Struggling to pen the perfect one-liner?
As a team of StoryBrand Guides, we've put together a complete guide that will help you create your StoryBrand one-liner.
After reading, you'll gain the confidence and clarity to create a standout one-liner that finally answers "what do you do?".
What is the StoryBrand One-Liner?
The StoryBrand one-liner is a single statement made popular by Donald Miller, that you can use to help people realize why they need your product or service. It is the most effective way to answer the question: “what do you do?”.
'So, what do you do? 'It's the question that leaves many of us tongue-tied, heart racing. It's more than just a casual conversation starter; it's an opportunity to make an impression, to create a connection, to set the stage for potential collaboration or business relationships.
But how do you distill the complexity of your work, the passion behind your mission, and the uniqueness of your service into a handful of words that are memorable, and engaging?
The weight of the moment can feel like carrying a boulder - one slip of the tongue, one poorly chosen phrase, and the opportunity can vanish.
The StoryBrand One-liner formula will help you answer the question but also position you as the solution to your listener's needs.
The One-Liner Formula
- The Problem: Identify a problem that your customers face. You start with the problem because the problem is the hook. The problem also adds value to your product or service.
- The Solution: Outline how your product or service solves that problem.
- The Result: Describe the success that your customers will enjoy after using your product or service.
StoryBrand One-Liner Examples
1. Healthy Cereal Brand
Why must cereal either be a sugar overload or taste like a squirrel’s winter stash? In fact, we’ve spent years asking ourselves, why can’t breakfast cereal taste good and actually be good for you. Now we can tell you, it can. Oh, it so can.
- Problem: "Why must cereal either be a sugar overload or taste like a squirrel’s winter stash?"This statement captures a common frustration with breakfast cereals - they're either loaded with sugar or have an unappealing taste. The phrasing uses humor and vivid imagery, making the problem relatable and memorable.
- Solution: "In fact, we’ve spent years asking ourselves, why can’t breakfast cereal taste good and actually be good for you."Here, the brand positions itself as an empathetic guide that has been pondering the same question and investing time and effort into finding a solution. The statement subtly highlights the brand's dedication to creating a product that breaks this dichotomy.
- Result: "Now we can tell you, it can. Oh, it so can."This part is a confident assertion that the brand has successfully created a cereal that tastes good and is also healthy. The repetition and emphasis of "it can" reinforces the brand's achievement, and the casual, conversational tone adds a touch of personality and excitement.
2. Flower shop
Flowers send a meaningful message to the people you care about, and old-school, traditional designs feel impersonal and cold. We create bespoke, artisan bouquets which give you modern, stylish new options for speaking straight from the heart.
- Problem: "Flowers send a meaningful message to the people you care about, and old-school, traditional designs feel impersonal and cold."The problem here is twofold: one, the importance of flowers as a means to convey heartfelt messages, and two, the impersonal and cold nature of traditional flower designs. The problem is phrased in a way that's relatable to anyone who has struggled with finding the right flower arrangements to convey their feelings.
- Solution: "We create bespoke, artisan bouquets..."The solution offered by the brand is custom-made, artisan bouquets. By highlighting the words "bespoke" and "artisan," the brand emphasizes its commitment to personalized and unique designs, a stark contrast to the traditional designs mentioned in the problem statement.
- Result: "...which give you modern, stylish new options for speaking straight from the heart."This statement paints a clear picture of the result or transformation the customer can expect: modern and stylish floral arrangements that help express their emotions more effectively. The phrase "speaking straight from the heart" eloquently conveys the emotional impact these custom-made bouquets can provide.
The one-liner effectively frames the brand as an empathetic guide that understands the customers' need for personalized, heartfelt floral arrangements, and offers a promise of delivering just that with its artisan bouquets.
3. An App for Reversing Diabetes
Fighting diabetes is a deeply personal journey, but most health and fitness programs meant to reverse it want you to fit their formula. We meet you where you’re at with a personalized plan of attack and surround you with the community and support you need to take back your life.
