Rebel Uprising Podcast

Heart Over Hype with Nicole Hernadez

Do you think that marketing is scammy?

You're not alone.

Today so many people have an unfavorable view of marketing because so many companies have chosen the short term, ineffective, hype-based marketing practices.

Guess what? Marketing doesn't have to be that way!

Nicole Hernandez is on the show today and she's sharing her 3 Word Rebellion Heart Over Hype. If you're over the ultra-slick marketing that gets all the buzz and you want a different way to market your business, this episode is for you

Listen in as Nicole shares how storytelling, creating a connection, and being transparent is the best marketing decision you could make.

Tuen into the audio:

Michelle: Hi, Nicole. Welcome to the Rebel Rising Podcast. I'm so thrilled to have you on the show.

Nicole: Hi, Michelle. I'm so excited to be here.

Michelle: Ooh, we're going to have such a good conversation about marketing. I cannot wait.

Nicole: We really are. I am so excited to talk about this topic and just reveal so much here.

Michelle: Yes.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your 3 Word Rebellion is.

Nicole: Sure. I'm Nicole Hernandez, as you stated, and I'm the founder and chief storyteller of pink, like the color, Pink Graffiti, which is a brand storytelling agency based in New York City.

Nicole: I help my clients get fame, fortune, and raving fans by choosing to run their business through my 3 Word Rebellion, which is heart over hype.

Michelle: Ooh, I love it. Heart over hype.

With that kind of 3 Word Rebellion, I know where we're going, but what are you rebelling against?

Nicole: Yeah, I think the problem really is that we've confused hype and scam with marketing. I want to just say that again.

We have confused hype with marketing. Marketing is not hype.

It's so funny because when I sometimes introduce myself, or when other people that are in the marketing and sales field introduced themselves to people at parties, you kind of get this microexpression of disgust sometimes. It's because people associate marketing with this scam.

Nicole: What I would like to tell people is that marketing is absolutely not that. If you are saying that you hate marketing, it's because you don't actually hate marketing, you actually hate the hype. You hate all the scam that surrounds it, that's been misaligned with marketing.

Michelle: Yeah.

Can you give us a couple of examples of the hype, scam marketing that you're seeing out there?

Nicole: Yeah. Let's actually break down what hype really means.

Michelle: Okay.

Nicole: Hype is deception and lies. It is forced and contrived. It's dehumanizing, so when we disengage and we lessen our personal responsibility for actions and behaviors. It's moving from a place of fear, and sketch, and scarcity and also bottom line, or just self-serving.

Nicole: Let me give you a couple of examples. You probably know these pretty well. Let's start with one of our favorites, Donald Trump and Trump University. As you probably know, Donald Trump was issued by the court to pay $25 million in restitution for Trump University. It was a real estate school that was to teach his secret real estate tactics and people signed up. There was very aggressive upselling involved and they did not see the results that were promised. There was a big over promise of what it could actually deliver and it just didn't deliver on that. So, that is one.

Nicole: The other one that you might have heard of recently, and especially if you watch Netflix, you've probably heard about the Fyre Festival. Yeah, this is really a sad story. I think the guys who started this really were interested in creating something really fun and engaging, but they did it from a place of let me just create all this buzz without considering what's really involved in running a festival.

Nicole: So, imagine for these people that were first introduced to the Fyre Festival and they were scrolling through their Instagram feeds and they're seeing all these orange posts from their favorite influencers and they're like, hm, what's going on here? Let me check and see. Let me look into this a little bit more. It enticed and created some curiosity. Well, next thing you know, there is a video of Ja Rule and Bella Hadid and they're promoting this festival with all these models and made it look so exclusive on this private island in Bahamas.

Nicole: And then, the guys got involved with Kendall Jenner. She's known to charge up to $250,000 for a post. They hired her to announce the lineup. From a marketing perspective, they created a lot of buzz. They got the awareness out there. But what started to happen is they had spent all this money on creating that buzz, creating that interest in their festival that they really forgot to focus on the basics. Like, how do I take care of the humans when they actually arrive to this festival? How are we going to feed them? How are you going to provide shelter?

Nicole: They kept tapping back into the customer base to upsell them on luxury accommodations for luxury experiences, and people were spending anywhere from $500 to $100,000 for this festival. They arrived to this island in The Bahamas, and imagine there's just this music playing out of speakers. There's nobody on stage. You're served cheese sandwiches and you're sleeping in FEMA tents.

Michelle: Not a luxury experience.

Nicole: Not a luxury experience at all. They actually created this space where these people came and they were in survival mode. People were stealing water, stealing food, stealing tents, pillows, anything they could grab because they didn't know how long they were getting to be stuck there. It just created such chaos and it wasn't just, he didn't just, Billy McFarland was the person who led this, and he didn't just affect the people that attended.

