The Premiere Episode of Sweet Bytes with Sandra with host Dr. Sandra Colton-Medici features her guest Natalie Hapgood, Head of Strategy at Revelation where she shares her journey in the music business, navigating brand expectations, the changing landscape of business during the pandemic, and future iterations of data insights for brand storytelling.
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SANDRA: I am here with you and this is so much fun. I have been thinking about doing a podcast for a little bit. And if you notice in the background, if you’re watching this, this is my daughter’s artwork. So this is my home studio. So if you’ve thought about doing something from home and you didn’t know exactly how to get started or didn’t think it was possible, this is living proof, honey, that it is possible. I am doing this podcast from my living room. And we set it up and I am so excited to bring you digestible bites of digital goodness interviews that are inspiring and a little motivational talk that I feel like with some of my background in entertainment, that you will definitely hopefully take heart.
QUICK BTS OF THE BUSINESS OF PODCASTING
Some of the things that I have learned along the way, and being able to implement, you know, different parts of those things into the daily aspects of your life. I feel like there are so many points in my life that are really, really funny. Maybe I just think I’m funny. Uh, but I really feel like some of the stories that I’m going to share with you are really funny and some of them are super inspiring and some are sad, but I feel like everything that I have gone through in this life, you know, I’m going to just put it out there.
Part fun entertainment and part every door slamming in your face. So I want you to know that every door that closes there is a window or something that is going to open for you and this podcast. I just want to make sure that. And from the get-go that it’s all about you and your moving from 1.8, the next point, and I’m just here to support you in that.
So I wanted to say a little bit more about me so that you get an idea of who you’re talking to artists or say who you’re listening to. So I am a former pro dancer turned author, educator, my background. Have danced, uh, on some of the biggest stages in the world. I have toured with Rihanna as a backup dancer, was a former Laker girl and am the author of three books. One is called Book Me! How to Become a Successful Working Dancer in Hollywood. I also created the Book Me Workbook. And I just, most recently published a book called passion pipeline, and I’m so excited to share some of those experiences as an author.
And as a publisher, I published three different magazines. One is called Original Girl. Another is called Dance Track and the other was called Dance Team. I sang backup for, uh, Katharine McPhee on the Tonight show with Jay Leno, in addition to singing backup for Paulina Rubio on Jay Leno in Spanish. So there are a lot of things in my work pass that I definitely will be sharing with you in addition to digital marketing tips, because I am also a course creator.
THE BUSINESS OF DIGITAL MARKETING AND A BRAND STRATEGY PIVOT
I created a course called Course Sweetener. And yes, I love the word sweet. And so that is a course that teaches individuals who want to put a course online. How I went to the University of Oregon and, um, cheered there for four years. I also got two degrees from the University of Southern California. Uh, my Masters in Communication Management and a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership on my dissertation. I focused on e-commerce marketing strategies and targeting online.
I have two kids, a one-year-old named Chloé and I have a three-year-old named Giulia and my husband is Anthony and he is from France. So you’ll probably hear me talking a little bit about them from time to time. Just some fun stories here and there. And so for me, I will sprinkle throughout the episodes to come some of my entertainment, career highs and lows. Also some great and fun stories will come from just the interviews that we have with special guests. And I hope that you enjoy every single episode, so let’s get to it. So I want to give you a little bit of the lay of the land as to how every episode is going to be flowing and what.
So, because this is the premiere episode, I’m extremely excited to just give you, you know, obviously, I just gave you a little bit of information about myself, but I wanted to let you know that you can be part of every single episode. We have a call-in segment that I am so excited because people actually call it. For the episode to leave questions. And so we’re going to take one of those questions and answer that today. In addition to having digital marketing tips that are actionable, you can take them into your business and just run with them right away.
And then we also have in another segment, an inspirational interview, and generally speaking, there, there will be business leaders, potentially celebrities from entertainment, from non-entertainment, so that you can kind of get more of an idea of how people have gone through their careers and maybe had to pivot, maybe had to shift, maybe had to readjust what they were doing in order to get to that next place. And I’m really excited for the interviews that we have coming up and specifically the one for today, uh, Natalie Hapgood is going to be our premiere episode interview.
So just get ready. She is the Head of Strategy at Revelation and she is chock-full of information. So good for every single person, even if you think, you know, it all just listen, because I feel like she delivers it in a way that is digestible and is just, you can just take that goodness with you. No matter if you’ve been in the game for a long time, or if you’re just starting out. The third part, which is so funny, oh, I love this part because my husband asked me, he said, you know, why do you want to do a podcast? I said, well, because I think that I have a lot of information that people, you know, might want to know.
