Authentic Marketing, Oprah style

by Starla J. King on June 3, 2011

[Tune in to the recording of my guest spot re: AUTHENTICITY on the internet radio show, Wish it, Dream it, Do it! Hosted by Rebecca P. Cohen of]

“Authentic” and “marketing” — can those two words really play well in the sandbox together?

Marketing, this thing we do to try to get attention (to get sales, clients, money). And authenticity, this core-level commitment to a genuine honesty that is not tied to outcome. Hmmm.  I’m sensing a spat in the sandbox.

Or maybe not, if we give each of these lil guys (authenticity and marketing) their own space.  Room to play without getting all tussled up in each others’ toys.

Possible?  Yes. Simple?  Yes. Easy? Ohmygoodness No. So how do I know it’s possible?

Oprah did it.

And I’m telling you, we don’t have to be Oprah to do this ourselves — because she has shared with us her “secret.”

Her final show — did you watch it?   Whether you did or not, I recommend reading the full show transcript… some really really powerful stuff there, including the Oprah method of marketing, although she doesn’t call it that.

Here, read with me:

“I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation… every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?

“Understanding that one principle, that everybody wants to be heard, has allowed me to hold the microphone for you all these years with the least amount of judgment. Now I can’t say I wasn’t judging some days. Some days, I had to judge just a little bit. But it’s helped me to stand and to try to do that with an open mind and to do it with an open heart. It has worked for this platform, and I guarantee you it will work for yours. Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.'”

30,000 people, and ALL of them wanted validation.  ALL wanted to be heard, seen, valued.

So our marketing needs to give exactly that to our audience.  Hear them.  See them.  And above all, absolutely without a doubt at all times value them!

Why?  Because when you do all of those things, authenticity runs the show.

In our personal lives, hearing, seeing and valuing someone requires approaching the relationship with a pure and deliberate curiosity:

  • Ask the questions
  • Listen to the answers
  • Ask follow-up questions that clarify the answers you think you heard.
  • Notice the little things.
  • Appreciate the nuances that are unique to this person… and speak them out loud.

The thing is…  you can’t truly do all that without engaging your heart, the seat of authenticity.

So why not do the same for marketing?

Bring that pure and deliberate curiosity to your exploration of potential client / customers.  Ask the usual marketing questions, but ask them from the heart:  What do they need?  What do they want?  and oh so very very important,

ask them, “How can I serve you?”  — and mean it.

Near the end of that final show, Oprah says:

And what I hope is that you all will be that safe harbor for somebody else—their safe place to fall. Do for them what you all are telling me the show has done for you. Connect. Embrace. Liberate. Love somebody. Just one person. And then spread that to two. And as many as you can. You’ll see the difference it makes.

What if, for this next marketing “campaign,” we first seek to Connect, to Embrace, to Liberate, and to Love?

I bet your clients will show up.  I bet your products will sell.  I bet your heart will expand and your business will thrive.

Mine did.

So tell me… how can I serve you?  Truly, from my heart, I ask… How can I …how can OutWrite Living… serve you?

It’s your time to shine.

For more about authenticity and following your dreams:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorin June 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

Starla, this a beautiful piece… I did see Oprah’s last show and you capture the essence of what Oprah is all about and why her show (and all of our shows) can be so successful… simple. And I do believe easy, when we let our guard down, and show up, really show up. As you do so well my friend!



Starla J. King June 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thank you Lorin! I love your point about needing to “show up, really show up.” YES — we bring *ourselves* to the work, no matter what it is, and it becomes REAL. AUTHENTIC. Even if it’s “marketing.”


Shannon June 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm


LOVE-LOVE this post- these very words- said by Oprah-struck me as well- GREAT idea to read the transcript!
Thank you for your words!


Starla J. King June 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Shannon, I LOVE that those words struck you also… Such powerful words aren’t they??


Stacey April 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm

So beautifully written and explained. I love the ability to “connect, embrace, liberate and love.” The very core of my business. Thank you!



Starla J. King April 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Ah, yes Stacey — I thought you might see your biz in this post!

So good to see you here…


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