All the most popular B2B storytelling frameworks

A guide to the most widespread storytelling frameworks that are in use by B2B companies.

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Why do you need a storytelling framework?

In B2B marketing, it is critical to ensure that your brand narratives align with buyers' pain points. Choosing the right storytelling framework and implementing it well helps you tell stories with the right story for your customers.

Even professional storytellers within the film and entertainment industries use storytelling frameworks to create more engaging narratives. By using the framework that works best for you, you'll be able to write more effective material that converts prospects into loyal customers.

Whether you're writing for your website, blog, social media profiles, presentations, or online offers, you can use a storytelling framework to guide you in the writing process. It will make your copy and content feel familiar to readers while providing you with an easy path to follow. The best thing is that your content will never feel like a formula because you can interpret how you write individual pages or posts while the base of it stays the same.

Let's start with these best-proven frameworks we collected for you.

The StoryBrand framework

One of the most frustrating challenges of growing a brand is struggling to connect with the people who may need your product or service. According to Donald Miller, the main problem is not what you're selling but what you're saying. According to Miller, people are drawn to the products and services they understand the fastest. 

The framework is deceptively simple, helping brands define their audience (The Character) and their key problem, how they might then come across the brand (The Guide), and how the brand might solve their problem (The Plan). It relies on a simple and clear Call to Action and always describes The Character and what success looks like—as well as what tragic outcomes might occur should they choose the wrong (not your brand's) solution.

Miller describes what he calls a StoryBrand Framework. This refers to the repackaging of storytelling conventions to enhance how you tell your brand's story. There are seven points to consider: 

  1. Every story starts with a character who wants something.
  2. A problem gets in the way of the character getting what they want.
  3. The character encounters a guide who can help them overcome their problem and get what they want.
  4. The guide gives the character a plan and - 
  5. Calls them to action.
  6. By taking that action, the character avoids failure and - 
  7. Achieves success.

storybrand-storytelling-framework-b2bThe key is remembering that your customer is the true hero of the story. Your brand is the guide, and you are there to help your customers achieve their goals and solve their problems. Donald Miller walks you through exactly what to include on your website and where to tell the right story here.

  • It helps you outline your value as a company in terms of how your customers can benefit

  • It demonstrates the fears, challenges and desires of your customers.
  • It helps you position your messaging and brand to achieve clarity and success.

The Hero's Journey framework

Also known as the monomyth, The Hero's Journey is the standard template of the hero-focused story where the hero goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis or a series of struggles, and comes home changed or transformed. Created by  Joseph Campbell, and is one of the most popular frameworks. The Hero's Journey gives you insight into how to frame your own stories, whether a true story about your company or a fictional story that stirs your imagination. Joseph Campbell's hero journey has three stages (departure, initiation, return) with 17 steps. Many writers now use the framework of Christopher Vogler's simplified version of Campbell's journey. Christopher Vogler is a Hollywood screenwriter best known for working with Disney. His version maintains the three stages but has 12 steps.

Act 1 — The departure

  1. Ordinary World — describe the environment where the hero lives.
  2. The call to adventure — the challenge emerges and motivates the hero to leave his comfort zone and solve a problem.
  3. Refusal (of call):— the hero initially shows a refusal to accept the challenge — just like a customer who refuses to switch from their current provider despite their pain points.
  4. Meeting with the Mentor — the hero finds a mentor who helps him feel motivated to accept the call and provides the process of completing the task — like a salesperson guiding a lead toward conversion.
    Act 2 — The initiation
  5. Crossing the threshold — the hero starts their journey of solving the task, like a customer who's just made a new purchase.
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies — the hero will go through challenges, problems, and difficulties, in addition to facing several doubts that will arise while completing the task.
  7. Approach to Inmost Cave — the hero, approaches the final battle — think of a professional who must now get their entire team to adopt a solution.
  8. Ordeal — this is when the hero is faced with the biggest challenge in their adventure — like in-team disagreements or discussions with stakeholders.
  9. Reward — the hero manages to go through a difficult or traumatic ordeal, overcomes fears and is rewarded for having accepted the challenge.
    Act 3 — The return
  10. The Road Back — the hero goes back to the place from where they came, but the challenge isn't over, and the character must deal with "blowback" from their previous battle.
  11. Resurrection — the hero, emerges with new power, internal lesson, or external change.
  12. Return with Elixir — this is the moment when the hero comes back home with a new life perspective based on the experiences they went through. They become a new person and have a lot to share with others.the-heros-journey-storytelling-framework-b2b

In business, the Hero's Journey can be applied to case studies, exploring where a customer was, where they wanted to be, and how they overcame that gap. As well as podcasts, almost every advert and on "About us" pages.

