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What We Talk About

The most overlooked part of your business might just be your brand. If you’re unclear about it, how do you expect your customers or clients to have clarity? In today’s episode we bring Digital Brand Strategist Altimese Nichole in to break it all down for us.

  • (2:15) What a digital brand strategist does
  • (4:27) Your brand voice
  • (6:06) How to choose a brand color
  • (7:10) What else is included in your branding
  • (8:22) How to develop your brand persona(s)
  • (12:38) Developing your brand voice
  • (13:32) Color psychology and what it means for your brand
  • (15:21) How long it takes to develop your brand
  • (17:01) Why entrepreneurs should focus on their brand
  • (18:35) The role compelling storytelling plays in your brand
  • (20:08) The importance of living in your truth
  • (23:57) How to handle sensitive discussions like racial inequality
  • (28:05) Who your brand really is
  • (30:44) How your brand can leverage the power of others
  • (32:59) About Altimese’s books
  • (45:58) How your mask hurts your brand

Altimese’s website

The Ezer Agency

Brandicity – Most small business owners desire to spend most of their efforts working on their core crafts, not performing trial and error on how to properly utilize social media. Brandticity provides a compass to guide business owners along the digital path. Through using Brandticity as a resource, business owners learn to use social media more efficiently and effectively to make vital connections with potential clients and drive business sales upward! 

The Girl Behind The Mask – Introducing a collection of poetry, from the journal of one woman's story that she learned isn't isolated. Sis, it's time to remove the mask.

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:00
On today's episode, we're talking to digital brand strategist ultimate Nicole and getting the scoop behind building your brand online. The big question is this as entrepreneurs, coaches and business owners, how do we consistently sell our products, programs and services without making our customers feel like we're only in it for the almighty dollar? How do we serve the way we know we're meant to serve and still run a profitable business? How do we put good into the world while we put dollars into our pockets? How do we change the lives of our community while also bettering the life we lead?

Jennie Wright 0:35
It's not a zero sum game. It's not an either or scenario, it is possible to thrive while serving your clients to the best of your ability. This podcast will show you how. I'm Jennie Wright. I'm Alyson Lex and welcome to the System to THRIVE. Do you know what your brand is?

Alyson Lex 0:55
Do you have any idea

Jennie Wright 0:56
the importance of having a brand in your business and what that couldn't To the growth of your business, well, it took me a heck of a long time to figure it out. I think it took Alyson some time to figure out. And today we're going to make this a lot easier by having an expert. come on board and tell us everything we need to know. We are incredibly excited to have ultimate Nicole, a online or digital brand strategist with us. Ultimately, thank you so much for being on with us,

Altimese Nichole Curry 1:26
of course, and thank you so much for having me.

Jennie Wright 1:29
I have to admit, ultimatum, and I know each other a little bit from before, we got to participate in a really cool panel a couple months back in a Facebook group that my partner has and we got to really go back and forth and really, you know, talk about what it takes to grow a business and all sorts of different wonderful things. And I was completely smitten and had to have all Tommy's on the podcast once we got on so we're really excited to have you on and this is really good.

Alyson Lex 1:57
Wasn't I on that panel too. You were Yeah,

Jennie Wright 2:01
you were Yeah, absolutely It was really

Alyson Lex 2:03
wanted to be part of the club.

Jennie Wright 2:07
So we're gonna start off, I really want to understand from your point of view, what a digital brand strategist is, and how you became one.

Altimese Nichole Curry 2:15
Yes, absolutely. So, a digital brand strategist focuses solely on your digital brand presence. Right? So that is not including all of your digital branding, all of your branding. It's just the digital side of your branding and how your audience relates to you online. I actually started as a digital strategist by accident. I started my career as a publicist. And I started at CNN. And fortunately or unfortunately, however, the perspective is they just always through digital, my way, whether it was Twitter or Whether it was Facebook, they will just be like, asked me, Do you want this? Do you want it? And I will just say yes. So that was actually the first five to seven years of my career. It was like an added responsibility that was never in my job description. And I loved it. I, it was natural for me. I quickly learned that, you know, for social media, it is all about conversations, right? And it's all about making connections with people virtually. And then having everything else in terms of chrome version follow. So, you know, I'm very lucky that I actually had that experience very early in my career, because then I was able to just kind of recognize that as my niche and grow in it.

Jennie Wright 3:53
Okay, fascinating. Yeah. Also, I know you're thinking the same thing as me. I have so many questions. All right.

Alyson Lex 4:01
So far you want to go first, or can I go first? Okay, so you mentioned that your brand is how you interact with your customer, your audience, your customers, what have you online? So this would be maybe the voice that I have when I'm talking on behalf of my Facebook page, or when I post on my blog, like, what do you mean by like, where can people find my brand?