And he said, well, what are you going to talk about? And I said, well, I’m going to talk about everything that I like. I don’t feel like rule. What does that mean? Well, I’m going to talk about, you know, e-commerce and digital marketing and, you know, online courses and, and email marketing and influencer marketing. And I’m going to talk about publishing and I’m just talking about, you know, writing. And he’s like, so what are you going to call it? I don’t know everything I like to talk about. And he’s like, yeah, yeah, that’s a good name. That’s a good name. Well, so that name did not happen or else you’d be listening to the, everything I like to talk about podcasts.
WHY CREATE A PODCAST ABOUT BUSINESS AND BRANDS?
So this podcast is called Sweet Bytes with Sandra, because one of the other things that I really love is sweets, and I’m just putting it right out there. I love dessert. Okay, and I hope you do too, because we’re not just going to talk about dessert. We’re going to talk about foods that will bring people together. And that’s really what the sweet bite is all about. It’s about that bite of information that you can take with you and share it and make it part of your, your business life. In addition to having a sweet reward, that is just. Amazing. I want everyone who finishes each episode to have something with them that you can take, whether it’s the idea of creating a baked good for yourself and enjoying it or making it and taking.
As part of some sort of event. So maybe it’s breaking bread with your family, or it’s taking something to a work-related event, taking that sweet by and making it a conversation piece. And just having that communication and community. That’s really what the sweet bites with Sandra is about. So I hope that you stick with me for the rest of the episode. We are so ready. I don’t know if you’re ready, but I’m ready. So. We’re going to start off with just some digital marketing tips that what I like to call your brand voice. If you don’t have. Let’s work on it because when we think about brand voice, I think about the key elements and the signature piece of a brand voice.
KEEP YOUR BUSINESS CONTENT AND BRAND VOICE UNIQUE
And that means you need to unlock your analytics gene, right? You need to identify deliberate words and we’re choices to make sure that your brand voice is unique. And then you need to implement those into your brand voice and through your visual storytelling. Okay. When I think about discovering key elements to my signature brand voice, that means that my brand voice needs to be consistent and it has to be unique.
So make sure that when you are coming up with something that is going to be an overall message, okay. That it is concise and that you have a mission, you have something, some sort of values that you stand on, you need to make. That, when you put out that brand and your voices amplifying your message, that you don’t just fall off, you don’t just have like a one-time weekly message that you’re like, ah, that was cool for one time.
BRAND COHESION IS KEY FOR YOUR BUSINESS
But you know, I think we’re going to switch it up the next time. You need to be consistent, be unique and have a concise message and mission. So when you’re unlocking your analytics gene, and you’re using that to identify deliberate word selections, that brands often use, you need to do your research. Okay. So red line circle it out, all of the repetitive phrasing that you hear brands use. Okay. And then you need to narrow it down to your niche. So once you can do those.
Your research, you’re redlining and you’re narrowing it down. Then you’ll be able to move on to what I like to say is implementation of your brand voice through visual storytelling. And that means through photography. Text on video, utilizing shareable content, meaning like IgG stories, even LinkedIn has stories right now, Facebook stories, and then utilize your branding to make that visual storytelling come to life throughout an entire series of what you’re using for your business.
BRANDED TAGLINES AND PHRASES FOR BRAND RECOGNITION
So that means through. Taglines quotes. All of those things need to have a consistent message, but it also needs to come to life. You need to bring that to life through your visual storytelling. So just to kind of wrap up those portions of how you use your brand voice, discover your elements to your signature brand, voice, unlock your analytics, gene, identify those deliberate words that brands use that are really catchy and implement your brand. Through visual storytelling.
CALL-IN QUESTION FROM LISTENER
Now let’s listen to one of the phone calls that we had from a listener. This is Thomas in California. I’m having trouble figuring out what to write my emails to my customers. I feel like I’ve run out of things to say, have you run into this writer’s block? Thank you so much, Thomas, for asking that question.
I know that a lot of listeners probably have similar stories about having writer’s block. The thing that I want to tell you is when you have writer’s block, you need to talk it out. That is the solution that I have found really, really helps. So if you are, you know, pen and paper, you know, I’ve got my pen with my paper right here, my notebook, and I’m writing things and I’m like, ah, I can’t, I can’t, I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to do. Where, where are my creative juices going?
Why are they, why have they stopped? There are so many times that that has happened to me. And I know that those things have happened to you as well. Talk about. Get on the phone, talk with a friend. If you have somebody, that’s your partner that lives with you have a conversation because if you are verbalizing your ideas or even trying to talk about just the, the fact that you don’t have anything more to say sometimes that sparks things.
And the other thing, Which I did with my book, Passion P.I.P.E.L.I.N.E. I spoke it into my phone and I use the dictation little portion into the notes section. And you can do the same thing. You don’t just have to sit in silence. Right? You can talk to yourself, but record it because if you record it, you might go back and find it. Really amazing gold in the middle of your rant or your, your random session in your, in your recording. So talk it out.
