The Matt Sodnicar Podcast

Whether it's through design, photos or the written word, Cyd knows how to tell stories that get people to do something.

Show Notes

Cyd's story, in her own words:

I'm a tea and polka dot junkie, bulldog momma, and passionate supporter of women's empowerment…But most of all, I'm a storyteller.

As a kid, I would regale friends and family with my retellings of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As an adult, I still love to tell stories, but now I don't talk about silly goats and trolls. Instead, I tell the stories of people, their passions and brands.

In college, I fell in love with the story of mankind: history. I loved researching, writing and presenting about the people and events that shaped our society. After graduating, I decided that it was time to help make history, so I hit up Capital Hill and joined US Senator Jeff Flake's Press Office. It was here that I truly came into my own as a storyteller.

In Senator Flake's Press Office, I had the opportunity to see firsthand just how big an impact the right story could have. I managed the Senator's social media accounts, wrote press content and ensured that the right photos were taken at the right time and ensured that the Senator's public image helped build support for his goals and ideas. One of the Senator's projects was to expose and eliminate congressional waste. Unfortunately, most of that waste was described in reports so bland and boring that reading them was downright painful. We needed a story, a narrative that would make people sit up and pay attention.

So, we created the Wastebooks. 

The Wastebooks were digital reports that poked fun at all the strange things Congress spent money on. By translating congressional speak into an engaging, easy-to-read format, we created something people wanted to read. 

We told a story. 

As a result, the Wastebooks were a total grand slam being  featured in USA Today and other major news outlets and put Senator Flake's campaign against governmental waste on the map—and all because of good storytelling. (We also were able to end Paid Patriotism at American sporting events which is a tangible win and impact many people cannot say they accomplish in the Senate.)

In the years since, my own story has taken unexpected twists and turns. I went through a difficult divorce, but that experience forced me to explore new options on my own. I discovered that I could tell the stories of people through photos and started my own business: Afton Photography. In the early years, I went door-to-door handing out flyers for $25 photo-shoots…Today, my photos and the stories they tell have been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, the Washington Post, The Hill, and many other major publications. I have worked with major fashion and lifestyle influencers like Danielle of Blonde in the District, Anychi Wei, and Krista Salmon and shot photos for multiple US Senators. I also shot under D.C. lifestyle photographer Tony Powell.

I eventually managed PR, social media and fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club National Capital office, where I helped raise millions to support children in need across America. I moved to Utah where I worked at a localized marketing agency helping to bring in millions in new revenue through effective branding, social media management, and great content. I worked for various other organizations and brands including active wear, educational non profits and museums.

My secret? Storytelling. 

Over the years, I've learned how to identify a business's brand story and communicate that story in a compelling way. Whether it's through design, photos or the written word, I know how to tell stories that get people to do something.


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What is The Matt Sodnicar Podcast?

The Matt Sodnicar Podcast. Founded on the belief that one need not be famous to tell a compelling story. Focused on turning points in business and in life, those moments that will inspire others.

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Cyd Hatch 0:00
Alright, I'll hit Continue. I'm consenting to you recording me. I love the world we live in.

Matt Sodnicar 0:10
Thanks, zoom.

The Matt Sodnicar podcast. Hello, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. This is Matt Sodnicar. Thank you so much for listening, your your texts, your tweets, your comments on everything mean a lot, and I appreciate it. And this, today's guest is another wonderful connection from my interview with Christine from a couple weeks ago. And I love interviewing everybody, but creatives in particular because they make my intros and my questions. So much easier. And so today's guest is a tea and polka dot junkie, Bulldog mama passionate supporter of women's empowerment. But most of all a storyteller in with that. Sydney Syd hatch, welcome. Thanks for making the time.

Cyd Hatch 1:34
No, thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Matt Sodnicar 1:38
So I wanted to start with what you had created called waste books. Take me through that. Because when we were talking a few weeks ago, this was fascinating and amusing and stunning, all in the same context.

Cyd Hatch 1:54
Well, thank you. That's very sweet of you. But I can't fully take 100% credit, I worked on an amazing creative team at the Senate. And it's specifically senator flakes office, I worked with a small team to put these together. One of which is my dear friend, Roland. And he was the brainchild behind researching these crazy and wacky things that were going on with taxpayer money. And, you know, luckily for me, I was in the media office at that time, and you know, between his skills of, you know, research and witty writing, you know, he connected with me in the, you know, the office and with the direction of the Chief of Staff, and obviously, the media director, like we kind of put this wacky idea together. And it just really took off, it was something that, honestly, the Senate media just looked forward to every every quarter when we'd put it out. And honestly, I take a lot of pride in it. And what we were able to create as a team, because one of you know, when you work in the government, you want to say you're going in and making a good impact and changing the world. And that's sometimes not always the case and every experience that you have on the hill, unfortunately, I'm not going to be a pessimist with government on this. But I honestly take a lot of pride in this project, because one of the waste books that we created was specifically looking at paid patriotism. And that was something that actually we were able to get banned, and actually made positive change for the taxpayer in America. So we were really stoked.

