Raj Girn: On with this week’s show, we are streaming it Branding & Marketing as usual. It is our third week that we do this particular episode and I’m going to be deep diving the concept of how leadership done right can create trust in what you’re marketing. To help me do this, please welcome to the show, Klaudia Capalbo, the founder of the newly launched organization, which we’re going to be talking about today, The Institute Of Fashion. And she’s also the regional director of the Fashion Group International Chapter in Toronto, a very long-standing organization that has chapters in seven countries with over 5,000 members worldwide.
Here is Part Two of our conversation:
Raj Girn: Guys, if you’re just joining us, I am in conversation with the fabulous Klaudia Capalbo, she is the founder of the Institute of Fashion, and we are getting ready to talk about how leadership done right can create trust in what you’re marketing.
So let’s shift gears a little bit there. And again, you guys know why I feel that Klaudia is the perfect person to have this conversation with. The concept of leadership, Klaudia, and its importance in creating, sustaining and growing authority. What have you learned about the leaders that you’ve worked with pertaining specifically to being able to create trust in what they are marketing to the public? Anything you can share?
Klaudia Capalbo: I think trust is so important. I think trust and integrity are completely at the fundamentals of being able to do that because I think when you build a trust relationship with a potential client or customer, whoever it is that you’re dealing with, when you have that trust between the two individuals and you build that bond in that relationship there, that becomes what the whole process is based on.
So by being able to do that, I think it is so incredibly critical because one of the things I always say, even when I’m teaching my students, the trust-based relationship is the key to success because once you establish that no matter where you go, whether I start at the NBA and where I ended up, it was the trust of the relationships that I built with my clients there that I was able then to take into broadcasting, that I was then able to take it to fashion that I still have a relationship with now 15 years later.
“The trust-based relationship is the key to success.” ~Klaudia Capalbo
And I think that’s really important because once you build that relationship and they trust you, then anything that you speak to them about, any opportunities that you provide to them, any advice that you give them, or being able to give them suggestions or direction they trust in you to be able to to know that your advice and your recommendations and your suggestions are sound and that they’re able to let down their guard and be able to provide you with that opportunity to help them.
And I think that’s really important because if you overpromise and under-deliver or if you are not sincere in your relationship and they know that because authenticity is so important, then if you’re not authentic, if you are not sincere and if you break a promise or try to overcompensate, then you have broken that trust bond and it is very difficult to get that back. So at the end of the day, it’s your integrity and your reputation that’s on the line. So I really feel that that is so important like the core of anything that you do, especially when you’re in sales and marketing.
Well, let’s divert our attention to that. Now I wanted to ask you, what have you learned about the leadership roles that you’ve had that you have now that lends to effective marketing that translates to sales like the Holy Grail right there?
I’ve truly learned to really be my authentic self and I think to be able to relate to people on a very personal level, I think is so important. So when you are dealing with so many people, I think being true to yourself and being able to show them what you can do, how you can help them and being able to take a look within them or their company or their organization and find ways to help them grow and elevate. So I think in terms of leadership, myself, one of the key things that I think are so important is being able to listen. I think sometimes we’re so busy just talking about all the different things that we can do. We can do this, we can do this. But if you actually take a step away and you listen to what that person needs, what their wants are, what their objectives are. I think that is really important in terms of leadership because until you understand what that person requires, it’s very difficult to be able to help them achieve those goals. So I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned.
Being a great mentor to many, I think is really important as well and being able to extend yourself without asking for anything in return. You know, so many of us want to do stuff and are like, “What am I getting out of it? Am I getting paid? Am I going to be able to ask for something in return?” But being able to do it for the sake of just doing it to help others, I think is so important as well. And really being able to see the qualities within people that maybe they may not see in themselves. And I think that’s another great thing about true leadership is really being able to identify the things within everyone.
And sometimes it’s not easy because everybody’s different. Then people have different personalities. And trying to break through those personalities sometimes is a challenge. But if you can see the qualities within those individuals, I think that’s again a really important thing that I’ve learned as a leader and being able to market to them because once I know the way they are, their personalities, perhaps the stress level that they may be going through with the things that they have at work or the responsibilities. But really, being able to break through those barriers, I think, is really important. And I think that is part of the leadership as well as being able to have that insight and standing and listening and then being able to take all that information and then being able to turn around and and help them develop the areas that they really need growth in.
