How to Nail the Identity Transformation Piece of your StoryBrand Brandscript?

What is the single motivator behind nearly every decision we make? 

It's the human desire to transform.

Whether, you're buying a car, furniture for your house, or hiring a StoryBrand Guide, you are motivated to change, aka transform from one place to a better place.

Key point to remember: the hero in your story is designed to transform and smart brands obsess over their customer's transformation.

Identity Transformations Examples

In StoryBrand, the foundation of your story is anchored in where your customer is before they do business with you and how they will transform after using your products or services. Here are a few examples:

  • A Business Looking to StoryBrand
    From: Eager to StoryBrand To Successful at StoryBranding
  • Debt collection service in Mexico
    From: Hopeless (about doing business in Mexico) To Confident
  • A mother who wants to prevent their kids from getting sick
    From: Helpless parent To Empowered Protector (To be a SuperHero for the Family)
  • Financial Planning Service
    From: Anxious about retirement To: Excited about their future
  • Investor looking to grow their portfolio
    From: Investor who is Stuck in the Mud with Low Yield Opportunities To Investor who is Building Momentum with High Yield Investments
  • Homeschool Mother who needs to teach and manage  homeschool life
    From an overwhelmed homeschool mom To a confident homeschool mom

Check out full StoryBrand Website Examples

Gerber Knives Video, an excellent example of an identity transformation

How does your hero want to be described?

The identity transformation piece is not one of the 7-part StoryBrand framework, but it provides the foundation for your overall narrative.

Your character is on a journey, and you as the guide are leading them into becoming a better version of themselves. By experiencing success from your product or services, your customer will become more of the person they want to be.

Brands that participate in the transformation of their customer’s identities win in the marketplace.

As a StoryBrand business with a clear narrative, it is your responsibility to obsess over guiding your customer into becoming a better version of themselves, which results into more raving fans for your brand.

Key questions that could help you define your hero's transformational identity:

  • Who does your character want to become as it relates to your brand?
  • How does your customer want to be described by others?
  • Where am I moving my customer from and then transforming them into?"

Also check out this helpful grid from Ryan Diess:

Before and After Grid
From Episode #17 of the old StoryBrand Podcast: http://buildingastorybrand.com/episode-17/

Key things to watch for when defining your transformational identity

Remember, there can only be one identity.

  • You choose too many things
  • You chose something that is not an identity. Be sure to test it "At (Company Name) we know that you want to be _______________."
  • Examples of compelling aspirational identities: organized, peaceful, award winner, elite, world changer, stylish, sophisticated, thought leader, wise business owner

Marketing Made Simple Podcast #2: Invite Your Customers Into a Beautiful Story

In every great story, the main character goes on a journey and by the end the hero transforms from zero to hero. This is called identity transformation. The same is true for your marketing. When you participate in the your customer's identity transformation, you are going to experience more success through building more raving fans.

In episode #2 of the Marketing Made Simple Podcast, J.J. and April discuss the first of the StoryBrand framework, identity transformation, and you ca you apply it so. your customers feel like they have transformed after purchasing your product or service.

Key takeaways from Episode #2

  • In every story, the hero transforms. They start out the story afraid and by the end, they're brave. Or they're insecure and then by the end, they're confident. Their identity actually changes through the journey they take, right? The journey changes them. Well, when it comes to marketing, companies that can participate in the transformation of their customers are going to win (00:01)
  • How do you help your customer transform? You define where they're at before using your product and how they will be transformed after using your product or service. How would you describe them before they buy your product? And then how would you describe them after they buy your product? (05:48).
  • Transformational identity it's not even just how they feel, it's how they want to be described after they bought your product or service (06:05)
  • Transformation identity is really about identifying the goodness in people, the best of people and calling that out in them and saying, "This is who we believe you are. This is who we believe you can be." Think about Nike's advertising. (07:00)
  • When you look at your marketing, is your customer's transformation identity clear? Have you uncovered the identity that your customer is longing fo? Who do they want to be? How do they want to be described? That's step one, is just identify they're moving from before to after. (07:00)
  • One way to uncover your customer's identity transformation is to interview them. This is what StoryBrand Guide Macy Robinson did for Movara Fitness Center (12:24)

Episode #2: Invite Your Customers into a Beautiful Story (transcript)

DR JJ Peterson (00:01:

When it comes to marketing, companies that can participate in the transformation of their customers are going to win.

One of my favorite parts of creating a BrandScript, and if you remember, last week what we talked about is that a BrandScript is the tool that you use to create your StoryBrand, right? You use this tool and write down the language you use for each of the parts of the StoryBrand framework, right? So there's character want, there's problem, there's guide, there's plan, there's call to action, there's success, there's failure.