Altimese Nichole Curry 4:27
Yes. So your brand is essentially at first impression. I call it the digital first impression, right? So if you know someone was to land on your Instagram feed right now, and look at what we call a nine grid and the nine grid is essentially the first serve me in your row and in your column that makes your nine grid. If someone went to your profile your profile and look at your nine grid, what would be the first impression that embodies what that branding is, right? And if you go to your Instagram page, and you do that yourself, you experienced nine grid yourself and you can't decipher what the branding is or what you're all about, or what you provide or any of that. Then you recognize, okay, there's a branding problem. Because in that nine grid, I can't even tell what I do. So, you know, that's a that's one of the huge indicators. Normally, if I was to do an audit, I tend to start there because it's the easiest to understand. And that's all Yes, it's so visual, and it kind of breaks down that first impression experience. Because even though these conversations online, they're online, that still matters. You know, when you meet someone face to face, there is a first impression that they receive. Social media and digital is no different.

Alyson Lex 5:58
So your brand is more Then your color and your font.

Altimese Nichole Curry 6:03

Alyson Lex 6:04
but those are important to

Altimese Nichole Curry 6:06
Yes. And it's so important to understand, like, don't just pick a color because you like it. Like, don't just pick a color because it's your favorite color. And it's pretty because there's actual psychology behind colors, and the emotion that it evokes and the things that it psychologically inspires. So when picking you know, something that is a part of your branding, but it's not the only part of your branding, you have to be very strategic, very intentional, and knowing Okay, if, if I use gold, what is that going to bring? Like what emotion could that potentially bring out of somebody who just, you know happens to browse my website or look at my Facebook page, or if I use read What normally would red bring to someone's mind? Like, those are the things we should consider when thinking about like, colors and fonts and things like that.

But this certainly not the only piece of your of your branding, there's a part of your brand identity that includes your vision, right, and your mission statement and understanding the audience, which is considered in brand language personas. So creating these personas of, you know, who am I targeting? I often tell people, if you could embody, like if your brand could become a person, who's that person be like, how would they speak? How would they engage with people? What would be the things that they would converse about in terms of solutions, and not necessarily attaching it to like someone who actually exists? Like I do know some people who will do like celebrities and things like that. It doesn't have to be just think of it. Like, if your brand was a person, how would they communicate with other people? And then that way you can start to embody this, this full experience of a brand.

Alyson Lex 8:13

Jennie Wright 8:14
I know that we had an awesome list of questions. I think those just went out, well,

Alyson Lex 8:20
legally the complete because you've

Jennie Wright 8:22
blown our minds in the first 10 minutes. But what I want to say is, you just said something that really kind of connected with me. And I want to understand the brand persona, the people persona. And what I want to ask you is, if we're building out these brand personas, and in my in my world, I call that your ideal client avatar. Yep. But for brand personas, how many should you have in your business? Should you have one brand persona, or do you have multiple brand personas? How does that work?

Altimese Nichole Curry 8:53
Yes, absolutely. I have yet to work with a brand. I've only had one Brand persona, oftentimes your brand will relate to different types of people for different reasons. So that you know, it takes a little bit of research Well, a lot of research. It takes time, but you start to understand the different reasons why people will gravitate or be attracted to either the services or the products that you provide. I honestly, you know, from CNN, to Cartoon Network to Turkish chicken center, homeline Minaj, we have never had just one. It's always been a couple because there are different dynamics. So a brand and each level of complexity, if you will present another audience, learning those audiences and being open.

Jennie Wright 9:49
If I'm a digital entrepreneur, and I have online courses, and I also do coaching does that mean that I have two brand personas one for my Coaching and one for my digital course.

Altimese Nichole Curry 10:02
Not necessarily. Okay, not necessarily. So if you have online coaching and services, they may actually resonate with the same people. Okay.

Jennie Wright 10:14
So it's not necessarily about the product. It's more about the subject matter.

Altimese Nichole Curry 10:19
Yes. Yes. Okay. And about it more about the person you're trying to connect to who essentially be your ideal client.

Jennie Wright 10:28
Got it. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So what I want to ask next is, actually, I think you answered my question on that. I know Allison's like,

Alyson Lex 10:38
I have so many questions. Yeah. Like my turn, my turn. Okay. So first, when it comes to the brand personas, I want to maybe give an example. So I have done for you copy clients. And these people are they're typically out of time or they don't feel like doing or whatever and they're willing to pay more of a premium to have it done for them, then I have a product that has templates. And those people maybe are more budget conscious, or they want to do it themselves, and they just want to like up. Those are two different personas because they typically don't buy

Altimese Nichole Curry 11:19
correct their way.

Alyson Lex 11:21
Okay, yes, I totally understand.

Altimese Nichole Curry 11:23
And because they have their reason for purchasing two different reasons,

Alyson Lex 11:29

Altimese Nichole Curry 11:30
one person is coming to you, because they're like, you know what, I don't want to deal with this, I may not have the time to deal with this. I trust you to do this. And I'm going to pay a premium price for it. And then the other audience is more of like, well, I got a little more time. I want to be able to build this out myself. I want to be able to customize it as I want. Give me the templates. So they're coming to you for two different reasons. So those are definitely two different personas.