  • It makes it possible to convey visions and values and thus creates opportunities for identification

  • It illustrates how helpful and indispensable your products and your services are for helping the hero solve his task

  • It helps your customer avoid the pain of their problem with the solution you offer

The Pixar Story framework

Emma Coates at Pixar came up with this story framework in a presentation she was giving about telling stories for Pixar. The Pixar framework is a great way to tell a story because it goes beyond the solution and into the impact to add unique value truly. This approach is built around the concept that stories that are memorable will travel further and inspire more significant action. It is based on the following steps:

  1. Once upon a time…
  2. Every day…
  3. One day…
  4. Because of that…
  5. Because of that…
  6. Until finally…

pixar-story-storytelling-framework-b2bThe best thing about the Pixar framework is its simplicity and adjustability, allowing you to take any story and expand its impact using this accessible format. The Pixar framework makes you go beyond the solution, or output, and into impact. It can be used easily in founding stories, explainer videos, and beyond.

  • It helps to achieve instant understanding and emotional connection.

  • It engages the people in your brand's story and solutions

The Freytag's Pyramid framework

German author Gustav Freytag studied the dramatic structure of popular plays in the 19th Century and came up with a model stuck around. The typical storytelling structure of the Freytag Pyramid centres around setting the stage (exposition), providing details that move the story forward (rising action), reaching the most significant point of the story (climax), explaining the aftermath (falling action), and making sense of it all (resolution).

Freytag's pyramid, as it's come to be known, highlighted seven parts he considered necessary to storytelling: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement:

  1. Exposition — where the story sets the scene and the character's background.
  2. Inciting incident — the character reacts to something that has happened and starts a chain reaction of events.
  3. Rising action — a series of events to build up to the climax. There is often a problem the character tries to solve.
  4. Climax — where the story reaches the point of greatest tension and gets turned around.
  5. Falling action — action continues from the climax towards the point where the character shows how the events of the climax change them.
  6. Resolution — the character solves the problem.
  7. Dénouement — ending the story with a resolution, catastrophe or revelation.

freytag-pyramid-storytelling-framework-b2bThis framework is used in countless brand videos, stories and social media. 

  • It helps guide the audience through your content

  • It shows that customer has a chance to reflect on their own reactions and take opportunities


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By using a story-based approach to sales and marketing, you can create prospects that trust your company and understand the value you deliver, enabling you to increase your conversion rates and profits.

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The Story Cycle framework

Park Howell, the founder of the Business of Story, developed his 10-step Story Cycle system to help business leaders and communicators accomplish epic growth for their brand. The Story Cycle is created using the timeless narrative structure inspired by the story artists of Hollywood because they use the Hero's Journey every day in numerous ways to produce the movies we love.

He mapped the Hero's Journey to business to create a better match with the logical progression and to help them connect with their customers on a more basic level. Howell refined the framework to 10 steps to guide brand story creation, business communications and leadership development.

  1. Backstory — Who are you? It helps to quickly articulate your main position in the marketplace: what you do better than anyone else.
  2. Hero — Who is your audience – the hero of your brand story? Explore what their primary interest is.
  3. Stakes — What does your hero want as it relates to the product or service you offer, and how does their quest intersect with the goals and aspirations you have for your brand?
  4. Disruption — Without the conflict, there is no story. What has to change in your hero's life to make your offering irresistible? This is when you articulate your unique value proposition.
  5. Antagonists — What obstacles must your hero overcome on their journey with your brand? 
  6. Mentor — What are your brand's unique position and promise, and how will it help your hero on their quest? 
  7. Journey — What does the customer interaction with your brand look like, and what are the success and failures they will experience along the way
  8. Victory — When you anticipate your customer will experience their first real success with your brand, how will they know it?
  9. Moral — What is the moral of your story that connects the values your brand share with your customers? 
  10. Ritual — How will you create such compelling customer engagement that they adopt a ritualistic use of your product or service?

the-story-circle-storytelling-framework-b2bThe framework requires the brand to become the mentor to the customer, who is truly the hero of the brand's journey. Don't forget that customers are the true centre of your brand story, as Howell explains here.