Well, there's one piece that is really what we would call the story arc. It's really almost outside of the framework. It kind of sits and guides the whole story. And it's called identity transformation. And identity transformation is the idea that, in any good movie, a character changes. Their identity literally changes through the story, right? So at the beginning of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is just kind oF this lonely, insecure guy. By the end, he literally becomes a Jedi. He's somebody else. Katniss, same thing, insecure, a great archer, but not much... Alone, abandoned, and by the end she's the Mockingjay. She literally changes. And it's like that for every hero in a movie. It's the hero's journey, right? They start out the story afraid and by the end, they're brave. Or they're insecure and then by the end, they're confident. Their identity actually changes through the journey they take, right? The journey changes them. Well, when it comes to marketing, companies that can participate in the transformation of their customers are going to win.

April Sunshine (05:30):

How do we want to help them transform? So if we can start the conversation and figure this piece out right from the get-go, then it really does help set the stage for defining all of the other elements of the StoryBrand framework.

DR JJ Peterson (05:48):

Yeah, it guides the whole story. It's where the story is going. We start here and go there. So when it comes to marketing, in particular, that would be like, "How are they feeling?" Or, "How would you describe them before they buy your product? And then how would you describe them after they buy your product?"

DR JJ Peterson (06:05):

So let's say you sell mattresses. Before they buy a product, they're tired, they're exhausted. By the time they bought your product, you would describe them as rested, right? And so you could do that with everything. So you want to kind of look at your customer and say, "How would you describe them?" It's not even just how they feel, right? It's more than that. It's how would you describe them before they buy your product? And then how would you describe them after? Maybe even better, how would they want to be described after they bought your product or service?

April Sunshine (06:39):

That's exactly right. And when you're on mystorybrand.com, you're going to see this, "From and to," language. So there's going to be a section where you can put, "Okay, all right, where is my customer currently? Where am I moving them from and then transforming into?"

DR JJ Peterson (07:00):

And what I mean by that is, the actual profession of advertising came about in the fifties, really became popular then. And the idea back then was more of what we would call a deficiency model. So you basically were showing people what they didn't have, who they weren't, you were making them almost, in many ways, feeling bad about themselves. And we are now moving into a age that advertisers and historians are calling the age of aspirational advertising.

So it's really identifying the goodness in people, the best of people and calling that out in them and saying, "This is who we believe you are. This is who we believe you can be." Think about Nike's advertising, right?

And so when you're looking at your marketing, you want to first identify what is the aspirational identity or the transformational identity that your customer is longing for. Who do they want to be? How do they want to be described? That's step one, is just identify they're moving from before to after.

And then you want to say, "How can I put that in my marketing?" And so like what I did with my nieces, very simple, even a seven and eight year old can do this, is that I asked them to describe what people were like after they bought the product. They said joyful. And then we looked to put that in the tagline or in the marketing, right? So we called it Joy in a Jar. And that calls out the aspirational identity of the person who's going to buy it. And the coolest thing is, is your naming that in somebody. You're actually adding value to your product when you do this, right? So now people aren't just picking up flowers from my nieces, they're literally picking up joy and they're becoming joyful because my nieces named that in the product. They could've just said, "Buy Flowers," and somebody would have gone, "Oh, this is nice. It's cute. I'm supporting these two little kids." But the reality is when you participate in the transformation of your customer, you're going to win. That's what participation in the transformation looks like.

April Sunshine (10:16):

Yes, our StoryBrand Certified Marketing Guides are the best marketers in the world. They have been trained to use the StoryBrand framework and sprinkle it into every single piece of marketing that they create on behalf of their clients.

When I talked with Macy, she actually took me through the process of how she did this with one of her clients, how she helped them identify what is the character transformational identity, so that you know exactly how to implement this in your own business.

So you have really learned the framework in and out and I'm excited to talk to you today about one of the most important parts, which is character identity transformation. Just talk to me about why you like this part of the framework.

Macy Robinson(11:27):

It really is the most important part. It's one of those parts where, if you don't have a vision for what you are trying to help your customer become, if there's no end in mind, then there's no end of the story. There's no happy ending. There's no way they can transport themselves into that vision of what's possible if you don't help paint that for them. I've just seen that be the linchpin, the difference, in making the BrandScript come together and not. We have to know where we're going. So that's why it is the first thing we tackle. I work with a lot of authors, a lot of people who are really trying to help individuals transform and so having that vision for them that you can express clearly is really critical.

April Sunshine (12:10):

So talk to us about a specific example of a time that you've used identity transformation in a BrandScripting process with a client and it just changed everything for them.

Macy Robinson (12:24):

I was working with Movara Fitness Resort. They're an all-inclusive weight loss resort in Southern Utah. And they were redoing their website and they were just having a difficult time finding the language to put on their site. We were coming up with some really great stuff for her BrandScript but we were missing the transformational identity. And I was having a really hard time helping her and her team understand why that was so important.

So after day one of our strategy session, I took the opportunity to call some of their clients, including one who was a friend of mine, to just say, "Can you just tell me how you felt when you left the resort after two weeks there? If you could put it in one word, if you could describe it, what would you say?" And she said, "This is going to sound so silly but when I left the resort, I felt like a warrior. I felt like a ninja warrior. I felt like I had been trained, I had been given the right tools, the right steps, the right things to eat, I'd been trained in these different exercises, I'd had the chance to do all of these amazing things. And now they were sending me off prepared and equipped to face the war that I was going to fight at home to try and get myself healthy and get myself in the right frame of mind."