That’s my best piece of advice for anyone who’s experiencing writer’s block, or if you’re trying to be a content creator and you just don’t have any more ideas. The second thing you can do is ask your audience. What they want to see more of, because that will give you an idea for what you should do next. And the best thing you can do is engage with your audience and know exactly what they want more of. So those are my two pieces of advice for you, Thomas, and also for everyone else who might be experiencing that sort of like.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any more creativity going on. My juices have stopped flowing that way and I don’t know what to write or I don’t know what to create. Talk it out and ask the question.
Are you an online course creator like me? Well, I use Kajabi for my course, it’s called Course Sweetener, and I have found them to be extremely helpful, everything all in one. And in order to find them, make sure to head over to my software solutions page on my website, you can go to my Tools page.
SANDRA: Welcome back to Sweet Bytes with Sandra. I am so excited to have with me the wonderfully talented and crossing over many borders. Um, Natalie Hapgood. She is the Head of Strategy. Am I right at Revelation? Thank you so much for joining me today.
NATALIE HAPGOOD: Thanks for having me. I’m excited.
SANDRA: So you have had a lot of different experiences in your career from working with artists like Diplo and you know, just crazy talented people. And now you’ve transitioned into kind of a whole new field. So can you talk about what you’re doing right now in the realm of strategy, content marketing, digital media?
THE MUSIC BUSINESS JOURNEY
NATALIE: Yeah. I, you know, I’ve put a lot of thought into what I wanted to do. You know, music was such a huge part of my life. I spent. You know, well, over 10, 12 years in the music business. And then I thought about, you know, I love all parts of it, the creative people that I worked with, the business people like it’s a fantastic industry. And I think of them often, especially not during COVID people that are in the live entertainment space, you know, hopefully, we can have that bounce back.
But, um, I thought about, you know, Specifically that I love and music. And what I really loved was making the music videos and making the content. It was just always like the most creative, the most fun. And then I kind of really liked the intensity of like the production piece of it, you know, there’s the budgets, but then when you’re on stage, then you have to make decisions as to how that’s going to go.
THE BUSINESS PIVOT
So I thought, well, let me take that skill that I have, you know, being able to manage these like really big budget music videos and turn that into something that we can make content for brands. And that’s when I pivoted to working at Revelation and you know, we do many things, but one of the key things that I’m involved in is making that content for brands, but it’s always rooted in the data and the insights, which is another talent that I gone into the music business because you’re always looking at your Spotify, apple dashboards. You want to know exactly, you know, where the music is popping up. Who’s resonating, who’s listening. So I sort of transitioned that skill over as well.
MAKING IT IN THE USA
SANDRA: Well, so you are not originally from the US so how did it feel coming from. South Africa. I know everybody probably heard the accent. So how did it feel coming from South Africa and, and, you know, what were some of the emotions that you had, you know, through that whole experience?
NATALIE: Well, I was, I was probably 23. I mean, it was sort of, part of it is kind of what you did. Like you went to school, you went to college and then you traveled. So I sort of did that. Generally, people from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, they go travel and they’ll go for like a year or so. Cause you’re so far away from the rest of the world, especially this was like 20 years ago, you know, it’s like when you go, you, you get your one way to get there and then you got to make it happen.
TRAVELING TO THE STATES
So I traveled a little bit around Europe and then I came to the states and I was really just looking for adventure. I just wanted to just. I dunno, see the world just be free. It was, it was just so fun. I still have this vivid memory of being on a plane, crossing the ocean, getting ready to land in New York, my lonely planet, New York book. I’m probably dating myself here. I terribly butt, you know, just like ready for adventure. And I knew it was a typical immigrant story on, you know, one, I had a backpack.
I had probably about 500 bucks and I’d secured myself a job upstate at, uh, on the camp thing. And I had two weeks in the city before I had to report for duty and I just fell in love with New York City. And it’s really been the love of my life. Like I’m still here all these years later.
SANDRA: Well, so did you report to work? Did you go to the lifeguard camp or did you do..
NATALIE: …and that was wonderful upstate, like near bear mountain near the Catskills. And it was just so wonderful. I met so many amazing people, got sort of my introduction into like real American culture. Cause you sort of grow up. When you’re outside of the country, like there’s so much if used in your understanding of American culture, TV, music, film, it’s everywhere. Right. But you’re in the culture. There’s so much more to learn. And I just, I just fell in love with that. And I think New York, specifically the character of new Yorkers and it was just appealing and still is. Yeah.
THE DAILY WORK OF BRANDED CONTENT STRATEGY
SANDRA: Well, so when you think of, kind of that infusion of, of, of culture, how do you as a content strategist and a creator, what do you think is the hardest part of, of your daily work?
NATALIE: I think, you know, for my position specifically, it’s really looking at, what’s going to resonate with your viewers or, you know, the people that you want to talk to. So a big part of what I do now, We, I always am a fan of using the data and the insights. So it takes the guessing game out of it because you’re working with clients’ money. You don’t want to waste that money sort of like, oh, I think this is cool. Let me give that a shot.