Matt Sodnicar 3:27
So what is what is paid patriotism? I hadn't heard about it until or maybe I was aware of it, but didn't know it was titled as such, what was it? Yeah,

Cyd Hatch 3:34
yeah, it's it was wild, you know, we found again, this one in particular, but obviously, in some of the other ways, folks, we were just finding that there were all these crazy contracts and things that taxpayer money was going towards, and when it came to paid patriotism, specifically, our team found contracts between the Pentagon and pro sports teams that were intended to boost military recruitment and honor service members, you know, at sporting events. And ultimately, it costs the government more than 10,000 $10 million, actually, you know, doing these kind of paid patriot acts. So when you go to a sports game, you notice, you know, the National Anthem, or you know, maybe a, you know, a service member is dropping down from you know, mid, you know, ice rink court and dropping the puck for the game, you know, as Americans, us being the patriotic people we are, we think all that's so nice, they're doing that, and that's a freebie thing. And that's super cool. And we found that that unnecessarily wasn't the case. And so we found 122 contracts worth of basically $1.4 million, spent over a four year time that the Department of Defense included, you know, basically 62% of those marketing contracts with five major sports leagues and correspondence. And we basically, were able to kind of say, Wow, look at all these crazy things that taxpayers are paying for. So an example was We catalog that $879,000 worth of taxpayer money was being spent by the Georgia Army National Guard with the Atlanta Falcons on Color Guard performances and video board tributes. And you know, 450,000 of that was spent in the same unit on the Atlanta Braves. And so we found that, you know, that's kind of not cool, you know. And so we wanted to bring to light in a, you know, in a in a funny and positive way, like, you know, but we wanted to make it known to the American people like holy crap, like your money is being spent for things that you assumed to be pretty free and patriotic and part of American culture. And so, you know, Senator Flake, and Senator McCain, bless his soul. He, they were able to basically get banned spending taxpayer dollars towards these honorary ceremonies for veterans and active military members. And that was a huge win, because, again, the NFL and other leagues were at, you know, we're kind of again, some ways call it out. And they said, you know, what, yeah, we're gonna pay back some of that taxpayer money that was spent on these things. And that was wrong. And so it's actually a band thing now, which is pretty cool.

Matt Sodnicar 6:10
Well, and the nuance to the discussion here, which I would imagine that there was an only because I know this is the culture we're in. Yeah, I would imagine there was some blowback on that. But as you're telling this story, it's not that you're against the military or honor veterans. But as you say that I'm not surprised that the National Guard and the military had paid for that, because I kind of know how sports teams work. Yeah, they're a business. Right. So yeah, and but then, as you describe it, it kind of that kind of it does bother me that somebody that's going to be center court and honored at a sporting event that the their unit had to pay for that. That's Hmm,

Cyd Hatch 7:01
I mean, I mean, here's the deal. I mean, these men and women lay down their lives for us to have the freedoms, the wonderful things that we have in this life. And, you know, again, I understand business, but there are definitely things that we shouldn't have to pay for. And that is honoring our military members. And, you know, you speak of pushbacks. And this is probably one of the shining jewels of my career. So as we're kind of putting out these contracts, and if you look through the book, it's online, if you if anyone is interested, that's listening, you guys can see any of these online, there are PDFs, you know, that you can read through, you know, we basically designed each of these contracts to look like a, you know, stats page from ESPN and stuff. And so we were able to like put down exact dollar amounts, what those dollar amounts were for, and we've plastered all of these major league teams on there. So I laugh, and the crowning jewel is this, you know, the Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, was on that list, we got the worst email from him, upset out of his mind that we put this out there. And let's just say that there was a beautiful email with a lot of choice words on it. But again, we wanted to bring to light things that mattered. And that was just one of them, you know, but, you know, we also did one, it was called The Force Awakens that kind of made fun of Star Wars, another one that I like, is 20 questions, which is government studies that leave you scratching your head and a lot of these were looking at the natural NHS funds that were kind of using taxpayer dollars towards scientific studies that kind of seem wacky, so it could be as crazy as some of them featured where, you know, shrimp Fight Club, there were

Matt Sodnicar 9:06
just a second. You're not gonna drop that one. And just

Cyd Hatch 9:12
oh, no, wait, no, I mean, they work. Okay. Seeing, you know, how many shakes does a dog need to shake until they're fully dry? And, you know, this, this book, particularly came out with Zika when the Zika outbreak was coming out? And you know, a lot of the time people were saying, well, we just don't have enough funding to research the kind of data and so our big argument for the 20 questions book was, you know, we want to ensure that federal research dollars are better directed towards supporting transformative science while like rooting out unnecessary spending on lower priority projects. So like, ultimately, that book went towards the bill known as the federal research transparency and accountability Act, which is S 29153. Sexy government, you know, labeling there, but it basically you know, sent a lot of recommendations to the federal coast. meant that, like, we need to set clearly defined national goals and objectives towards like federally funded research projects. So like, you know, things like Zika or COVID that come up, you know, we should have, you know, funds for those types of research projects, but yet we're spending it on the shirt Fight Club, you know, that it just like the priorities are way off. And we need to take a look at this. Because, you know, we have enough funding, we just need to make sure that we're being strategic as to how we're using it.

