In business, your marketing should be an extension of who you are, and not just another chore. When you approach marketing in an authentic way, barriers disappear and you are able to connect with your prospective clients in a new way. Branding and marketing consultant, Christina Frei, talks to Dolores Hirschmann about her authentic, and holistic approach to marketing. Christina takes pride in birthing the Innate Marketing Genius tools and methods which help brilliant, mission-based entrepreneurs become compelling experts and get great clients by simply being their own brand. Learn more as Christina shares how Innate Marketing Genius can grow your business and connect you to your natural inner marketing strategy.
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Branding Boss: Christina Frei On Growing Your Brand Through Authentic Marketing
I’m so excited about my interview with Christina Frei. She pretty much held every job. She has come through to the role of a marketer and marketing teacher, marketing coach from a place of understanding who her clients are and helping them understand or unlock their true identity. I’ve met with Christina before.
I fell in love with her approach to teaching marketing because it’s very aligned with what we do here at the show when we talk about trust funnels. You don’t want to miss this interview with Christina Frei. It’s not just an interview. You’re going to find tons of strategies and tips that she will share with you on how to market your message in a way that is authentic, unique and makes you stand out. Don’t miss it.
Christina, I am so excited to have this conversation because we are both marketers. There are many different ways to do the marketing thing. There are many different ways to bring our messages and our work to the world. Talk to me first about your journey. I love what you’re doing as a marketer and teacher. How did you get to this point?
I focus on four verticals. I want to speak to them because I have been studying each of those verticals for many years: life coaches, real estate agents, financial advisors and wellness professionals. For each of those, I’ve had life coaches forever. I’ve worked with many financial professionals in my own life. I was a real estate agent for a while. I’ve invested in a few properties. I continue to study that. I’ve been on an intense wellness journey since 2003-ish and have studied that.
Let’s start there, studying the industries that I work with. Not only that but I also have been on a pretty strong spiritual path which took me to Berkeley, California for a while. I was studying how to manage my attention for a while. That led me to create a mindset tool that I use all the time, which I call the Generosity Practice. I can connect all the dots.
I can tell you’re a marketer because of the riches and the niches. It’s not just as a strategy, but there is power in being clear on who you serve and why. What you are sharing is it’s not that I chose those people or verticals to serve because I needed to pick some and I picked those. These are verticals that you have been much vested in, whether it is as a client of these service professionals or both as a client and a provider in this vertical. If you’re reading this, it’s going to be an interview with Christina but have a piece of paper and a pen because embedded in this conversation, there are going to be very valuable marketing lessons. I love the importance of being able to get in your client’s shoes and see the world as they see it.
There is power in being clear on who you serve and why you serve them.
The mindset tool is what led me to the work that I do. In 2014, I was in this big transition in my career. I always knew that this particular mindset thing that I had created out of thin air very unexpectedly was something I could always lean on. I used it with everything I had. It turned my career around quickly, as far as go. I have these lucrative contracts that seem to fall in my lap. Something got activated in me. I knew who I needed to contact. They all had great work for me, things like that. I started teaching this tool to people who had not done a ton of energy and attention management stuff in Berkeley, California.
It was specifically the Berkeley Psychic Institute. I spent thousands of hours looking at people’s energy fields and learning tools on how to manage my attention which is a ninja of all the millions of ways our attention is diverted. I take great pride that I spend a ton of time. I can sit in a chair, focus on one thing and be in a whole different world if I feel like it for ten hours straight.
I’m writing it down. I’m going to check that one out.
They’re still active and incredibly valuable. When I had people in 5 countries try the Generosity Practice out for 30 days, I got results in the form of very lo-fi videos. Business owners told me they marketed much more consistently and boldly. People who were not inclined to get out there consistently were like, “I feel huggy. I want to go and help people. I love doing this. I’m better at sales negotiations. Who knew?”