SINK YOUR ROOTS INTO RESEARCH: BUSINESS DATA ANALYSIS
So you want it to be rooted in something real, and that can be primary research. So interviews and surveys, et cetera. And it can also be secondary research, which is. White papers that have been written or surveys that have already been done. There’s lots of different ways you can give that info. And in the hottest part is really distilling that into a few key insights that you really feel like are going to resonate. And often also with my internal team and we’ll look at like the options that I’ve presented to them, and then we’ll figure out like, okay, these, these ones really work and then we’ll go and make the content around that. But that takes a couple of steps. So it’s not just the research and the work, you get the insights and you get the data.
I have to have an opinion as to what I think works and I have to be able to back it up. Then I have to get the internal team to buy in and I have to be flexible to hear the feedback as well. And then once that’s done, we have to get the clients to buy-in. Right. So there’s like all these steps internally before you can even just do the work.
SANDRA: It sounds like
NATALIE: it’s a little bit of sales at the same time.
BEST PRACTICES FOR BUSINESS AND KEY DATA-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS FOR BRANDS
SANDRA: I feel like you have to really believe in what you’re putting out there, because if you’re putting so much of yourself into all of these, you know, steps that you get to from concept to completion, you have to really be behind the product. So when you’re thinking about some of the things that you’ve done, what do you have as far as best practices or the solutions that you found that really work for you when you’re taking all of this data. Data for a lot of people is really scary. They’re not a researcher necessarily like for me, I got my doctorate. I totally get it. I’m analytical. I’m in that, you know, I’m in the deep end. Right. And. Don’t go there.
They’re a content creator because they’re creative, you know, they want to do that whole thing, but then how do you pull in that other side, that analytical side to really be able to say, okay, well, if I create this magnificent piece, you know, does that really address my outcomes? Like, is it going to hit the, the notations that I needed to hit? You know, what are some best practices for people who are not data-driven, but really are creative.
BUSINESS DATA INSIGHTS AND VISUALIZATION FOR BRANDS
NATALIE: Well, I think that the misconception is that data is sort of numbers, right? And that it’s like very dry to look at. The challenge, I think is once you get better, it’s looking at the numbers. The story actually pops out right at you. So you can see when, for example, if I’m looking at my music dashboards back in the day when I was at the music. And I would be able to see something, you know, there’s a static line and then there’s a pop-up somewhere or there’s a growth that increases over time. That’s the story that I have to been. Why is that happening?
What did we do in that market? What was the feedback? Did we have a promotion that I don’t know about? Do we have a promotion I did actually put in place and it’s working and then the other piece of it is that data isn’t actually just about. So data for you. If you’re a content creator, what is your community saying? What are they reacting to? What is their feedback? You know, who else are they following? That’s all data and insights that gives you the opportunity to learn about what it is they care about, and then be able to make content to speak to that.
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WINNING BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS
SANDRA: What do you see as well as one of the things that is kind of a key to creating a winning partnership, because you are creating? You know, campaigns and whatnot for four brands or products, but what is the key to having that great working relationship or even knowing like, you know, I really work well with these types of brands.
NATALIE: Well, I think the most successful partnerships I’ve had have really been around great communication and transparency. So being able to, if you’re late on a deadline, tell them that you’re going to be late and tell them why you’ll find a job. If you’re ahead of us, it’s so much better than you think. Trying to scramble last minute, it’ll squeeze it in under the finish line at the end, you know? Cause then they, you might even get the response of like that’s okay. Monday is fine, you know?
KEYS TO SUCCESS IN BUSINESS
So communication is key and transparency as well. Like I’m having difficulty doing something or you always want to protect your team. So if there’s some sort of hiccup internally, you want to make sure that that’s not the message you’re sending, but. We have to get a couple of things in line, you know, just communicate clearly and just be honest about what’s what’s going on.
And I think you get a lot of leeway from clients for that. And the same on the, on the flip side of the positive, some positive stuff, if things are going well, tell them why, tell them how it’s and then what happened, um, that them share in the joy and get them what I’ve also found works really well.
BUILDING TRUST WITH CLIENTS
Is there a point person, whether it’s the manager of an artist or your client within the company that you’re working for, if you can see those good bits of information to them so that they can just turn it around and tell the team it’s just going to help vehicles, it’s going to make your clients look great because they know exactly what’s going on. They’re getting. Frequently is to, you know, the good things that are happening. And, um, it builds trust as well, which is obviously one of the most important things.
SANDRA: Exactly. Well, so I know that obviously, you know, people have been in your life as far as coming before you in different positions, but do you have a mentor that you reach out to, or that you’ve worked with or do you mentor other than.