Alyson Lex 11:56
Awesome. I'm so glad that I asked for clarity on that. Just Make sure I was right. Yeah. Now you mentioned about and I think you called it brand voice, how your brand communicate outward. And I have something that I do with clients sometimes if they don't have this kind of research or they haven't had a branding expert come in, and I basically, I assign them like a person in my head. Like, I'll say, Oh yeah, they're gonna come, they're gonna approach this like a big sister would, or they're the kind grandfather or they're the stern boss or they're this, like, is that a good starting point?

Altimese Nichole Curry 12:38
It is and I'm gonna blow your mind a little bit more. So not ready with. So within, you know, within corporate, the large companies like Coke, Warner media, DS services, nursery water, they actually have brand archetypes and it's another Will archetype where there's the every man, there's a creator, a sage, almost identical to what you're describing. But in the brand world, that's what we use to help us figure out the brand identity

Alyson Lex 13:18
of our clients. Could be doing something right with Brian, forgive me go because I have to tell you I picked my colors because I like them to

Altimese Nichole Curry 13:29
search on them and see what they mean.

Like literally Google color psychology and all of this research pops up and you'll see like, you know, Ron, why Coca Cola chose the colors they did. McDonald's, all of them, they pop up.

Jennie Wright 13:45
There's actually a documentary about that that was made actually here in Canada. And it was Yeah, it was really really good. It was on I think it was on the not the history network, but one of those like TV channels, and it was playing last year and it was something in the The title was super cool. And they were breaking and they were using designers, graphic designers and people from media and things like that to explain why these brands have built the identities and how they did it and stuff was really, really cool. Now, I've had the pleasure and the pain of rebranding to fortune 500

Altimese Nichole Curry 14:21

Jennie Wright 14:21
and I say pleasure and pain in the same sentence because darn, it is so true. Oh, God. rebranding was was insane. You know, you've got egos that come into play. When you're doing that in a corporate environment. You've got corporate responsibility. You've got lawyers involved, you've got Investor Relations and communications involved. I mean, it's multi layer. This was a nine month project to rebrand and that felt tight.

Altimese Nichole Curry 14:51
Yes, that felt tight. It was tight.

Jennie Wright 14:54
Yeah. And then the following time that I did it, it was a deeper rebrand and I'm talking right from Like the logo, the colors, the website, all the things, and that took us like almost 18 months.

Altimese Nichole Curry 15:08
Yes, that sounds a little bit better. Right? That sounds right.

Jennie Wright 15:11
Yeah. So that's corporate. Now I know when online, we're doing it a different pace.

So if somebody hired you to help them brand up their company, what what are they looking at in terms of time?

Altimese Nichole Curry 15:21
Yeah, I would actually say, normally, for entrepreneurs, it takes, you know, anywhere from three months Max, up to six. And the only times that it tends to go closer to the six is if you have many different layers to your business, that requires a shift in perspective from your current audience. Meaning, you know, because of the rebrand, they kind of have to learn you all over again. They have to get used to you all over again. I gotta get familiar with the new messaging. familiar with the new brand, they tone everything. And that takes time. So you got to kind of nurture that process. And I realize a lot of people prefer that instant gratification. And digital just doesn't work that way. It doesn't work that way, you know, even down to, you know, social media and content within itself. You can have an isolated post that has instant performance. However, that is an isolated post. It needs to be connected to a strategic theme or strategy beyond itself, which that takes time.

Jennie Wright 16:42
Yeah, it does. Yeah. And that leads me to a really good question, especially if you're thinking about your brand. And if the listeners are thinking about their brand, you know, they want to know how does having the right brand, help them grow their thread, count them grow a thriving business, how does it help? What's the differences? Gonna make? Why do we need it?

Altimese Nichole Curry 17:01
Absolutely. Absolutely. It's all about resonating with your audience. If you are unclear about your brand, how can you expect someone else to have clarity? Mm hmm. So you have to really understand and then understanding, you know, I've heard some people say, Oh, well, we're for everybody. Or we're for, you know, we're just attracting, you know, the general public. No, no, no, no, no, no, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't work that way. Because you are indeed engaging with real human beings that have a preference. They have likes, they have dislikes, they have different complexities to their own personality. So for you being a brand coming into this for everybody, that is going to completely dilute the power that your brand Has and connecting with people. You've got to understand like there's a level of authenticity, a level of vulnerability, and then compelling storytelling connects to that. But you got to know your brand. If you don't know who you are, how do you expect others to be able to relate?

Jennie Wright 18:18
Alright, I'm nodding like a crazy woman over here because I'm just, I'm loving this so much and so good.

