Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s likely that you’ve laughed, cried, and maybe even experienced both when being exposed to a ‘hero’s journey’ storyline.
Think of Lord of the Rings, The Alchemist, the original Star Wars trilogy, even Toy Story, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Whilst each of these films or books capture us with their different storylines they all share one very important theme, the hero’s journey.
A pattern that was spotted way back in 1949 by Joseph Campbell who noticed that heroes in mythology typically went through the same stages in their journey to victory.
By using this arc some of the greatest creators of our time, and before it, have been able to invent stories that we can all identify with, taking us each on a journey of our own as we witness their victories.
Traditionally our hero will follow 12 steps taking them from their ‘ordinary world’ to receiving a call to action which will lead them through the other stages, until they eventually loop back to the elixir, ending with their rebirth as a better person with some knowledge to share with others.
The elixir is, often, not what we think it is.
The hobbits don’t return with the ring. Luke Skywalker doesn’t return with his dad: he returns with peace. Coelho’s alchemist returns with… what he always had inside him. Woody realises it’s not Andy’s love he needs, but that he always had a friend in Buzz.
Whilst these stories are fictional we can learn a lot from the arc they are based on when it comes to creating compelling content for our law firms and using them in our marketing strategy.
As human beings, we are intrigued by each other’s stories, as long as they are well told! We love to be taken on a journey and relate to a person or a brand through this storyline.
Storytelling helps those reading our content think about what we are, and how we can really help them.
By using the art of the hero’s journey law firms can tell their own compelling brand story and create content that encourages them to reach their business goals. Whether that’s finding new clients, impressing investors, networking, or growing their business.
What are the 12 steps of a hero’s journey storyline?
The ordinary world
This is where it all begins. Maybe it’s today? Our hero (you) lacks something, or has something is taken from her that she wants back. You’re not getting the recognition you deserve.
A call to action
Our hero is presented with a challenge or problem which they have to solve. It might well be that this appears to be happenstance – as the challenge is so out of their frame of reference – the ordinary. This stage is when we understand what the goal of the adventure is.
You’d like to grow your business – for profit or stability but don’t know how.
The refusal of the call
Our hero has a chance to turn back and return to the safety of the normal world. (Red pill, blue pill in The Matrix). Yet the desire to face the challenge lures our hero onwards. Their motivation is set and they overcome their doubt. This comes in useful at any point in the journey when they need to remember why they committed to the adventure.
Meeting with the mentor
Gandalf, anyone? Our heir meets a wise figure who prepares her for the journey ahead. The mentor gives the hero advice or an item but – for reasons which may or may not be made clear – can’t travel with the hero.
Crossing the threshold
In Greek myths, our heroes have to traverse the threshold from the known to the unknown world. This stage is often characterised by a threshold guardian. Maybe like Greedo in Star Wars. Who shot first? Who cares, it’s now essential to leave the known world behind.
Tests, Allies and enemies
In the special world, the hero learns the new rules by meeting people and obtaining new information. There is often a “local watering hole” component. This is where the true characteristics of the hero are revealed.
Approach to the inner most cave
Now our hero, and often his allies, have come to the edge of the dangerous place where the “object of the quest” is hidden. This stage often is the land of the dead.
The supreme ordeal
The hero faces danger, often a life-or-death moment that is either physical or psychological.
Reward, or seizing the sword
After surviving, our hero takes possession of the object, typically a treasure, weapon, knowledge, token, or reconciliation.
The road back
The hero must now deal with the consequences of their actions. They may be pursued by remaining forces. They now face the decision to return to the ordinary world.
One final test is required for the purification and rebirth of the hero. Alternatively, it may be a miraculous transformation.
Return with the elixir
The triumphant hero returns to the ordinary world bearing the elixir. Common elixirs are treasure, love, freedom, wisdom, or knowledge. A defeated hero is doomed to repeat the lesson.
