Tell Me a Story vs Sell Me a Product

You can shout from the hills all day long about how amazing your product or service is, but there is so much competition out there that it is difficult (even rare) for you to stand out from the crowd.

There is no meaning in a product description, but there IS in the story behind it or the company that developed said product. Our brains process information in story-like patterns and words into meanings. So when someone tells us a story, it reaches more than just the language center of our brain – it activates other senses.

Invite People to Experience Your Product Through a Story

This isn’t a “Once Upon a Time” scenario, but more of a mini-documentary or biography. Remember the VH1 show Behind the Music? That show brought so much attention to artists who were long forgotten and it triggered huge music sales. Why? Because we (the viewers) engaged on a deeper level with that musician or band, felt connected, and wanted to be part of their story somehow.

Brand Story, Marketing, Company Story, Marketing story, storytelling

Yes, there are absolutely instances of huge companies that do not tell their story in the way that I’m describing. They simply have a tagline that includes sensory words to trigger your interest. Then they repeat the phrase everywhere you go so that you can’t forget.

“Mmm Mmm Good”

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”

“The Happiest Place on Earth”

Customers want to hear about why the company or product exists, the way the founder feels about the product, the first-ever store opening or sale made. Those small moments in time will take people from liking a quality product or service to connecting with it and becoming loyal.



What’s Your Tribe?

During an event that I attended this week, the speaker posed 3 key questions to the audience:

1. What is the purpose of your tribe?

2. Why would your tribe talk about you?

3. Who, How, What, When, and Where is your tribe?

Though it may seam daft, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by “my tribe”. So I started to think about the people I surround myself with and those who I associate with in business. If you feel like your colleagues or coworkers don’t make you feel inspired or challenged, then you may need to find your real tribe.

Steps to Find Your Tribe

1. Identify the type of people you enjoy being with. How do you use your natural talents when you’re with them?

2. Find those people and spend time with them, learn from them, and be inspired by them.


Related Articles on Finding Your Tribe:

How Finding Your Tribe Can the Key to Finding Your Ideal Career >>

7 Tips to Finding Your Tribe >>

Finding Your Tribe May be the Hardest Thing You Do >>



The Art of Storytelling

Storytelling Your Marketing Message

That’s what content marketing really is anyway… telling a story to your target customers.

Art of Storytelling, storytelling, CEO Candi


Interpretation – When someone hears your story, he or she will usually redefine it and the story becomes new ideas based on how the listener (your customer) interpreted it.

Shared Experience – As you tell a happy story, listeners will also feel happy. Through the inflection in your voice, the words you choose, or how things are described the listener will experience what you are feeling or revealing.

Emotional Ties – The difference between telling a story and just talking is the flow. Telling a story moves in a specific fashion that causes people to become emotionally attached to your story. These emotions help people to remember the story. In the long run, this is what creates customer loyalty.

Creating Brain Activity – A well-told story can cause several parts of the brain to activate. Make someone feel hungry for the food you provide feel the relief of the massage you can offer, or smell the sweet roses you will deliver – all through the words you choose.

So what is your brand’s story and how are you telling it?

Open for Business, Storytelling, Content Marketing

46 Girls Changed My View in 46 Seconds

3 Powerful Moments

I drove along a rocky and winding trail to a series of cute white cabins and a larger building that I would later discover is the dining hall. Though I have done a million presentations and workshops before, the butterflies were there reminding me that I will always be 10 at heart.

Moment 1 – The Energy

As I stepped into the dining hall, I could feel the energy coming from this group of powerful young women. Smiles, waves and friendly glances in my direction as I walked through the space – that’s all it took to pull me into their energy.

Moment 2 – The Sound

The chanting began. Without instruction or request, the girls began to sing a song. It sounded like nonsense words at first, but a song book was quickly offered so that I could follow along. They simply love to sing and chant fun songs with empowering lyrics.

Moment 3 – The Fearlessness

Suddenly it was my turn to stand up. We went around the room offering up what we want to be one day. There was a ton of honesty in the “I don’t knows” and confidence in those who said multiple careers at once. No fear in this group.

Camp Lantern Creek

46 Girls Changed My View

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being the Bright Lights Speaker at Camp Lantern Creek (also called CLC) in Montgomery, Texas. CLC is the camp that you send your incredible daughter to so that she can try a little bit of everything with other awesome girls while surrounded by the beautiful outdoors. They coin the camp’s focus as developing renaissance girls, but it is so much more than that.

For a while, I thought that it was most important for me to be working with women in college and in their twenties. Those are the women who need the most help with understanding business, finance and how to succeed – right? No! If you delay learning or thinking about these things, then it is much harder to develop the critical skills related to being successful.

Tweens and teens – that’s where it’s at.

During the hour and a half that I spent with these 46 powerful young women, I could see that today’s girls are the risk takers, creative thinkers, and collaborative workers of tomorrow. It was in the small moments throughout the day that I saw glimpses of powerful leaders and entrepreneurs. I could see more potential in a 12 year old girl than I’ve seen in most any adult that I’ve met.

If you want to shape the world in a positive image, then start with the girls.