- Problem: "Fighting diabetes is a deeply personal journey, but most health and fitness programs meant to reverse it want you to fit their formula."The problem statement very effectively captures a common issue for people managing diabetes. They're often faced with health and fitness programs that are impersonal and rigid, lacking the personal touch necessary for such a personal health journey.
- Solution: "We meet you where you’re at with a personalized plan of attack..."Here, the brand provides the solution to the problem stated earlier. They promise to offer a personalized approach, which signifies understanding, empathy, and adaptability to the unique needs of each person dealing with diabetes. The "plan of attack" suggests a strategic and active approach to managing the disease.
- Result: "...and surround you with the community and support you need to take back your life."The result is beautifully articulated with this statement. The brand promises not just a solution, but also the much-needed community and support. The phrase "take back your life" evokes a strong emotional response and paints a clear, motivating picture of regaining control from diabetes.
Overall, this one-liner effectively presents a common problem, the brand's unique solution, and the promising result, all while striking an emotional chord with its audience.
4. Pricing Consulting Service
Pricing your products and services shouldn’t feel like gambling. We build evidence-based data strategies for your business with surgical precision and care, so you can make confident pricing decisions and unlock new potential for growth.
- Problem: "Pricing your products and services shouldn’t feel like gambling."This statement presents a relatable problem many businesses face when trying to price their products or services. The comparison of this issue to "gambling" highlights the risks and uncertainties involved, which can be a significant cause of stress and financial instability.
- Solution: "We build evidence-based data strategies for your business with surgical precision and care..."This part of the statement serves as the solution the brand offers. It emphasizes that their pricing strategies are not based on guesswork, but on evidence and data. The use of "surgical precision and care" further reinforces the brand's attention to detail and careful approach, enhancing their credibility and reliability.
- Result: "...so you can make confident pricing decisions and unlock new potential for growth."The result or benefit to the customer is conveyed in this statement. It promises that with the brand's help, businesses will be able to make confident pricing decisions, implying reduced stress and enhanced profitability. Moreover, the potential for growth is a compelling promise that appeals to businesses looking to scale.
5. Banking OS
Legacy cores prevent banks from innovating fast enough to compete in today’s financial market. Finzly OS makes launching financial products as easy as adding an app to your phone, so both you and your customers have the digital banking services you need to prosper and thrive.
- Problem: "Legacy cores prevent banks from innovating fast enough to compete in today’s financial market."This problem statement addresses a specific pain point for banks: outdated systems that slow innovation and hamper competitiveness. This sets the stage for the solution and illustrates why the offered product is necessary.
- Solution: "Finzly OS makes launching financial products as easy as adding an app to your phone..."This solution statement introduces the product (Finzly OS) and explains how it will solve the problem. By comparing the ease of launching financial products to adding an app to a phone, it makes the solution tangible and relatable, highlighting ease of use and convenience.
- Result: "...so both you and your customers have the digital banking services you need to prosper and thrive."The result statement promises a positive outcome: both banks and their customers will benefit from more accessible digital banking services. The words "prosper" and "thrive" paint an attractive picture of success and growth, which is what most businesses aim for.
6. Nonprofit Focused on STEM for Girls
Far too many girls who would thrive in STEM+ careers never get the chance. We guide young women through the most critical window of their lives with a combination of sports clinics, STEM+ training, and mentorships so they can imagine a future with unlimited potential.
- Problem: "Far too many girls who would thrive in STEM+ careers never get the chance." The problem statement identifies a prevalent issue: the lack of opportunities for girls to pursue STEM+ careers. The phrasing "never get the chance" evokes a sense of lost potential and unfairness, which elicits empathy and positions the issue as a call to action.
- Solution: "We guide young women through the most critical window of their lives with a combination of sports clinics, STEM+ training, and mentorships..."The solution offered here is multi-faceted and comprehensive, addressing not just academic training, but also sports clinics and mentorships. This indicates the organization's holistic approach to the issue, and the phrase "the most critical window of their lives" stresses the timeliness and importance of the intervention.
