Ep #172: How to Build a Master Brand with Jennifer Kem

The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley | How to Build a Master Brand with Jennifer Kem

I have had so much fun bringing some powerful women to you over recent episodes, and today is no different! This week, I’m welcoming my friend Jennifer Kem onto the show. She is a beyond incredible businesswoman and is joining me in this episode for such a cool conversation about how to build a master brand.

Jennifer Kem is a Brand Futurist and top media personality, and is frequently asked for her opinions by mainstream media publications such as Forbes Magazine, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur Magazine. She is the 8-figure Founder of the Master Brand Institute and believes that values-driven living is the key to having a fulfilling life while slaying all of your personal & professional goals. She helps entrepreneurs be seen, heard, and paid – all for being themselves.

Tune in to this great episode as Jen shares the 5 principles of building a master brand and shows us how to use them to become a successful entrepreneur. Learn how to view challenges as opportunities for tremendous growth, and why when you know and live by your values, you’ll always make the best decision in your life and business.  It’s a note-taking episode, friends, don’t miss it!

If you want help creating a business with thriving revenue streams so that you can design the life you really want this year, now is your chance! We’re going to be opening the doors to the Design You Coaching Program really soon, get on our waitlist now!

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • What a brand is and how to build a powerful one authentically.
  • The difference between branding and marketing.
  • Why so many people try to scale too fast and what happens when they do.
  • How to stop comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs.
  • The difference between a business and a personal brand.
  • Three types of brands and some guidance on when to build them.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to the Design You podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 172.

Welcome to the Design You podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey, hey friends. How are you? I hope you’re having a great summer. I have just had so much fun recording these episodes for you that I’ve been bringing to you every week this summer with so many incredible women. And today is no different. Today I have for you my friend Jennifer Kem who is just an incredible, incredible, beyond incredible businesswoman. And we talk about building a master brand which is such a cool conversation. So, Jennifer is a brand futurist. She’s a top media personality.

She’s always asked for her opinion by the big people at Forbes and Business Insider, all the important places, Entrepreneur Magazine, all of them. She is an eight figure founder of, I think she’s built more than one eight figure company. She tells us about that in the episode. And she’s just such a delight and super smart. So, get ready to listen to this great episode. She teaches us the difference between a personal brand, a company brand, an offer brand, all the pillars of a master brand. And it’s definitely a notetaking episode.

So, get ready, this woman is a genius and I know you’re going to love it. Here we go, here’s my interview with Jennifer Kem.

Tobi: Hey Jennifer, welcome to the Design You podcast. I actually call you Jen but we’re calling you both today. But, Jennifer, Jen, welcome to my podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. We’ve been trying to get you here for a long time but you are a busy, busy lady, an eight figure entrepreneur by the way. So, thank you for being here and tell everybody about who you are and the amazing stuff that you do.

Jennifer: Tobi, thank you so much. I’ve been actually really looking forward to this. I know we’ve had to hit snooze a couple of times to get our schedules to work out. But I just love this and I love the work that you do in the world. So, I’m grateful to be here. And so about me. Gosh, I always like to introduce myself as a season chicken, not a spring chicken. I’ve been helping companies and entrepreneurs build their brands online and offline for 25+ years.

I spent the first half of my career in the corporate world working for big companies like Verizon, and Microsoft, and some of the biggest advertising agencies. And then in 2006 I leapt into entrepreneurship and never looked back. And over the past 12 years I have built four companies, one in retail and real estate and then the others in consulting, training and education. And I am the CEO of Master Brand Institute where we help basically founders, leaders get seen, heard, and paid more online and offline by creating million dollar experiences.

And building a brand simply by being more of themselves. And so that’s what I do but it’s also what lights me up in the world. I always tell people, “I love talking about business and building brands because I see the power of it and how much it can enhance people’s lives if done right.” So that’s a little bit about me and my background. And of course, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area but I’m from Hawaii. And I have three children, three dogs and an incredible stay at home dad, husband who is my partner in business and life.

Tobi: And don’t you also have a new winery?

Jennifer: I do, so that’s next because it’s a whirlwind.

