Why Taylor Swift is the Savviest Marketer We Know

The dog days of summer have never been felt more acutely on our planet than the past few months. Record scorching temps, wildfires. And I’m hearing data that many companies are still not actively treating climate change as a business threat. Sigh. Seriously?!

Not to mention the sizzling hot economic buying power of women. Taylor Swift and Beyoncé fans are boosting local economies and Barbie became the first movie directed by a woman to break a billion dollars.

But can we pause for a moment to acknowledge something I’ve said for a long time?

Taylor Swift is a marketing genius.

Not only is she a gifted singer/songwriter, she has cultivated one of the most successful, sticky, and empathetic brands out there. She is a marketing machine, yet never loses sight of her craft – or her fans. The chef’s kiss to her extraordinary summer blitz? She made a surprise announcement that her concert will be launched in theaters as a film experience for those who want to see her again, or those for whom the concert was not accessible (either due to location or cost)

Damn, girl. BRA-VO!

Here are 3 reasons why Taylor Swift is one of the savviest marketers around:

  1. She knows her fans

Empathy is her watchword and she knows exactly what her fans want, need, value, and how they want to feel. Everything she does is designed to delight – from encouraging Eras tour makeovers to friendship bracelets to her vulnerability and authenticity in both her songwriting and on social media, she is tapped into exactly what her audience wants. And she’s constantly topping herself – like releasing the movie version of her tour.

  1. She knows the music business

Taylor writes a lot of her own songs, and retains many rights other artists do not enjoy – but back in 2019, her old record label was sold and she lost the rights to her master recordings. Which meant anyone who wanted to use her songs had to ask Scooter Braun for permission and pay him a licensing fee. So she sidestepped him and has been re-recording all her old songs again, branded as Taylor’s Version to ensure she still retains control over those newer cuts. Boss move.

  1. She knows social media

Taylor is the queen of social media savvy. Her posts achieve crazy engagement from fans, and she posts so much “bonus content” there about her life, behind-the-scenes moments, and first-to-know-news.  But she would not achieve this level of fandom if she simply used social media as a one-way billboard, promoting her records and concerts. She has created a hub that invites engagement, where fans feel like they are visiting a friend, and are part of a community bigger than themselves. She talks about her feelings, her process, her heartbreaks! And she loves using social media to surprise lucky fans, making the others stay glued to her every word in case she may come knocking on their door next! Taylor has created an iconic image, yet her fans feel she is so approachable. A hard balance to achieve!

The lessons here?

  • Know your people – adopt an empathetic mindset and really get to know them.
  • Know your industry – understand how your business operates within the ecosystem.
  • Know your channels – leverage channels to connect and engage, not just “sell.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images, article

What is a Brand Positioning Statement?

What is a Brand Positioning Statement? Why do you even need one?

Your business or organization can only grow and attract attention if people understand what you’re all about. While there are no official figures, according to one source, in 2021, the average person was estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.

There’s a lot of noise out there, ya’ll!

To get attention, cut through the noise, and ignite action, we must be able to quickly and clearly explain what we do, who we do it for, and what benefit they get from us.

This is where a Brand Positioning Statement comes in!.

A Brand Positioning Statement is a super useful brand tool that speaks directly to your dream clients or customers in the language and words they understand. A Brand Positioning Statement quickly, clearly, and succinctly describes your business to someone so they can understand if you are right for them or someone they know, and compels them to learn more. The brand positioning statement is also something called your Core Value Proposition and can form the basis of a memorable elevator pitch, too. So you can see why this is a fundamental tool in your brand and marketing toolkit. 

A brand positioning statement encapsulates your Brand Strategy into a clear, compelling statement that can inform many other marketing tactics, such as a tagline, press release boilerplate, or advertising copy. 

This statement tells me the essentials about your company: what it is, how it is positioned, the target audience, the three core benefits it provides to me as a customer, and even clues me into the voice of the company.

But how do you create a good brand positioning statement?

Well, you know I’m going to say this: It requires empathy! Empathy for your ideal customers: their needs, wants, goals, aspirations, and values.

