Setting the Stakes: Why Your Customer Needs to Know What’s at Risk

In the realm of effective storytelling one crucial element stands out: setting the stakes. Just like in Star Wars, where the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance, your customers need to understand what they could gain by choosing to do business with you and what they could lose by not choosing to do business with you.

Understanding the Crossroads

You don’t want to be all doom-and-gloom, but your marketing message should include elements that remind your customers of what is at stake based on whether they do business with you or not. Why? Because it reminds them of the need they are seeking to resolve and the importance of getting that problem solved.

This is where setting the stakes becomes paramount. Just as Star Wars illustrates the consequences of choosing between the light and dark sides of the Force, your business narrative must paint a clear picture of the outcomes your customers face. In turn, your customer’s need to get their problem solve will drive them toward the next step, whether that’s scheduling a consultation, booking an appointment, or enrolling in a course.

The Importance of Foreshadowing

What happens to your customers if they don’t do business with you? Answering this question is critical to telling a customer-centered story. Think about iconic characters like Frodo or Batman – the stakes are clear. Frodo must destroy the Ring to save Middle-earth, and Batman must undergo training to protect Gotham.

Foreshadow the stakes so your customer knows what can be won or lost depending on whether they do business with you or your competition, or no one at all.  Think about what makes your product or service better than that of your competitors. Is your potential customer likely to experience more issues or need to purchase a replacement sooner if they go with your competition vs you? Do they stand to gain superior customer service and a product quality guarantee if they choose you instead?

Examples of Stakes in Business

Here are some examples of common failures and successes your customers may encounter. We hope these get your marketing message juices flowing!


  • Customers lost to competitors
  • More money wasted
  • Less revenue
  • More cavities
  • No financial plan
  • No retirement, college, education, dream job, etc.


  • More customers
  • More leads
  • More sales
  • More revenue
  • A beautiful smile
  • A financial plan
  • The retirement you’ve always wanted
  • An inexpensive education
  • A dream job, and so on

Crafting Your Brand Message

Use both failures and successes to craft a compelling brand message. Remind your customers that there is something to be gained or lost based on their decision to engage with your business. Paint a vivid picture of the success they could achieve by choosing your products or services and don’t be afraid to talk about failure! Success is so much sweeter when you know you’re avoiding failure.

Empowering Your Brand Narrative

By setting the stakes, you empower your marketing narrative with clarity and purpose. Your customers understand the risks and rewards, making it easier for them to make a decision. With a clear brand message in place, you can embark on effective digital marketing strategies that drive revenue growth and customer satisfaction.


Free Resources

At Greenstone Media, we’re passionate about helping businesses tell their stories in a more effective way. Our team can help ensure your narrative resonates with your target audience. Check out the full vlog here, or you can download our handy eBook “How to Tell A Story that Turns Visitors into Customers” here.

To further discuss the essentials of a marketing message and website that work to bring you more quality leads that drive revenue growth, book a free strategy call with us here. We’re excited for you to join us on this journey toward effective storytelling and digital marketing success!