What are the 3 Acts of The Audience Journey?

July 26, 2019

Audience Journey Cover Photo

Every story has a protagonist with a beginning, a middle and an end.


We humans have been doing storytelling since the beginning of our species, we slowly realised a format to every single story. It’s usually in the form of a Hero’s Journey, where we follow the protagonist aka the Hero on an adventure.

Well, for the Audience Journey, it’s a take on the Hero’s Journey, but from your audience’s perspective. It brings your Audience – the Hero – on a trip from their ordinary world into your special one, where they would depart with new knowledge, powers, and confidence that they hadn’t realised before your story. [1]

Nancy Duarte, author of “Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences”, explains that we should follow the patterns found in great stories when we do storytelling, which will help us in getting our Audience to commit to our great ideas. [2]

With the knowledge of the Audience Journey, it allows you to ensure that every piece of content you make is tagged back to it. Hence, it enables you to plan your communication strategy to guide your audience through the journey. [3]

There are 3 acts and 12 stages to the Audience Journey, adapted from the Hero’s Journey, which has the number of acts and stages as well.


Act 1 – Set Up

Act 1 of Audience Journey

1st Stage, Ordinary World

This is where the Audience exists before their present story begins. It’s their safe place, where they are unaware they have an obstacle or opportunity in their everyday world, oblivious of the adventures to come.

In the business aspect, it’s when a prospect is unaware of an anti-virus brand that could potentially benefit them.


2nd Stage, Call to Adventure

They are presented with a unique idea that takes their world into an imbalance, just like a viewer is presented with an advertisement of the anti-virus on television.


3rd Stage, Refusal to the Call

They are doubtful, fearful, and resistant to adopt it because it will expect change, and change is tough. They might not believe that the anti-virus will work after watching the advertisement.


Act 2a – Confrontation

Act 2a of Audience Journey


4th Stage, Meeting the Mentor

However, a presenter with experience, relevant insights, and enchanting tools will help on the journey. The Audience will stay doubtful and won’t cross the threshold into your unique perspective unless you prove that you have the wisdom to guide them and a valuable idea or tool to present them. This is when the prospect visits the software’s website and realizes that the brand might be knowledgeable in the services it provides and is able to guide her through in protecting her computer.


5th Stage, Crossing the Threshold

So they decide to jump in and commit to the idea.

Your goal as a mentor is to get them to commit to crossing the threshold and adopting your perspective. Once the Audience commits to jumping in, the real adventure begins.


6th Stage, Tests, Allies and Enemies

Now finally out of their comfort zone, they are confronted with an ever more demanding series of challenges that test them in various ways. People and things resist the effort to change. The prospect’s family and friends might be users of another anti-virus software and is steering her towards it.


Act 2b – Confrontation

Act 2b of Audience Journey


7th Stage, Approach the Inmost Cave

They are determined to push the idea forward and start to work on new skills to be victorious. But the prospect continues to research on the anti-virus software.


8th Stage, Ordeal

They take a big step toward your idea, and it doesn’t quite work out as they’d thought.

Their dedication will be tested, and they’ll need to renew their loyalty to the idea over and over before it’s a reality.


9th Stage, Reward (Seizing the Sword)

They get disheartened and contemplated giving up on the idea, but they begin to see some benefit from their effort.


Act 3 – Resolution

10th Stage, Road Back

They choose to continue with a revitalised enthusiasm, even though resistance around them is constant.


11th Stage, Resurrection

Using their new tools, they try one final time to push the idea forward and are successful. After understanding everything she knows about the software, the prospect subscribes to the anti-virus software and is able to prevent all viruses.


12th Stage, Return with the Elixir

Act 3 of Audience Journey

This is the final stage of the Audience journey in which they return home to their Ordinary World a changed man. Their return may bring the right solution to their problems or perhaps a new idea for everyone to consider.

The final reward that they obtained represents three things: change, success and proof of their journey. Ultimately the Audience will return to where they started, but things will never be the same again for the better.


Closing thoughts

So, next time you have an idea to promote, follow the path of The Audience Journey. Show your audience an approach that brings imbalance. An idea that they now feel needs to be a part of their life. Know they’ll be sceptical but show them valuable insights and tools that will help them on the journey.


Enjoyed reading this article? Read Gram’s article about Why HR Professionals Should Use Video.




[1] https://idea-sandbox.com/blog/next-presentation-take-your-audience-on-a-heros-journey/

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Resonate-Present-Stories-Transform-Audiences-ebook-dp-B00F0U74IQ/dp/B00F0U74IQ/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

[3] http://www.odyssiant.com/resources/know-how-audience-journey-planning-is-the-first-step-to-commercialising-content-marketing


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Written By: Ho Chang Juns

I am passionate about using videos, animations, and marketing to tell engaging stories and deliver powerful messages to the right audience. I watch videos from other studios and write marketing content in my free time.

Gram has helped businesses win their audience over with explainer video animations and corporate videos since 2014.


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