Absolutely. And so how does all of what you just said there translate over into effective marketing that directly translates to sales in your experience?
So being able to market them based on a story, I think is really important. So once you kind of understand that I think it’s being able to take all of that information and come up with a really great way to be able to have them share their story. So what areas would be most effective for their brand or for their company? How to be able to market them on social media so that they stand out from the clutter. Is it based on the story behind the brand? Is it based on their values and beliefs? How is it based? Is it based on the unique quality of the product? So really, being able to identify what it is that you are going to market for that brand and being able to find the right platforms to be able to do so.
So I think being able to do that is really important and understanding as well what the brand is all about and being able to understand it best way of being able to market it. So for me to be able to sell something, I’ll give you an example. I can’t go into too much detail because it’s a project that I’m working on, but it’s something that is extremely personal to a lot of people in terms of their self development and self empowerment. And so this was something that is a project that I’m currently working on and being able to go to the right individuals who I know have that same deep belief and values within that in terms of self-development and self empowerment and being able to help others as well and going to them with this opportunity. And by doing so and being able to explain the reasoning behind this project and why I’m so passionate about it, and more importantly, why it’s something that they should be involved in because it aligns with their values and belief system as well and something that they would want to be a part of. And within a week, I’ve already secured a substantial amount of sales.
Yeah, which is wonderful. So that’s something that is a project that I’m working on that’s going to be announced probably within the next month. But yeah, it’s really being able to see what the need is out there, but more importantly, reaching out to the right individuals that have the core values and beliefs that align with that. And that’s the thing, too, is that when I reach out to people with opportunities in order to generate sales, I don’t reach out to people with multiple opportunities. Like there’s a lot of options that I get that I’m given that people say can you reach out to so-and-so and present this and can you reach it? And I could honestly probably give one client, maybe 8 or 10 different opportunities if I wanted to. But I don’t.
And the reason why I don’t because I want them to know that I’m kind of pre-screening everything and I’m looking out for their best interests and their needs. And so when I present something to them, I’m presenting the best possible opportunity that I feel aligns and is core to their beliefs or things that they want to achieve or their objectives or strategies, and being able to align with that so that when I say to them “Listen, I know this is great for you because I know that this is what you guys are interested in or this is what your brand or your organization is supporting and feel strongly about. And this is a perfect synergy to that, and it will allow your brand to have brand awareness. But more importantly, it’s a great partnership to be able to align your brand with this opportunity.”
So when I do that, number one, I’m not cluttering them with multiple opportunities and going back to them again and again, because at that point, that’s a huge turnoff for a lot of clients. But they know that when I present something, it’s worthwhile and that’s how we’re able to secure a lot of the business. So when you look at FGI, for example, historically FGI has never had sponsors. Like wow, we’ve never had sponsors.
You been around for quite some time.
Sixty five years. We used to have sponsors way back in the day. I want to say probably over 20 years ago, but we’ve never had sponsors over the last 10 years, and we’re a non-profit, so we rely on these sponsorship dollars in order to be able to do great programing. So when I was asked to be regional director, one of the first things I did was I looked at different clients that I have and my contact lists in my circle of people that I’ve worked with, with the NBA, with television, with ‘Flare’ magazine. And I was like, okay who would really be a great representation to be a part of FGI?
And so because my vision, for example, was to keep it very prestige, I really wanted to bring back the prestige level of it because that’s the way that it was established. And so that was really important to me. So by doing that, what I did was I selectively I didn’t send out 100 emails to a hundred different people and say, would you be interested in sponsorship? Would you be interested in sponsorship and marketing and and being behind this brand?