Alyson Lex 18:25
Okay. You talked about compelling story telling compelling storytelling. Yes. Talk to me a little bit more about that because it piqued my interest.

Altimese Nichole Curry 18:34
Yes, yes. So, um, I will use in this example, I'll use very relevant, timely conversation situations, right. I don't know if you guys will remember a while back, there was this thing called blackout Tuesday. to something to that extent, right. Yeah. Dorn out Tuesday. For one we didn't know who was behind it. We had no idea how it started, actually started in the music industry, believe it or not, it was specific to them. And it just grew legs of its own. Yeah. But then there were people who and brands who jumped on board, not understanding the foundation of what it was. Right. So literally, they just jumped on and said, Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too, which from a branding perspective, why? What? You didn't even understand the mission behind why it started in the first place and you joined in, right. So it's so important to understand when you are building a brand, that story has to be authentic. A story has to be wrong, has to be real. I literally just a day ago, maybe two days ago, I woke up at three o'clock in the morning, slightly annoyed, frustrated. Thinking about, like this specific situation. I didn't know how it would be resolved. I was like, What in the world am I going to do?

When I was in corporate America, I have these all the time, all the time, because you have different people timing in or decision making all of these things happen. So, in that moment, at three o'clock in the morning, I said, What am I doing? This is not me, this isn't who I am. So I decided to take that to LinkedIn. I shared a very personal story. I said, Hey, you know, for a very long time in corporate America, I had to wear a mask. I had to not necessarily tell my truth, because my truth wasn't accepted. That's not why they hired me. Question. Yes.

Jennie Wright 20:49
Why? What was the truth that they hadn't hired you for? I want I'd love to unpack that a little bit.

Altimese Nichole Curry 20:54
I think that the truth of Who I was was labeled. It was labeled my firt my wasn't my first shot was like my second job out of college. I was labeled as passionate. Not necessarily in a good way. I was labeled as, Oh, she's a great employee, but she's a little emotional. Okay.

Jennie Wright 21:20
I am going to fire with that because I got that too.

Altimese Nichole Curry 21:23

I put a mask on. And yeah, I did. Yeah. Because you're like, Okay, well, this this isn't accepted. Even though this is who I am. This is how I feel. And they tell you leave there. Leave your feelings at the door. That is the biggest No, no. in business. It's

Jennie Wright 21:43
no don't feel people treated you like that. Do you feel like it was cuz you were a woman? Or more?

Altimese Nichole Curry 21:49
Um, I think it I think it was because a lot of times people when they don't fully understand they It's it's easy to shy away from the things that you don't fully understand.

Jennie Wright 22:06
I get that and and that really I mean, I know we've just went a little it seems like we're off topic but we're not. Yeah because who you are is your bed like Asian person? Exactly is Allison being completely authentic about her journey? Her, you know how she feels about things are mine. When I started the business and I came from corporate there was this thing where it was like hide behind the business name. But Allison has taught me through our very long and extensive friendship that people buy from people. They don't buy from a corporation right? Thank you. Alison's like thank you Jenny for you know,

Alyson Lex 22:39
you cannot say that phrase enough. Right? For me. So

Jennie Wright 22:43
people want to get to know people right? People want to understand the thing and I think that's where brands some people when they think of brand, they think oh, the the influencers on Instagram with the pretty pictures in the feet in the sand. That's not 100% real That's a persona that they're, you know, they're creating all these kinds of things. I get it. I absolutely get it. So we could I mean, honestly, we could keep talking about this, but I want to transition to the next thing that we actually want to talk about.

Alyson Lex 23:16
Well, I don't, so I want to pull it back. Because I think that a lot of times as business owners, as entrepreneurs, as people who, yes, our personality and our face is connected to our businesses, we tend to be afraid to approach those issues that we don't have an understanding of, because we don't necessarily want to say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing. And I've seen a couple of examples happen regarding it this year, where somebody either came to a conversation too late or treated the conversation the wrong way within the community, or something like that.

What do you say when Look, we've talked about how we're unfiltered and authentic. I am a very suburban white woman. And so I don't necessarily know how to step into the conversation about the brutality and the inequality and the in justices that have been happening in America for the last hundreds of years that are there that are really coming to a head in 2020. Yeah. How do I as a business person, come to this? Not just from an authentic person to person way but a brand way? How do I mesh the to

Altimese Nichole Curry 24:34
the power of active listening?

literally what you just said, that is what comes to the forefront, opening up that dialogue, opening up the conversation to say, Hey, we really don't have the answers, but we know our community cares. Tell us how you're feeling. Tell us what we need to know. Because I think oftentimes bad What's missing? Right? If we are presented the opportunity to share most of us will, will tell you will tell you the experience will tell you what we're looking for. Even goes down to beyond what's currently happening. It goes down to the general side of learning your customer power of active listening, its goal. And unfortunately, it's often the most overlooked piece of your business like that customer service side, the engaging in conversations on social media side like so aside, that often tends to get pushed, and really, you should lean into it.

