Strategic Messaging for Market Success With Ginger Zumaeta

Ginger Zumaeta is the Founder and CEO of Motive3, a brand positioning, communications, and storytelling firm helping f advising businesses on effectively positioning and communicating big ideas. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and brand design, she is a three-time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer recognized for her innovative approach to marketing and storytelling. 

Starting her career in television and rising to Vice President at NBC, Ginger transitioned into entrepreneurship, crafting effective strategies for startups to Fortune 500 companies. She has worked with renowned brands such as Coca-Cola, Verizon, Union Bank, and Infinity Insurance, and her insights have appeared in Business Insider, TheNextWeb, Better Marketing, Storius, and Marketing Profs.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [2:24] Ginger Zumaeta’s unique entrepreneurial start
  • [5:02] Rising from receptionist to VP and facing layoffs during the recession
  • [6:24] Navigating the Great Recession at NBC and transitioning to consulting
  • [9:20] Ginger’s strategy to rebuild her consulting practice after corporate setbacks
  • [11:55] How to make up mindset during the unpaid internship
  • [15:49] Consulting for Kaiser Permanente and launching their Spanish language services
  • [18:06] Lessons from rebranding and separating personal and business identities
  • [21:36] Shifting focus from a generalist to specializing in messaging strategy
  • [27:46] Strategies for resilience and business recovery after major client loss
  • [31:36] The impact of joining Entrepreneurs’ Organization and learning from peers

In this episode…

Businesses often face the challenge of crafting compelling stories that attract clients and customers. Without a clear and strategic approach, companies struggle to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. How can brands develop influential positioning and messaging strategies that resonate with the target audience and drive engagement?

Ginger Zumaeta shares her actionable insights on overcoming this challenge. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the company’s story and building a solid messaging framework. Ginger also discusses her journey from television to entrepreneurship, highlighting the value of perseverance and adaptability. She provides practical advice on restructuring business models, such as transitioning from a partnership to a solo consultancy and focusing on core strengths like messaging strategy to provide improved client service.

Tune in to this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast as John Corcoran interviews Ginger Zumaeta, the Founder and CEO of Motive3, about her experiences developing effective positioning and branding strategies. They discuss Ginger’s entrepreneurial journey, her rise from receptionist to VP at NBC, and the value of strategic messaging in business. They also delve into the impact of joining the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and consulting for major brands like Kaiser Permanente.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Special Mention(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “If you can make it in two years, you’ll make it. Most people peter out before two years.”
  • “I can’t DIY this to where I want to go, I need a different education, I need people who have walked the path.”
  • “Proximity is power.”

Action Steps:

  1. Identify your unique selling proposition to make your business stand out.
  2. Seek educational and networking opportunities to support your entrepreneurial growth.
  3. Stay agile and willing to pivot when market conditions change.
  4. Focus on a core service or product to excel and differentiate your offerings.
  5. Consider the implications of having your name attached to your business and evaluate if a rebrand might be beneficial.

Sponsor: Rise25

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution. 

We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

What do you need to start a podcast?

When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.

The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.

We make distribution easy

We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create a copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win? 

Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at

Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

All right, today we’re talking about how to tell your business story in a compelling and interesting way that attracts clients and customers to you. My guest today is Ginger Zumaeta. I’ll tell you more about her in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:16

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and ask them how they built key relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:33

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. And you know, if you’ve listened before, which hopefully we have, that in the archives, we got all kinds of interesting episodes with past smart CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs of companies and organizations ranging from we’d had Netflix and Kinkos, YPO, EO Activision Blizzard, GrubHub, Redfin lending tree and many more, and you can check those out on any podcasting platform that you listen to. And of course, this episode, also brought to you by Rise25. My company we’re b2b businesses that get clients referrals and strategic partnerships done via podcast and content marketing, you can email us at support at Rise25 or check out our new podcast copilot platform at 

All right, Ginger, it’s such a pleasure to have you here today. Ginger is the Founder and CEO of Motive3, she has over 20 plus years of experience in marketing, leadership, and brand design. And she’s helped all kinds of companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies in crafting effective positioning and branding strategy. She’s also won a few Emmys along the way we’re going to hear about her many years of experience in television, and I’m looking forward to hearing your stories now based in Los Angeles, originally from Texas, and Ginger, you grew up in Texas. Your father was a first generation. And you actually this is a cool story. When you were I guess in your early 20s You discovered back massages of all things I guess had a hook up for back massages and started selling them at flea markets has got to be a first on this show. But you developed a passion for it, I guess. Or at least it was an opportunity. But how did you get into selling back massages back massagers at flea markets in your free time? 

Ginger Zumaeta 2:24

Yeah, I think you know, as I recall it, I don’t even know where I found this. There was this little wooden back massager thing it was actually called a happy massager. And I found one and I thought it was just brilliant. And I don’t even remember where I got it. But something possessed me even though I was at that point. No one in my family has been an entrepreneur that I’m aware of. I was like, I need to sell these things. And I can’t. I started a little business in San Antonio called indulgences. I went and got my.

John Corcoran 2:58

Everything about this sounds dirty. By the way, the name of the message or the name of the visit. I hadn’t actually considered it, but I know he didn’t have any weirdos showing up at your booth in the flea market.

Ginger Zumaeta 3:15

Yeah, I know. It’s funny. So I started my business and then I ordered. I didn’t even know where I had the money to be honest because I was poor. But I ordered a bunch of these massagers from the manufacturer and set up a little stand at a flea market. In fact, this was so long ago that I had to borrow from a friend, she had a bag phone, like where, you know, you carry the bag and it had the cord and it looked like a traditional phone I borrowed that because I was like, oh my god, I’m gonna be someplace that I’m not it was a little sketch, I wasn’t sure you know, I was gonna be okay there. 