I strategically picked out specific brands and I reached out to them for sponsorship specifically. So the first person I reached out to was Mantella Corporation because Sylvia Mantella is so prominently involved in the fashion industry and supporting designers and business entrepreneurs, and I knew that she would align with it. And she was readily on board. So then it was the Shangri-La Hotel, again, a very prestige hotel company and brand. And so then it was Holt Renfrew. So every single one — Nars and every single brand that came on board. It wasn’t like the Jane Jane or Procter Gamble. It was the NARS level. It wasn’t the Best Western it was the Shangri-La.
It was really bringing on very specific brands for this opportunity to not only keep that level of prestige, so it aligned with their values and our values, but also to be able to do accomplish what I wanted, which was being able to create some really great initiatives and opportunities and programs that would also make sense for all these brands. So Holt Renfrew being able to share their summer trends and their fall trends, and Nars being able to show some of the great beauty products that they’ve got in their launch. So it aligned beautifully with that. And that’s why I look for opportunities like that. So that’s where it generates into sales. So we literally went from zero sponsors to now in year two I have 11 sponsors.
It’s incredible. And it all comes down to just this relationship between leadership marketing that translates over into sales. And it’s interesting because when we think of sales, it’s almost a word that we cringe at when we shouldn’t be cringing, right?
You know this and you’ve just finished illustrating why that is. And I think that just a revisit in your mindset around what the value proposition is that’s happening here between the two sides is what the focus should be rather than the bottom line. And because the bottom line is a by-product of making sure that that relationship is succinct. And this is what I’m hearing you say.
So let me ask you this. I’m really curious. Who are some marketing leaders that you admire and what specifically do admire about their specific leadership style?
Oh gosh. I mean, there’s there’s so many to choose from. It’s really hard. There’s no one or two that really stick out in my mind, to be honest with you. I look to a lot of other marketing leaders and I take a little bit of everything. I take little bits and pieces from different people and their approaches, some of their their skills or their knowledge. Some of the things that I learned from a sales perspective. And I take all these little tidbits of information, and I kind of put it together in terms of the way that I am because I think there isn’t one that really is prominent, but I feel that there’s so many great people out there.
There’s so many great marketing individuals and leaders out there and we’re all so different. Like, my personal style is very different from somebody else’s personal style, which could be different from someone else’s. So really, being able to take bits and pieces that are relatable to you, to your own personal style and the way that you approach business, I think is really important. So that’s really what I do is I follow a lot and I take different aspects of things that I learn from each one of them. And I use them based on the situations and things that I do. And I love to what you said about the unique selling proposition too because I think it’s so important that that’s what really makes you stand out. Like I was saying, when I used to do sales, I remember the clients all the time saying, “You know, Klaudia, we get like 15 or 20 proposals a year. Like, there’s so much clutter.”
It’s like, how do you know which one is good? By coming up with that unique selling proposition, that uniqueness that makes it valuable to that person, I think is really key and being able to highlight what makes you unique from the rest. And again, it’s just the things that we do like when I came up with the Institute of Fashion, no one provides a one on one instruction like that on a global platform anywhere in the world at any given time. And being able to do that and with this new opportunity that I’m working on this new project again, there’s nothing like it out there. So really being able to come up with something that hasn’t been done before and being able to showcase the benefits of it to different companies and brands, I think is really important.
“Being able to come up with something that hasn’t been done before and being able to showcase the benefits of it to different companies and brands, I think is really important.” ~Klaudia Capalbo
Absolutely. And you’re talking to the converted. I know, I did the same thing with the ANOKHI brand. There was a specific segment of the market that just wasn’t being spoken to and wasn’t being understood and wasn’t being elevated for all of the value that it could bring to the overarching community. And so I really understand where you’re coming from, and I’m excited to know about this new secret project of yours. You’re going to have to come back on to talk about that.
Yes, and I know you will be 100 percent behind it. It is totally down your alley. And like I said, it’s going to be announced shortly. I just secured another partner today. So we’ve been doing very well. But again, when you talk about having to market it, I think part of the success of it is my relationship, that trust relationship that we were talking about. I’ve built that trust-based relationship with these individuals. So for me, I just pick up the phone and present something that I know would be perfect for them and aligns beautifully with their own individual beliefs and their company’s beliefs.