The tendency is to describe our businesses by talking about us. What we sell, provide, offer. I, I, I, I, I! It’s not about us. It’s about our customers. 

But to get a customer’s attention, we need a keen understanding of seeing the business from their point of view: What do they get from our products or services, from their point of view? Also, known as benefits

How to Craft an Empathetic Brand Positioning Statement

If you’re struggling with explaining the value you offer or if people are not quite sure if you’re the right fit for them, download my free guide The Empathy Edge Brand Positioning Template to leverage the power of empathy to craft the right brand statement that attracts your dream clients. You’ll get:

  • 6 strategies for crafting your empathetic brand statement
  • 18 examples to spark your creativity
  • 3 fill-in-the-blank templates you can customize and make your own.

Through my books, workshops, and client engagements, these tools have helped thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses stand out and attract their dream clients and customers.

Download your free guide now right here and make sure you hit all your 2023 goals – and attract and impact all  the right people!!

Photo Credit: Cristina Gottardii, Unsplash

Representation Matters

This month, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the US Supreme Court – the first Black woman to be on the bench. A woman with way more qualifications and experience than any of the sitting judges. And yet she had to prove herself over and over, and was subjected to ridiculous questions, biased scrutiny and outright disrespect.

Some people may not understand why this is being celebrated, so let me tell you: REPRESENTATION MATTERS

We hear that phrase a lot, but what does “Representation Matters”mean?

It means having a seat at the decision-making table so those views and experience can be represented in important decisions. Studies show that diversity leads to better decisions.

It means others from that same group can see themselves in those same achievements and see what is possible for their own lives.  Representation provides validation and support for similar groups – especially children – that they, too, can accomplish those goals.”IÏf you can see it, you can be it.” 

It means educating majority groups to see such people in positive, non-stereotypical ways. For example, female scientists, gay doctors, hispanic academics, asian athletes.

It means seeing yourself and your story reflected in media, advertising, literature, and art to reflect on your  own lived experiences and normalize those experiences for others.

If we want to create a more empathetic workplace and world – and make better decisions for everyone – we have to start by having more diverse voices at the table (Tweet This!)

That is why representation matters.

Related posts and info for you:

We discuss the impact of seeing role models “like you”on the “What the Hell is the Patriarchy?!” episode of my other podcast Jonni & Maria Go There so please check it out.

Why Brands Need to Speak Up

The Empathy Edge podcast interview with Khalilah Lyons: DEI Done Right for Leaders – and Our Kids

3 Surefire Ways to Attract Ideal Clients and Customers

Is this true of you as an entrepreneur, coach, consultant, marketer, or business owner?

 “We do amazing work and offer tremendous value.. I just wish more people better understood what we can do for them and how much we have to offer. It’s so hard to get people to pay attention, and I hate sales!”

Yep. Been there. We all have.

The solution is not to spend more money on marketing. It’s not to buy more ads or discount more deeply.

The answer is to critically look at your brand story and message and ask yourself, “Is my brand, story, and message infused with empathy?” (TWEET THIS!)

People respond when we feel we are seen, heard, and valued. Think about the last purchase you made where you really felt good about yourself. You felt like the sales email was written just for you! You felt like you had finally found your people. You felt like this purchase really said something about you and the way you want to work and live.

That’s what empathy in your brand can do! To connect with the right clients and customers (and I mean, right-fit, not inquiries, clicks, and follows from loads of people who will never buy from you or those who won’t get the value they need), we need to infuse more empathy into our brand.

What does that mean? Here are 3 tips for making your brand more empathetic and attracting the attracting the right clients and customers:

  1. See things from the client or customer point of view: Empathy requires you stash your ego for a while, and clearly see what your clients get from what you do. It’s not about talking only about what you offer, sell, or provide – but how does the client benefit? What do they actually get, achieve, or feel? This also means tactically go through your own sales process, audit customer support, have someone read through your website and test links. Make sure the experience is delightful, not disappointing!
  1. Speak your client’s or customer’s language: I can talk until I’m blue in the face about “brand strategy” but when clients don’t know what that means, I have to adjust my narrative. Yes, brand and marketing are two different things, but sometimes, I have to speak their language to help them understand the value.. It’s the difference between saying what you think they need to hear, and actually being the voice in their heads so they say, “I need that now!”
  1. Start with love: OK, this might be a bit hippy dippy for some, but hear me out. When you start from a place of genuine concern, service, and care, the money will follow. This is true whether you are a solopreneur or a marketer at a large organization. One past corporate client really despised his target customers, describing them in derogatory (and untrue) stereotypes,  and it was clear he didn’t understand their needs at all. That shows up in your messaging – and your reputation. You can be strong and firm and still be compassionate. Be of service, care about their success, show compassion if they are dealing with bad stuff in their lives – and adapt your policies and communications to be more human.

How to Craft a Brand Story that Stands Out

How to Craft a Brand Story that Stands Out

Do you have a brand story that stands out and attracts the right clients? A brand story that just nails it for your business?

Here’s the test. When you talk about what you do, do people immediately go, “I need THAT!”?

If not, I’d love for you to enjoy this free masterclass video to discover the elements of a compelling brand story – and see what your own story might be missing.

I have met so many amazing entrepreneurs over the years with big dreams and great ideas. They have so much value to deliver with their coaching, consulting, services or products.

But they just can’t seem to attract more clients. It’s heartbreaking to me. Especially since it’s not a quality problem. It’s more often a storytelling problem.

Sometimes a story doesn’t nail it because

The message is too product focused and doesn’t connect emotionally. People can’t understand how what you do maps to their own goals and aspirations. They can’t “see themselves” in what you offer.

Or, the message isn’t clear

When we’re too close to all the information, when we know all the ins and outs, we tend to throw too much at people – and we leave them overwhelmed and confused.  They’ll seek out a competitor they more clearly understand.

Or, “My business has evolved”

Things change. Did the last year not teach us anything? What was true about what you do may not be true today. You may have shifted offerings or products or markets. And your old story will of course not be attracting that new audience.

Nailing your breakthrough brand story is the cornerstone to more demand for your business. (Tweet This!)

Want to learn some A-ha’s about how to have a brand story breakthrough and engage the right people? 

I created a fun little 12 minute masterclass just for you. It’s free. Get ready to take some notes!.

Spoiler alert: The key to a great story that engages and inspires people to action is empathy. 

Empathy is the understanding of another’s experience or situation. So the key to attracting customers is empathy at the heart of your brand story 

  1. When you show empathy for a customer’s situation
    • They believe in you
    • They feel like you understand them
    • They subscribe to your list
    • They become a part of your community
    • They HIRE you! They BUY from you. YOU don’t chase them, they chase you

THAT is the magic of empathy. And that’s what makes a brand story a BRAND story.

Check out my free video Masterclass right now

After you view it, you can also learn about my newest course, Brand Story Breakthrough to see if it’s right for you. But no matter what, you’ll get a lot out of the free masterclass!

And did you know? Red Slice has been recognized as one of the best branding companies in California on DesignRush.

5 Tips To End Social Media Overwhelm For Your Business

tips to end social media overwhelm (Blog)

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. I have to leave, like, NOW to pick up my toddler from preschool. My old black lab has just laid his face in my lap and given me the “Shouldn’t we be walking right now?” eyes.

But I’m stalling because for the last hour, I’ve been staring at Twitter, trying to come up with clever tweets. I pull up Facebook and immediately feel less-than. I click over to LinkedIn and then close it again.

Sound familiar?

Social media overwhelm is an absolute epidemic with my clients. And I used to struggle with it, too!

So much of our social media overwhelm comes from
a) not really understanding where we should put our energy and marketing dollars
b) “spraying and praying” across every social media platform

Of course we’re overwhelmed. We’re spreading ourselves thin, spending hours and dollars on things that don’t work, and getting demoralized by fewer likes and shares.

I get it because I’ve been there. After lots of trial and error, I’ve kicked my social media overwhelm to the curb and I’m going to show you how to do the same!

How to beat social media overwhelm in 5 relatively easy steps

  1. Figure out where your people are
    If your people aren’t on Instagram – what luck! – you don’t need an Instagram account. If your ideal customer spends hours pinning recipes and inspirational quotes, then you can direct your time and energy towards crafting the perfect Pinterest strategy.