Some people could get out of their way and not be worried about closing the deal. It was all because of the Generosity Practice and a quick word about what that is. It has you decide every day, “What is the coolest way that I could be a contribution to life, to the people around me and the world?” You decide that. It’s a generative, creative, decisive practice. You need to get out of your way, tune in, step into the unknown and let something drop in. That’s where the power of the practice is and then all these amazing results.
We do a workshop every other month for our clients. We charge a little bit of money for people who are not our clients to attend. I had a team meeting where I said, “I don’t know why but the vision workshop of December 2022 is going to be free. In 2022, I want to help as many people as I can in that workshop and show up powerfully.” It doesn’t matter.
You’re giving me a framework for what I was feeling. For that, thank you. There are many layers to this. Some layers are what get in the way of solopreneurs and personal brand businesses, which is sometimes like, “I don’t want to sell myself.” It creates so much noise that we stop doing anything consistently, let alone marketing.
When we flip and say, “Wait,” the cell is part of the process of serving someone powerfully. There’s no judgment around it because if you are hungry, you eat food. If you’re thirsty, you drink water. If you want to serve power food, then you have a framework and a way to do that sustainably. That’s a business. What I’m hearing from you is lead with contribution and everything else will follow.
It’s incredible to watch. I never thought this is where all of this would go. I will share with you the last bit. After the business owners said that to me around, “I’m a better marketer,” I was like, “I need to listen to that and go with it.” I did another field study, 40 business owners over 4 months. I created their marketing plan and came up with their core message. I started with this inner journey wherein the process of doing that inner journey, they figured out their favorite way of serving other humans beyond being a real estate agent or a life coach.
I call it your innate marketing genius archetype. It was this archetype of joyful service, something that is life-giving to you, hence sustainable. Things like a master of ceremonies, for a lot of life coaches, a wizard of bringing out the best in every one or an adventure guide, which then became a category eventually. Adventure guides are people who see what’s possible even before you do. They’re ready to inspire bold action for people. That blew my hair back.
I studied all 40 archetypes and found strong categories, which are nurturers, adventure guides, door openers, study presences and celebrators. Each one has different gifts to bring to the table but the cool thing is it shows you how to tell a better brand story. If you operate from that deep why with your archetype reveals, you know how to magnetize people with a better story from that place. You’re already, “I care about you. I’m going to unfold and unpack this work in a super caring way based on my deepest why.” Everybody wins in that scenario. That’s a lot of the work that I do. How do you take this magic voodoo archetype and translate that into a story or strategy?
Let’s dive into that. My next question is about your work. You talk about being a marketer, how you are different as a marketer and the difference between the marketing brain, the client service brain and your clients. Your programs are four months long. You take someone from where they are to being an unstoppable, consistent, efficient and converting marketer in sixteen weeks. In detail, what does that look like?
Every day, you have to decide what the coolest way is that you could be a contribution to life, to the people around you, and to the world.
I’ll use one of the life coaches that I worked with as a model. I had a life coach come to me. She’s a career and life coach. Her marketing looked like she was doing a little bit of unfocused networking, showing up, being friendly and hoping for the best. She was doing sporadic social media posting. There was no email list and there were a few other things. Maybe she did a spotlight talk here and there. It was very random. She had some clients but it wasn’t very compelling.
With our work together, she did three big things that are different than a lot of other marketing approaches. Number one, she started with 30 days of the Generosity Practice. It makes you unstoppable. You can’t wait to get out and serve, which then gets you over yourself when you have to do something scary. For her, it was getting out and giving talks. That was another piece. I would call that step three.
We figured out she needs to give a talk about the biggest thing she sees holds people back. She did a whole inner critic talk, taking a stand, becoming a leader, freely helping people with this information. The step I skipped there was, “What’s your deepest archetype?” She’s a very specific nurturer. She creates a sanctuary in a room like a group and brings out the best in everyone. Hence, I call her a wizard. We figured out her deep archetype.
One big strategy that establishes your expertise and also shows your humanity shows that archetype. That is a big decision to make. Everyone’s like, “I can’t do one marketing strategy.” I’ll give you this example. Her talk translated into a way to get people to sign up for her email list, ideas for articles, anytime she needed them, videos, when that was appropriate, stuff to invite people to on social media, her email list and networking groups. I could go on. 1 strategy equals 10 strategies when you commit to the right big strategy for you.