Tobi: If all of the rest of that weren’t enough, I have an incredible new property/winery/I don’t know, farm. It’s incredible.

Jennifer: Yeah, I mean it’s funny because it’s been only four months. And I think that’s why it’s new on me. I’m a country girl from Hawaii, we grew up surrounded by pineapple and sugarcane. And my family farmed the land, we had goats, pigs, and cows. We had all the things growing up. And I always had these big dreams and wanted to live in the city and work in the city. And now I’m in that season of my life where I need a little bit of both. I need a little bit of cement and I need a little bit of mountains and the ocean.

And so yeah, we recently acquired a vineyard property and it is a business but it’s not a business yet. So, in fact I’m looking out of my window right now because I’m tuning in from my home office. And oh my gosh, we’re going to have actual grapes soon. And I was just afraid I would do all the wrong things. But as a CEO I know that I should just hire people smarter than I am to figure it out. And my husband’s very agricultural and [crosstalk].

Tobi: It’s so cool. That’s amazing.

Jennifer: Yeah, so there is that.

Tobi: Yeah, I just wanted to throw that in just so that if people are like, “Oh my gosh, she’s so impressive and she’s so amazing, and glamorous”, and whatever. And I’m like, and she has a winery too to boot on top of it.

Jennifer: Oh my gosh. I’m very approachable. Please don’t think I am too boojie. I am boojie but only one boojie and not too boojie.

Tobi: Yeah. No, you’re very approachable which is one of my favorite things about you. Okay, so let’s get into this conversation because you have a book coming up in a few months that is around this really your core concept of what you do, of building master brands and types of brands. And I’d love for you to talk to us about this. Tell us what that even means. Branding is thrown around all the time. Talk to us about building a brand and how we start to understand what kind of brand either we are building or what to build. Take us on that journey, please.

Jennifer: Thanks for the question because I think that there is a lot of confusion around what building a brand is and what branding versus building a brand is. Is branding the same as marketing? Is branding your logo or your website? What is it? So, let’s kind of start with some common language definitions that we’ll just use. And so, branding is the entire ecosystem of how a business makes their audience feel. And as a result of that, that audience trusts, and respects, and refers that brand.

If you think about all the brands you love. I mean maybe you can name a few that you’re obsessed with. For me I’m obsessed with any kind of craft coffee. And so, I like a lot of little craft coffees. I love my Peloton. So, I’m a mega Peloton brand advocate. And I’m an Apple user. So, you see, I drive a Tesla. So, these are brands that I refer, I tell people, “Go and buy them.” And brands move the world. We choose what we trust. And so, brands are the trusted entity you create in relationship to your business.

So, marketing on the other hand is letting people know how you can help them and letting people know that your brand is the best solution for them. So, with those kind of definitions out of the way, there’s a lot of different definitions. And I’m not saying anybody else’s is wrong but I want to use mine.

Tobi: No, I like that, that’s so clear, that’s a clear and concise way to understand, especially the marketing piece. The brand is the entity. The marketing is how you tell the world about the entity, yes, perfect, okay.

Jennifer: Yes, exactly. It’s kind of like you deliver the message that the brand exists, that we actually are here. And so, I’ve been doing this again for 25+ years. I didn’t expect to become a brand strategist or a brand futurist, or an expert in this space. I thought I was going to be a lawyer. And that didn’t work out, thank God, although I think I would have done an alright job as a lawyer.

Tobi: I think you would have too, yeah.

Jennifer: Because I love the conversation and the debate. I don’t mind that at all. But I think I wouldn’t have been happy. I probably would have been good at it but not happy. So anyway, I started out my career early out of college in Silicon Valley. So, I was in the Bay Area in college. And my first job was with one of, actually the biggest advertising agency in the world called Ogilvie. David Ogilvie’s kind of the godfather of marketing and copywriting. And so, he is still, his theories and practices are still used today in functional marketing and strategy.