    Of course, there are overlaps between platforms. Moms who care about fitness use Pinterest
    and Instagram. Creative entrepreneurs use Facebook and Twitter. But if you can narrow down your focus to two social media platforms you’re more likely to reach your people and see results. As my friend Sarah says, “It’s better to be good at two things than bad at seven.”

    Here’s a great, up-to-date report on
    which demographics favor which social media platforms.
  2. Figure out where your traffic is coming from
    If you’re reading this, I imagine you already have a few social media profiles. And maybe when you started using Twitter four years ago it was sending you a lot of traffic! Is that still true today?

    Social media changes a lot from year to year. Remember Periscope?! What was working in 2015 might not be working now. I’d hate for you to pour time and energy into a platform that isn’t bringing you traffic or clients.

    Here’s how to figure out where your social media traffic is coming from:

    1. Install Google analytics
    2. After it has gathered data for a few weeks, go in and see which social media platform sends you the most traffic
    3. You find that info under Acquisition > Social > Overview
tips to end social media overwhelm

It is worth noting that social media traffic can be a bit chicken-and-the-egg-y. If you put a lot of effort into Facebook, it’ll probably send you traffic. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, it’s unlikely you’re getting much Pinterest traffic. But if you use two or more social media platforms, it’s good to know which one is most effective so you can direct your efforts accordingly.

3. Figure out what type of social media you actually enjoy using
Let’s say you’ve discovered that your ideal client uses Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest in equal measure.

Now, let’s say you hate using Instagram. You’re constantly disappointed by your photos and you have no idea what’s going on with hashtags.

Meanwhile, you genuinely enjoy using Pinterest and you’re all over Facebook. You understand retargeting ads and clone audiences. You can do that stuff in your sleep!

You don’t need my permission, but here it is: you are absolutely allowed to put your time and effort into social media platforms you actually enjoy using. It’s going to be hard to connect with clients on a platform you hate using.

4. Figure out which types of posts are the most effective
There are different ways to connect with your people on any given platform.

On Facebook, I can

And when I look at the analytics within Facebook, it’s pretty easy to see which of these is the most popular!

Not sure how to mix things up on your social media platform of choice? 

After you’ve experimented a bit, you’ll have a better idea of what works for your platforms and your readers. You can do less of what doesn’t work and more of what does. Overwhelm? What overwhelm?

5. Now that you know what works, schedule updates for the next 2-3 weeks!
So you’ve figured out where your people are, where your traffic comes from, and how you feel about each social media platforms. You know which types of posts perform the best.

Pour yourself a glass of something delicious and after you finish it, do something with that information! Schedule a bunch of social media posts to your platform of choice so you can “set it and forget it.”

I like
Buffer for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Tailwind is great for Pinterest and Later or Planoly is good for Instagram.

Social media is not only a great marketing platform – it plays a crucial part in the sales process, especially when it comes to social selling. See the social media platforms throughout the years and how social selling has evolved, in this post by Zopto.

Learn how to grow your social media following in this great article by the good folks at Don’t Panic.

I want to know what’s working for you! Are you overwhelmed by social media? If you’re one of the few business owners who isn’t overwhelmed by social media – share your tips with us over on Instagram or Tweet me!

Why You Need a Niche

Why You Need a Niche

Niche is rich” so some people say. But why do they say this? I mean, it seems counterintuitive to limit your market size, doesn’t it? You want to sell to as many people who will buy your product or service, don’t you? 

A few clarifications to help you make better marketing and sales decisions: 

Your niche is about outbound, not who can buy from you 

Defining your niche helps you focus your marketing and outbound efforts. Where will you spend your valuable time, resources, and energy? Unless you’ve got billions of dollars to spend and can target multiple segments effectively it’s wiser to pick your lane and own it. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you waste effort trying to be everywhere and don’t have enough presence to be effective anywhere. 

Your niche helps you attract the right ideal customers and decide if you are the partner they seek. 