Matt Sodnicar 10:28
That's a wonderful parameter. What a wonderful top level goal. To do that, that makes a ton of sense. So what was the first rule of shrimp Fight Club?

Cyd Hatch 10:41
I know. It sounds crazy. And we always like, you know, it's funny. Our this book, particularly actually got featured on the Jimmy Kimmel show where, you know, it was basically is it a indie band name? Or is it a scientific study? You know, and it was like, you know, cheap and retrograde and shrimp Fight Club? And so like people would vote? Is it an indeed named band? Or is it a, an actual study? And so, going back to the original question, sure. Fight Club was basically again, we got about a bunch of backlash on making fun of a lot of these scientific projects, which I can go into after I explain it. But basically, with the scientists in this study, we're looking at a specific type of shrimp in it, the name, you know, is not in my head right now as to which shrimp it was, but there's a specific type of shrimp that has a really hard text, exterior. And so what they were doing is they were having these shrimp fight each other, so they could study the toughness exterior of the shrimp so that they can put it towards like military type, defense, you know, items, if you will, and improving them. And so, you know, did we kind of make it a fun read, because again, the whole point of a lot of this was, if you look at the studies, if you look at you know, the the governmental tax payer mumbo jumbo, it's pretty boring, and no one's going to be interested in reading it. So really, our whole point in like putting these in kind of a, you know, a funny way was we wanted to bring interest to these things, and make it so any type of, you know, American can be like, Oh, I understand that, or, oh, that's funny. And they're wanting to read it and inform themselves on these things that are happening so

Matt Sodnicar 12:27
well, and I didn't hear in any of these descriptions. And as you're elaborating on the context of this, that you're the government spending police, it sounded like he just wanted to make it a better use of the taxpayers dollars.

Cyd Hatch 12:43
Exactly. And, you know, and again, the National Science Foundation, which was where we were pulling a lot of these, like 20 questions, studies, you know, they're the backbone of American science and engineering research, like for 60 years. So in no way, are we, you know, making fun of them in a way where we don't think what they're doing is meaningful. But we did want to, you know, because their biggest argument was, you guys are taking this out of context. And you're, you know, you guys aren't necessarily, you know, allowing us to really share. And what was really cool is, when we had that feedback from them, Senator Flake actually set up a program for them to kind of show case what their research was going towards. So there was a follow up with this where, you know, we could kind of talk and learn about really what the science was and what the purpose was behind these. So there was a fairness there, which I appreciate it as well.

Matt Sodnicar 13:37
Well, it sounds like process improvement, too. So in the fact that you gave them the platform to talk about this, and describe what they're doing. That's, that's fascinating.

Cyd Hatch 13:48
Yeah, it was a it was a cool project. And so I feel very spoiled that my senate experience was just like, really fun. I mean, I I loved the team. I worked with Jason Rowland, you know, Chandler, Elizabeth, like, we had a lot of fun.

Matt Sodnicar 14:04
How did you get that gig?

Cyd Hatch 14:07
You know, um, I originally started my career. I love history. I'm a huge history nerd. And I got my degree at Brigham Young University, Idaho in history. And so I originally started my career as a history teacher in Virginia. I realized I was a little bit too hippity dippity for that job. And so I figured, you know what, I'm going to go to Capitol Hill and make a difference. And so I started actually, in my, in my young years, if you will, as senator flakes front staff, girl, I was like, kind of the Hey, welcome to the senator's office. I'll get your checks in for the meetings. And eventually, I worked my way up and they realized, Wow, she's really good at photography. She's really good at writing. She has a really great creative mind. And so they gave me again, I give them so much credit towards my career of giving me that opportunity to develop and really work in that space. And so they were like, you know what, we want to put you in the front office and like I think Jason and Senator Flake and Chandler for giving me that opportunity. Because from there like, that's where my creativity and being able to understand storytelling just really blew up. And it was just a blessing. I that's all I could say.

Matt Sodnicar 15:15
I love hearing stories about any kind of professional or career development, and that it can happen in Washington is even more fascinating to me, I have the complete outsider's perspective. But that's great that somebody took an interest in it goes back to my days as an engineer, when the sales and marketing team were talking to me, but did you? Did you believe you could do it when they started showing your career path? Was it something that you were gung ho to do?