Anyway, back in those days I started to realize the power of building a brand versus just building and growing a business, that you can absolutely have a profitable business and that’s fine. You don’t even have to care about being popular, or being an influencer, or whatever. But let’s even think about your local businesses. They still have a brand that makes you loyal to them. And a lot of those local little businesses aren’t interested in being again, influencers or whatever. But they’re a place that you go to time and time again because of service or whatever.

So, I’ve spent my life and career studying what great brands do and how they ascend from what I call just being a brand to becoming master brands. And in my study over these years and in working with real clients, working with corporations, working with entrepreneurs and everything in between it came down to five pillars of what made a brand a master brand. And a master brand doesn’t just mean a big old company like Apple, or Starbucks, or Ford, or Mercedes or whatever. Obviously, those are master brands.

But the thing is that all those master brands started exactly where a solopreneur starts in a garage, across a kitchen table or in a café talking a friend or a family’s ears off about their big dreams and visions. And they just chose to go for it. Now, in today’s climate we have more opportunity than ever because the digital opportunity that actually even wasn’t as pervasive back in the day has now flattened the playing field. And it’s this rise of what I call the micro brand. So, these are the influence brands, these are the small cool crafty brands on Instagram or on Pinterest.

These are boutique micro brands but these micro brands also are master brand worthy, meaning they are following the five pillars that I’m about to tell you about, to be able to [crosstalk].

Tobi: Okay, awesome.

Jennifer: So, I wanted to just make the point that whether you’re just starting or you’re a big, big company, or you were an executive, or worked for a big company, honestly the rules are still the same, you just have a different goal. You have a different vision. But the principles of branding are the same. So let me tell you what the five are.

Tobi: Awesome, okay.

Jennifer: Okay. So, the five principles of becoming a master brand are archetypes, audience, aesthetics, activation, and amplification. So those are your five pillars. Do you want me to kind of just describe?

Tobi: Yes. Let’s take us through just a little description of what they are. Perfect.

Jennifer: Yeah. So, archetypes are basically the personality of your brand in kind of a summary kind of way. And I think a lot of people get confused. People tell me all the time, “I want to get more clear. I want to be able to communicate how I help people, or what I do, or what makes me different.” So, the archetype pillar is about that. It’s about being able to tell the right stories that tell more about how your brand helps people.

The audience is the other side of what I call the coin that pays you. So, the archetypes is one side. Audience is obviously the market that you are helping. So, who are your buyers? Who are the people who’ll become advocates and ambassadors of your brand? And really understanding not just who they are but where do they hang out. And being able to put your archetype persona in front of them so that they can recognize you as a trusted brand.

The third piece is aesthetics. This is the part that most people usually think about branding, visual aesthetics. They think about – and you’re a design expert you yourself. So, aesthetics absolutely matter but they’re more powerful when you have the strategy. And the strategy is the archetypes plus the audience. When you have that strategy, you develop better aesthetic assets like your logo, and your website, and your programming’s, all that.

That doesn’t mean that if you have a logo and you haven’t done the other work that I just mentioned, don’t stress out because action is actually more important than any of it. And I always like to say, “Starbucks has changed their logo like 20 times.” Apple has changed their logo so many times. So, people don’t notice because they just keep growing. And that’s the same even if you’re a micro brand, or you’re a freelancer, or you’re a solopreneur, it’s the same process.

So don’t get stuck and don’t spend too much money on branding in the beginning days because you really want to find your audience first and your voice which is the archetype piece.

Our fourth is activation. So, activation really means marketing. You have to activate the brand by letting people know that you can help them with your solution and that’s marketing. So, you have to pick the channels and the platforms that you’re going to be on so that people recognize your archetype. And they are actually your audience, that they will pay you and that you start to develop a visual impact and imprint in those places through your marketing effort. So that includes what social media platforms should you be on?

You shouldn’t be on every social media platform. You should be on the ones, that the two are telling you to be on. What are some of the assets your company needs? Not just your website, maybe you’re writing a book if you’re a thought leader, or you’re aspiring to be known as an expert in your field. So, it’s really all your marketing assets, the funnels, the ways that you deliver things, that’s activation.