That said, you can certainly sell to anyone who wants to buy from you! Anyone for whom your message resonates. You’re not going to tell them, “Sorry, you don’t fit my ideal client profile!” You’ll gladly take their check and serve them well if you decide you want to when they show up at your door. 

Your niche leads to smarter, more effective branding decisions 

When you are clearly not trying to be all things to all people, you resonate more fully with specific people. Those people will pay attention. Defining your niche ensures the verbal, visual, and experiential aspects of your brand are speaking to just the right people. When you create content, you will be talking to a specific type of person, with specific needs and aspirations. 

Always remember: When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to no one! (TWEET THIS!)

Find the right niche 

Of course, you can’t pick a niche of only ten possible buyers in the known universe. That’s not sustainable. Pick a niche with a healthy amount of people in it. My niche for my fast-growth corporate clients are those that value marketing and brand and have a team ready to support and implement change. I’m not interested in helping every company out there, or trying to convince people why brand matters to their bottom line.   

Targeting women entrepreneurs is specific but healthy enough to make a living. Targeting adrenaline junkies or home businesses are also specific but broad. Your software may be able to do “all the things” for every possible industry out there but don’t confuse people or make them figure out where you play. Define where you play and clearly explain why you are the best option in that space. There should be plenty of opportunity for you there if you choose wisely! 

Your market is not necessarily all the people who’ve need what you have to offer. Honda and Porsche both sell cars but they definitely do not sell to the same people buying a car for the same reasons! 

Use your niche to differentiate. If you become the go-to expert for small local brick and mortar businesses, or mompreneurs, or SaaS software companies, that’s the first step to stand out from your competition.

Need guidance to a niche that is profitable and sustainable? Not sure how to craft your ideal customer profiles so that your marketing instantly engages the right people? Let’s talk!

How a Chocolate Éclair Makes You A Better Marketer

Ever thought about why you dive into a chocolate éclair (or mint chocolate chip ice cream, or a bag of jelly beans…name your guilty pleasure!) 

I mean, it offers so much, right? Maybe you’re hungry. Maybe you had a bad day. Maybe you’re celebrating a big client win. Maybe you’re having coffee with a friend and want to share a bit of decadence together. Maybe you just think it looks gorgeous (an adjective I love to apply to food). 

Hunger. Comfort. Reward. Friendship. Beauty. 

There are many different reasons that could have driven you to that purchase decision. And it may be a different from my reason for buying one in line right behind you. 

Your reasons for indulging in this culinary creation are your buying drivers 

The chocolate éclair’s benefits need to speak to those buying drivers…or you won’t care. 

What does this have to do with marketing and messaging your offerings? EVERYTHING. Because if you are trying to sell me a chocolate éclair as comfort food for my bad day when I want to celebrate a big win, I’m gonna pass. That message just won’t speak to me. 

Determine the benefits your ideal customer craves and speak to those when you talk about your work.  (TWEET THIS!)

There are lots you can choose from, to be sure. This is why understanding your ideal client at an intimate level can help you narrow it down to what is most relevant and important for them. 

Don’t talk about cost savings if I only care about top-notch quality. Don’t talk just about weight loss if I care more about fitness and health. Don’t talk about how complicated your process is as a way to prove it’s amazing if all I care about is ease and simplicity. Don’t talk just about how hopeless and sad is your cause if I’m looking to donate money that will offer hope and impact.  

Know your audience. Speak to their buying drivers. If you don’t know what they are, ask them. Amplify the benefits they care about the most, not the ones you think they need to know. 

Make sure the benefits you offer match up to the buying drivers of your target customer. Otherwise, you need to tout different benefits or find a new audience who cares about the ones you want to promote. 

How to be a better negotiator 

Nice guys and gals finish last. 

That has been the conventional wisdom, hasn’t it? That only sharks using cutthroat tactics can make favorable deals and negotiate effectively. 

I’m calling BS.  

Turns out, empathy is a secret weapon when it comes to negotiation and effective collaboration. And author, activist and strategic consultant Elisa Camahort Page shared with me how she learned this powerful lesson from an unlikely source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

 Elisa knows how to successfully get what she wants, so of course, I had to sit down and talk with her about how empathy helps you negotiate deals that are mutually beneficial for both parties. 