Cyd Hatch 15:50
I mean, I'm a little I was a little nervous, you know, because again, I was in my early 20s, at the time, and again, what what do you know, as a 20? You know, what I mean? Like, what do you really know? And you know, and working nothing? Exactly, you know, nothing. And so you're like, faking it till you make it right. But, you know, there is one thing about life that I've come to realize is you can only really trust in yourself. And so for me, like, knowing who I am, my skill set my creativity, I know, I can rise to any occasion in any project that set up in front of me, was there a huge learning curve? Absolutely. And they were patient, and so wonderful, and like getting me up to par is, you know, what to do, how to do it and everything. And again, like, I thank them so much for giving me that opportunity. But, you know, I did have a unique skill set that I knew I could elevate, you know, the printed materials, and, you know, be using my design skills to really elevate what they were doing. I mean, I had a confidence in my ability to do that. But it was definitely I mean, the pressure alone was something I had to get over because again, like you're writing press releases, and you're creating content that's going to be out to basically Good, good morning, America. And there was a lot of pressure that like, there was one time I remember Jason, I think, you know, just chewed me out where it was, like, I had a typo or something. And I'm like, oh, gosh, you know, like, the anxiety was just writing because, you know, like, you send one tweet out, and there's no editing and Twitter, you know, and so, there was definitely like that pressure of like, you know, performance. But, you know, I rose to the occasion, and honestly, like, so, so grateful for that experience, because it helped me elevate my expectations for myself and my work. And it really just defined my career and helped me really see the caliber of person I wanted to be in storytelling and marketing.

Matt Sodnicar 17:36
So how did you go from history to storytelling and your passion in photography? Was it something that was there? How did that blend?

Cyd Hatch 17:46
Yeah, it's a it's an interesting question. Um, I've always been a creative soul. I've always kind of also gone to the beat of my own drum asked my mother, she'll be rolling her eyes as she listens to this. But, um, you know, I've always been creative. And I always knew that I wanted to express myself that way throughout my life. And I think, you know, marketing does a lot in the fact that it really kind of marries the world of humans, which is like, for me, when it came to history, you're telling the story of humanity, you're telling the story of people and how they think and how they view the world. And then you had my creative side, which is I see the beauty and I see the world very differently, I think, than other people like I'm looking and watching people not in like a creeper way, but like, I like watching people as they experience the world, and are their little movie moments that no one else stopped to notice or things like that. I love seeing these intricate and intimate moments within people and noticing colors and design and experience. And I think, you know, having that passion and that way to view the world as well as you know, just developing skills. I mean, when it came to the photography aspect, I always liked you know, taking photos, you know, as a child, I always wanted to be a superstar singer. You know, so I was never shy, but when it came to the photography piece, in 2010 my parents got me a camera and it was just like a crappy Sony, you know, like point and shoot and they realized, Oh, she takes actually some pretty interesting shots. So they upgraded me to a Sony DSLR and this was an early you know, college at this time, um, and this was before my senate career, but I I decided, you know what, I can make money off of this. And you know, during that time in my life, too, I went through a really sad divorce and so I was kind of left with nothing. And I had to make something of myself like a you know, graduating early from college and, you know, making money and, you know, trying to figure out my life after that divorce. I kind of had to pick myself up by the bootstraps. And I was like, What skills do I have outside of what I'm building towards with my, you know, college career. And so I started to like, do you know, $5 photo shoots, you know, I made these little tiny like flyers as an early college kid, saying, you know, Hey, I know, like, you know, a common thing is a lot of girls, I noticed really like taking roommate pictures, you know, something that they were doing on their little point and shoot, I could probably monetize that for like a little tiny, you know, fee and they, they get to be in the photo, and they don't have to set self timer. So I put out little fliers and slowly but surely, people are booking me with $5. And it was like one of these, like, sad experiences of like, going from $5 to, you know, booking weddings at a higher rate. And, but it was one of those things where, you know, it was early 2000s bloggers were really big. And so I took all of the time I could in developing that skill by reading blogs, and, you know, just going out and shooting. And luckily, I was able to develop a skill from it, where I was booking weddings in Idaho, and Las Vegas, and California and Utah. And then, I mean, I like love stories, obviously. But you know, I found that my passion is really wanting to tell the stories of people and like individuals and taking it to a more elevated place. And that's where I kind of developed my skill. When I moved to DC and I was on Capitol Hill, I realized, wow, there's a lot of women that have a lot of side businesses and things that they're doing individually, or there's a lot of fashion bloggers that are popping up in DC, you know, is anyone taking their photos, you know, and I started to monetize working with these women that had these kind of, you know, expose double incomes, you know, and I kind of made a name for myself working with like fashion influencers in DC and like women that were, you know, kind of doing their own side hustles and doing their own businesses realizing that, you know, DC is a wonderful place, it's a full of smart people, but there aren't a ton of creative people. And so people will pay top dollar to do the creative things. And so I made a really good name for myself with the photography in DC.

Matt Sodnicar 22:09
So a couple of questions here. And I love that whole story. So when you're going through the divorce in the understanding that photography, and the camera is your creative outlet. And when you were experiencing the depths of that you said it was very sad, did it affect what you shot through the camera? Did you see things differently in that moment?