- Result: "...so they can imagine a future with unlimited potential."This statement conveys the intended result of the organization's efforts: enabling girls to envision a future with limitless possibilities in STEM+. This effectively communicates the positive impact of the organization's work and promises an empowering and transformational outcome for the girls involved.
7. Vehicle Titling Service
When your DMV creates endless roadblocks for registering or titling your vehicle, we open up new options for making it street-legal so you can enjoy the freedom of the open road.
- Problem: "When your DMV creates endless roadblocks for registering or titling your vehicle..."This problem statement speaks directly to the common frustration experienced by vehicle owners when dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The use of the term "endless roadblocks" paints a vivid picture of the bureaucratic difficulties involved, making it relatable and evoking empathy among the target audience.
- Solution: "...we open up new options for making it street-legal..."The solution provided is simple and straightforward. The brand promises to provide alternative ways to make vehicles street-legal, bypassing the DMV's complications. The phrasing "open up new options" suggests flexibility and adaptability, key elements of their service that would be appealing to those who have experienced the issues mentioned
- Result: "...so you can enjoy the freedom of the open road."The result statement promises the benefit of being able to enjoy driving without bureaucratic hassles. The image of "the freedom of the open road" is a powerful one, suggesting liberation, convenience, and pleasure – a highly desirable end result for their target customers.
8. Structural Engineering Firm
Multi-unit construction often feels defined by what can’t be done. Our structural engineering process focuses on what’s possible so we can support your vision for the project.
- Problem: "Multi-unit construction often feels defined by what can’t be done." The problem statement pinpoints a common frustration in the construction industry, specifically in multi-unit projects. The feeling of being limited or defined by constraints is a common pain point that many clients can relate to.
- Solution: "Our structural engineering process focuses on what’s possible..." The solution offered counters the problem directly. Rather than focusing on limitations, this firm's approach is to explore the realm of possibilities. This reframes the perception from a negativity-biased mindset to a positive, potential-focused one.
- Result: "...so we can support your vision for the project." The result emphasizes the firm's alignment with the client's vision. It communicates their role as a supportive partner dedicated to bringing the client's vision to fruition. This assurance appeals to clients who want to feel heard, understood, and supported in their ambitions.
Bonus: StoryBrand One-Liner's Own One-Liner :D
Many people struggle with answering what they do with clarity and confidence. The StoryBrand one-liner is a simple formula that will help people realize why they need your product or service.
- Problem: "Many people struggle with answering what they do with clarity and confidence." The problem statement here highlights a common issue experienced by many individuals and businesses: the difficulty in succinctly and confidently explaining what they do. This is a challenge that many can relate to, which immediately engages the audience.
- Solution: "The StoryBrand one-liner is a simple formula..."The solution proposed is the StoryBrand one-liner, a proven method for crafting a clear and compelling description of what one does or what a business offers. The phrase "simple formula" underscores the ease and accessibility of the solution, which is appealing to those struggling with the stated problem.
- Result: "...that will help people realize why they need your product or service."The result statement promises the benefit that the audience will gain: a better understanding of the necessity of their product or service. This effectively communicates the potential impact of a good one-liner, namely, that it can make others realize the value of what you offer.
What is the main goal for the One-liner?
To get your intended audience curious enough that they say, okay, I get it, tell more!
An effective one-liner will help people quickly:
- Understand what you do (the clarity)
- And realize why they need your product or service (it’s compelling)
Your One-Line Must Answer the Following
- What’s the main pain point you solve for your customers?
- What product or service do you offer that resolves that problem?
- What positive result will your customer experience if they buy your product or service?
What are the one-liner mistakes?
- Being Too Vague: The one-liner needs to clearly state the main problem you're solving, how you're solving it, and the successful outcome. If it's too ambiguous or generic, it won't resonate with your audience. Don’t pick too many problems.
- Focusing on Features Over Benefits: Many businesses tend to highlight the features of their product or service. However, customers are more interested in the benefits - how your product or service improves their lives or solves their primary problem.
- Making It About the Business, Not the Customer: The one-liner isn't the place to talk about your company's accomplishments or history. It should focus on the customer, their problem, and how you can help solve it.