WORKING AS A WOMAN INSIDE OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS
NATALIE: Well, I’ve been lucky that I, I haven’t had a mentor per se, but I’ve had a lot of people along the way who have helped me have guided me. And then I always look for people who are really good at something and try to like, understand how it is that they do that and how I could sort of strengthen my skills to, to do that. And that’s been from the very beginning and I think for a woman, I often, especially in the music business it’s so, so male-dominated, it was look to women. To see who I could sort of, how do they get to their position? You know, I realized early on that there’s this myth that black women need to be bold busters to sort of make it, you know, make it to the top.
So I would look for women that were sort of more, I realized that’s not me. I’m not going to be that sort of ballsy, brash woman. And I don’t think a lot of women really gravitate towards that. If you’re that way, then that’s awesome. That’s that style works for you. But I would look to more sort of. How does someone who’s more, soft-spoken actually still come on themselves in the flirty and like, you know, just sort of pieces from that from, from women that I respected and admired and the same for the men I’ve worked with, who take time to mentor people.
TAKING TIME TO UPLIFT OTHERS
And I don’t think it’s sort of always as formal as like you’re being mentored now, but know someone who takes the time to speak to you and work through problems and stuff with you. And that’s something that’s very passionate. Like I care passionately about it. Mentoring. Younger staff that I work with that are my team, you know, just taking a moment to check in with how they feel when I see them do something.
Because the benefit of experiences that you can see those red flags way further down the road. So you can sort of get ahead of it to help, to help navigate, like this may happen. If that happens, what would you do? Okay. My recommendation is this that, you know, sort of just hold their hand a little bit until they gain a confidence to run themselves.
BUSINESS FORMAT AND DISTRIBUTION CHANGES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
SANDRA: Nice. Well, so what is something that you’ve seen be the biggest change since the beginning of.
NATALIE: I mean in the music business, it was the advent of streaming, for sure. You know, and then even just in the last few months, it’s the advent of touchless payments and curbside pickup. And, you know, so I’d say over the course of my career, it was really streaming coming to play and just actually realtime watching the music business transition from like CDs to streaming, which had only read about in the transition from like records to CDs.
CONSUMER INSIGHTS: RAPID BEHAVIORAL CHANGES DUE TO GLOBAL PANDEMIC
But this time I was living through one of those transitions and then now. Yeah, it’s been really amazing how quickly, you know, consumer behavior changes slowly over time, except when there’s a global pandemic and everybody needs to now be able to, and wants to not have to, you know, pull out their credit card and touch a bunch of buttons to pay for something.
So, Google signup, Google Pay, Apple Pay, et cetera, being able to shop online, curbside pickup, all of those things I just mentioned. So that’s been pretty amazing actually to work with our clients to really like push full speed ahead. During the last couple of months to get them to a place where they can actually stay in the business, given all these new tools and customers are coming along because they want that too.
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EVENTS THAT SHAPED THE JOURNEY
SANDRA: Yeah, exactly. Well, so tell our listeners just something very interesting. It could be funny, could be terrifying, could be inspiring of one of the projects that you’ve been working on, whether it’s at the particular place that you work right now, or even prior companies where it was just one of those stories that you took with you that you can tell, it can be terrifying if you want.
NATALIE: I have, I mean, you know, but working in the music business, I was so lucky that there were these moments where I was like, wow, this is my life. And there was one moment in particular. Cause I just, I didn’t put too much thought into this. I thought I’m just going to go with the first thing that pops into my head. And it was Lollapalooza a couple of years ago. And Eminem was headlining and they kit out the whole backstage. So backstage is often like the people in the business, artists, et cetera, like, you know, but they cleared it all out. That’s it? And somehow my friend and I knew the tour manager for another major artist and he knew the guys.
BACKSTAGE WATCH PARTY
And so we were backstage when they kicked everybody out. So I had this moment where I was standing with one of my very good friends, watching Eminem, the only people backstage in front of like thousands and thousands of people. And I just remember like, wow. And I wouldn’t even say I was like a huge Eminem fan, but once I saw him perform, live that close. I mean, it was really incredible, his energy and you understand why he is the artist he is. So that, that was just like, uh, you know, I just thought of that moment popped in. And then the other time I served Mick Jagger tea and that was pretty cool.
SANDRA: Does he like it a certain way? Or…
NATALIE: I don’t even remember that because that was just like, wow. My dad would be like, my dad would slip out right now, but I was working on a soundcheck for road to XR, which is a documentary that they had done. And I was like, this is so surreal. Wow. So I like moments like that where you sort of like, oh, okay. So I, I always, I still look for those moments. I mean, even now making content for brands, there’s things that I always try to find things that excite me, because if I can find things that excite me, I know that I’ll be able to connect with who if they were trying to sell to in an authentic way.
METRICS THAT MATTER: INSIGHTS FOR BUSINESS
SANDRA: Exactly. What, so I have to ask you because you’ve been in certain analytical conversations. So what is the one thing. Every content strategist, the metric that we should all be looking for that matters the most. ’cause everybody tells me something different. So, so I kind of, I’m asking everyone, what, what is it? Is it the, is it the shares? Is it the likes? …the engagement, the posts, the comments, like what is, what is the one that matters the most right now?