Alyson Lex 25:42
Now, I really like that thank you so much, because I know that like I said, a lot of people just really worry like, I don't want to say anything because I don't want to make people mad. I don't want to offend people. I don't want to put my foot in it. And I just feel like that doesn't allow for us to have that. Person to Person communication. It lets us hide behind the company name. Yes. And I think that that's not what people want.

Altimese Nichole Curry 26:08
No, not at all. Not at all. It's, it's literally the exact opposite. It's the exact opposite. People want to know that you feel just like they feel, you know, and they want to know that you care. And they want to know that it's just not a brand, right? There's a human connection to the brand. And I will say, a lot of brands that struggle greatly with connecting with their audience or their customers are the ones that are completely faceless. Like, they're just the brand. It's not, how am I connecting to you? And nowadays, there's so much skepticism, and people are not loyal to brands at all, at all. Like they're more loyal to the people behind the brand and the mission that the brands do. For, but if you don't have either, then you know why it will purchase from you today maybe, but the retention on tomorrow.

Alyson Lex 27:10
I like that. And that could be a whole episode in and of itself. Um, oh, yeah.

Jennie Wright 27:15
And just FYI, Alison and I have been taking some notes on stuff that you're saying. One of the things, one of the notes that we're taking is we're absolutely want to have you back

Altimese Nichole Curry 27:28

Alyson Lex 27:29
like, 25 questions, we're not going to get to,

Jennie Wright 27:32
I know we were going nuts in the background going, Oh, my gosh, oh my gosh, like it's just leading to another thing. And another thing, we just know that this is a bigger conversation to be had, and that we need you to help us get us there.

Altimese Nichole Curry 27:45
Absolutely, to help talk about it in honor.

Jennie Wright 27:47
Thank you. We appreciate it. So I want to ask you a question. And this question. I kind of touched on a little bit but I want to go a little bit deeper. Who is the brand? Is it me? Is it my logo Is it my business name? Because it's all of it? Is it? Okay all of it.

Altimese Nichole Curry 28:05
And I would even say this is something that as a, as someone who deals with branding all the time, I immediately recognize if there's a brand communicating via social media, and they say, I, who's I, unless you are directly connected to a person,

Unknown Speaker 28:26
good point, right?

Altimese Nichole Curry 28:27
It who is I, in, you know, I often, you know, for my clients, I often remind them shift that perspective, your collective, you're weak. You're, we, we as in your team, we as in, you know, me and the mission that we stand for whatever it is, but if you say I make sure that there's a person that you can back up with with that pronoun, otherwise, it just confuses the the person you're talking to Because they're wondering, you know, if you're saying I, what's your name? I just I just see the brand name. Who are you? Are you Melissa? Are you Sarah? Who am I talking to?

Jennie Wright 29:10
That? Yeah, who am I talking to? Who am I? Who am I actually buying from? Who am I supposed to connect to? And how does that person or quote unquote, that brand, then impact me?

Altimese Nichole Curry 29:23
Yes. Yeah. And I think it's important across the board. It's my Geico has a little Gecko that talks.

Alyson Lex 29:30
Yeah. It's really

Altimese Nichole Curry 29:32
not a person. It's not a person. It's an animated lizard. But people associate Geico with the little Gecko.

Alyson Lex 29:41
Yeah. Yeah, Cobra bears. Aflac Duck. Yep. Oh, yeah. Tony the Tiger.

Altimese Nichole Curry 29:48
Yeah, keep going. Even going.

Alyson Lex 29:52
Okay, so I think that was gonna be maybe my next point was, you know, these big companies do too. tend to be faceless like, um, you know, I mentioned the Coca Cola there's Pepsi doesn't have one.

Altimese Nichole Curry 30:06
No, but they connect with people. So right now one of the biggest for Pepsi is definitely cardi B.

Alyson Lex 30:15
Yes. Okay.

Altimese Nichole Curry 30:16
So they so they still connected with people

Alyson Lex 30:20
got it so they're using because I remember there was there's somebody else was a crypt kadesh Ian was with Pepsi for a long time. See, I don't watch a lot of commercials, clearly.

Unknown Speaker 30:33

Alyson Lex 30:34
so they knew about whereas Coca Cola is like, we got our bears. Yeah, we love our bears. We'll stick with the bears

Altimese Nichole Curry 30:44
and and Pepsi uses, I won't say uses a leverage the power of the people they connect to,

Jennie Wright 30:52
of course, look at Michael Jackson.

