Can These Blockbuster Story Selling Secrets Help YOU Raise $4,133,396?

Waverly Labs co-founder Andrew Ochoa was in love, out of words and lost in translation… 

… exchanging smiles and perplexed expressions in a Parisian cafe with a lovely French woman he’d met wandering the galleries of the Louvre.

When a lightbulb went off.

A few days later, Ochoa returned to the US (sans girlfriend) with a breakthrough idea.

The discovery? How to literally translate one of the most common traveller frustrations….

... into a winning idea for wearable technology. 

With a crack team of engineers, industrial designers and machine-learning experts by his side,  Waverly Labs was about to bring a gadget straight out of science fiction…

...into the ears of intrepid travellers everywhere.

The Pilot is a smart earpiece language translator that allows two people to speak two different languages- but still understand each other. 

Just launch the app on your smartphone, stick it in your ear, and get near instantaneous translations in your own language.

But it wasn’t just the ferrari red ear buds, ear-hugging curves and speech synthesis that helped build buzz for The Pilot…

...especially among travellers, international professionals and digital nomads.

And it wasn’t dry descriptions of the whiz-bang processors that helped Waverly Labs exceed its original crowdfunding goal of $75,000...

... and raise an astounding $4,133,396 dollars by 18,617 backers on IndieGoGo.

It was the compelling brand story they shared about how this remarkable gadget was dreamed up in the first place…

...why The Pilot will never leave you grasping for words as you navigate conversations with strangers overseas...

... and how Andrew used the magical device to finally woo that beautiful stranger he met in Paris.

But what is it about a great story that causes even the most skeptical prospects to open up their hearts and wallets? 


Marrying a great product with an even better story is the ultimate way to cut through the clutter and get your brand’s message heard.

In fact, mastering the art and science of brand storytelling is the #1 skill that startups, small businesses and large enterprises need to learn…

... in order to make a memorable impression on their ideal prospects and win the sale.

If you’re here to learn the blockbuster hollywood secrets to telling stories that sell you’re in the right place.

Before we begin to unpack this strategy, however, we need to look at what most companies do wrong…

... when it comes to crafting stories that convert casual onlookers into “credit cards out" buyers.

PROBLEM: Most of the stories brands share are NOT compelling.

That’s because there’s no tension. 

No Tension = No Attention

Pixar filmmaker and master storyteller Andrew Stanton calls uncertainty “the pebble in the slingshot that propels a story forward”...

...and you’ve got to have it in your brand stories to keep your readers glued to the screen (and primed to buy).

Stanton says the “secret sauce” to a great story is knowing that “the audience wants to work for their meal”.

In other words, brand stories travel best when a quest isn’t a cakewalk and when the audience has to invest their own energy and emotion to discover the outcome.

Airbnb’s new “experiences” feature does this by helping customers create their own stories in dozens of cities across the world. 

“Experiences” connects travellers with local experts who design heart pumping adrenaline raising adventures.

We’re talking everything from“surfing and sleeping under the stars with an avid outdoorsman”... producing trippy dance beats with an electronic music goddess:

The end result: an unforgettable story customers are bound to share with their friends (no matter how the mix turns out).

Why? Because “experiences” helps airbnb customers step out of their comfort zone and put their newfound skills to the test (with absolutely no guarantee of success). 

Now that you know the importance of injecting challenge into your brand stories…

... it’s time to put it all together in a story that compels your best prospects to take action:


Step One: Show Don’t Tell

Don’t binge on the back story or get your viewers lost in the weeds of minor details.

Instead parachute the “hero” or main character of your story into a conflict he or she must resolve… or else. 

Waverly Labs doesn’t bore its audience with dry descriptions of the algorithms and processors behind the speech recognition of The Pilot...

Instead, they pull the reader back into the cafe to see if the Pilot will actually fulfill its promise…

...and help these two lovers bridge their language gap (and live happily ever after).

Step Two: Your Product Isn’t The Hero- Your Prospect Is

Too many companies and brands who embrace the “storytelling” trend don’t create characters their best prospects can empathize with or root for. 

Instead, they make the product the hero and place it at the centre of the story:

One squirm worthy line from the backstory Procter & Gamble came up with for Mr. Clean reveals the risks of this strategy:

“No one was certain where he came from… but one thing was certain: he was born to clean”. 

Errrrr….child slavery, anyone? 

Yet what kind of reaction would P&G have gotten instead if they dropped their ideal customer into an epic battle scene...

...where an all grown up Mr. Clean helped them face off against hordes of bacterial barbarians?

The lesson: let your customer feel heroic and you just might make a better impression & win more sales.


Put your customer at the center of the brand story, pull them directly into the action and define an entire category.

Old Irish pulled this off in one of the most memorable virtual reality beer commercials produced this decade:


Step Three: Introduce The Obstacle

Next, introduce a complication or unexpected roadblock that gets in the way of your customer achieving instant success...

In other words raise the stakes.

One way to do this is to introduce a worthy adversary who is determined to prevent the hero- your prospect- from saving the day.

Windex did this by pitting birds against customers in a desperate campaign to force them to keep their windows dirty:

Who knew birds were so deviously inventive?

Playful and weird, but how do you know if this kind of brand storytelling works?

Easy. Just use a heat map tool like SumoMe to discover if your visitors are engaged and clicking on the right things at the right time.

Step Four: Be The Guide On The Side

Here’s your chance to position your brand as a trustworthy companion that will stand in your prospect’s corner, in good times and bad. 

Agency Leo Burnett’s campaign for SwissLife does this… quite literally:

Meanwhile, The Art Of Manliness uses a pop up “bribe” to help its audience conquer their hairiest masculine challenges…

... so they can  become more charismatic, competitive, and resilient men.

By using a tool like SumoMe's List Builder Pro to capture an email address...

... they deliver on the promise and drive visitors to other testosterone soaked content on their site.

Step Five: Reveal The Plan

At this point in the story, it’s time for you, as the helpful mentor, to offer a simple, step-by-step plan to help your prospects get the end results they desire.

A plan helps your prospect answer three essential questions:

Where am I?
What’s in it for me?
What do I do next?

HomeAway shows its vacation seekers exactly how to “book the perfect property” in 3 easy steps:

Finally, be sure to paint a vivid picture of the emotional payoff they'll get by taking the action you recommend.



As you've seen in the examples above, you can easily sprinkle elements of story into:

crowd funding campaigns, apps, viral videos, ecommerce sites, and even brands as banal as household cleaners.

You can also move the plot forward with other attention grabbing stories to pull curious visitors into the action...

...and leave them hanging by the tips of their fingernails to find out what happens next.

One of the BEST ways to do this is to weave open loops or cliffhangers into your email sequences- which just happens to be something we're really, really good at ;-)

Jump on a copy call with us today and we'll show you how to get your prospects hooked on a 30 day email sequence that delivers incredible valuable... and wins the sale.

All because you've proven you care about solving their biggest problems and want to help them win the day.

Has brand storytelling helped you sell out? Share your comments and stories below. Let's get the conversation started!