NATALIE: I mean, I would never ever put myself in that. It’s the one thing that matters. Box to be honest, I’m always about the holistic picture. I think it matters about like, of course how many followers you have, but engagement’s always been important. Shares are super important. What are people talking about when they talk to you? So I think you have to look at that picture holistically and that’s the way you find the things that you’re missing. If you just look at it. Analytical point, the cumulative pictures. What tells you a story? And I think one of the things that’s sort of developing your system of how you start to look at the data.
BRAND CONTENT ANALYSIS IS KEY: DATA INSIGHTS
So I think if you’re a avid content creator and you’re turning out stuff every day, make sure once a week, you’re having that time where you can just sit and look at what happened for the week. Often week over week, stats are pretty interesting, so you can see what, what moves the needle, but look at everything. The more, you know, and understand about where your engagements shares, likes, et cetera, are then you’ll start to be able to identify when there’s like an uptick or a bump of something unusual and then jumped on that to see how can you amplify whatever that thing is. So I think the holistic approach, you have to look at it.
BUSINESS COLLABORATIONS ON THE RADAR
SANDRA: Well, so my last question for you, I’m so excited that you decided to join us because this is, so if you’re listening to this, I feel like you just need to like soak up, absorb everything that she is talking about. The, my last question is who is one of the favorite, one of your favorite people to work with and why? Um, it could be a celebrity. It could be a business leader. It could be your mom. Um, you know, who is one of your favorite people to work with?
NATALIE: Look, I’ve worked with Diplo musical creative genius. What I loved about him is that he didn’t really ever put himself in. He was super, super willing to try different things. There was always like, oh, it’s house music. Now it’s country music that now it’s, you know, that he would be really, really generous with coming artists or unproven talent. He’s fearless to work with those guys. So that was awesome. But then on the business side, I’ve worked with a number of people who I feel really challenged what the status quo is.
DIFFERENT BRAND PERSPECTIVES
And it’s not to say that they’re doing anything really radical, but they’re just able to. Look at something a different way to try to create something different and then have the guts. You know, obviously based in some sort of like, I think this is going to work and this is why, but those are the leaders that I generally gravitate towards. Like, let’s not put ourselves in a box, like, I’ll give you an example. Someone I worked with in the music business, where everyone was like, you don’t give away music for free. You absolutely don’t do that. Like, you know, you’re killing your copyright.
You don’t do that. And our sort of thought on that in my previous company, I mean, why not? It’s given away for free people are going to get it anyway. So what you’re doing now is you’re just building a pool of people who love and care about you. And you’re going to find your hardcore fans who then will eventually actually not just buy maybe music.
Well, maybe they’ll navel by music, but they’ll buy tickets. When we go back to live events, they will, merchant will be available, you know that. So there’s a lot more people to market to. So it was just like a bold stance and something that was an industry norm that they just said, let’s try something different. And that’s the kind of stuff that.
THE BUSINESS BUCKET LIST
SANDRA: And so as an attachment to that, who would you like to work? Who was on your bucket list?
NATALIE: Um, I don’t know. I signed up for the altMBA with Seth Godin, cause I, I feel like people, uh, really gravitate towards, you know, every couple of his books. I think that would be a really, I mean, that wouldn’t be working with him obviously. Learning, like I’m really big into learning. And actually, that’s one thing I would say to people is just, you don’t have to pay for courses to do things that is tons of free stuff online or affordable things. I mean, just go to Coursera or your local university, or, you know, so always update your skills and never stop learning.
But, um, You know, I’m sort of going into, cause I was in the music business and they, with tons of people that I got to work with that were, you know, really big managers or executives, uh, grateful for those experiences.
MOVING TO THE BRAND SIDE OF DATA INSIGHTS
And now I’m sort of pivoted a little bit to brand side. So I’m sort of learning and meeting a bunch of new and different people. So that’s, that is interesting. And still trying to figure it out. I’m sure over time, you know, you get to work with a lot of different people. So I look forward to that.
SANDRA: Nice. Well, thank you so much for lending us all of your knowledge on sweet bites with Sandra, and make sure to hop over to extra bite where we are going. She’s been very, very gracious in giving us her time. And, uh, we’re going to ask her a few more questions for extra bytes. So we’ll be back after this. Thank you guys so much for sticking with me this premiere episode.
BRAND STORIES AND INSIGHTS
LAKER GIRLS AUDITIONS: SHE MEANS BUSINESS
SANDRA: I’m, I’m just so grateful that we have had such a great guest today that you are going to hopefully join our community in our Facebook group. And what is really fun is coming up. And that is the extra bites. So don’t miss that. I wanted to just have one moment at the end of every episode to really just give you an aside from my entertainment career that I find either funny, aspiring or motivational or even terrifying at times. Um, this particular story I thought was really appropriate because I was a Los Angeles Laker girl for one season between 2002 to 2003.
