Storybrand Brandscript | Aspirational Identity

“So, what do you do?”

What do you say when someone asks you this question? Do you have a simple and clear statement explaining what you do? Does it make the listener want to lean-in wanting to hear more?

The problem is, having the right words to say for what you do in a simple and clear way is complicated. And, as your stumbling for words, it can make you feel frustrated and as though you really don’t know what you do?

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone. Many small business owners struggle to share what they do. 

Here are some reasons your business might be hard to explain.

  • What you offer is extremely technical, and the average person just won’t understand.
  • What you offer is complex and hard to describe.
  • You provide a wide range of products that meet different needs. 
  • Your customer base is so varied; it’s hard to narrow down what you do to just “one thing.”

So how do you clarify and simplify explaining what you do?

Regardless of what you offer or how you do it, every element of your business has one common bond. Your customer. The key to simplifying what you do is to first identify your customers’ “Aspirational Identity.” So what is an Aspirational Identity?

To know your customer’s aspirational identity means to know who your customer ultimately wants to become, or wants to be known as the type of person that, [fill in the blank] as it relates to your brand.

What I have discovered over the past year, working with businesses as a Certified Storybrand Guide, is that most businesses struggle saying what they do because their focus is on themselves and not their customers. 

When asked what they do, their first response is to answer with whatever product or service they themselves manage or offer as a business. When this is the case, you can ask a different member of the same team, and you will get a different response every time because they are making themselves or the product or service they manage the hero of the story.

One of the key principles of the Storybrand Marketing Framework is that “You are not the hero of the story.”

To fix this problem, the next time you hear, “So, what do you do?” Don’t think about you and what you do; instead, think of your customers and what you do that helps them to become whatever it is they want to be known as or become. Stating what you do is important, but it’s even more important to say “why” you do it. The “why” is the common bond, connecting all of the individual pieces together to simplify and build the entire picture of your customers’ ultimate goal.

For example, think of a NASCAR pit crew. On multiple occasions, I’ve had the opportunity to be on pit row during a NASCAR race, and have seen how each member of the pit crew works to do their one specific job, to the best of their ability, and just as fast as humanly possible. If you were to ask any member of the pit crew what they do, they would probably describe the role they fill on their team. “I’m a driver’s side wheelman,” or “I fill the tank.” But in reality, regardless of their role, the pit crew as a whole works towards the teams’ Aspirational Identity of winning the race. Ultimately they want to be known as winners.

For each team member of the pit crew, regardless of the job they perform, the ultimate goal is universal. It’s the same with your company. Regardless of what you do, your customer has one aspirational identity. Identify this identity, and you can simplify saying what you do.

For me here at StoryWorks, when asked what I do, I say – “It’s challenging to market your own business, often from being too close and knowing too much. I help small business owners clarify and then simplify their message to create marketing that attracts new customers and grows their business.”

So, what do you do? Comment below and tell us what you do. 

Additional Resources

If you would like to learn more about writing a one-liner to state what you do clearly, I encourage you to watch this video on Don Miller leading a simple exercise.

If you would like additional help, Schedule A Call, and I would be happy to help you clarify your message.



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