Steal Hollywood Storytelling Method For Marketing: Hero’s Journey

Hero’s journey is not just for Star Wars, it's for master marketers.

Get step-by-step instructions on what kind of marketing content to create in order to utilize the Hero’s Journey storytelling method.  When they zig, you could zag. In the fast-paced world, many companies are opting for fast content for social media, and that requires that they keep pushing content out constantly, multiple times a day.  Your marketing budget might be better spent when you do less content, but make it better quality, and focus on emotional storytelling that leaves a longer memory imprint, and builds brand loyalty. 
If you aspire to become a stellar marketer, become a storyteller. 
Turn yourself into a hero within your narrative, or even better, transform your customer into the hero. To truly master this art, you don’t have to invent a way yourself but delve deeper into the Hero’s Journey storytelling method, known from Hollywood movies.  

Hero’s Journey Storytelling 

Back in 1949, the eminent mythology professor Joseph Campbell unveiled a storytelling structure known as the “Hero’s Journey.”  His insight revealed that this narrative template has been embraced across cultures for centuries. In essence, Campbell contended that every captivating story features a hero, and these heroes invariably embark on a common journey, with only the particulars of names, dates, and locales varying. This framework possesses the remarkable power to evoke emotions, paint individuals, companies, or issues as heroes, mentors, villains, and interweaving threads, and transport everyone on an extraordinary adventure beyond the confines of the everyday. You’ll find the Hero’s Journey format in Hollywood blockbusters and gripping novels and at the heart of brand marketing strategies and content. In the Big Rich Money e-course we simplified the Hero’s Journey framework to only FOUR different aspects, to make it extremely easy for anyone to learn to use this storytelling method. If you want to start using this method fast, I highly recommend the e-course, but I also wanted to go deeper into it here.  In a nutshell, applying the Hero’s Journey in brand marketing resembles this: Your customer takes center stage as the hero of their own tale, with their pain points and challenges cast as the shared villain. It falls upon your shoulders to offer the solution that empowers them to confront their fears. You become their companion on this journey, and together, you conquer the challenge. In the end, your customer emerges victorious, eager to share their successful journey with your product.

12 Steps of Hero’s Journey

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty and explore how you can craft your customer’s Hero’s Journey.  The Hero’s Journey storytelling format unfolds like an epic adventure, divided into 12 engaging stages. 
  1. Ordinary World: Picture your hero in their everyday life, content but sensing that they are missing something.
  2. Call to Adventure: Suddenly, a call to venture beyond their comfort zone beckons, a chance to chase their deepest desires.
  3. Refusal of the Call: Our hero hesitates, maybe due to fear or uncertainty. They’re not quite sure if they have what it takes.
  4. Meeting a Mentor: A guiding hand appears, whether in the form of a mentor, a teacher, or a magical tool, reassuring our hero of their potential.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: With newfound confidence, the hero embarks on their journey, and there’s no turning back now.
  6. Trials and Allies: Along the way, they face tests, encounter foes, and form new friendships. Each event contributes to their growth.
  7. Approaching the Cave: As they draw closer to their ultimate goal, they brace themselves to confront their deepest fears.
  8. The Ordeal: The hero stands face-to-face with their greatest fear, pouring their heart and soul into the battle. Whether they succeed or not, they emerge changed.
  9. The Reward: A prize awaits them, a token of their courage and determination.
  10. The Road Back: As they return to their ordinary world, the shadows of unresolved conflicts loom. They’re tantalizingly close to their dream.
  11. Resurrection: An old or new threat resurfaces, forcing the hero to dig deep, employing the wisdom and skills acquired in their trials. They transform into a stronger version of themselves.
  12. Return with the Elixir: After defeating the looming threat, our hero returns home, transformed and ready to share their newfound wisdom with the world.
This captivating story format, found in stories across cultures, holds the key to crafting compelling narratives in marketing and connecting with your audience on a profound level.