Nicole: Then, all of his vendors that had signed up to help him, this one woman in particular, who was working on the F and B. She was doling out, serving the food, helping the workers while they were there. She had gotten all of her vendors then to buy into help her without paying them first, because she was waiting on her check. Well, when she didn't get paid, she still had to deal with all the other vendors that she was working with and she said there's nothing else I can do but to take my life savings of $50,000 and payout these vendors so that she could keep her business running within the island.

Nicole: Can you imagine what that must have felt like to her to work so hard throughout her life, start her business and then have to dole it out because someone was really irresponsible?

Michelle: Oh my gosh. With hype marketing, what I'm hearing, and I think this is exactly why marketing gets a bad name, it's like you put all of this, all of your cache into building up the buzz about the Fyre Festival or Trump University, and at the end of the day, neither of those things delivered to the people who bought into the experience, to the vendors who believed in the people who are putting the event on, or people even in Trump University. It just doesn't deliver. Then, there's this assumption that happens that all marketing is just like that. It's all just hype and I'm not going to do it.

Nicole: Yes, that's the assumption.

Actually, I want to break down the way that I define marketing. Marketing in two parts, so market, which is a body of existing or potential buyers for a specific good or service. And then the -ing, that suffix, it implies action. It implies a state of being. For me, marketing is the practice of showing up to be of service to a specific set of humans and trying to solve their problem or fulfill a desire for them.

Michelle: Yeah.

Nicole: In my mind, marketing is a practice. It's just like a practice of law, a practice of medicine, a practice of yoga. I think we have to reclaim the purity and integrity of this practice.

Michelle: Yeah. It's about the people because with hype marketing, I feel like you're not seen as a person, you're seen as a dollar sign. Like, oh, I'm a walking dollar sign. But what you're saying with how you look at marketing, it's really about people first.

Nicole: Absolutely. It's the act of service for a human. We are using a lot of dehumanizing language, even in digital marketing. We're talking about the funnel, we're talking about leads, clicks, and conversion and not really thinking, not really realizing the kind of language that we're using that enables us to take really bad actions and really shameful action against humans that are wanting to just solve their problems.

Michelle: Yeah. They just want to figure it out, do better, have a better business, have a better life, whatever that end goal is, and we're thinking about them as how many people have seen or how many clicks have I gotten on this link, and how many leads are in my funnel? Yeah, it takes all of the humanity out of marketing.

Nicole: It does.


With that in mind, what change do you want to create in the world?

Nicole: As I mentioned, marketing should be an act of service. For me, it's about when businesses choose heart over hype, they're also choosing a longterm strategy to win hearts before wallets. It's about humanizing, it's about creating connection and developing relationships, solving problems, and also coming to fulfill desires of their clientele.

Michelle: Yeah. Yes, yes. It feels kind of like there's so much integrity and intention behind it versus how many people can I get in this funnel?

Nicole: Exactly. One of the practices is just follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we work from that place of being kind, doing no harm, we're staying on our mission, we're working through integrity, we make money, we can also have fun.

Michelle: Yeah, we can feel good. I think it also makes it easier to show up and market what you do because it's no longer about, oh, I've got to make money. It's, oh, I've got to talk about this because I'm being of service. If people don't know about this, I can't be of service.

Nicole: Exactly. Instead of the deception, we're choosing transparency. Instead of being forceful and contriving, imagine when you go to buy a car and someone's like, “If you buy before the end of the day, I'm going to give you $1,000 off, and you're like, oh, I don't want to get this car. I'm not sure. If we weren't in that situation, what if we just came to it from a place of alignment and feeling it out? That feels so much better to us. And then, I would imagine it feels so much better to the person at the other end that's trying to make that sale or to sell you the car.


What's a great story of someone who used heart marketing versus the hype marketing?

Nicole: Oh my gosh. Well, you know what, I think it's time we tell more of these stories. So, let me tell you about a company called Branch Basics. I fell in love with this company. I was so intrigued by their story of coming to their business from heart over hype, from starting with integrity, that I couldn't help but buy them.

Nicole: What it is is it's a non-toxic house cleaner and you can use it on everything in your bathroom, your toilets, to clean the kitchen, and what had happened is they first started their business than they had a private label formulator come in and create this formula for them. They set the rules, we just want to make sure it's non-toxic. So, they had the formula, they started selling it, people loved it. They had about 30,000 people on their email list and they started to really inquire about what exactly was in this formula. They wanted more information and the person who had created this, the private label formulator had kept hiding this information from them.

