give me a reason to beleive Passion Squared blog hd

Give Me A Reason To Believe

Stories are attempts to share our values and beliefs. Story telling is only worthwhile when it tells what we stand for, not what we do. Simon Sinek

(This post was originally published on April 8, 2013. Over three years later, it remains as relevant as the day I wrote it.)

When you hear the word “marketing”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For some, it may be fuzzy, for some, you may think about the services and products you sell, maybe some of you are thinking about promotions, brochures or advertising. Or maybe some of you are saying, I have no clue, but it’s not my job. I am here to tell you if you are trying to sell something, it is your job. Your job as a brand owner is to give me a reason to believe.

I Feel Stories
When I hear the word marketing, I see, hear and feel a story. I always have. And now more than ever, both online and off, people want stories. They are looking for meaningful relationships with businesses. They are looking for your why. Your purpose, promise, and passion.

You see, there are so many products and programs and so many platforms to scream about them, about how awesome they are, and how they are so much better than everyone else’s. But guess what, the consumer is smarter than ever, and with all the noise in the marketplace, products get lost, but compelling stories stand out.

I Know You Cut Hair, But Why Should I Care
I never received a formal education in marketing. Yet I was responsible for marketing one of the biggest global brands of professional hair care in the world. And I was good at it. Why?

Because I did not see products as products, I saw them as solutions, as part of a bigger story and worked tirelessly to bring meaning and value to each and every thing I marketed. The same idea goes for your biz. Why should I come to you to get my haircut? There are a gazillion other options I have. Why you?

Creating A Relevant Story
When it comes to marketing something and creating a compelling story, I ask myself these simple questions:

1. Why am I creating this program, product or service?

2. What problem am I solving?

3. What is the brand purpose WHY) and promise (HOW)?

4. Who am I creating this for?

5. Why will they want my product, service, program or business?

Give Me A Reason To Believe, Please
So what’s your story? Your why? Your purpose, promise and passion? I want to know before I choose to engage with your business. And here is a hint. If it’s hype and BS, I will see right through it. If you promise me the world, I will doubt you. I want the truth. And I want you to give me a reason to believe.

Are You Ready to Create Awesome?
Are you an owner or independent entrepreneur and want to learn more about marketing your biz and creating compelling stories that connect with the ideal client you would love to serve? My A School for Owners online coaching program may be a good fit for you.

Check it out and as always, if you have any questions or just want to say hi, I’m listening.

Love + Awesomeness- Nina

PS: Our stories now live on multiples platforms, both online and off. To learn how to get your story onto your social pages, you may like this weeks Passionista Biz Tip About The About Section. Enjoy.

#QandAwesome What Does Engagement Mean?

In this episode of #QandAwesome, I talk engagement. Like online, on social + digital platforms. While this word is thrown around a ton, I find that not everyone understands that engagement is about building relationships. This is how we create awesome, online and off. Thanks so much for watching!

To watch more episodes, click here.

Passion Squared blog- The Wizard of Social Media (1)

The Wizard Behind The Selfie

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In today’s world of online everything, there is so much light and love, but there also can be so much darkness and deception. You see, online we have the ability to present and promote just about anything. And many actually believe what is being presented to them. In so many ways, that can be awesome, but in other ways, it can be debilitating and impact people’s esteem.

What am I talking about? Perspective.

There are millions of images being shown to us each day. Some are real, and some not so much. And my question is… Is that a good thing or a bad thing? And my answer? Both.

The Magical “But I’m Sick” Selfie
Recently, I was asked to provide a head shot for an event. Which normally I would simply email my go-to black and white head shot most of you have seen on my website and social media, taken by my awesome friend Anne Slattery, and one that I did not have much makeup on and for sure no filters. It’s real. Wrinkles and all. And I love it. But this request was for a color head shot, which I did not have, and they needed it within 24 hours. OMG, what the hell was I gonna do?

On that particular day, I was battling a nasty cold, and the last thing I wanted to do is take a damn picture of my snot nose face. But as any awesomeness creator does, we step up and show up. So I put my big girl panties on, scrubbed my face, put on a shit ton of makeup (which I hardly ever do), called in #teamawesome, and said “lets do this”!

Makeup + Ringlights + Filters Oh My!
With packed on makeup, a fake smile (remember, I was sick!), a ring light and a Snapchat filter (the one that removes all trace of any flaws on our faces, which I call the good self esteem filter), we began shooting. About 25 pictures which were mostly selfies. And then I was done. What little energy I had was zapped from my body.

We took those pics and began to filter them even more, using whatever editing apps were going to create the most magic, and like magic, we had our final pic.

I don’t think I have ever received more feedback about the pic we took that day. I mean, it was like I had just finished a shoot for the cover of Vogue. “Nina, you look beautiful. Nina, those lashes. Nina, the light in your eyes, Nina….

And while I was so grateful for those beautiful words, it made me immediately think about the insane pressure we put on ourselves to look “perfect” on social media. To present “perfect”, to edit to “perfect” and to compare to “perfect”. And the fact it, most of what we see is just smoke and mirrors. Like the Wizard. Like my new head shot.

Yes, it’s me. Yes, I know I am beautiful, inside and out. But don’t get it twisted; it is not what I look like everyday. Not even close. I am two months from 50. I have wrinkles. My skin tone is not even. My lashes are extensions. And with a cold, I look even worse. And that is what is real.

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
Now let me be clear, there is NOTHING wrong with using the awesome tools and technology available to us to present our best self and our best work. It’s awesome, and I love it. BUT, where it becomes dark and destructive is when we believe it’s actually real. Like 100%. And we begin comparing ourselves and our work to what we see on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

In addition to that, please remember that most of the time, people only present what they want you to see. And we make things up in our heads as to what we believe to be true. Follower counts do not equal paying the bills. Pretty head shots do not equal being successful. And beautiful work does not mean you have a full clientele.

My promise as a human and a brand is to always be honest and authentic. Why? Because I am in the empowerment business. And empowerment comes from within. Empowerment comes when we own our awesomeness, wrinkles and all.

So by all means use the lights, the filters, the lashes, the makeup, the apps, all of it. But please, be honest with yourself and others. And stop comparing your behind the scenes to others highlight reels (or selfies, or head shots or work, or claims, or follower counts, or…).

Love + Awesomeness-

Nina xo

PS: Wanna share Snap stories? I’m passionsquared, I would love to connect with you!

Passion Squared Blog- Why Would I Follow You-

Why Would I Follow You?

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”  Henry David Thoreau

I mean really, why? This is the question I ask myself daily, and one I believe we all must ask ourselves, online and off.

Why would I follow you?
Why would I book with you?
Why would I review you?
Why would I refer you?
Why would I talk about you?
Why would I work for you?
Why would I pay you?
Why would I come back to you?

If you cannot answer these questions with clarity and intention, its time to take a step back and look at your brand. This is your story. Your purpose. Your promise. Without those, you are not a brand. You are simply a business. One that can be easily replaced with the next “best” thing. The next “shiny object”. The next “lowest price”. The next “contest”.

Brands add value.
Brands make me feel something.
Brands speak to me on an emotional level.
Brands create revenue.
Brands have life.
Brands inspire me to take an action.

Why did you choose to follow Passion Squared?

Love + Awesomeness-



#QandAwesome Do You Need A Blog?

In this episode of #QandAwesome, I share some thoughts on how to decide if you “should” blog. Let’s be clear, it’s not about should anything, its about how you can deliver value and in what form will you choose to do that. Thank you so much for watching!