- by Rory Ramsden
Your launch story is the glue that holds all the disparate parts of your product launch together. As the hero of the story you empathize with your audience and side with them against a common enemy… which is the challenge they face and the pain they are enduring. Storytelling is not difficult as long as you have a structure to work within
Here’s the ‘Reluctant Hero’ story structure…
Step #1 – The Hero – The hero – YOU – is living in quiet desperation faced with the same challenge as his audience. He is on the verge of overwhelm because every method, process or system he has tried has come up short. Until…
Step #2 – The Call – Our hero is spurred into action. To go on a quest to seek the holy grail. To find meaning where this is none. This calling may come from within or it may be driven by desperate outside circumstances. It provides vision and purpose. It is this that drives you on…
Step #3 – Fear of Failure – Everyone who sets out on a long voyage may fear what lies ahead. He knows that he will be tested to the limits of his endurance but the fear of failure is even stronger. He has to succeed where others have failed. The consequences of not doing so are just too high. Our hero stand to lose more by quitting than by staying the course
Step #4 – The Moment of Truth – Our hero having suffered inner torment has to come out and tell the people who matter in his existing life that he has had enough and must join the quest. They argue against him, giving 1000 reasons why not. His mind is made up. He only needs one good reason why he should. All else is just something that he will have to face when he meets those dangers.
Step #5 – The Quest Begins – He quickly finds that even he has underestimated the size of the task ahead but by a stroke of luck he comes across a mentor to help him on his journey. He takes heart. The quest builds momentum. Whatever difficulties are thrown in his way, something or someone appears to help him overcome. He gets stronger, fitter and more capable.
Step #6 – The Challenges Multiply – No matter is new found abilities and experience, the challenges multiply. He is beset by doubts. He should have listened to his loved ones. His ex-boss was right when he said he was a crazy fool. But he is committed now. There is no way back. His fear of failure drives him on even when things look hopeless.
Step #7 – The Transformation – The way our hero looks at the challenges he faces changes. His shift in perception changes the nature of the challenges too. Suddenly, They seem more manageable. In truth, they are just as severe. It is his change in attitude than makes the difference. It is this transformation that makes us like and admire him.
Step #8 – The Eureka Moment – In a blinding moment of understanding, our hero puts his finger on the answer. There is still a long way to go but for the first time he is certain that he has found the road to success. He is excited. He has found the answer to the unanswerable question. He sets off again with renewed vigor. With renewed confidence. All his trials and tribulations have been worthwhile… or so he thinks
Step #9 – The Field Trial – Our hero comes across a small group and decides to give his discovery its first practical test with stunning results. He can’t believe that his simple idea has made such profound changes to peoples’ lives. But it has. And they are not shy of telling anyone who is prepared to listen. Our modern day hero makes videos of them so that he can take them home as proof that his system works. They’re much more likely to be believed than if he tells people himself.
Step #10 – The Set Back – But the story is not over yet. Out of the blue, there appears the serious possibility that all his struggles may have been in vain. A giant set back threatens to derail the whole project. The doubts crowd in again. The disbelievers are back in force. Could it all really have been in vain. Were they right all along?
Step #11 – The Renewal – Dazed and depressed, he steps back from the quest and by chance meets a being of abundant wisdom who takes one piece of the puzzle with which our hero is struggling and moves it a small distance. That’s it. Why couldn’t he have seen that. It was so easy and yet being so close to it he was unable to see what was obvious. He’s back on track but still reluctant to tell the world of his discovery.
Step #12 – The Homecoming – He returns home to a hero’s welcome. His friends crowd round pleased to see him and hear his story. But they sense that all is not as it should be. They probe and cajole. Finally he reveals his reluctance to tell the world of his discovery. They get angry with him. They absolutely refuse to believe that he could be so stupid after all he’s been through. Their role is crucial. And so finally, he agrees that he will.
That my friends is the story of the reluctant hero. If you have seen the ‘Lord of The Rings’, you will recognize that as a powerful example of the genre. There are other structures that you could use as the basis of your product launch story but this is a good one to start with.
If you want your product launch to succeed, engaging your audience by telling them a story is an excellent way to do it. We are hardwired to listen to them and they are far more memorable than a list of dry facts and figures and much more entertaining…