Altimese Nichole Curry 30:54
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Nike does it too. And yeah, absolutely. And it's not just Any person, snack just any person, they have done their research, they have figured out who is in fact influential to the people who purchase their product most. So it's 100% intentional. No, I got it. I got

Alyson Lex 31:13
it. So it's a really good model for influencer marketing that we might be able to use in are smaller, admittedly not with the pockets of Pepsi. If you have the pockets the size of Pepsi, give me a call write your copy. But,

Altimese Nichole Curry 31:27
um, we can look for people who are influential to the people that we want, they may not have this global fame of cardi B or Michael Jackson are one of the Kardashians but if they have that kind of influence over our target market, that specific brand persona that we're attracting, then that's a good person to connect to to leverage that connection. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that is why influencer marketing is so powerful. That's why it's so powerful brands don't receive the loyalty that they used to. So why not connect to an influencer? who already has a loyal fan base that's already connected or resonating with your messaging and your audience and leverage that platform, leverage their platform to help you get that word out? Because I'm not gonna trust the brand. Oh, I love this influencer over here. They are amazing. I like all of their photos. I feel like I know their kid. Oh, and they like you. Let me Definitely check you out. So absolutely. There's power in partnership. And we often think of partnership in terms of like the business to business side, right. Like, I would like to partner with you on x, right? It applies to your branding to that is influencer marketing, its power partnership.

Jennie Wright 32:55
Absolutely. All right. So we want to talk

Alyson Lex 32:59
about your book.

Altimese Nichole Curry 33:01

Jennie Wright 33:02
All right. And we know the name is brand. Oh my gosh, please help me out.

Altimese Nichole Curry 33:07
Brand city

Jennie Wright 33:08
branches city. Thank you brantas I love that brand TriCity the power of branding through authenticity. And Allison and I, honestly we practically have it tattooed on our forearms. We talk about authenticity all the time. And so tell us a little bit about the book.

Altimese Nichole Curry 33:23
Yes, absolutely. So, brand sensity is actually branding and authenticity combined into one word, and it's literally leveraging the power of being your authentic self into your branding, because that's what sells the authenticity of being who you are. After, you know, being in corporate America for 10 years, seeing firsthand the level of resources that corporations have, um, and the access that they have to today. For people, and learning the ins and outs, I realized like man, like this is information that's so valuable and it's like gold. But a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs, they never get to that place of having their own Facebook rep that they talk to you every two weeks, or getting we literally for one experience, we had a Pinterest rep come to our office for for two days and literally just download all of the upcoming initiatives for Pinterest, best practices, things of that nature, like small business owners don't have that liberty to be able to do those things. So what I did was I essentially the first half of the book is breaking down what authenticity looks like, and really owning your own story. And then the second half was very practical. tips and tricks for all of the the primary platform. So Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, I kind of shared some of the nuggets that I've learned over the years to help small business owners and entrepreneurs be able to kind of get an additional edge from what they're doing. So I'll give you a great example. So people tend, from a consumer perspective, you would assume Pinterest is a social media platform. Therefore Pinterest works like Instagram or Pinterest works like Facebook in terms of your audience. Not so not so not so at all. Pinterest is actually more like Google is and it's more like YouTube. All three of them are like search engines. Yeah. So you have to understand your keywords. You have to understand the key words not for your business, but the ones that your audience will use. And being able to incorporate that into your Pinterest strategy that helps your shelf life for your pins to last much longer organically. And oftentimes, the paid media side for Pinterest is more like a springboard because the shelf life four pin is six months. That's unheard of social, huge, huge. It's huge. So imagine if you put some media support behind that, huh? And the organic is six months anyway. That's the average. So is knowing the difference, knowing the difference, like you don't just dump content on Pinterest. Pinterest is also one of the few platforms that wants you to go off their platform. They want you to click that link. Yes, they want you Yeah, they want you to go to that website. Facebook and Instagram doesn't even support links. So So knowing that if you have a website and you Want conversion to your website interest is the best place to build content and a strategy to convert to your website with a shelf life of six months organically. Wow. Like, understanding the differences, like the stuff that you know big brands have access to easily, but small business owners, they may not even realize that Pinterest has reps on every social media platform has support. To some extent, Facebook has a tech support. So like if something's going wrong, I can literally I literally just reach out to them and be like, hey, something is wrong with this page. Can you help me?

Jennie Wright 37:45
And the rest of us send messages and haven't heard back and like Yes, yes.

Altimese Nichole Curry 37:51
So these are the types of things that I shared in the book and, you know, just helping entrepreneurs and small business owners understand and navigate what looks to be the same as a consumer, but it's really not? It's, it's a whole different beast, if you have a business on this platform

Alyson Lex 38:09
is awesome. And it's available on Amazon.

Altimese Nichole Curry 38:12
Yes, it is available on Amazon. It's on Barnes and And it's also available on my website.

Alyson Lex 38:20
Awesome. Well, we will go ahead and link to that on the show notes page as well right on Amazon, and maybe the Barnes and Noble if I can find it and all that good stuff. Of course, the link to your website will be there too. And you have another one? Yes. The girl behind the mask? Yes. Tell me about that one.