Quality People Around You

Parents and Email

Parents, especially moms, are good for life advice and annoying chain emails. Today I received both from my mom. She sent the following email to me:

There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

I’m supposed to pick 8 women who have touched my life and who I think might participate. Please send this back to me. Remember to just read the quotation. That’s all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to 8 women you would like to sit at your table and let me know what happens on the 4th day. Thank you!!

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

Surround Yourself with Quality People

While mom’s email was another annoying chain email (which has not been popular since 1999), the advice was clear and precise. When you surround yourself with quality people, then you enjoy life more. As we get older this seems to be even truer than before. We are no longer forced into classrooms or groups setup by institutions such as school, so we have the freedom to filter people as we wish.

Having all of that freedom is harder than you’d think it is. It forces you to reflect upon your personal values and what is most important to you at this point in your life. It’s so rare that someone asks you a question like, “what do you value most in this world?”

Start by checking in with yourself once a week. Take a walk, meditate, go to the gym, or do something else that helps you to clear your mind; and then check in with yourself. Reflect on the relationships in your life – love, friends, family, roommates, coworkers.  Who makes you the most happy? Who makes you the most miserable? Why?


I am grateful for the dear friends living both near and far who make me smile.

Old Friends. Quality People

Listening and Respect

Bad Habits

I have a new appreciation for good listeners after practicing my active listening skills over the past week or so. When I asked myself, “why do you talk so much” the answer was not completely clear… until my mom called me. I barely got a word in with her. She talked at me, rarely listened to anything I had to say, and then talked over me to complain. We really are shaped by our parents at such a young age that the habits become unconscious.

After that frustrating phone call, I sat back in my chair and reflected for a moment on what had just happened. It felt like a talking attack. I don’t ever want someone to feel that way when he or she is with me. While I am definitely a better listener than my mom, I absolutely have my work cut out for me.

There’s Time

I still have some deep seeded habits like wanting to tell people my parallel story or offer advice. What I have noticed in my practiced listening is that there is time for my stories, but I need to provide a space for others to share their stories first. It’s like holding the door open for someone. You don’t hold it open to then push past him or her and go through the doorway.

Part of me always feels like there is a time limit on things, like the opportunity to share my “hilarious story” is a short time period and I may miss it. Lately I realized that my story doesn’t always matter to the conversation, and the more I listen the more I realize how unrelated my first story may have been.

Focused Listening

Slowly I’m also noticing my attention span for truly listening to improve. Clearly, I am of the “ADD Generation” with all of our fast technology, short video clips and 140 character updates. I can be easily distracted at times and wander off in my mind. However, when I listen to someone with my whole self it feels better – the conversation feels complete and more meaningful.

This was more of a stream of consciousness rant than a blog post, but consider it a check-in on my 2014 resolution progress. Thank you to all my friends who love me no matter how much I talk. Looking back, I know that you are the few whom I made time and space to listen to (even when I wasn’t practicing it).

A Clever Little Cartoon About Listening

A Crack in the Rose-Colored Glasses

Cracked Rose Colored Glasses
An Imperfect World

My mom explained the concept of rose-colored glasses to me when I was young. She told me that I had a beautiful perspective of the world, but I should be aware that it would not always look that way. Other than bullies in school, I viewed the world as this awesome melting pot of colors, shapes, religions, beliefs and ways to communicate. I loved it!

With New Friends

A new girl moved into the house across street in the summer of 1993. Naturally, she would become my new friend…that is how us extroverts think. She felt totally overwhelmed by my bubbly personality at first, but we bonded over our love for dance and singing. She introduced me to Bollywood movies, and I introduced her to Broadway show tunes. By the time school began (5th grade), we were close friends.

Speaking Up

She rarely, if ever, spoke up in class, but as soon as we hit the playground she would chat up a storm. Our teacher noticed this trend and pulled me aside. He asked, “Do you think you could help Mandeep come out of her shell a bit? I can tell that she knows the answers, but she seems scared to speak up.” My response was clear, “Um Yes! Of course!”

Rather than being my usual pushy self, I decided to be nonchalant by sneaking in supportive comments whenever I could. I found myself becoming her number one cheerleader. By the end of the school year she was talking to everyone, and no situation seemed to scare her.

Our Cultural Differences

Indian Beauty. Cultural Differences

Clearly Mandeep figured out my devious plan, because she sat me down one day to explain the reasons behind her shyness. Kids in small town suburbia are not accustomed to seeing a dark skinned girl who prays to many gods, occasionally wearing henna, and speaking with a “funny” accent. These were among my favorite things about her, so this realization confused me and broke my heart a little.

My Story Begins

Mom was right – the rose-colored glasses were now cracked. I think my mom always knew I would choose the rosy perspective. However, she didn’t account for my tenacity and drive for equality. The crack created in my glasses stirred a desire to support and protect others.

I was building a network of relationships with other inspiring people, and Mandeep was only the beginning of my story. No one would make the people in my community (or me) feel bad or stupid anymore. So it began…my journey to create a world of clear communication, trust, open information, and community. I’m still wandering down the path with my rosy glasses on, but I sneak a peek through the crack for a piece of “reality” every so often.