John Corcoran 3:55

But long was like in case you needed to call 911 or something, or something.

Ginger Zumaeta 3:59

I don’t even know. But um, I would sell these at the flea market. I think I did the flea market maybe two to three times for someone, you know, back in, I don’t know, let’s say 2030 years ago, however long that was. There were five operating military bases in San Antonio, I think there’s still four. But someone from one of the bases came and saw these things. And she actually thought that they would really be great in the daycare at the base to calm kids down when they got a little too, you know, too wild. And so she got me in to sell like a whole bunch of them to her daycare and I think hooked me up with some of some of the other bases for a little while I was cruising around military bases in San Antonio selling little happy massagers. 

John Corcoran 4:51

And you were when you were working in TV at the time because I know you started your career in TV and you actually started as a receptionist and rose up to a Uh, Vice VP?

Ginger Zumaeta 5:02

Yeah, I think I was an assistant. In at a telco i That must have been like at a cable company in San Antonio. And, um, you know, he was young, needed some extra cash, and decided to start a business. But I did. I started out actually when I was going to NYU after my bachelor’s degree, I went to NYU for graduate studies, and I just luckily happened to be placed as a receptionist in a TV syndication company. And the rest is history from receptionist all the way up to VP at NBC and every single job in between. 

John Corcoran 5:51

So, you do sell these back massagers. And then you spent a lot of years I guess, in television, kind of your corporate career. Yeah, that took you right up through late 2009 2009. For those of you who can recall it was the great recession. Everything kind of had a big downturn starting in 2008. Actually, October 2009, I guess is when you got laid off from UC, and you’d been VP so it What did you say to yourself when that happened? 

Ginger Zumaeta 6:24

You I mean, it was kind of strange, John, the writing was on the wall. Luckily, I had started to for some reason, I had started to think maybe I should get an MBA. And so I was going to USC simultaneously getting my executive MBA. But I had started to notice I had a huge team. I mean, I was simultaneously VP of Marketing for NBC and Telemundo at the same time, and had a huge team. And I started to notice that our production board was a little sparse. I had a lot of man hours, but not a lot of work. And I’m like, the work is disappearing. And I didn’t know where it was going. And we already knew that the recession was hitting television very hard. A lot of people don’t know about automotive advertising. It is the bread and butter of TV advertising. It’s the moneymaker. Well during the recession, people stopped buying cars. So you know, the automotive industry stopped advertising. And when they stopped advertising, the money basically ran out. 

John Corcoran 7:37

And so this time when some of the big automakers are declaring bankruptcy, I mean.

Ginger Zumaeta 7:41

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it was, it was a bad time. And so we saw things kind of trailing off. And so I had to, I got the displeasure of having to lay off my entire team, and then March myself into HR to accept my pink slip. But, you know, it was, it was interesting. I had opportunities . I got a call from, you know, the President here in LA. At eight, I was at NBC at ABC the very next day saying, hey, why don’t you come here. I’d been at NBC for a while. So I had kind of a soft landing. So I started, I said, you know, I kind of want to think about what I want to do next, and not just head straight into the next job without kind of taking a beat and, and somewhere during that beat, I that’d be kind of his extended, you know, until this day, that’s kind of what the the last corporate job that I had.

John Corcoran 8:37

 And you thought, back massages, I’m going back to back massages at this.

Ginger Zumaeta 8:41

No, I thought something that’s almost just as catastrophic, which is like, let me start consulting. And to kind of put your listeners in the mindset. At that point in time, the market was awash with very overqualified, and under employed consultants, because everyone who had been laid off was suddenly a consultant. And so it was very, very difficult to kind of kickstart that department.

John Corcoran 9:14

What was the vision? What was your vision for what you would do?

Ginger Zumaeta 9:20

You know, what I had been really good at, was always sort of having a strategic approach of taking a look at a company or and putting it into, I mean, messaging is my bread and butter, putting it into good messaging. And what I had the benefit of having worked for NBC and kind of had had a, you know, dominion over the entire department is I really understood how you go from the kernel of a creative idea, all the way to having it appear in mass media. And so not everybody had that kind of skill set in terms of like, how do you actually then kind of get this, you know, onto TV and beyond, you know, a really large scale marketing program. So, my idea was to do this again, probably timing, not ideal for that skill set either. 

John Corcoran 10:20

So, no, no, I mean, yeah, a tough time to find gigs. And you actually ended up begging a colleague who was at a major soda maker, Coca Cola, to give you not a consulting gig because they couldn’t hand out consulting gigs because of the market. But what did you get instead?

Ginger Zumaeta 10:38

Yeah, so here I was, I think I was probably 41 years old, and I asked for an internship. And then they told me no, sorry, that’s not going to work. Either. We don’t, you know, we don’t. I asked for an unpaid internship. And they said, well, we can’t do that, we only have paid internships. I said, well, then pay me for an internship, you have a seasoned marketer here. And, and honestly, I’m grateful that that they they took me up on my offer, I made like a few $1,000, but ended up doing an amazing piece of my real first consulting piece of work for Coca Cola was that it was a multicultural strategy, looking at the Asian American market, and their kind of beverage consumption habits, and how do we appeal to Asian Americans and, and it was very new at the time, because we had been the I think the 2010 census was just about out which kind of said, look at all the Hispanic people in the United States. So to be kind of even a little bit ahead of that to start looking at the Asian American market was, was, was a big deal. And it was just a great piece of work that kicked off my career all with an internship.