In that work that you do with your clients, you don’t do what most marketing coaches would do, which is telling them what to do. You wake them up and empower them to do marketing their way. The commitment is not so much the hard part. What you’re saying to them is you commit, trust and don’t keep going for the next bright, shiny object syndrome of strategy like, “I have a new coach. I’m going to hire a new coach who will tell me something different. That didn’t work. Let’s go hire another coach.” That’s what people do. They go and hop from a new fad of marketing to another.
What you’re saying is that we picked one lane and committed to driving that lane for at least six months. You can’t test anything unless you do it consistently for at least six months. It’s going to work because anything you do consistently will work. If you eat vegetables consistently, you’re going to get healthy. If you eat McDonald’s every day, you’re going to get unhealthy. It is what it is. It’s not about a big moment. It’s about the micro-moments.
You’re also making me realize something that I’m not sure I got until you said that. It’s the sneaky reason why I have people do the Generosity Practice for 30 days. I’m asking you to commit for ten minutes a day, sit your butt down in that chair, make some decisions and visualize some stuff. It’s going to be life-giving. You need to trust me on that. This is what happens. If you can show me you can do that, then you are also willing. You get better at adopting a new habit. Your marketing becomes your lifestyle. It needs to be a daily thing. You need to choose wisely.
Brilliantly, you’re combining the habit part of this with life-giving strategies that don’t feel tiring nor do they have a lot of baggage in them. People come to you and say, “If I do a Facebook Live, I will throw up.” I’m assuming but I’m sure it’s true. By the time they’re done with you, they can’t wait to do tomorrow’s Facebook Live.
Even though it’s my job to identify the right strategy for anyone I’m working with, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a comfy cozy strategy. That’s the point. You are going to be a leader in a way that you might not be used to. I want you to feel supported and also unstoppable, even if something is new.
You’re also helping them focus on a micro goal every day. All you need to do is go to bed tonight, knowing that you contributed something to someone powerfully and everything else will be taken care of. What are you looking forward to?
Lead with contribution and everything else will follow.
My way of getting out there and making a difference in the world as a marketer is to give talks. The one thing I cannot wait to do is to get up in front of people in-person again and love them up. I am excited about that. That’s number one. The other thing is, as a responsible business owner, I’m also making friends with the internet in a way that I’ve never done before.
It’s time to help a total stranger. Come to my website, get to know me and understand this work enough to be like, “I get it.” That’s been a transition. My website has been secondary. It needs to be a bit more primary. I don’t know how long this pandemic is going to go on so I need to operate accordingly. That includes SEO-friendly articles that I’m spending a lot of time on. Making friends with the internet and getting back to talks.
One of the things that we talk about in the show is clarity. Clarity without action is like prepping the salad and then eating a cheeseburger. You are talking about having clarity about things you need to do to become digitally attractive in a consistent way to build a relationship with strangers and nurture them. What’s going to get in your way of taking action on that? You’re assertive and decisive on this but things get in the way. By sharing that, our readers will understand that clarity is great but without a clear plan of action and accountability, you are setting yourself up for failure.
I wrestle with the same things my clients do, which is the shiny joy of marketing that I want to chase after and do well. “I want to get on Clubhouse and be this great expert. I want a beautiful Instagram feed that gets me tons of hot leads. I would love to do YouTube.” Is there anyone in business who is not tempted by all the amazing ways to get out there, change lives and be out in the world?
I resonate with that, though I struggle with that sometimes. The other thing is the overall sense of fear that’s in our culture because of the pandemic. That would not have me reaching out, picking up the phone and sending an email to possible venues because I’m too afraid of even asking. Could I give a talk like that? Fear is real. You have to follow these rules and there are knee-jerk responses like, “We can’t be in-person yet.” Making each other wrong because you’re approaching the pandemic this way versus this way and who feels safe and who doesn’t feel safe. That still is in the air for us.