Cyd Hatch 22:36
You know, that's an interesting question. Because like, I'm sure, you know, we've shared that you've been divorced previously, as well. Like there's a deep sadness, no matter the situation, right? Like there's sadness, there's mourning, there's things that are going on that are beyond whose fault was it or whatever, right? It's just a very emotional process. And I found that, you know, divorce really helped me, I'm already a very kind person, I pride myself in being a warm, fuzzy person that really takes interest in people. But I think my divorce took me that much further into seeing people, like I saw people for who they were at their core and wanting to capture that like for me, you know, divorce made me a very empathetic person. Because at that point in my life, there were moments where I didn't really want to be around anymore. And there were times that I was in a really deep despair. And I knew what it was like to feel very low. I knew what it was like to feel alone, I felt, you know, I knew what it was like to feel forgotten. And it was my life goal after that point of I know what that's like. And I don't want anyone else in my vicinity or in my circle of influence to ever feel that way. Because that is not life. That is not who people should be. That is not how human interaction should be. And so I think that affected me to really ask the right questions of my clients before we shot saying, you know, what do you want these pictures to represent? What are you what, what are things you like about yourself that you want to come through these photos, and I think it was kind of, you know, getting past the superficial, I take a lot of pride in any project that I do when it comes to marketing. When it comes to photography, whatever I'm doing creatively, I take a lot of pride in getting down to the why and the emotion in the person. So I can have a better understanding to how to better represent them. And so I think my divorce and in that time, it kind of really helped me hone in my deeper feelings of empathy and seeing people and using that in my work.

Matt Sodnicar 24:31
Was there a photo? Excuse me that you took from that time that would capture how you felt?

Cyd Hatch 24:41
I'm sure there is. There there is somewhere. I took a lot of photos during that time. You know, I think yes. I mean, I think there's a couple of like, you know, weddings where I think in my time I'm like, I wish that was my life. And I think there were some beautiful moments of love that I'm like You know what they get it, or they have that. And that's something that I'm like, I hope I have that one day. Or, you know, I know that there were women that I worked with that, you know, I think I saw myself and who I wanted to be in a lot of these successful women I worked with, but there are definitely moments where I was like, You know what, that that got me through that was a really cool shot. And I'm really jazzed that people are, you know, really kind of winning at life, and they're following their dreams. Like, I tell you, and I think I've told Christine this as well. But I like to say my, I'm kind of like the American Dream maker. Like, I think with my work, I help people make their dreams make their jobs making their, you know, vision for life come true. And I'm not supportive role in helping them get there and telling their story in a creative way, and really kind of seeing their why and helping them tell that through content on their website, or social media, whatever. Like, for me, life is all about that emotional connection. Can you relate? And I think that Yeah, I don't know if that makes sense. But you know,

Matt Sodnicar 26:06
no, it totally does. And I was just thinking about Taylor Swift pops to mind, right? Where break up and

Cyd Hatch 26:15
tailor into this.

Matt Sodnicar 26:19
That's fine.

Cyd Hatch 26:20
Hey, I know popular opinion on popular opinion. But

Matt Sodnicar 26:24
But you know, as a creative outlet, I was curious if the emotion that you're experiencing affected your work, and I was fascinated by that.

Cyd Hatch 26:34
Yeah. You asked good questions. I will say that. Put me on the spot of gene thinking here.

Matt Sodnicar 26:46
Thank you that that is? That's a high compliment. I really appreciate that. Yeah. So storytelling, and this is for my education. What makes a good story?

Cyd Hatch 27:01
You know, there's a lot of elements to that question we'll have to unpack. I mean, obviously, it depends on industry, right. And there's definitely elements in every industry that are going to be important to incorporate and heading, adding some street cred, if you will. But it's true, you got to have street cred, right. Um, but a good story. I mean, I, one of my mottos, I think, in marketing, when I sit down with clients, initially for consultations, and things like that is helpful is the new viral for me. I think we live in a world where people are constantly looking for solutions, right? Whether it's, I need some acne treatment, can your you know, beauty company helped me or I mean, even looking at like the political world we live in, like people are trying to find solutions, people are trying to find relief from the things around them the problems they're having in life and things that they're looking for, for fulfillment, solutions, things like that. And so I think storytelling, to me is kind of providing those solutions for your audience. Right? So how can you be part of the solution in their life? How can you be helpful because if you're being helpful, and you're providing solutions, and you're making people's lives easier, and giving them ways to, you know, hack away at some things that maybe they're having issues with, there's a reason that they'll come back, right? They'll be like, Oh, you know, what, like, that was such a helpful post, or that was a really interesting blog post, they get it, right. I think if we if as as a business or as an individual, if you can be helpful. And if you can provide solutions in a world that kind of again, seems pretty chaotic. To me, that is a good storytelling, it's creating that realness because again, as much as I love social media, I think it's been a beautiful connector of people. I've made tons of friends through Instagram and things like that. It's super weird, but it's super cool at the same time. Although that's a beautiful aspect of social media. I think it's really desensitized us to really feeling and understanding each other. And I think if you can step back and say how can I storytellers so there's a human connection again, in a way that's tangible, and helpful and interesting, and it's not just a basic thing. Like, I love my dog and I love my Starbucks, you know, pumpkin latte, right? Like we've had enough of that we've had enough of like booty, you know, poolside shots from people we've had enough like, we're ready to break it down and be real and not have as much curation. Like we've had curation, I think people are wanting to have that human interaction again. So if you know that's a that's a general blanket statement of what I think good storytelling is today.