And then finally, amplification is really scaling the brand. So, you’ve learned to get clients or customers and you’ve gone through the whole process. This is not totally linear, it’s kind of like you test things and you try things. But amplification is that next level. It’s like a 2.0 of your master brand, going to the next level, getting, for the leader, so the founder has amplification work to do like how to lead a team, how to get help, how to get support. Public relations, getting media for the brand. That is actually an amplification strategy for your actual brand itself.

Because it’s really about, if the media knows you and then also your team can start to take on the things that you don’t want to do anymore. Now you’re really building a master brand and you’re scaling. So that’s the five pillars and kind of describing each one.

Tobi: It’s so good. And what I love about it is there’s so much more to it than you think. Even thinking of that, the team getting out of the way. That entire, that’s like a leadership, but like operations, like SOPs. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that has to support that. And I think people don’t realize that because they’ll say, “Okay, now I want to”, like you said, “Write a book or get on all these podcasts or videos.”

And they’re trying to wear all the hats. And then things start to crumble because I can see already where you can’t possibly do all of these things by yourself or at once. There’s a lot to this, a lot more than people would realize.

Jennifer: You prioritize based on the stage of business you’re in, these five pillars. You can’t do it all at the same time, to your point, Tobi. And also, I think a big thing is people try to scale too fast. And instead of getting the basics down like your messaging, and finding your audience, and creating relationships with them both digitally and analog. These are actually way more important than scaling is because it’s very hard to scale on sinking sand. A lot of people are failing on sinking sand, they’re not scaling on a good foundation.

And so, when I ever I’ve started a new business I always go back to the foundations. You can’t become a master without being an apprentice in the workplace. And I love what you said about operations and stuff because that is branding, meaning building a brand is about the full ecosystem and holistic expectations of your audience.

So, let’s say you’re great at selling or your product is awesome. But then on the back end when a client comes in and takes your program, or buys your CBD oil or does your, you know, you do your design services and they encounter somebody on your team who’s grumpy. Or there’s a fall through in the email sequence, or the fulfilment is off. That hurts your brand reputation and that is a brand – that’s why that part of activation is so important, that you think it through. You’re not just thinking about sales and marketing.

You’re thinking about the whole brand, the whole experience of the customer. And this is what makes you trusted and legendary and makes you futureproof, yeah.

Tobi: I love that, yeah, it’s so good to think of it holistically because we definitely I think separate those things or keep them in silos sometimes in our mind. And I mean it’s logical that you think yeah, if we’re having poor customer service, it’s going to impact our reputation. But it’s a totally different thing to think about that as part of this whole concept of the brand. And getting that structure and system in order so that you’re not undermining all the other work that you’re doing. And we see people doing this all the time, right?

Jennifer: You just dropped the mic right there. Absolutely. That’s in fact one of the biggest things that we see is that people have been focusing so much on marketing and sales. And again, you need that, that’s the lifeblood of your business, cashflow is the lifeblood of your business. But you can completely neutralize or worse, destroy all those efforts just by the back end being a hot mess. If you do this work upfront, that’s why the pillars are about strategically thinking through what are the pieces I need?

And not everything, to your point, but really what do I need now in the next year as we’re doing? What is our big goal for this year? What systems do we have to have in place, or fulfilment processes do we have to have in place? Don’t try to build a Cadillac. Build a solid Honda Sedan, something you can drive and you can trust. And then we go from there. Then you can start building the Cadillac and then the Rolls-Royce.

Tobi: That is so good, yes, I love that you said that. I just was talking to somebody about this, this week, a designer that I coach that’s got an amazing business, three million dollar business. And it’s so interesting but she’s really tired because it’s so easy to get overworked. And so, we were talking about some of these foundational things in her business. And so, the interesting thing I see as I was saying to her, and I see it in so many other designers and creatives. Their vision of what they can become is somebody that already has a master brand, like you’re saying.

It took years to create it and they’re like, “I want to look like that on video. And I want my courses to be that perfectly orchestrated and recorded. And I want every worksheet we make to be this beautiful.” And I get all of that. But I think it’s so easy for us because we are so connected to the aesthetics that that can get in our way.