I probably need to meditate more to be okay with that and get over my resistance to that. It’s human. I get it. I would say that. Those are the biggies. Lastly, the whole thing about making friends with the internet is one big exploration. I hope that I can keep my head on straight about that and not expect too much. Keep studying and exploring. “Try this. How about this?” Instead of, “I’m not getting clients yet,” and being upset about that. A lot of it is mindset and then there’s getting back into the flow of giving talks like it’s normal. I can’t wait until it’s normal again.
What is one book, podcast, Netflix or Prime series we should all check out?
You have probably seen this already because it’s blowing up on Netflix but it’s Midnight Mass. This is a spooky series by Mike Flanagan. He did The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Is that scary?
It’s not too scary. It’s disturbing, very character-driven, brilliant and rich. I’m not going to do any spoilers, you could ruin it with them. I won’t go there but it’s a beautiful and entertaining exploration of fanaticism. Seemingly normal people in a small community on this small island and what they justify in the name of their beliefs is mind-blowing.
It is so relevant to what we’re all going through, whether it’s your response to the pandemic, people’s need to believe certain things and any polarization that’s happening on any front. This takes it head-on. This is how humans can get crazy when they believe something strongly. It’s the most beautiful cautionary tale I’ve ever seen on that level
What is one action our readers could take?
One action is discovering what your marketing archetype is. I spent about a year figuring out how to translate everything I talked about into an assessment. I have this assessment on InnateMarketingGenius.com. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes. If you take that assessment, you’re going to discover if you’re a nurturer, adventure guide, door opener, steady presence or celebrator, maybe a combination of the two.
Know that assessments are fallible. Look at those 35 statements, think about them and be okay with, “I don’t want to serve people in that particular way. I want to serve them in this way.” A lot of times, as service-based professionals that want to help everyone, it’s hard to admit, “I don’t want to help people in that way.” That is hard. I get that.
It’s hard, especially for the empath and giver. I remember when I started someone warned me and said, “You don’t want to have a lot of one-on-one clients. You’re going to get tired.” I’m like, “No, bring them on.” Then you’re like, “I changed my mind.” You want to get started with anything goes and then as you go, you realize that some activities or ways of serving drain you. Some activities and ways of serving give you life.
A quick example, the first statement is, “I love putting people at ease in a room. If there’s a group of people in the room, I’m the one who naturally puts them at ease.” I could see someone wanting to be like that but if you’re not like that, then that’s okay. It’s InnateMarketingGenius.com/Assessment.
Thank you. I will go do it because I’m curious. Where can people find you? Do you have any parting thoughts?
It’s www.InnateMarketingGenius.com. My parting thought is it’s likely that the reason people choose to work with you is not just about your expertise. It’s about who you are as a human and what your deepest why is. A lot of times, that’s not incorporated into your marketing. Give yourself a chance to discover that deep why and then bring it in. We want to hear from you on those levels.
Each one of us is special. If there are one trillion coaches out there, there’s still only one of you. Thank you much, Christina, for taking the time to chat with us and for giving amazing tips and strategies to our readers to market themselves authentically.
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.
I loved my conversation with Christina Frei. As a marketer myself, I recognize when I find someone who is uniquely aligned with the role of marketing as a service role. Christina shares how exploring her spiritual path, finding and implementing a system, a methodology of giving back, of waking up every day from a place of contributing and generosity has not only turned her life around many years ago.
She applies this to the work she does with her clients in helping them market themselves out authentically. Through her Generosity Practice, she has helped her clients understand what kind of marketers and givers they are and align their actions to their unique way of serving powerfully. You don’t want to miss this interview with Christina.
About Christina Frei
Christina Frei is a marketing consultant, author, and creator of the Generosity Practice mindset work and the Innate Marketing Genius tools and method. She helps brilliant, mission-based entrepreneurs become compelling experts and get great clients. In between, she chases her dog around with a stuffed animal snake, meditates on a pink couch, and obsesses over the perfect cup of green tea, all in a seaside town north of Boston.