Matt Sodnicar 29:51
Yeah, and I from my perspective, being a self taught marketer and in same thing on design side, I'm not so much skilled creator, but I can see things that just don't land correctly. Where something's a bit off, it's either trying too hard, or it misses the mark. And it doesn't take me on an emotional journey. And I understand that people are very different. So I'm not saying that my perspective has to be the only way but you're right. Like I like things that unfold in that are genuine. And,

Cyd Hatch 30:33
and thoughtful, it's not so strange. It's seeing beyond the sale, it's, it's making that connection first, and then saying, Oh, you know, I got you hooked, here's some things that I know, will help you.

Matt Sodnicar 30:45
Right. My dream job is to have, like, a seventh floor office with floor to ceiling, Windows and a sofa. And I basically just hang out and nap and don't do anything until somebody comes to me with an ad campaign. And I say, okay, it's gonna be $20,000. And I'm gonna look at this, and I'm gonna tell you that this is going to be a disaster. And if, if you choose to ignore me, that's fine. It's $5,000. But I want you to sign this waiver. And I get to tell future clients that you ignored me. So like, all these things that just crashed in the mountains, right? Like, I look at that as like you didn't, you didn't search urban dictionary for this term that you used, or you didn't do this is like, and then I make money either way, and I help the company and then protect them from making stupid mistakes, that usually are a blend of them trying to be clever or funny, which is so hard to do. But I will say there is space for that. Because like for me, again, as much as you know, how many articles are out there be like I have the secret solution for marketing success, right? Like, there's hundreds of articles, there's hundreds of like online gurus, if you will, that are like you make 600, you know, 600,000 within your first year, right? Like,

Cyd Hatch 32:17
we see those people, right. And I don't want to discredit them, because I'm sure they're helpful to some extent, right? They can provide some basic, you know, flowery content ideas, where it's like, Well, duh, I know that you know, but there is something to marketing where there is that, again, like you said, this probably is gonna suck. But it might also might not like there is a little bit of a trial and error with marketing. But it is a mistake, because like, although that's true, there are definitely mistakes now that I think you have to be careful just because of the climate in which we live in. And there's been like a couple blunders within this past year where I like literally smack myself on like the forehead and be like, who What were you? What was your team? Thank you. That was no, you can join my firm, I get what you were trying to do. But like what if, you know, it was maybe not as well received. But again, like there is that trade off? Because how many irreverent campaigns go out now where it's funny, and people are like, haha, I get that. But how easy could that have been shot down? You know, but it's again, it's that trial and error. You know?

Matt Sodnicar 33:22
What was one that left to mind? When you were talking about that from the past year? Do you remember? Oh, man,

Cyd Hatch 33:27
I don't want to throw people under the bus. But I mean, here's the deal I live in you can

Matt Sodnicar 33:33
you can give the maybe not the product name. But yeah, so we've,

Cyd Hatch 33:38
I mean, anyone living in Utah will know who I'm talking about. But again, you know, it is what it is. So, um, there was a campaign that was done here in Utah. And again, you tell us a wonderful place. I've lived here for the past three years, but again, going from DC to here, definitely not as diverse definitely not on the same caliber of like being able to understand marketing across, you know, different genders, different orientations, different, you know, types of people, if you will, and there was one fashion brand here in Utah, that is very well known. And they made a campaign of, you know, basically trying to speak to Black Lives Matter and like kind of this diversity kind of market, if you will, because, again, people very much care about social issues when they shop now, but they didn't do it in a way that was very authentic. And a lot of you tell brands, you know, although Utah is very, a very unique place, because it's a place for marketers, like we have mommy bloggers up the wazoo. We have very big blogs, you know, fashion bloggers like Utah's known for content creation. I mean, it's it's this little booming metropolis of, you know, content creation, but unfortunately, it's kind of one dimensional in the fact that most of them are blonde women, and there's a very specific look about them, right. So when you know the Companies that are here and they're based in that type of environment. They were trying to throw some bones out to the Black Lives Matter community and things like that. And so they were randomly featuring, you know, African American women wearing their products. And unfortunately, like, I get that they were trying to be, you know, inclusive, but a lot of people felt like that was in genuine because up until that point, they have not featured women of color, really, at all. I mean, there might be some offshoots here and there, but across the board, it was pretty much white blonde, and maybe, you know, a couple brunettes thrown in there. But it was mostly blonde, white women. And so there was tons and I remember, you know, I follow them because I personally like their brand, you know, I wear their things and things like that. But I remember looking at some of their ads and some of the comments they were getting blown up like this is super super in genuine like, this is not real like this, you know, and they were just getting ripped to shreds. And I'm like, said I thought I had on how that's important to people, you know, especially because people are moving to Utah, and Utah is changing. You know, that's something that people especially businesses here in Utah, which Utah's a very entrepreneurial state, it's a thing that they're going to really have to integrate if they're going to be successful moving forward.

