Welcome back to the Catapulting Commissions podcast with your host, Anthony Garcia! Today, Anthony is sitting down with Natalie Alcantara, founder, and Chief Inspirer at ion Marketing. She has over two decades of experience providing strategic counsel to major global brands and has worked as part of the senior leadership teams at several top businesses around the world. A hands-on leader, Natalie continues to expand and explore learning and mentoring opportunities. She’s going to share with us what is holding brands back from scaling in today’s climate.
There is a monumental shift happening in the international marketplace. The days of mass-marketing through ads and vision are over. We’re finding that companies are struggling to build trust with their consumers. The short of it is that no one is listening because there is too much noise, Natalie says. Your customer can’t sift through all that information when they’re so connected to the digital world. There’s really only one way to connect with your audience–the power of story. Humans are programmed to react to meaningful stories. As we grow, we adapt our lives to how we feel about those stories and apply them to what we want from others.
The science behind overcoming the connection barrier through story is nothing to ignore. Stories sell, but more so, they create trust. When we hear a story our minds start to change and we start to get into the dynamic of the situation. The front part of our brains light up and neurons begin firing in a way that only happens while consuming stories. Oxytocin is released–the ‘love’ hormone. This creates connectivity. When you’re more connected, you build more empathy and listen more, retain more information, and establish understanding, leading to further trust. Plus, who doesn’t want to hear a great story?
Sometimes, though, the story isn’t there. If you’re trying to close a deal, creating a story that is impactful is important. Natalie suggests getting back to roots–why are you in this line of business in the first place? What problem are you solving? What do you have to offer? How did you make that decision? This is the big ‘why.’ Use it as leverage to share a story that helps provide a solution. It doesn’t have to be absolutely remarkable every time. In fact, ordinary stories often resonate with audiences. You may be an expert now, but you weren’t always. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re telling it to. Identify with them! This is a great place to start your story. Give it personality–how are you creating an impact? It shouldn’t be transactional, it’s transitional. A story is not marketing material, it’s not a sales pitch, and it’s not an ad. It’s an authentic window into you, your brand, and your world. Evoking emotion through demonstrating that you, too, are human, is an effective way to show relatability and allow them to empathize.
Practicing your story-telling skills and finding how to use them is crucial. Understand that your story is yours, so be comfortable with it. Share ordinary moments on social media! If you hold things too close, you’ll come off as less relatable. In a virtual world, what is going to make someone stop the scroll? Be consistent and remember — transitional, not transactional. There’s a huge difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivation is an outward action that others receive as an outside force. Inspiration is a feeling you create that is drawn and felt on the inside. When you are inspired you can be moved to act. Inspired people are resilient, excited, and driven. It’s far more important than motivation and much more sustainable. At the end of the day, it’s the mindset. What brings you joy? What inspires you? That will push action. Use your story to remind yourself and inspire something inside of you! Don’t like your story? Change it. You’re the only person who can rewrite it, and if you want to live in tomorrow, you should. Create a story for yourself that you can believe in, and that feeling will be communicated naturally. The power sits with you. Own your own story.
With this framework, you can immediately increase your online-only sales by identifying the problem you’re solving, who you’re solving it for, and create content there. Don’t show up in places your audience isn’t. Show up where they are and create conversations through stories.