Nicole: They finally got their hands on it and realized that there was a synthetic that was in the formula. Now, the synthetic wasn't toxic, but it was not aligned with what they were saying to their customer base. Get this, because this is the craziest, the best story of integrity. They stopped selling their products.

Michelle: Wow.

Nicole: Yeah, can you imagine? A lot of people would just say, okay, let me put this on sale and sell it out on the back end, no big deal. They stopped selling their product. They sent an email to those 30,000 people to say, we're stopping production. We don't want to sell this, even though the toxicology report shows that it's non-toxic. They had to let staff go. They let about 10 people go and they had to figure out a way to pay their own bills.

Nicole: But during this time, they wanted to figure out a new formula that could actually work. It took them more than a hundred formulas before they found the one and it was more than a year had passed and then they finally found the right one. Now, their product has been amazing. The results that came out of telling this story of integrity has gotten them so much fanfare, has won them so much trust. They have been featured in Well+Good, O Magazine, Architectural Digest. I mean, they're all over the place and look, I'm sharing them with you right now and your audience.

Michelle: Yeah, oh my gosh.

Nicole: So, such a great story.

Michelle: Well, and it shows what happens when you're playing the long game because I feel like a lot of, especially in the online world, they're playing the short game, right? It's all about the next sale, but this company was playing the long game.

They saw their longterm strategy and they knew that they would be better served by staying in alignment with their values and taking the short term loss, than undermining their trust and their integrity that people have placed in them.

Nicole: Yes.

Michelle: And it paid off, like amazingly.

Nicole: Big time, big time. They have more press now than they did back then. That just allowed them to then increase their awareness. It's word of mouth now. They've got all the pieces of a true, thriving business instilled in them because they came from that place of choosing heart over hype.

Michelle: Yeah. I think that's the power for everyone who's listening.

When you start choosing heart over hype, you're putting your people first, you're embracing transparency, which is amazing.

Just letting people like, hey, this is what's going on with us right now. We wanted you to know we're working to fix the problem and we'll let you know when our products are available again. People resonate with that because they're like, oh wow, they have my best interest in mind.

Nicole: Yes. It's so remarkable that that a business has my best interest in mind. I'm sold for life.

Michelle: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think anytime we can work with, whether it's a service provider or purchase from a brand that has that kind of integrity and really does put the customer and the client at the center of it all, it makes a huge difference.

Michelle: One final question for you.

If everyone acted on your three word rebellion of heart over hype, how would the world change?

Nicole: I mean, mass utopia.

Michelle: I love it.

Nicole: I really think what would happen is, we come from this place, we've had this saying in our culture, nice guys finish last.

I think when we start choosing heart over hype, nice guys and gals finish first.

And what happens when they finish first and when we shift money into the hands of people that are doing the right thing that are natural givers and natural connectors, just imagine how that money can just soar throughout our economy.

Nicole: It can also affect people that have problems that might be solved by nonprofits and those people are going to give to those nonprofits. Imagine, we can help the homeless situation. Imagine how we could help people that are facing drug addiction. There are so many things, so many areas that can be helped when we get money into the hands of people that want to do good in the world.

I truly believe that we can have financial gain and we can do good at the same time.

Michelle: Yes. It's funny, I was just speaking at an event last week and my opening was all about how well-resourced women change the world, because when we are doing business with the heart over hype philosophy, it's now not just about lining our pockets and getting as much money as possible and corporate greed, it's about becoming well-resourced. So yes, that we can give back to charities that we want to support, causes we want to support, we can hire other people for our business and help them grow, prosper, and thrive. I think that's, for me, a huge long-term ramification when you actually become more service oriented and intentional, and in alignment with your marketing.

Nicole: Yes, absolutely. That is the vision I have for the world.

Michelle: Oh, I love it. I love it. And it makes marketing less scary and less sleazy so that the people who are amazing at what they do and have good businesses can go out and find more people to do business with, which is what I want.

Nicole: Yes. Right? I mean, if you had an option in every industry, or multiple options within every category of businesses that were doing the right thing, that were showing up with intention and integrity, it would make the decision for you so much easier.

Michelle: Oh, absolutely. Yes, I know what I would choose every single day of the week. Nicole, tell us where people can find you.

Nicole: Sure. You can find me at and on Instagram.

Michelle: Awesome. Thank you so much, Nicole, for being on the Rebel Rising Podcast. I really want each person to take away that marketing doesn't have to be scammy or hypey, it can have a lot of heart and a lot of intention. So, thank you so much for sharing heart over hype.

Nicole: Oh my gosh, thank you for allowing for this place to tell these stories. I desperately thank you.

Michelle: You are so welcome.

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