  • It expands customer engagement 

  • It helps to create message of providing empathy

  • It clarifies your story to grow revenue and increase your impact

The 3-act structure framework

The three-act structure is perhaps the most common technique for plotting stories. Like The StoryBrand framework, the 3-act structure is about conflict resolution, but the template contains just three parts, often called the Setup, the Confrontation, and the Resolution. 

  1. The Setup — is where all the major characters are introduced, the world they live in, and the conflict that will move the story forward.
  2. The Confrontation  — presentation of a problem, you have to thoroughly understand what questions your audience wants to be answered
  3. The Resolution — the problem presented in the first two acts is resolved to create a satisfying ending

three-act-structure-storytelling-framework-b2bNow just like in the frameworks discussed above the main character of your story is the hero. That way, your customer should immediately identify with your character and want to see what happens to them and how they prevail. We see the three-act structure used widely in short content like social media posts. 

  • It will bring the customer’s transformation alive

  • It is a helpful way for strategising the goals of your content


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The Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) framework

One of the old tried and tested frameworks is Problem-Agitate-Solve. Sometimes called PAS, this one is known for its use in copywriting. During the three steps of the framework, you're laying out a problem that your target customer faces. Then you agitate the problem by digging deeper into it to make the customers feel the pain, even more, thirsting for relief from this pain. By following the framework, you'll be able to create content that resonates with your target audience, increases conversions, and builds your brand.

PAS works like this:

  1. Problem — Identify the problem. This is what your customer's current state is. It is what they're experiencing and want to overcome.
  2. Agitate — Show the audience that you understand what matters to them. Make the problem seem scarier and share the side effects of not solving that problem. 
  3. Solve — Present the solution. Show the customer they need a solution like yours if they want to solve their problem. Give them the answer to their original question, will this solve my problem and get me to where I want to be?

problem-agitate-solve-pas-storytelling-framework-b2bThe PAS framework is an easy way to write copy that sells. It's simple, easy to understand, and can be used everywhere. Problem-Agitate-Solve can be used in almost any piece of content — from landing pages, product pages, or CTA's to social media, cold emails and blog post introductions.

  • It helps you create that sense of empathy with the audience

  • It makes your target customer feels understood and acknowledged

  • It helps your customer avoid the pain of their problem with the solution you offer

The Context, Action, Results (CAR) framework

Another framework to try is Context, Action, and Results (CAR), a concept introduced by Paul Smith in 2012. CAR makes for a great, easy-to-use structure that can work for any narrative and is established in classic storytelling. 

  1. Context — the context of your storyboard should highlight the hero. Focus on your customer and their current landscape, market, and challenges. Consider where they come from and where they are going. What transformation does the hero go through? What is the desired change? 
  2. Action — go more in-depth into your hero's problem and what is a direct challenge that exists for your customer. Answer who is a guide in solving the problem? Of course, it's your product or service! But be careful – focus on the customer. Think about what plan can you provide your customer? Maybe there are specific steps that they need to take – spell those steps out.
  3. Results — explain how the customer adapts to their situation and comes out on top. First is a call to action. Give them something they can do to take the next step on the journey with you. Every story is about transformation, so what happens if they don't transform and what happens if they do – what success can they achieve and what failure can they avoid?

content-action-result-car-storytelling-framework-b2bCAR framework breaks down into these same three sections, representing a persona's chronological path of working with your business. The elements defined  can be used to create all kinds of marketing content – short form, long form, blog posts, videos, whitepapers, case studies, etc. Everything you produce will ultimately come back to the basic questions of: what does the customer want, what stands in their way, and how do they achieve it?

  • It works for any narrative providing a consistent blueprint for any material

  • It helps audiences connect with you so they trust you


Get ready to start writing your story

You'll learn to write stronger business stories using storytelling frameworks in no time. People don't remember brands - they remember stories. Use this to your advantage. Think about your company's story and choose the most appropriate framework. Now you can tell your story!

If you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start, book a consultation with us, and we will explain how it can work within your business. We will provide you with a step-by-step plan to improve your brand story, so you can watch your conversion rates and profits increase as customers uncover your true value.

Key takeouts when it comes to storytelling are these:

  • Your customer is the hero of the story, you’re the wise guide helping them on their journey

  • Focus on the problem your audience faces, and how you can help them overcome them

  • You find the conflict, you find the story

  • There is always more than one way to present a single piece of information

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