And I was saying the same thing to her. I’m like, “I know you don’t want to hear it, a lot of people don’t. But you might build your business by doing your own videos at your own computer early on”, which is that Honda Civic version and getting the content out. And getting all of this stuff that you’re saying there together. And knowing that this is – you’re on this continuum and before you know it, you will be getting to doing all of the beautiful things.

But I absolutely love that you’re saying, “Don’t go all the way to the end and think that that’s now, or next month, or 12 months from now”, because it’s absolutely not, right?

Jennifer: Yeah. That’s the difference between being a fantasizer and a dreamer I like to say. So, we all want our stuff to look shiny, and glossy, amazing. Obviously, me having this brandished marketing background I absolutely have the same hang-ups, frankly, [inaudible] things around, especially aesthetics. And it’s tripped me up too. So, I just want to own that and let you all know, I have – it’s not easy to get past what we’re saying here. But based on real life experience and working with hundreds and thousands of clients the truth is, is that it has to be staged.

It’s staged for the goal you want to hit in the next four months instead of the next four years or eight years, because what’s going to happen is four quarters from now, if you do the work to do that in the stage you’re in, what’s going to be revealed at the end of the four quarters could look very different what you originally envision. It might be even better. And we get too attached to what we could look like 10 years from now. And then there is this whole comparitis disease that’s on the internet.

Social media is making us mentally stressed about keeping up with the Jones’, making sure [inaudible] Instagram juicy, pretty, light is perfect. Here’s the thing, think about this. Honda Civic, versus Cadillac Escalade, versus Rolls-Royce Phantom. Guess what? All three of those brands are billion dollar brands, trillion dollar. The Honda is still a billion dollar brand. But they fade where they are and then they elevate from there. And they created Acura which is their luxury version of their middle, you know, midsize and mid-tier business.

So, if you do that you have to trust not just Tobi and I as you’re listening, because we’ve been there, we’ve got kind of what I call the road – we’ve got the hours on the road and also, you know, but it’s also just if you don’t, you’ll probably quit too early because you’re going to feel so dissatisfied and think you’re not doing it well. And that’s the biggest crime I’m seeing on the internet is that people get so sad.

Tobi: That’s what I see too.

Jennifer: And I’m like, you’re on the right path if you’re taking action, I promise you.

Tobi: Yes. I mean this is so timely for me, top of mind because it just happened this week. And you’re right, the result, when you’re comparing yourself to what at some point in the future your brand, your photography, your projects, your deliverables, your courses, your whatever, might look like if you’re holding yourself to that standard right now. You’re absolutely right, the action you take is quitting. You quit on yourself. You quit on yourself.

Jennifer: Yes, you do. I have this post-it note in my office, in my office, office. I have an actual office outside of my home. And it’s framed and it says, ‘action is the antidote to despair’. And so, you, I get it, imperfect action feels really scary especially if you are a creative or designer because again, your job in the world is beauty. Your job in the world is functional. And you want that beautiful mix of function and beauty and anything less than that would feel like it was beneath you or even you wouldn’t want to put your…

Tobi: Yes, almost an authentic, yeah, exactly what you were about to say. You’d be embarrassed to put your name on it I think is what you were going to say, yeah.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I bet, given the fact that you are a designer or a creative, is going to look probably 10x better than even somebody else who we’d be talking to. But to you it’s not good enough but…

Tobi: Yeah, our C- work is everybody else’s A+.

Jennifer: 100%.

Tobi: But in our heart it’s still a C- and we were taught if you’re going to do something do it right. And you’re exactly right, that gap between our perception of self or what we’re putting out, and where we think it should be. I mean I love that this conversation went this direction because of course you never know where things are going to go. But this is so spot on, especially not just for creatives, especially for my creative audience, but just people in general. Because like you said, we have that comparitis thing.

And we have no idea how much time, money, energy, how big of a team, how much in debt someone’s going in, we have no idea what it takes to create the things that we’re judging ourselves against at every point, at all five of these pillars that you’re talking about, right?

