Your brand needs to fight at least one villain.

In marketing, the villain is the idea of the obstacle your customer is trying to overcome. And your brand serves as the sledgehammer for helping them break through this barrier.

This is a concept I first learned about from Donald Miller in his fantastic book, Building a StoryBrand.

Villains can take the form of time wasted, money lost, or a broken-down car. There are likely multiple villains your customers face that your brand could combat.

How does a villain help your brand?

Your brand is telling a story to your customers, so it’s best to keep them interested.

A major way you can do this is by including conflict in the story your brand is telling.

Think about it this way: When was the last time you read an interesting novel that had zero conflict? My guess is never. But why is that?

Because great stories always have conflict.

And one of the most common types of conflict takes the form of a villain.

Similar to stories, your customers have one or more villainous ideas/obstacles they must overcome.

Speaking of this concept of having a villain your brand fights, Donald Miller writes, “If we want our customers’ ears to perk up when we talk about our products and services, we should position these products and services as weapons they can use to defeat a villain.”

What’s your customers’ villain?

Here are some examples of what a customer’s villain could look like:

The villain for DKL Housing Solutions’ customers is the inability for home sellers to sell their house quickly for cash.

The villain for Iron Academy’s customers involves the confusion Christian parents may have in regards to where their son should receive an education.

And the villain for Sola Coffee Cafe‘s customers is uncertainty about where people can find a comfortable atmosphere to meet with their friends and enjoy quality food and coffee.

Why does it matter?

Introducing a little conflict into your marketing content goes a long way.

That’s why we at Ten Fifteen Communications have this on our homepage: “Without quality content, you could be missing out on sales.”

Our customers’ villain is the idea that they could be missing out on sales without the content we create for them.

But that’s all we say about the villain.

If you spend a lot of text harping on the villain, you’re missing the point: The villain isn’t the focus. Your focus should be on how you can help your customers defeat a specific villain.

That doesn’t mean identifying the villain isn’t important. Your customer needs to know what villain you’re helping them fight.

Don’t make your customer guess the villain. Be explicit.

Wrapping up

To find your customers’ villains, look no further than the services you offer.

What problems do your services help people address? What will your customer lose if they don’t use your services?

These questions can help you identify the villain your customer is fighting.

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