How do I use the hero’s journey in my brand story?
So now we know more about the arc we can look at how you can use the hero’s journey in your own law firm brand story.
To do this you either need:
1) Your ‘superpower’, sometimes known as your unique selling point, or a theme that journey. reoccurs throughout your business.
For instance this trait could be your speciality in a certain practice area. It’s what sets you apart from the rest. You might be a female founder who’s fought through discrimination to get to where you are today, leaving a big corp to run your own boutique business? Or maybe you’re a personal claims genius with an impressive track record? Whatever it is this is your special power for the purpose of our story.
If you don’t know this, now’s a good time to find out! A good marketeer will help you to brainstorm all aspects of your business to find the golden nugget that will help you rise above the rest.
2) Your authentic message, this is your tagline, it’s a sentence or two that defines you. It’s what summarises your brand, your story and what you stand for. It’s what you will see businesses using to describe their company in snappy, authentic and emotive ways on Linkedin.
Without this, you can’t move forwards with your hero’s journey because every step along your journey, every failure that transformed to success stemmed from this sentence.
Think of it as the root of your business, it’s where all aspects have grown from and everything you do is shaped around.
Again, if you’re scratching your head here don’t worry. Working with a marketeer will help transform your tagline into something that you can say proudly and use to create your content going forwards.
From either of these, your brand story can be born, using the hero’s journey as your recipe for storytelling success.
Each stage of the journey can reinforce your authentic message or your unique selling point, you can keep dripping into the story of how you’ve worked hard and overcome difficulties and challenges to claim the truth of your core values.
You are free to tell your story. Where you came from, what your struggles were, what breakthroughs you had, how you overcame prejudice and adversity, how you triumphed, how you decided, restless, that a new adventure beckoned as a result.
Done well your brand story will be a cut above the rest, it won’t be boastful or self-indulgent it will be victorious, inspiring, heroic.
It will tell the very real, authentic journey that you’ve been on to achieve the success and knowledge you have now. From this brand story, it will be difficult for a new client, investor or prospective employee to say ‘no’.
This powerful art of storytelling will enable your law firm to tap into the emotions of these people helping them to connect with your tagline, or brand values.
In the same way that we root for the heroes in the films or novels that we watch and read, readers will be rooting for you.
How can I use the hero’s journey in my client stories?
Just like in our favourite films where the hero’s journey has been used in different ways, following similar themes, law firms can do this too.
In fact, your firm doesn’t always have to be the hero, your prospective client can be too.
It’s here where your firm becomes the mentor in the story, a powerful role that helps the hero get to their victory. Giving them the tools i.e. the legal advice that they need to survive and thrive.
Using the hero’s journey theory, content around client successes can be crafted, where you share your hero as the client and you as their mighty mentor.
You can draft inspirational blogs, web page content, emails, videos using the hero’s journey as your base for content where your prospective client is the hero.
They are the one with the problem, a legal matter they need help with and you write the narrative towards their dilemma. Featuring your lawyers as the experts, the mentors who can assist them to reach their resolve.
It’s one of the best ways you can share your skillset, whilst really connecting with your audience on a human level.
Can you help me with my hero’s journey?
If you’re reading this feeling inspired but thinking, where do I start? Or when am I going to find the time to do this?
Or scratching your head thinking that can’t possibly work for my law firm?
Don’t worry. We can help.
We will work closely with you to help you establish your hero’s journey inspired brand story so that you have a compelling, well written, engaging story that’s different from other law firms.
We will tap into the emotions of your readers so that prospective clients, investors or new employees feel connected to you before they even pick up the phone.
When you work with a team like ours we will support you to find the stories in your business, whether they are based around your brand, current clients or prospective clients.
And we’ll write them for you, using our knowledge of what works for readers to create engaging content that builds your brand and ultimately helps you to achieve your goals.
Let us be the mighty mentor in your hero’s journey, helping you reach your true potential.