Jennifer: Yeah. And I will say this, I hope that someone’s heart is feeling more tuned into their real desires as we’re speaking truth to this, Tobi, because the truth is, is that even a lot of people that you see on the socials. And I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus. But a lot of them don’t have a lot of money. They have, it’s aesthetically gorgeous but they are broke in the background, working so hard to make it look beautiful. But now they’ve set a standard for themselves it feels in the same level of depression or mental…

Tobi: Yeah, burnout, yeah.

Jennifer: Yeah, all the things. And so instead of – and I know it’s hard. I just want to honor that, that it’s challenging but where challenge is, is where opportunity is. Challenge is opportunity. Challenge is like that’s a growth point for you as a creative or a designer, to go, “Wow, that’s an area or a gap. A weak muscle that I need to work on so I can be a successful entrepreneur.” Versus not just a successful craftsperson which is already there. You’ve already proven that. So, there’s nothing to prove there.

But what we do need to do is make sure that your brand and your business are healthy because otherwise you’re just going to lose all of it. And I don’t say that in a negative way but you might even poop out and leave it all. And we don’t want that because we need more beauty in the world. The world needs beauty, and needs creativity, and needs artistry. And it makes me the saddest when I see creatives poop out a little bit. And I get it because we’re all so sensitive, highly sensitive.

Tobi: Yes. It feels uncomfortable to sort of put a price tag on almost – it almost feels like you’re putting a price tag on yourself, in your craft and all of those things and they all take a toll. Yes, this is such a good conversation. Okay, so anything else that we want to be thinking about, do you want to talk to us? I know there’s some different types of brands, is that even important or should we just wait until the book comes out, or should we talk about kind of how values play into this?

If we were going to go somewhere next with this conversation, what do you think would be kind of the most important thing for us to be thinking about?

Jennifer: Well, I’d love to answer a question I get a lot because back to – I think it’s so unhelpful when we have these common definitions and support people. Because people get confused, should I create a personal brand? Should I create a company brand? What should my LLC be named? I see all these questions especially from people like I said who actually, let’s face it, just because you’re a creative and you have a business doesn’t mean you’re good at it. And what I mean is good at the business part.

And you shouldn’t feel any shame around that. What you’re good at is being the designer or being the artist. That’s what you’re amazing art. And we want you to be better at that but you have to get business skills to build a brand. So, let’s talk about the three types of brands. There are personal brands, offer brands and company brands. Of the three, well, really the personal brand plus the offer brand make the company brand. So that’s the first thing.

That’s the equation. The personal brand is obviously you, the founder, the person who is the original creator, the original visionary of the thing, whether it’s a service or a product, the thing that you’re doing. And all big companies today, and when we say big I also mean micro big, meaning now this is the micro world, these smaller niche brands on Instagram and on Etsy.

Etsy created this entire network of micro brands. These are still micro brands who have learned how to become what I call master brands by their founder having a story that says why they were so influenced to create what they created. So, think about Apple, Steve Jobs, Apple would not be Apple without Steve Jobs. Microsoft would not be Microsoft without Bill Gates.

Tobi: Absolutely. Spanx.

Jennifer: Sarah Blakeley, and it’s sad that I keep thinking about, it’s only white men when I think about bigger brands. That’s what I’m trying to change too. And nothing against the white men. I’m just saying that it’s sad too that one of the only brands we think of is Sarah Blakeley when we think about a woman who’s, you know, but there are a ton out there. They just haven’t become popular, if that makes sense. They haven’t become part of the lexicon.

Tobi: Of household names yet. They may be popular in their worlds but they’re not necessarily yet households names, yeah.

Jennifer: Correct. So anyway, or like Oprah Winfrey obviously.

Tobi: Yeah, I was going to say Oprah, too.

Jennifer: Yeah. So anyway, a personal brand is required and it’s even more important now. And don’t let that overwhelm you because you’re probably like, “Oh my God, how do I do that and I do this?” It’s just more about that you’re infusing your personal brand into your offers. That’s the key. You don’t have to build a personal brand and an offer brand on Instagram together. You can use your personal brand, your stories, your experiences, and your expertise and infuse it into the activation aka marketing of your offer brand.