And I thought it was so timely because the Lakers just one. So if you’re not a Laker fan, it’s okay. You can still listen to the podcast, but I definitely wanted to make sure that I told this story ’cause to me. I’ve heard other people respond to this story in very positive ways. So I hope that you do as well. When I auditioned for the Laker Girls, the first time I made it through round after round after round. And it was very intimidating when I show.
IMPOSTER SYNDROME: INSIGHT INTO BRAND OVERWHELM
There were ladies lined around the building, around the building. And for me, I had never worked in Los Angeles before, let alone shown up to the Lakers practice facility. And just that in and of itself was intimidating. Like who do you think you are just showing up here? You know, just what makes you think that you’re good enough to be. So for me, I kind of, you know, I just went in and looked around and got a little starstruck and, and then I tried to get myself in a good headspace and I did all the across the floor combination and I, You know, did all the hip hop combination. Then I did the whole jazz combination.
They were making cut after cut after cut and I kept making it, making it. And I was like, yes, this could be it. Right. And we got to the last part. And we were all standing in one line and I just remember being so scared, so scared because this was when we had to speak.
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BRAND AND BUSINESS IDOLS
Right? And as dancers, you’re just not always asked to do that because you’re interpreting music. You’re, um, you’re living through, through the, the movement. You’re not always asked to do that. And so this was the time where they were going to ask you a question, like, why do you want to be a Laker. And, you know, I, I’m always of the, of the moment of Paul Abdul is my idol.
So that’s kind of, it’s a no-brainer. Right. You know, I’ve looked up to her for a long time and she’s a singer, she’s a dancer. She’s a tap dancer too. And kind of like me, like I could do that, you know, I was I’m, I, I saw her growing up and I wanted to be like her. So it was a no-brainer for the, my answer, but, you know, you’ve just exhausted yourself over and over and over with every single cut, getting out there on the floor, you know, and a half top and, uh, and you know, dance trunks and, you know, your sneakers and your Pantyhose and all of that.
You’re your number one body on display, number two, you know what, if you can’t speak at that moment. For me, it was one of those moments where I thought, my goodness, this is, this is make or break. And I did a good job. I answered the question and I didn’t make the cut.
GO-GO DANCING BUSINESS: IS THAT ON-BRAND?
I wasn’t asked back. And I thought, my goodness. Was it, was it, my hair was it. I had, at that point I had really curly short hair. It wasn’t my answer. I mean, they gotta like pull up dual my gosh, you know, it probably wasn’t my answer. And, and so I, I went away and I wasn’t called in the final call. And I, at that point I was living in Las Vegas and I went back home and I didn’t really know what to do. So I saw that there was this, uh, this job and it was go-go dancing.
It was like, I went from trying to try out for the Laker girls to like doing what everybody does, which is finding something that you can do in the meantime. I had never considered go-go dancing to be part of what I was going to do.
VEGAS INSIGHTS: THE BUSINESS OF LATE NIGHTS AND HOTEL LIGHTS
And I showed up, and it was for a hotel and casino. Uh, it was Mandalay Bay, hotel and casino, and the club was rum jungle and they had cages in the sky was like, it was like a bird, they were bird cages. Right. And if you’ve ever been there, it was beautiful. It was beautiful lighting. And the, you know, um, they have acrobat performances in the middle of, of, of each set for the DJ. And I mean, it was just amazing. It was, it was visually a great party experience in a club. Right.
So I went in and I, I auditioned and I got. And I said, okay, I’ll go-go. But then I had to do that one thing that every person like myself has to do, and I said, mom, you have to come to my first night and you have to tell me if I’m okay doing this because of at the time, you know, all of my family lived in Las Vegas.
And so. I didn’t want one of her coworkers to walk in and be like, did you know that your daughter is Coco dancing? Did you know that she’s, you know, in fishnet tights and, and knee-high boots and, you know, go, go dancing now, guaranteed? The outfits were not risque at all. And I was fully covered in all of the right places. So, um, that, wasn’t my thing that I wanted her to see. I just wanted her to come in and see. I’m cool with this.
IS IT ANY OF MOM’S BUSINESS? GAINING APPROVAL
So for me, it was like, I needed that approval even though as an adult, like, I don’t know. So I went there and I danced from, I think it was 11:00 pm until 5:00 am. I think it was six days a week for an entire. An entire year, I made a lot of great money because go-go dancing makes a lot of great money and you’re only doing 20 minutes sets. So, you know, 20 minutes on 20 minutes off, and I got so much stamina, go-go dancing. You just have no idea, like if you’ve ever done. I mean, it is, it is hard. It is, you know, we were being lifted, hoisted up into these cages.
