, you are losing potential sales.


The main reason why we need to define the problem first is to bring potential customers in to see if they have interest. No one likes a pushy salesman that tries to get us to buy right away. I can’t remember the last time someone speaking highly of the telemarketer they were talking to today. At Valley Marketing, we take the genuine and authentic approach where you tell people the problem you are solving, and if they can relate, they either read on or inquire for more information. To do this, the message must be clear, and for most businesses, it’s not.

โ€œWhen we define the elements of a story as it relates to our brand, we create a map customers can follow to engage our products and services.โ€

– Donald Miller

You wouldn’t believe how many companies think they have a clear message to their customer base where in reality it’s only clear to the people working at the company. If you’re creating your own messaging without asking the public if it makes sense to them, then you’re missing the target. When people inside your company identify the “problem” you are solving, then start crafting the message, that message will most likely make sense to them since they are sooooo close to the product or service. Of course it would, you live and breathe it everyday. But, that’s not who you are selling to. It needs to be so clear that Joe Blow off the street completely understands the problem you are solving and what you offer in just 1 sentence.


Take our first line on our homepage for an example. “Helping genuine and authentic companies stand out from the crowd”. If you’re a business owner one of the first thoughts you may have, is that you’re a genuine and authentic company, so boom, you instantly know this message applies to you. The later part of standing out from the crowd is the problem solver. Most companies do need help with this, and most that do seek help, don’t get the real help they need. Anyone can learn how to utilize a new online tool, but it’s more challenging than one would think to go through all the steps needed to have your branding on point, your messaging super clear, and a call to action that actually brings in new customers. There’s a large story at play that only few marketers that I’ve seen in Atlantic Canada actually effectively utilize. It just so happens that most of the people who do it well, are from the film industry. This is because they understand “story” so well. It 100% relates to business and how people psychologically make purchase decisions.

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