Elisa is known as co-founder and COO of women’s media company, BlogHer. After the successful sale of that powerhouse brand, she’s now focused on speaking, writing and consulting with entrepreneurs and organizations. She co-wrote Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism and Advocacy For All, a resource guide to activating around causes you care most about, which features contributions and/or endorsements by diverse activists and advocates such as Gloria Steinem,  Guy Kawasaki, Soledad O’Brien and Senator Kirsten Gellibrand (get it – it’s empowering!) 

Elisa’s thinking on this topic was triggered by an episode of her favorite cult classic TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you’re not familiar with it, she gives us a quick overview. 

So many things I think you’ll love about this energetic interview, especially: 

YouTube video

Highlights include: 

*Why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is rich with lessons in leadership and collaboration (2:23) 
*How innovators can learn to see unintended consequences and “take responsibility for the magic you create” (12:15) 
*What BlogHer taught her about mutually beneficial relationships (13:30) 
*Three things to look for in healthy relationships…and three things that can destroy partnerships (14:21) 
*Why we need to compromise and prioritize (18:30)  
*How to think about inclusivity when marketing and storytelling (20:30)  
* The easiest way to get to what someone really wants (28:21) 

Too many great Tweetables from Elisaso I’m giving you my faves! 

“Innovation + Empathy > Innovation + Efficiency” (TWEET THIS!)

“Instead of thinking about negotiation as a war, think about it as party planning. What pieces do you need in place to get this party started?” (TWEET THIS!)

“You can’t develop a bigger audience and community until you develop empathy for the people you want there” (TWEET THIS!)

Learn more about Elisa Camahort Page’s speaking and writing on her website  
Follow #RoadMap4Revs for info about the book, Roadmap for Revolutionaries 
Check out her new consulting firm, Ternstyle Group 
Discover her work with Mentor Bureau 
Connect with her on Medium, Facebook, or Twitter @elisacp 

Does empathy make you a better leader? And thought leader?

In researching my forthcoming book, The Empathy Edge, I found ample evidence that empathy can make you a more successful leader,

But…why?  And can it also impact your success as a thought leader?


Today I’m interviewing Denise Brosseau, CEO of The Thought Leadership Lab, where she works with executives and entrepreneurs seeking to grow their influence. She’s the author of Ready to Be a Thought Leader, which you must read if your brand strategy includes boosting your visibility as a thought leader.

Denise has taught at Stanford Business School, co-founded both a trade association and the first VC conference for women entrepreneurs, known as Springboard, which has helped women raise over $8 billion. Denise has also been honored as a Champion of Change by the White House.

Or, more simply, Denise is a “thought leader about thought leadership”!

She has seen what it takes to be a strong, effective leader and to amplify your message for massive impact. And a critical component to that success? Empathy.

You will love this lively video interview packed with insights on how to sharpen your leadership (and thought leadership) skills… and if you watch one thing, watch the important distinction between thought leadership and being a visible expert!

YouTube video

Highlights include:
*Do successful leaders exhibit more empathy and how do they act on it?  (3:21)
*Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s big faux pas in front of thousands of women…and how he responded with empathy and reflection (7:00)
*The difference between empathy and submission (9:12)
*The growth mindset – and why “changing your mind” as a leader is not a bad thing (10:55)
* Defining thought leadership and empathy’s crucial role in success (11:52)
* The importance of appealing to both sides of our brains to make change (14:31)
* What a thought leader really is…and is not! (16:55)
*Are there people who should not be thought leaders? And the important difference between being a thought leader versus a visible expert. So good! (18:40)

“We want leaders to mature, take in new information, ideas and perspectives and carefully consider them. If you’re not even listening and you’re still stuck in where you were when you were 25, I don’t know that you should be leading my organization!” – Denise Brosseau (TWEET THIS!)

Learn more about Denise and the Thought Leadership Lab
Take her LinkedIn Learning course, Becoming a Thought Leader (soon she’ll be adding a course about Thought Leading Organizations)
Connect with Denise on LinkedIn