You as the Hero

One easiest for business founders is that you are the hero in the story.  When you craft your company’s story and share your personal journey, it often comes naturally to portray yourself as the hero while highlighting the challenges you’ve faced, identifying the obstacles as villains, and showcasing your steps toward success within your story. You can openly discuss your struggles and the fears that held you back from embracing the call to adventure – or starting your company or finding the perfect product to offer.  Give due credit to the people and allies who inspired you and whose stories resonate with your brand’s values. Illustrate how you wholeheartedly committed to our endeavors and how you achieved success. Don’t forget to show that when something needs to be fixed, you reevaluate your approach and try again. 
Perfect stories are boring. 
Be real, and embrace your journey’s ups and downs with empathy. Show your relatable, human side and show your actions are genuine. Display a heartfelt concern for others, especially for your customers, by acknowledging their challenges.  True heroes form emotional bonds through compassion, understanding, and empathy. Empathy is their core trait, allowing them to grasp and share others’ feelings, fostering deep connections and leaving a meaningful impact. Ideally, you share a common villain and the desired outcome with your customer, and you are on this journey together.  If your story feels unauthentic and non-relatable, it easily leaves people feeling out of touch. 

Make Your Customer The Hero

Accomplished marketers and major brands, such as Nike, can encapsulate the Hero’s Journey within a brief 30-second TV commercial, but there are various approaches to creating the overarching narrative that paints the big picture.  Let’s explore how the Hero’s Journey applies to your customer’s experience, and get the exact type of marketing tactics to use in each step. 
  1. Current Situation: Our hero is your potential customer, content with their life.
  1. Recognition of Need: Then they sense a void in their life. This realization might occur organically or through exposure to your marketing messages, video ads, or influencer content.
  1. Initial Refusal: Initially, they might resist purchasing your product, perhaps even denying their need for it. This phase may require persistent reminders, such as retargeting through social media ads and trying different types of content to introduce the villain and the desired outcome when you win the battle against the villain. 
  1. Recommendation: As our hero sees others discussing similar issues or endorsing your product, their skepticism wanes. Collect testimonials, secure endorsements from experts, use influencers to talk about your product and get your product featured in media to get recommendations that matter to your hero.
  1. Decision to Act: Finally, they decide to seek a solution for their problem. They embark on online research, scouring the web for information on various products, including yours. Ensure your website is search engine optimized, and present abundant testimonials, customer reviews, and informative blog posts. They might also be looking for your product from their favorite retailers. 
  1. Discovery: They eventually discover what seems to be the best solution: your product. 
  1. Facing the Fear of Change: Now comes the pivotal moment when they commit to the purchase, stepping into a new world. It’s crucial to instill trustworthiness and streamline the buying process. Make sure it’s easy to buy from your website, or your customer knows which retailers carry your products. 
  1. The Ordeal: They make the purchase, but it comes at a cost—both monetarily and perhaps by sacrificing something else, maybe they had to give up on something else in order to afford your product, or there could be a learning curve associated with the product.
  1. Reward: The hero begins to see immediate benefits, leading to greater happiness. Offer guidance on product use through special emails or website content to enhance their experience. Set them up for success from the moment they get their product. Clear instructions on how to use the product are vital. 
  1. Roadblock: Life interruptions may cause them to temporarily stop using the product. A reminder email and compelling marketing content featuring satisfied customers can reignite their interest. Creating marketing content of happy people using your product with great results is a great way to get them back to using the product and happy with their purchase. 
  1. Deeper Need: A stronger, more profound need arises, and now they realize they really can’t live without the product. They need to get back into using the product, but maybe they need help learning how to use the product, so you might want to think of adding FAQs or instructional videos on how to unlock the full potential of the product. 
  1. Return and Advocacy: They go back into their normal life, profoundly changed for the better thanks to your product. Now, they become not just a hero but a wise friend or advocate, eager to spread the word about your amazing product. Encourage them to share their experiences through an Instagram hashtag and collect testimonials on your website. 
  Most likely you are already doing many of these steps, now you just have to make sure the hero in your story is exposed to all of them. Building a marketing funnel gets more fun when you think you are building a hero’s journey instead of just a plain old funnel.   If you want the easier version of this, take the Big Rich Money e-course.

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