Altimese Nichole Curry 38:39
So the first book for me and this is my journey. I evolution to authenticity, personally. The first one was safe, was very safe. It was the space that I knew that I could easily excel in. It was it was not outside. out of my comfort zone at all, not even to the least bit because I know this information like back my hand I can this these industry notes and tell you everything that's going on with Tick tock, instantly like I know that stuff. When you get to the personal side of who ultimate Nicole is and why I do certain things that I do at was not that that's something that I kind of shied away from as everyone does naturally because you're afraid of potential judgment or criticism. If you really showed who you are. I was a part of a Facebook group on support is sexy. They're amazing. Amazing. He had accountability calls every morning. The first 30 minutes was you know, saying Hey, sis, what are you working on? How can I support you and everybody sharing what they're working on sharing resources. And helping each other. The last 30 minutes was kind of like a working session, right? We were just there working together. One of the, one of the accountability calls we were talking about authenticity and this mask that we wear and I find it very intriguing that we are now wearing physical mask. But I'll digress. We, in the in the in the Paul they were talking about this mask, you know, women are this mess we put it on when we go to work, we put it sometimes we put it along with our husbands or our wives, we wear this mask around our children, and then for years, we cover who we are, and then we don't remember what it looked like without it. Like to remove that mask is scary. Um, and I set a comment of like, you know, I think that mask is to protect the little girl in us a very first time that you realize people couldn't be trusted or that very first time you felt Be trade. And you realize, whoa, the world is not as safe as I thought. So let me protect myself to make sure that I'm okay. But there's really a destructive path to that math and the destruction is to yourself, you've isolated yourself, you've disregarded who you really are, and then you lose sight of who That woman is. So, I realized we have to in order for us to remain authentic to who we are, we have to take that mask off. We have to be courageous enough to allow people to see who we are without that mask and be okay. If someone Let's be okay. If someone doesn't understand me, okay? If someone looks at you have judgment, because at the end of the day, whether the experience was good, whether it's felt bad, whether it felt difficult or challenging. It all shaped who you are today. So the book is actually a book of poetry. And it started out this letters to God I write to God all the time. And it actually starts out in cursive. As my cursive writing, I just assumed people can't read it. So I'm like, if anybody finds this, they're not going to be able to understand anything that I'm saying. So I, you know, would write it out and then it will end up being forgery. So I compiled all of that into a book. ebook is already released on Amazon. And literally, within hours, it became a number one bestseller in multiple categories. And I was blown away. I think we released it at like 7am by nine. It was hitting number one in multiple categories and I'm blown away. That's What happens when you honor who you are and you say world, this is me. Love it, or don't love it. I love it. You know, when you own that, and the paperback I'm literally waiting on the proof right now. I'm supposed to be here and I'm like, on pins and needles, making sure it looks perfect. But I for the paperback. I actually while everything was going on with Briana Taylor, North Floyd, I was spiritually instructed to stay silent. And my Spirit said, right. So do not talk do not share. Right. So I would, you know, essentially document my feelings in poetry. And that'll all be in the paper bet that will be released very, very soon.

Alyson Lex 43:51
I'm absolutely getting a copy of that. I was going to say like, Oh, I have goosebumps, right. So you had a ton of lessons there about vulnerability and authenticity and transparency and all of the wonderful things that Jenny and I like. Like she said, if we could just have tattoos of words all over our bodies that would be those. And I think it's really important not just as a woman, but as a business owner, to recognize when you're hiding. Yeah. And using that mask to hide. And, you know, it's something I I'm working on every single day. You know, you mentioned having a mask from your family, or your husband or your kid I literally went out to the garden to pull weeds to cry the other day. So my kids didn't see me cry. Hmm, you know what I mean? Like, that's my mask. Yeah, I physically hid my face. And I think that that's something that's becoming more and more talked about. I'm a big proponent of talking about mental health and reducing that stigma. And getting rid of the mask is I think the first step and just saying like Hey, hi human here as feelings have them like yes and and i think that you know if we look at that we are a brand we are human we have feelings, we have emotions, we have opinions, and those all relate to the people that we serve in some way love it hate it in different I think it all kind of works together when you are just truly you then that's part of your brand.

Altimese Nichole Curry 45:38
Yes. spied on and spied on. And it's it's, it's so the thing that we fear, which is the judgment or the lack of connection. It is in fact connected to us being able to remove that mask.

We think the mask is actually Our benefit, but it actually does the exact opposite. And it hurts the brand, right? And brand, the connection to people humanizes the brand. So that's what you want. You want it to be humanized because as a human, I want to be able to relate to you. I want to be able to connect with you. So that it's all connected, all connected. Absolutely.

Jennie Wright 46:27
That's amazing. And I want to take a second to talk about one more thing and then we're going to wrap up this insanely incredible experience with you. And that is I want to talk about the fact that you've created a scholarship to help black girls prepare for college and adulthood. And can you tell us more about it because I saw this I I went down the ultimate Nicole rabbit hole trying to learn as much as I possibly could. I already knew you a bit but I wanted to know more.

