Brand Story: How to Launch Your Shoestring Start-up Like a National Brand

· Miller eMedia

About this ebook

The Brand Story® process guides the launch of your small business – whether you plan to walk dogs, solicit major donations, or build a multi-million-dollar tech company. Dozens of Fortune 500 initiatives, non-profit campaigns, and shoestring startups have successfully launched using this approach.

Most startups flounder from the belief that customers and donors make rational decisions based on the features of a product or service when in reality, customer respond to emotionally-engaging, customer-aligned brands.

Bruce Miller, author and a former principal of an Atlanta creative agency, saw his younger friends and older empty-nesters starting new businesses, but without the brand positioning needed to gain traction in the marketplace. Miller reverse-engineered his high-dollar agency process into a series of simple, low-cost steps – 1) identifying the target customer, 2) building a Brand Story, and 3) telling the world – that anyone can take to create an engaging brand.

By following the steps, you will build a credible Brand Story – a love relationship with customers, prospects, and donors – that aligns your brand to their needs and desires.

Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION: The improbable path by which the author became a successful brand strategist.

IN THE MOOD FOR COFFEE? How successful brands pull you off the freeway through the power of association for a cup of java.

BRAND POSITIONING: A BRIEF HISTORY: Fifty years ago, David Ogilvy, a door-to-door stove salesman changed the advertising industry forever by introducing the art of brand positioning.

REVERSING SPACE: Learn to connect with your customers: We can still learn from Steve Jobs on how to put the customer experience first.

THE BRAND STORY WORKSHOP: The step-by-step process to successfully position your nascent brand to successfully differentiate itself in the market.

THE NAME GAME: More science than art – how to select the perfect name when every domain name is taken.

ON YOUR MARKS, TRADEMARK! When to apply for a trademark and step-by-step, how to do it without a lawyer.

CREATE A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS: Learn what a hip new food truck in LA can teach us how to connect with customers. Create a 10-step Brand Platform that makes it plug-and-play easy to go to market with a consistent brand story.

THE ELEVATOR PITCH: How a game-changing pitch in the men’s room launched a career in clean technology. Create a 3-minute pitch that will guide your Website, sales collateral, advertising, and brand messaging

LOOK AND FEEL: Let’s make a logo. Create a fail-safe creative brief to leverage overseas design talent.

POSITIONING NON-PROFITS: Pitching to major donors is no different than to consumers. How to position your non-profit brand.

TOUCHPOINTS: Build a universe of marketing touchpoints (Web, print, social, presence, advertising, etc.) that leverage your brand story for viral impact.

BRAND STORIES: Four startup stories behind the brands: We talk to the founders of Thrive Farmers, Sara Anderson, Form Yoga, and Klickly.

THE ROLLERCOASTER OF RISK: How to keep your idea moving forward amid the inevitable setbacks and risk of launching a startup.

About the author

Bruce Miller has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, media production, and brand development for Fortune 500 corporations, mid-sized companies, non-profits, and shoestring startups.

While working with clients, Bruce realized that few companies followed a coherent brand strategy, so he developed the Brand Story® approach. In the process, he discovered:

- A wealth of brand knowledge exists in most companies, but it is not properly leveraged. 

- Team ownership is necessary to implement a brand. Because of this, Bruce insists that brand strategy is collaborative.

- The lack of positioning makes a brand ineffective. Small companies only look small because they lack a brand position. 

- The best way to engage customers is by building a Brand Story that aligns to their needs.

Bruce is a graduate of the UCLA Department of Motion Pictures and Television. He is also an author and screenwriter. 

Previously, he was a creative partner at Design Coup, Inc. and before that, Senior Writer at CheckFree Corp. (now Fiserv). He currently provides turnkey brand strategy and development through Miller eMedia.

Bruce is an avid sailor, political junkie, and yoga enthusiast. He and his wife Karen, a chaplain educator, live in a 120-year-old house in Decatur, Georgia. 

A few years ago, Bruce used his startup methodology to launch The Learning Tribe, an alternative approach to high school 


As an author, Bruce has written, “FORTUNE, Our Deep Dive into the Mysteries of Love, Healing, and Success,” and “RUMI Comes to America.” 

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