I think is really easy to be able to do, so that when I called, they do pick up the phone, which I think is really important because that’s based on the trust-based relationship. And when you call, when you email that you get the phone call back or you get the email back, that’s based on respect, mutual respect. But I think also being able to provide something to them that they want to be a part of that they see value of being a part of that. They want to be able to stand behind and align their brand with that, I think is really key. So being able to reach out to certain individuals and yeah, the response has been very positive and very overwhelming, and it’s going to be something really great.
I can’t wait to hear about it Klaudia. You know, you just incited a thought for me. When you think about leadership and what that means to you as an individual and how you can leverage that to create honest and real leverageable relationships with people, that really is the crux of this entire conversation for us. Whatever the by-product happens to be outside of that is whatever you’re kind of taking to the table.
But I think that the focus there for people who are trying to understand why am I not able to market what I’m doing effectively? Why am I not getting the sales or the conversion, because it’s not always sales, sometimes it’s getting people on board with various initiatives. I think the crux really is there and you’ve said it time and time again in various different manners. I’d love for you to maybe encapsulate that for everyone that leadership that translates over into getting the buy in, let’s call it that. What would be the two or three criteria you think that people really have to hone in on, irrespective of who they are, what they’re selling and what their leadership style is all about? What would you say those two or three things are you’ve already said them, but for anyone that’s joining us, that’s just shoot it out again?
Well, I think first of all, be your authentic self. So I think that’s really important. Be your authentic self. So if you own a company yourself or you have your small business or you’re a business owner, be your authentic self, don’t try to be someone that you’re not because people see through it. They’re very insightful and very intuitive, and they’ll see through it. I think the second thing is establish relationships with the people that you’re dealing with, whether it be your customers, whether it be your suppliers, your distributors, whoever it is, whether it be your sponsors, your partners. I think it’s really important to be able to establish relationships with people there.
“Be your authentic self, don’t try to be someone that you’re not because people see through it. They’re very insightful and very intuitive, and they’ll see through it.” ~Klaudia Capalbo
And I know sometimes it’s intimidating because you’re like, “Oh my God, these people don’t know me, how do I…?” But it’s as simple as if you have a relationship with your customer or someone makes a comment about your product being able to reach out to them. “Hey, I notice that you love my by product. We have a sale right now going on for 50 per cent off whatever it is.” But it’s taking that extra step and showing that, “Hey, look, I hear you, I listen to you, I appreciate you.” But that’s when you start building that relationship, that rapport. So I think that’s really important to be able to do that.
And the third part really is being able to differentiate yourself from other people. So tell your story. Because so many people are like: buy this, buy this, buy this. OK, well, there are 30 other people to buy this. Buy this one. What is it that makes you so unique? So being able to tell stories behind the product that you’re doing, whether it’s a story of a customer that purchase something, whether it’s a story of someone who has had success taking your course, for example, or has had success taking the seminar, whatever it is, but being able to share stories, why you started it yourself.
One of the things I, and again this is my personal approach because everybody’s different, but I love to be able to to share, for example, the story of you with you, why I started the Fashion Institute. I think it’s important to tell the story of why because it isn’t just I’m just doing a platform where people can take workshops. Well, there’s hundreds of other platforms where people can take workshops on different subjects. It’s it’s really about people feeling empowered themselves to be able to do something that they never have a chance to do or that they’re passionate about or interested in and learning something new. But it’s also being able to employ people who have really struggled. And I think knowing that story behind it, I think really helps in terms of being able to get people to stand behind that. And I think that’s where the storytelling kicks in. So those would be my my three things that I would say.
I love it. So as we get ready to close off Klaudia . . . I can’t believe it there’s so much more that we need to talk about. You know that you’ve got to come back on.
Yes, I will, for sure. I will, for sure.
But just to regroup on the whole theme of what we’ve been talking about, which is how leadership done right can create trust in what you’re marketing. Is there anything you feel that I haven’t touched upon or anything you want to round up before we close off?