Matt Sodnicar 36:14
Utah's wonderful, I love it. It's so beautiful. Yeah, and people just they kind of know, it's hard to quantify, but they can, I don't want to call that campaign pandering, but it's just sort of like, oh, everybody's doing this, we should probably do something.

Cyd Hatch 36:32
But here's the thing, like people are tired of being bull cropped on social media, with businesses. So like, they'll call you out for it now. And that's like, the very dangerous thing of business is you have to really think through campaigns. And so yeah, it's a crazy world. I mean, it's great, because I think diversity inclusion very much matters. Because again, for a very long time, people weren't, you know, people want to see themselves in the products that they buy, right. And that's and, you know, visuals and, and campaigns, and you know, with ads and things like that. And so I think it's been a wonderful experiences experience for businesses to be able to really harness that more genuinely. But there definitely is like, a process in which you probably need to do that best. But I'll ask you this, because you're a cam, you know, a marketing guy yourself in some ways. Has there been a campaign that you have very much liked? Are you very much remembered? And why was that?

Matt Sodnicar 37:24
Oh, it's been years since I've had cable. And so commercials, it's been so long since I've seen commercials that when I do see network TV, it's commercials are almost fresh to me now. That's a great question. I think I mean, it doesn't

Cyd Hatch 37:43
even have to be TV, it could be like a social ad or, you know, something you solve from a business that you're like, wow, that was really clever. And that makes me want to buy like, when was the last time you were actually swayed by a marketing campaign? Because I always find that that's an interesting question as to like, what hooks someone because it's interesting to hear what people have to say,

Matt Sodnicar 38:03
Oh, I'm gonna ponder that. Because if there's one that is coming, it's kind of fuzzy right now. But there's one that I want to think of that I can't recall it now. But I'll think of it I'll like, sub process that while we're talking and I'll get back to you. Because there have been some that are well written emails or there's pop up ads or other things like websites that have had an impact. And, but going back to your point, it's there answering the why, why they why they exist, and why should I care? That's that's the origin of it. And I'm really trying to think about I know

Cyd Hatch 38:51
it's always hard. It's like when people ask what's your favorite movie? You're like, I'm having a brain fart I like I love I don't know which one I want to see right now.

Matt Sodnicar 39:00
It's too hard to call that out. Because are we talking comedies? Are we talking documentaries are we talking about?

Cyd Hatch 39:07
I'm a movie buff, so I get that life? I get that struggle? Like which category you

Matt Sodnicar 39:16
so this question won't be really any easier. So as a as a history person, is there a favorite period you have in history, that time machine magic wand, you could experience or one that you just enjoy reading and learning about?

Cyd Hatch 40:13
I love anything Ancient Egypt, when I was a little kid, you know, when your parents finally allow you to pick out your own storybook. My first book that I picked out for myself was an encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, and just a fascinating civilization, just so beyond their time. Art ever it just everything is just stunning to me about that culture. So that is definitely one. But when it comes to American history, I very much love the Industrial Revolution and the time of the robber barons and things like that. But if I really was very specific, I'm a huge Teddy Roosevelt fan. Oh, yeah, like fan girl or him so hard. Because what a really interesting person and like geeking out history stuff, like my favorite political election was the 1912 election because he split the republican vote and basically made the bull moose party and that's why, you know, that went to crap. It just, it was just an interesting political time, you know, and he's just such a charismatic person that really redefined the presidential you know, role from like, then onward when it came to like media relationships, like, you know, what the President's roles are, and just looking at the National Parks just he was a fascinating person.

Matt Sodnicar 42:10
I totally agree. And one of his quotes and I'm gonna have to paraphrase because I don't have it remembered or memorized. Excuse me, but he was saying that it's essentially the the man in the arena, quote, where it's better to be bloodied and knocked down and fail than to be a spectator never try it that always stuck with me.

