There are lots of marketing certifications out there for professionals and agencies, and plenty of people use them to help their brand stand apart. Here at Hughes Integrated, we hold a few of these certifications but there’s one in particular that we’re especially proud of. That’s our StoryBrand certification.
It’s one thing to be a StoryBrand certified guide, but we’ve gone the extra mile to becoming a certified agency. That means everyone on our team has done the work, completed the training and is ready to help clients succeed with the StoryBrand Framework. Why is this a big deal? Because it gives us the chance to make a profound difference for our clients.
In fact, the certification and what it allows us to accomplish is so meaningful to me that I wanted to write an entire blog post about it! In this article, I’ll take you through my personal introduction to StoryBrand, why I believe in it so steadfastly and how it makes Hughes Integrated a better marketing agency.
How I Found StoryBrand
Back in the 2000s, before our marketing agency was even an idea, I worked in the manufacturing industry. I oversaw marketing and sales for the company where I worked, but I always felt there was something lacking. I’d get calls from outside marketing companies pitching their next big promotion, and I would ask them, “Can you prove we’ll get new business with this?”
The answer was always no.
That just didn’t sit well with me. How could we grow as a business if we had no idea whether our investments would yield returns? There was no accountability in the marketing process, and it often led to wasted dollars, time and energy.
In 2011, I left manufacturing to start my own executive coaching business with a friend. We did well for ourselves, but our marketing efforts just weren’t producing the results we wanted. There was no way to measure success or find direct correlation between our strategies and the outcomes. I tried lots of different approaches, but nothing was getting me quite the level of detail I wanted.
In February 2017, my business partner and I traveled to Orlando to speak at the Kingdom Advisors Annual Conference. It just so happened that Donald Miller, creator of StoryBrand, was there too. He gave a great speech about his marketing framework, and I was immediately intrigued.
When I got back home, I implemented some of what I learned and saw all of our business returns skyrocket, seemingly overnight. Our lead conversions increased, our click-through rates improved; people were more interested in our services than ever before! I had finally found something that produced reliable, measurable marketing results.
Over the next couple of years, I continued learning about StoryBrand and tweaking its use in my own business. I met with Donald and his partner J.J. Peterson, became immersed in the community and continued seeing growth in my own business. Finally, I decided it was time to go all in and become a certified guide. I knew this method was what businesses needed to succeed, and I knew I could be the person to teach it to them.
This personal journey with the Framework is what really started building momentum for me. It led me to create Hughes Integrated out of the desire to help other businesses grow. It was just plain wrong for companies to waste money on marketing that didn’t work. StoryBrand showed me I could facilitate real results for small business owners who weren’t sure how to market themselves.
Over time, our agency has grown and we’re now a dynamic team of marketers. In July 2021, we decided to take the plunge together and become a StoryBrand Certified Agency. And boy, was it worth it!
Why We Upgraded
When we started using StoryBrand in our agency, I was the only StoryBrand Certified Guide. It was tough to be the sole team member who was qualified to help our clients develop their BrandScripts, nail their marketing messaging and implement the Framework. It caused a bottleneck in our services that was stressful for me and not beneficial for our clients.
So I decided it was time to make StoryBrand a team effort. Now everyone on our team has the same training and know-how as every other certified guide and we can work collaboratively on projects. This has greatly increased the quality of our products and the level of results we can achieve for our clients. I’m still the primary guide for our clients, but we can now work smarter as a team. We all pitch in to create ideas and strategies that will best help our clients reach their goals.
We saw this agency upgrade as a way to amplify marketing for our clients by increasing the competency of our entire team. We’re dedicated to bringing clients measurable results that demonstrate the value of their investment—the metrics I wanted for so long, now come to fruition. Our StoryBrand certification helps us do just that.
How Getting StoryBrand Certified Has Helped Our Agency
Created a Common Language
With everyone fluent in StoryBrand techniques, we now have a common language among our team. We can discuss how the Framework will benefit a client, how they can position themselves as the guide and what story will resonate with their clients.
Understanding the many nuances of Storybrand allows us to better position our clients as guides for their clients. We can help our clients capture people’s attention and show them how they’re the hero in every story.
Amplified Our Focus
Being a full-service agency brings the problem of having to be all things to all people. Once we became a certified agency, we knew we could better help our clients if we stuck only to the things we could consistently deliver on a high level.
As a team, we went through our products and services and created a focused list of items that fit with StoryBrand and we knew we could effectively implement in other businesses. We made sure we were playing to our strengths so our clients got the best possible experience with our agency and the best results for their brand.
That parsed list of services worked out to one main focus: the StoryBrand funnel. Similar to a sales funnel, we build the StoryBrand funnel for clients’ businesses and help them monitor the results. This gives us insight into what’s working and what might need some adjustments, as well as providing the measurable results we always strive to achieve.
Consistent Results for Clients
Sales is a service industry, which means everything should be focused on the client’s success. StoryBrand works. Plain and simple. So we know that correctly implementing the Framework within a business will yield positive results for that client. What’s even better is that those results are consistent.
We sit with each of our clients every month after their funnel is launched to review the outcomes. We can show them concrete data that demonstrates different performance metrics such as website traffic, lead conversions and click-through rates. This gives our clients the opportunity to see exactly how their marketing budget is benefitting their business and how StoryBrand is continually helping them grow.
Access to a Wider Community
This has been the biggest blessing of becoming a StoryBrand certified agency. When we were going through the certification process, StoryBrand sent a trainer up to our area so we could all meet locally and go through training together. We spent two days collaborating and learning how to make our agency better.
Post-certification, there’s a far-reaching StoryBrand community with an abundance of resources to help us help others. We have access to continued training, learning opportunities and even live workshops and refresher courses with the trainers from StoryBrand. For day-to-day support, there’s a StoryBrand Slack channel where you can pose questions and gather advice from other certified guides.
StoryBrand Helps Us Serve Others
The biggest “why” that sits behind any decision we make at Hughes Integrated is to help our clients grow in their business. Our mission statement is to lift up Jesus’ name in the marketplace by helping small businesses accelerate growth. Upgrading to a certified agency gives us the means to pursue this mission with every client who walks through our doors.
That’s how StoryBrand has helped us, and it can help you too. It’s time to step into your client’s story, and we’d be happy to teach you how to be their guide. Schedule a call with us today!