Well, I think we’ve had such a great conversation and we’ve really covered a lot. I think at the end of the day, and again my perspective is different in the sense of when I look at leadership, I look at the ability to be behind the scenes and stand back and really being able to see the strengths in others. And I think that’s what sometimes is important is that it’s not just one person being the role model for all these people or helping bring out the the the qualities in other people. It’s that person being more behind the scenes, seeing the qualities of all those people and getting them to step up so that they eventually, once they have that confidence, can become leaders themselves. And I think a good leader creates a room of good leaders. And so that’s what I would finish off with. And I’m a huge believer and I’ve said this when I was with FGI, and I say this with the Institute of Fashion as well is that we rise by lifting others, and that is so important for me. And that’s something that I live by, and I think that’s really important in leadership as well is that we rise by lifting others,
“When I look at leadership, I look at the ability to be behind the scenes and stand back and really being able to see the strengths in others.” ~Klaudia Capalbo
That’s why you and I align so much, because everything that you do, everything that I’ve also done has all been about that. It’s been showcasing talents that people that can benefit so many more people by just giving them a platform about the big part of what? Well, we align as as well, and I love everything about that.
Before I let you go, my darling, can you once again just tell everyone all the information they need to know about being able to find out about the Institute of Fashion. Hit us up one more time.
No problem. So you can go on to our website and tiof.ca. You can also email us at [email protected] And if you wanted to be an instructor, you can reach out to me and you can reach out on my Instagram account. It’s Kloudia with a K. So @klaudiasfashionfix and you can just send me a DM. I’d be more than happy to be able to take a look at your resume and have you as one of our instructors. And if you want to email me as well, it’s [email protected]
I love it. Thanks so much for joining me today and sharing your fabulous insights. Klaudia, there’s just so much wealth of experiential wisdom that comes with having you on the show. And I sincerely wish you so much success with your new adventure, with the institute and with this top secret initiative that you’ve got working on behind the scenes. And I just don’t know where you get the time to do all of this, but I think it comes from that place of that need and that passion just to uplift others. I think it really is as simple as that for you.
It really is. It’s something that I just love doing. I love seeing people succeed and I love being a mentor to so many because there’s so many people that are out there that have . . . I mean, everybody has incredible qualities and everybody has their uniqueness. That passion is just being able to find all those things and bring it out in those individuals. And that’s what I love doing. I love doing that with my students. I love doing that with my clients. I love being able to do that with my board members and people within my FGI community. And to me, it’s just beautiful to sit back and watch people succeed and see them shine because I think we all have that ability to shine. It’s just a matter of being able to have them see that within themselves. And I think that’s what we do.
“Everybody has incredible qualities and everybody has their uniqueness and everybody has that passion. Just being able to find all those things and bring it out in those individuals. And that’s what I love doing.” ~Klaudia Capalbo
Absolutely. Guys, you heard it right here. Klaudia Capalbo is the founder of the Institute of Fashion, and many, many other initiatives. Go hang out with her on social. Go see what she’s all about. You definitely are going to get schooled on just how to be yourself, how to be authentic self, among so many other things. And again, guys, thanks for hanging out with Klaudia and me today.
I really hope that you got some real value from our discussion and that you understand more than you did before, how important marrying leadership and marketing together and being authentic in what it is that you’re trying to align with, because sales is just a by-product from getting that relationship right. I think that’s what we’ve really honed in on today.
If any of what we talked about today helps you shift something in your mindset and amplifies the position of perspective for you to really change some of the things that you’re doing, I really want to hear from you guys. Email me at [email protected] and tell me your story. If I love it, I’ll be inviting you to be a guest on my show to share your story. This is what it’s all about. It’s the circle. It’s the cyclical journey of just being a part of each other’s lives and helping each other. If we can help someone else expand their possibilities to reach their vision of nirvana, we’ve done something magnificent together, and I really hope that I have the opportunity to do that with you.
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That’s a lot of information, right, guys. But you know, you can rewind this, you can reread this, you can do whatever you need, but I want to make sure that you’re able to hit me up in every which way so I can make sure that I’m meeting you right where you need to be met. That’s the important thing for me.
Until next week, I’m sending you positive vibes to keep focus on building your brand, your authority and of course, your very best life. See you next week, guys.