And your offer brand, again, the thing that you have, what’s your offer? Maybe you sell toothpaste. Maybe you sell coaching services. Maybe you sell dogs. Whatever it is that’s your offer brand. And so, your offer brand, that’s how Procter & Gamble and GE became some of the biggest companies in the world is they acquired a lot of offer brands. And they put them under the GE and P&G header which is the company name.

So, in my case I’m the CEO of Master Brand Institute. Our offer brands are we have a program called Confidently Online. We have a program called The Master Brand Method. We have a program called Million Dollar Experience. These are three of our offer brands. And then my personal brand is Jen Kem. And I do have everything under the Jennifer Kem name and people ask me, “Should I do that or should I do it under my company name?” The answer is it depends. It really depends on what your goals are.

And for me my biggest goal when I left the corporate world was not just to help as many people as possible with what I knew. But I ultimately kind of wanted to be known as the top brand thought leader. And I’m working towards that still. I think some people would say that’s true of me already. But for me I still feel like until I write some books and let my frameworks be taught in a bigger way, that’s when I’m going to really be the thought leader in this space because there really isn’t a woman who occupies this space for this.

So, I’ve been working towards it while I sell my offer brands and I build the credibility of Master Brand Institute which is my company brand. So that’s really important to think about. You have three types of brands and the question is what are your goals? If you’re one of those people that doesn’t want to be in the limelight, there’s a lot of us like that. I don’t want to be in the limelight.

I just want to be a thought leader which means I want to leave books on my shelves that my great grandchildren will be like, “That’s my great grandma.” That’s just something in my mind but anyway, my point is, is that when you’re thinking through what you should focus on the truth is in this era you have to focus more on your personal brand. And the reason is, is because people trust people. And in this era of automation and AI, people want to make sure that you’re a real human being behind the brand.

And so, the story of the founder actually matters more than it has ever. It has always mattered in branding, but even more so now. And even the pandemic helped create even more desire to understand who’s behind it. We don’t want to live this Wizard of Oz life anymore. We don’t want this mystery person behind a box. And it doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert. It doesn’t mean that you have to be loud. It just means that your story has to touch people in a way that makes them see, wow, this offer you have fits my lifestyle.

So those are the three types of brands and kind of some guidance on [crosstalk].

Tobi: That makes a lot of sense. And one question I want to ask is, so when I do think of people who are like, “Okay, I hear you and I trust you that I need to build the personal brand. But I’m the introvert or I am the artist.” What does that have to look like? Because I think a lot of times we only think it means the super extroverted on video all the time, influencer. And people are like, “Oh my gosh, I’d have to change my whole personality to be that.” But what you’re saying is just infusing your story.

So, can it come in different ways, if you’re not super interested in always talking, do you still have to sometimes or can it be written content about you? What do people do when they are timid about stepping into that concept of personal brand?

Jennifer: Okay, so it depends on, first of all, your personality, and your goal. It can’t be one or the other. So, meaning let’s say – do you know how many actresses or TV personalities are extremely introverted?

Tobi: Yes.

Jennifer: They come alive when they are in that medium because they’re doing their craft. So, I actually don’t believe anymore in introversion or extroversion, although I identify more as introverted on all the tests, which people don’t believe because they’re like, “You’re so communicative”, and you’re so whatever. Because Tobi, right now I’m talking to somebody who I think is awesome. And I’m talking about what I’m good at. And when you talk about what you’re good at you’re confident.

Tobi: So good, yeah.

Jennifer: So, you appear by society standards, extroverted. But I actually [crosstalk], I’d rather be in a corner reading a book. I don’t like going live unless I’m talking to somebody like Tobi. Actually, it helps me have that energy exchange, talking about how I can help people.

So, if you change your frame of mind around it being if you talk about what you know, instead of trying to talk about something you don’t know, at least in the beginning, because that’s the thing about authenticity and people are like, “How can I be more authentic?” I’m like, “Talk about what you know.” And train that muscle. And when you do you’ll stop noticing that the camera’s on. You’ll actually stop noticing. If you do have some type of phobia around it which is totally normal, some people just can’t do it.

