Writing a Logline: Everything You Need to Know

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Building a Storybrand" by Donald Miller. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does writing a logline mean? What are the best tips for writing a logline?

Writing a logline is one of the challenges of creating a brandscript. Your logline is a short, usually one-sentence description that usually refers to a movie. You can also use them in your storybrand.

Read more about writing a logline and how to write a great one.

Writing a Logline For Your Brand

A logline is a short, often one-sentence description of a movie that summarizes the story and hooks in a potential viewer. (Shortform example: If you were writing the logline for The Hunger Games, it could be: “To save her sister, a girl enters a life-or-death competition in her place.”) A brand logline does the same thing—it summarizes your brand’s story and invites customers to star as the hero.

Loglines are important because most people who work at a company, even the senior leaders, can’t succinctly explain what the brand does, and they lose people’s interest the moment they try. If everyone memorizes the logline, there’s a go-to, standardized, intriguing answer. Everyone who works at the company becomes a salesperson, and customers who are given an easy-to-remember line repeat it to others.

Create Your Logline

If you’re writing a logline (which can be longer than a single line), you’ll use four of the elements from your brandscript:

  • Hero (customer). The goal is to make members of your target demographic think, “That describes me.”
    • (Shortform example: If your customers are students and you sell exam prep courses, your line might start with: “We help students…”)
  • Problem. The goal is to make customers think, “Yes, that’s a problem I have—maybe this brand can help solve it.”
    • (“We help students who are confronted with tough exams …”)
  • Plan. Loglines are short, so you can’t go into detail about your plan, but you need to imply there is one. The goal is to make customers think, “Maybe that will work.”
    • (“We help students who are confronted with tough exams improve their study habits…”)
  • Positive stakes. The goal is to make customers think, “I like the sound of that result and I want it.”
    • (“We help students who are confronted with tough exams improve their study habits to achieve high grades.”)

Test Your Logline

Say your logline to everyone you meet and gauge their interest and comprehension level. If people respond by asking you for more information, you know you’ve created an effective logline.

Use Your Logline

After writing a logline, there are several ways to employ your logline:

  • Say it to people yourself. Memorize the logline and repeat it to everyone you encounter.
  • Train your team members to say it to people. Print the logline on things that your team members see every day, such as on coffee cups or wall posters, and quiz team members regularly. If they recite the logline back to you perfectly, give them $5. This will cost you some money, but the author says it’s well worth it.
  • Post it on your website. You don’t need to put it front and center, but make it obvious.
  • Include it on every single one of your marketing materials from emails to social media bios. This might feel heavy-handed, but your customers won’t read or process it every single time they encounter it.
Writing a Logline: Everything You Need to Know

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Donald Miller's "Building a Storybrand" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Building a Storybrand summary :

  • How storytelling enhances brand marketing
  • Why you should make the consumer the hero of your brand's story
  • The 7 elements that make marketing work

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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