Alyson Lex 46:58
You got creepy on you was what Did I

Jennie Wright 47:01
look at that way? And I found the press release? And I was like, Oh my gosh, I was like, there's this. You've created a scholarship for an incredible reason. Please tell us more about it.

Altimese Nichole Curry 47:11
Yes, absolutely. So I right now, it's just an interesting transition. And I think it's funny, we're talking about a mask. I think America is in this in this interesting spot, where we can choose to either continue to wear our mask, or take it off and say, You know what, this is what we've done. This is what we've been through. We're gonna own it. We're going to be accountable for it, but we're ready to hit. And, you know, when I went to VCU, Virginia Commonwealth University, I actually chose VCU on purpose. I chose that school because it not only spoke about diversity, it was all over like, it was living breathing diversity at that school and I absolutely loved it because I knew okay in order for me to be really a really great human being, I must be understanding that I'm everything doesn't work how I think everybody doesn't know see things the way I see things. So the best way to do that myself in a very diverse situation, to where I am then faced with all of these amazing, beautiful human beings who are very different from me, right. So I chose that school totally on purpose. However, I didn't prepare. I did not prepare. I realized very quickly at schools want money. That's, that's what they want. And I just I did not. Every time my mom said apply for scholarships, I didn't. I decided not to do it. And because of that, I have a lot of private student loans that got me through college I used to despise Sallie Mae. Now I'm actually grateful like Sallie Mae was the only the only I'm going to say person, the only person who actually believed in my dream enough, they invested. And they said, pay me back when you're done. So now like I'm totally grateful of Fie, Sally and in her cousin Naveen. Um, but I realized, you know, one of the things about everything that we've been through all of it, it's not just for us. We go through pain, not just for us. It is designed to help us and other people. So the moment we say, Okay, you know what, this is my story. I'm going to tell my story. And I'm going to own all of it, even open this door to remind people that they're not alone, and they have support along the way. So the scholarship is honestly that It's me saying, hey, beautiful black girl who may come from a community or an environment that is not the best. You don't have money to go to college, I see you because I was you. And here you are preparing and you have really big dreams. So I'm going to let you know, the people here support you. And we're going to help you through. And through the scholarship. You know, I thought I always wanted to do it always wanted to do it. I didn't want it to be me. I wanted to be my company. I wanted to come through something greater. But then the most amazing part that I love is that there's a call to action to other business owners. Like I don't want to just do this by myself. I want to rally other amazing black women entrepreneurs and business owners who have a very similar story that say, you know what, or they didn't go to college. They understand that You don't have to go to college to be successful in a certain certificate, this certification in something and I'll pay for that for me, and I'm doing a call to action to other business owners to, like link arms with me. Let's do it together, right? And let's, let's help the next generation and let them know that they're not alone, that they don't have to do it by themselves. And we are here. We've been there. We've done that, and you have support.

Alyson Lex 51:27
So that's incredible. Why that's valuable. Can we just keep talking for another hour or two? Because I feel like I may not even know how long we've been talking. But like Jenny said, there's so many more questions that we have. We're definitely going to have to have you back for another episode so that we can actually get some of those answers. I would

Altimese Nichole Curry 51:49
love it. But

Alyson Lex 51:51
tell us where we can find you and connect with you.

Altimese Nichole Curry 51:55
Yes, absolutely. I am ultimates Nicole everywhere. That's that Brandon The most reasonable everywhere, all to me is a L T i m e s e in IC h. o le ultimi. Simple.

Jennie Wright 52:16
Yeah, we talked about the H part, right? Yeah, mom.

Altimese Nichole Curry 52:19

Alyson Lex 52:22
I hear you on spell the name. No, I'd have to spell it everywhere I go. It'll be in the description of the episode. If you're listening on a podcast app. If you want to head over to our show notes page at System to We'll go ahead and put your web put a link to your website and socials and stuff there as well. Just to make sure that people can connect with you when they want.

Altimese Nichole Curry 52:46
And thank you guys so much for having me. This has been such a beautiful, necessary needed conversation beyond branding. I think you know that it's all about just starting the dialogue and having that Courage to be able to be receptive and open to the discussion. So thank you guys so much for everything. Thank you seriously, it was us that

Jennie Wright 53:11
feel the privilege 100%. So thank you so much for being here all to me. I can't say enough about it. Thank you everybody for listening. We will be back with another big question next time on the System to THRIVE. Thanks again for watching or listening to this podcast. We hope we've answered some of your big questions today. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast anywhere you're listening and leave us a review.

Alyson Lex 53:36
Also, make sure you've checked out the thrive collaborative podcast community, our Facebook group for listeners and entrepreneurs find us on Facebook or online at System to



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