And I was like, "Warrior. That is it." And the thing that I love about transformational identity is it's not something that has to be customer-facing copy. We can pull so many things from that transformational identity of warrior. And so when I went back to the next day and told them that story, and they knew this client, they were so excited to hear she felt that way, we were able to instantly pull into place a lot of the things that had been alluding us the day before when it came to putting that BrandScript together. And it really was that transformational identity of, "At this spa we know that you want to be a health warrior. We know you want to feel equipped and ready to take on the day-to-day battle of trying to manage your health."

April Sunshine (14:18):

Absolutely. It really does lock everything in place when you can paint the vision of what the transformation will be at the end of working together or at the end of solving this problem and the customer and client getting what they want. So you locked that in, you were able to paint that in this strategy session for your client, how did they implement that? And where did they put it into practice?

Macy Robinson (14:45):

They talked a lot on the website when they were able to lock into this warrior ideal, or idea, I guess, about transformation, transforming yourself, taking responsibility for yourself. And so all throughout the website we came up with a tagline that said, "The all-inclusive weight loss resort, where you prioritize you, where you take these tools into your own hands, where you have the ability to make this change that you were never able to make before."

And it also changed the kind of testimonials that they were using on the site. They wanted to talk to people who felt like they were ill-equipped when they arrived, that they tried everything, that they didn't have a plan that actually works, that they pieced-mealed things together. But if they came to this resort, they were able to take themselves from being the last thing on their list, to the first thing on their list and make sure they could go through that transformation and prioritize themselves. So it was really like, "I feel like my whole self again." There's all this really great restoration, and coming back into who they are, and strength, language that is just sprinkled throughout the site that has made a huge difference.

April Sunshine (15:52):

Let's talk about the impact of this new messaging on the business and I'm so glad that you brought up testimonials because testimonials are one of the best ways to display a transformation of a client, right? They've experienced a problem and they were feeling frustrated or ill-equipped before and then they've gone through the process and they actually have transformed at the end. And you put that story on a website, oh man, it makes all the difference in the world in painting the picture of what somebody else could experience. So what's the impact that this has had on this business?

Macy Robinson (16:29):

I think for them, the biggest impact has been... They've just been booked solid. This is a business that has been around for 20 years and they've made this pivot in their messaging and they've got raving fans already that book multiple weeks, they want to come for a reset, but they're able to... They've been able to reach out to new audiences and continue to be booked solid. So their business is growing, it's thriving. And it really was that linchpin of figuring out, "What do we want them to become?" that made the difference in helping us pull this copy together that they've put on their site and they've used to drive their testimonials. And it's been really fun to watch them take that language as a team and run with it.

April Sunshine (17:12):

And this is something, of course, we experienced with just about every brand that we work with. Whenever you can nail that identity transformation, and you kind of alluded to it during your strategy session, everybody in the room gets so excited and everybody can lock into it because they can see it. They can feel it, they can know it. And they're like, "Yes, that's it."

DR JJ Peterson (17:44):

Thank you so much, Macy, for walking us through how you use this language with a client. I love that so much. This really is my favorite part of the BrandScript. And if you need help clarifying your message and creating clear marketing, you can hire one of our StoryBrand Certified Guides at marketingmadesimple.com.

And we want to end every single episode of Marketing Made Simple with an actionable step, something that you can do immediately to start improving your marketing and invite customers into a beautiful story.

Last week what we told you is to go to mystorybrand.com, where you can get the online BrandScript, which is a tool that you can use to track the language you're going to use, creating your StoryBrand. So each section you can write down language and talking points that you're going to use that come out of the different elements of the StoryBrand framework.

MyStoryBrand.com

So this week, what I want you to do, this is your actionable step, I want you to go to mystorybrand.com, if you haven't already signed up, sign up, but if you already have, I want you to go to mystorybrand.com and in the bottom right corner, there is a box that says identity transformation. And there are two sections there, from and to. What that represents is the journey your customer is going to go on when they use your product or service.

So before they use your product or service, that is the from. And after they used your product or service, that is the to. How would you describe them before they used your product? From. And how would you describe them after they've used your product? To. And I only want you to use two words. That's it. I want you to use one word under From and one word under To. Keep it simple, keep it clear. And I want you to start looking at where you can implement that in your marketing right now. Can you put it on your website? Can you put it in your lead generator? Can you put it in emails? Where can you speak to the identity transformation that your customer will experience after they use your product or service?

Be the kind of people who call the best out of your customers. See who they want to be. See the power and the strength and the goodness that they have in them and then call it out of them. Name it. That will allow you to participate in their transformation and both you and your customer are going to win.

Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode of Marketing Made Simple where every week we give you practical tips on marketing that you can apply immediately to grow your business and make more money. So subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and rate and review, letting us know how these tips are transforming your business. We can't wait for you to join us next week.

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