Cyd Hatch 42:34
Yeah, I mean, and he had so many moments where he had to get back up throughout his life, whether it was you know, his first wife dying, you know, giving birth to their first child, Alice, to you know, after that he had a very sad, traumatic, and on that day, he actually lost his mother and his wife. Yeah, two huge losses and like one of the sweetest letters, you know, I actually, for one of my like, me trips, I went to New York City and saw the house that he was born in and there's this whole like, you know, exhibit in that home of him and I saw like, the beautiful, you know, Hanneman shit or handwriting that he had where the light of my life is gone and that was like the letter that he wrote about that day and you know, and after that he goes and goes out west and leaves Alice behind to be raised by his sister and he starts to try to be a cattle rancher and then that fails and he's been a failed business owner multiple times and then you know all the political stuff and then go into Africa and being like Taft, you're not doing it the way I want to so I'm coming back like it's just you know, it's just crazy but I love it and he also had so many great like one liner names that he would say like in the senate where he would call people things and it's not like curse words but it was like really witty things I can't think of any but off the top of my head right now but he just had a lot of swag for that time. But also a super accomplished guy I mean, police commissioner president you know it just cool guy.

Matt Sodnicar 44:01
Do me a favor if there's books on him that you could recommend to shoot those over I'm not gonna put you on the spot to remember those but I will line

Cyd Hatch 44:08
in the White House gives a beautiful like overview is his life so I'd be lying in the White House lying in the white house so I will send you that one and I'll send you a bunch of other ones that are like specific offshoots of like different times of his life But okay, isn't visits the Amazon and all you know all the things but it's pretty fun.

Matt Sodnicar 44:28
Oh, I remembered the campaign. Yes. That I liked. What is and this is a, this is actually when I was in Utah last week. I was at in holiday, there's this high end deli that I went in to pick up a sandwich order. And oh, so in terms of marketing, they are brilliant because they line you through to get to the register through the chocolate aisle. Oh, I am a victim of impulse buying and marketing. And so I saw these chocolate coated almonds from Switzerland or Sweden or something. No price tag on them. Guess how much a box of these almonds were just good fashion I guess hazard a guess?

Cyd Hatch 45:23
I don't even know because sometimes I'm like, oh man, do I actually want to buy these bags? It's already so assuming it's more than that like dread of buying Dryden you know, nuts and stuff. You're like, oh, gosh, so what is it? I mean

Matt Sodnicar 45:36

Cyd Hatch 45:42
you buy it? Did you bite? Did you get snickered?

Matt Sodnicar 45:45
Well, I'm not gonna get out a line and count back again. These are too expensive. walked out with them. I was humiliated as a of course I can afford $30 almonds, but

Cyd Hatch 46:03
they actually taste that much better than like buying

Matt Sodnicar 46:05
Oh, no. To me, those were $5 chocolate almond, so did not blow me about that branding man. Yeah. But that wasn't the campaign that stuck. So next to them, there was a smaller box with a more reasonable price. That was $2. Yeah. And the name of this brand was called trash nuts. And so I looked at them and I thought it was clever as a black little, little tiny box in just black and white packaging. And what caught my eye was on the front. They had quotes, like one star reviews from people that hated the products.

Cyd Hatch 46:52
Craft disturber marketer, I'm like, you know what, like, your movie industry. I'm gonna do like complete opposite. I respect that. That's awesome.

Matt Sodnicar 47:01
I got to meet these guys. But I bought those because they were just hilarious. And they said, you know, please, if you hate our product review, it might put you on the box. And so they had these things tastes like crap. And they had the story because they're called trash nuts. Because the dude had a 55 Gallon Trash Can that he just roasted the almonds in there. And that's a me that's so they don't taste like blue diamond smokehouse almonds, they have a distinctive flavor. And they're good. That's like, that's just some intent. And it's real. And I just those are the campaigns that resonate with me.

Cyd Hatch 47:41
Yeah, I like the ones that make you smile. And you're like, Ha, that's pretty funny. Or hey, that's pretty weighty, because you do remember them you want to be memorable, but not every brand is going to be you know, zesty like that if you will. But hey, yeah, well, you do it well.

Matt Sodnicar 47:58
Yes, Xerox at IBM can't do that. But a small No. Not company can

Cyd Hatch 48:05
I be shocked?

Matt Sodnicar 48:10
So if if people need help with storytelling and marketing and that where can where can people find you? And I'll link all this in the show notes. No,

Cyd Hatch 48:20
thank you. Um, thanks for that. Shout out if you will. So my business is called the girl who brands it's very straight. It's just the girl who I have Instagram. I have my website and find me on LinkedIn or you know, whatever. But yeah, it's a pretty simple name. I just wanted to be direct to also I got a little bit of inspiration from chance the rapper who I love so Chance the Rapper, huh? The girl who brands so I wanted to be kind of just very straightforward. I think sometimes people try to get too flowery these days where they try to come up with something witty, and I'm like, you know what I am? Who I Am I brand people. It's what I do.

Matt Sodnicar 49:01
Don't overthink it? Exactly. One of my books stupid, right? Yeah. Yeah. Well, so this has been great. I knew is gonna be an awesome story. And thank you for telling it.

Cyd Hatch 49:17
Of course now. Thanks for having me. And hopefully there was little tidbits of helpful things if not like, I guess you have blog posts for that or whatever!

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