And when I say cage, I’m saying like they, they had room to dance in these cages and you know, it gives you a different perspective on performance, right? It gives you a perspective that not everybody is there for. You know, going to a club, people are there doing whatever it is that they came there to do, whether it’s to have a drink or, you know, dance on the dance floor or listen to good music or, or find their next boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever it is that, or celebrate, you know, it’s Vegas, everybody celebrating some sort of bachelor party, right.
THE BUSINESS OF PERFORMING / BRAND CHALLENGES AND INSIGHTS
So the focus is not always on you. And so as a performer, It was a challenge. It was a challenge to make sure that for me, I was giving the best performance because I was a performer. But to also be entertaining for guests that maybe wouldn’t have looked up at the cage. They’re not looking at you, you know, to, to really, to, to have that moment where you are able to pull somebody’s attention from that other thing that they went there to do.
That was the biggest challenge, but it taught me so much about performing and really in show business. If you are working on getting to one place and you get sidetracked by something else, because you didn’t get that first thing that you wanted for me, go, go dancing. I was going to be the best go, go dance there ever was.
And I wasn’t going to be the best, the best part of that experience for everybody’s night that, you know, that entered that club. I was going to be that for them. Right. And after that experience of doing that, go-go dancing for an entire year. I went back to the Laker Girls. I stood in that long line again, and I did the same thing again, I auditioned and went through cut after cut after cut.
INSIGHT INTO MAKING THE CUT FOR A HISTORIC BRAND
This time I got to the interview and that was where you actually went in and they, you know, asked you, you know, your past experience and why you wanted to do this and what you could bring to the team and all of that. I got what I wanted and I got so much else in between the two experiences.
And I find that you know, we talk about doors closing and windows opening, or another door opening, or some other opportunity coming into your life. And for me, that experience of not making. It was just as important to my professional career as making it, and it’s really about what I made from it. And I made friends, you know, go, go dancing. I improve my performing skills.
It really improved my stamina. And that’s something that you need when you’re performing, you know, on a huge stage, like, you know, at a Lakers game. So for me, it was really important the time that you use in-between. It’s just as important, you know, you don’t want to squander that away is basically what I’m getting at.
INSIGHTS FROM FAILING IN BUSINESS
So I hope that you take with you just from that story. Number one, that I really did get to the goal that I really wanted, and it was one of the best experiences of my life, but I also didn’t get it at the first one. And so if you really want something, you go after it. If you really want something, you really show up every time. And the second time that I showed up, I was better than the first time.
And I really think that that made a difference. So, now is the sweet reward. So let’s talk about Extra Byte. An Extra Byte is where I give you just the reward that you need for finishing off this episode. So, number one, if you go to my website, sweet bites with sandra.com, you’re going to see a full blog of a whole bunch of things from the episode, and also from extra.
EXTRA BYTE: BRANDED BUSINESS INSIGHTS
So what is Extra Byte? Extra byte is just that little goodness that I love to give at the end of every episode, where are you going to head over to my blog? And you’re going to find three different things for this episode. Number one, you’re going to find Bakery Lorraine. Oh my goodness. This is the most delectable, the bacon cheddar scone. Now the recipe will be. If you want to make it for yourself, make sure that once you’re done and you’ve made it, you send over an image, you can send it to info at Sandra Colton, ndc.com or you can join our Facebook group and post it in the group. I will. I want to see what you make, because I have seen this image.
I’m going to put it on Extra Byte with the recipe Bakery Lorraine. Oh, to die for. So that is your reward is going in and making sure that you take a moment to have this sweet byte. Yes. And then the other is beauty and the beat. This is a brand new duo. They have a song called hockey. They’re going to explain it’s the Greek word, but it also has a subtitle for their new song called so good.
I thought it paired so, so well paired, so good. Uh, with Bakery Lorraine’s Bacon Cheddar Scone. So it makes sure that as you are baking this, uh, bacon cheddar scone that you put on hot. So good this song is because it gets you in this mood. Oh my goodness. It’s like that, that kind of chill vibe that you need, um, while you’re cooking.
GET INTO THE BAKING ZONE WITH A SWEET BRAND
Cause you’re in that, like that zone, trust me. That’s where I go when I cook. So, and then the other thing that I don’t want to forget is that we’re doing a giveaway. So I am going to be, um, asking for people to submit their bacon cheddar scones. And I’m going to pick a winner that is going to win a $25 E-gift certificate to Amazon.com. (Entries now closed.)
I had a great time on this episode. So I just want to thank you. I am so happy that you’re here and just tell you how much I adore you and know that with everything that everyone is going through right now, I hope that you are safe and healthy. Have a happy. Happy day and I’ll check you on the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to the premiere episode of Sweet Bytes with Sandra tune in every Thursday to satisfy your entrepreneurial sweet tooth with me, Sandra Colton-Medici on Sweet Bytes with Sandra. Please join our group on Facebook. It’s Facebook.com/groups/collegeofstyle.
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