- Overcomplicating the Message: If the one-liner is filled with industry jargon or complicated language, it will be hard for customers to understand. Keep it simple and straightforward.
- Being Too Long: It's called a one-liner for a reason. If it's too long, it won't be as catchy or memorable. It should be a single, concise sentence.
- Not Testing It: It's important to test the one-liner with your target audience. What makes sense to you might not resonate with them. Gather feedback and refine it based on their responses.
Where to use your StoryBrand One-Liner?
- Website: Your one-liner can be one of the first things a visitor sees on your website, ideally on your footer and about us page sections. Explore our StoryBrand website examples for inspiration.
- Email Signature: Adding your one-liner to your email signature is a great way to subtly promote your business in every email you send.
- Social Media Bios: The bio sections of your social media profiles are prime real estate for your one-liner. It allows anyone who stumbles upon your profiles to instantly understand what your business is about.
- Business Cards: Your one-liner on a business card can make a strong impression during networking events, trade shows, or any in-person encounters.
- Marketing Materials: Incorporate your one-liner into brochures, flyers, postcards, and other promotional materials.
- Sales and Pitch Decks: Your one-liner can serve as an engaging introduction in your sales presentations and pitch decks.
- Press Releases: Include your one-liner in your press releases to immediately communicate the value of your company to journalists.
- Company Swag: T-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc., with your one-liner can help promote your brand in a fun and casual way.
Is the StorBrand One-Liner the same as an Elevator Pitch?
While a one-liner and an elevator pitch are similar in the sense that they both aim to concisely convey the value proposition of your business, they differ in their purpose, length, and detail.
A one-liner is a very concise and catchy statement (typically one sentence long) that encapsulates your business's unique value proposition. Its purpose is to grab attention and generate interest in a brief glance. It usually includes a problem statement, the solution (your product or service), and the successful outcome for the customer.
An elevator pitch, on the other hand, is a slightly longer, 30-second to 2-minute pitch that provides a more comprehensive overview of your business, including what it does, who it serves, and what makes it unique or better than the competition. It's called an "elevator pitch" because the idea is to be able to deliver it in the time span of an elevator ride.
So, while both one-liners and elevator pitches are important tools in your business messaging toolkit, they serve different purposes and are used in different contexts. Your one-liner might be a part of your elevator pitch, but they are not the same thing.
When you make people curious with your one-liner, you begin building a relationship with them that can eventually lead to a sale. A clear one-liner is one of the most important tools you can use to build relationships with your ideal clients.
How to refine your one-liner?
- Is this the main problem your customers feel?
- Is this a problem you can actually solve?
- Is the solution a direct resolution to the problem?
- Is it short, clear description of the service you offer?
- Does it make sense?
- Will it leave enough for someone to say, "interesting, tell more ..."?
- Does it answer the question "what do you do?"
- Share it with a few trusted contacts and get their feedback. Was it clear, what stood out?
When should you focus on your StoryBrand one-liner?
Working on your StoryBrand one-liner after you've completed the StoryBrand BrandScript is crucial because the BrandScript is essentially the foundation of your messaging strategy. It defines the customer, their problem, your solution as a guide, and the successful outcome, along with other core elements of the StoryBrand 7-Part Framework.
By first establishing this in-depth understanding of your brand's story, the one-liner can then effectively encapsulate these components in a concise and impactful way. It's a distillation of your BrandScript into a single, easily digestible sentence that can instantly communicate your value proposition to potential customers.
Without this foundational work, your one-liner may lack the necessary focus, context, or alignment with your overall brand narrative, making it less effective. Hence, it's advisable to work on your one-liner once you have a clear and agreed-upon BrandScript.
And here's Creativeo's one-liner:
Deciding to StoryBrand your business is one thing. Finding the right Certified Guide to help you is another. We make sure our process is a good fit for your business and guarantee the ROI on our work so you can drive growth for your business.
Schedule a consultation and see how we can help you confidently implement the StoryBrand Framework across your marketing.