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The Three-Act Structure For Brand Stories

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Every movie you’ve ever watched follows a three-act structure. The screenwriter sets the scene, introducing us to the hero and the main characters. We get a glimpse of his world, relationships and challenges. In the second act, we see the hero attempt to solve his problems or overcome obstacles.

In Toy Story, we’re introduced to Woody who has been Andy’s favourite toy forever. Buzz Lightyear comes along and turns Woody’s world upside down. The whole plot is about how Woody deals with the resulting conflicts while remaining loyal to Andy and true to his values.

We can use this three-act structure in our brand stories, remembering that the customer, not the brand is the hero.

The Three-Act Structure For Brand Stories

SETUP: The customer’s backstory unfolds
We explore his hopes, dreams, wants, needs, values, worldviews, and challenges.

CONFRONTATION: The struggle arises
The customer attempts to solve his problem or fulfil his need and often realises he needs help.

RESOLUTION: Challenges are overcome
The customer’s need is met. He manages to do the thing he wanted to do, but couldn’t.
He is changed, has a new sense of self and set of beliefs about what’s possible.

Analyse any great product or service story from the IKEA chair to Blue Apron meal kits, from Warby Parker to charity: water and you’ll see it follows this three-act structure.

How does your story stack up?

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Image by David Werner.