by Tom Ruwitch
A few weeks back I came across a post on LinkedIn by a guy who’s tired of the word “transformation.”
He wrote, “... why is it that nearly every B2B enterprise software website promises to transform [fill in the blank]? ... The answer is because everyone else says it, no matter how misleading it may be. In my experience, I can count the number of real transformations I’ve seen on one hand. Sure, there have been plenty of success stories, but how many of them transformed the way people think, feel, or behave?”
I understand where he’s coming from. Some marketers seem to think, “So many cliches; so little time.” And they sprinkle cliches all over their marketing copy.
“Transform” often fits the bill.
But I also think good products and services can transform. Clients can experience “transformation” from your product and service.
The issue: Most marketers don’t dig deeply enough to understand and describe the transformation their clients experience.
So I posted a reply on LinkedIn. Here’s what I said:
I agree that “transform” is overused. When lobbed without any specificity, it’s meaningless and cliched.
“We’ll transform your organization/process/self” is overused hype.
I think “transform” can be the right word, though, when delivered in the right context with the right specificity.
Example: I met today with an employment coach who helps unhappy workers find a job that better fits their passions and skills.
When they come to her, they’re scared. They’re frustrated. They’re anxious.
They’re unfocused. Their vision is blurry. They’re unsure of themselves.
She works with them, and they ... transform. From scared to courageous.
Frustrated to satisfied. Anxious to calm. Unfocused to focused. Blurry to clear. Unsure to confident.
In this case, maybe “transform” IS the right verb.
The problem with “transform” is that marketers toss it around without describing the journey.
“Your organization/process/self will be TRANSFORMED.” Period the end. And we’re left wanting.... Transformed from what to what?
Storytelling is so powerful for marketers because a good story describes a journey. A good story describes a transformation.
“We’ll transform your business” or “we’ll take your business to the next level” is a vague, cliched promise.
But when you tell a story, you paint a picture of transformation — the kind of transformation your prospects wish to experience.
If you can discover the journey your prospects wish to take, you can create a story — a story of transformation — that will inspire prospects to buy.
Tom Ruwitch is the CSO (Chief Story Officer) at Story Power Marketing and the author of a free eBook, “Hall of Fame Advertisements Reveal: 5 Storytelling Secrets to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Buy,” -- available for immediate download at StoryPowerMarketing.com/5secrets.