Writing as a medium is one of the most powerful ways to get through to people because in fact, copy moves the world. Copywriting, that’s why it’s the most revered skill set in marketing is copywriting because it actually has the power to influence so much, that’s why – I mean here’s an example. What are the three most powerful books of all time? The Bible, the Quran, and The Torah. Why? They’re books. They’re written word. The written word, whatever your belief systems are the point is the word actually matters.

And so, if you aren’t ever going to turn on a live stream you can absolutely influence people with the words. And maybe because you’re great at the aesthetic piece, pairing that with visuals that tell the story. But you have these different mediums. There’s so many choices today. There’s no excuse, frankly, for picking one and going for it. That’s what I would say to that.

Tobi: I love that so much. And I think that that just gives people permission to sort of relax and not try to be something that they’re not. Even just your example of well, no, I would never maybe go on a stage in front of 5,000 people, or even 500. Or I feel really awkward by myself teaching something on a live. But I can have a conversation even on video or on a podcast all day every day. Then you absolutely could go get on a 100 podcasts if you wanted to. You could do whatever really makes sense [crosstalk].

Jennifer: Choose the thing that most naturally fits your archetype, which is that first pillar and then go for it. And then it’ll create that muscle of courage and confidence in you that maybe you’ll start to explore other mediums. But first you’ve got to do what you can do best now. That’s what gets in front of people, they try to jump to, this person does what I do and they’re crushing it. They’re awesome. Look at them. So, I should do it like them and that’s just going to be the biggest block and obstacle for you, friend.

Instead choose what you naturally know. And again, I love podcasts because I just talk about what I know and help people and talk to somebody I respect and be seen as an authority because that’s part of it. But also, I have a dialog. I do better with dialog than I do within a monolog. And so, for me I know that about me and thank God Tobi’s a great interviewer too so it really helps. But you’ve got to get in the game is the bottom line.

Tobi: Yeah, it’s so good.

Jennifer: If you’re going to get in the game, choose the easiest way to get in the game.

Tobi: I love that. And that goes back to that other big aha that we’ve already said. And I think that’s the whole through line and big takeaway from this conversation is that it’s not about doing what you might be doing two years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. It’s what can I do right now? What could I easily and pretty comfortably step into and just start using what I know or what I have, or who I am right now today and grow it into this?

Jennifer: I’ve already talked about that in the book.

Tobi: So good.

Jennifer: It’s called Win/Win, it’s the new win/win and I call it What is Now? What is Next? So, it’s a philosophy.

Tobi: So good.

Jennifer: How do you make decisions to build your brand and your business on this win/win philosophy, which is what is now and what is next? So, it’s like what is now that could move the lever for me? What are the five things, not the 50 things, what are the five things? We call it the tiny hinge that will swing open big doors for you, what are those five things that if in the next 90 days if I focused on that then I could make a new decision called what’s next? So, what’s now, what’s next?

And this what’s now, what’s next philosophy is part of my success rituals that I’ve adopted after learning through my own time on the field, if you will, being out in the wild and doing the work. And going, every time I’ve gone away from that where I’ve had this fantasy of five years from now, it’s just made me disappointed. It’s made me have too high expectations of others and myself. It’s caused me to feel depressed, anxiety, and I’m like, “No, if I focus on the present.” I like to say this, the future is anxiety, the past is depression and the present is peace.

And so, if we can focus on the peace of the present and know hey, here are the three to five things that if we did these next 90 days and we just focused on them, even as multi passionate, multi creative people, the reward on the other side is so juicy. I like to say that structure creates freedom. And frankly, creatives are the most controlling, we’re control freaks.

Tobi: Exactly. We’re creative in our art but we are not at all creative in how we move through business and we so control the honorary and don’t like uncertainty and all the things, yeah.

Jennifer: So, make that work for you than against you, that’s my point. Let the structure of that actually make you more creative inside, expand inside of the container you create instead of thinking that it’s holding you down. Think of it as expansion of what’s possible. So, this is how brands build brands, true passion. And I just think that if most people…

Tobi: So good. And even what you just said, thinking about what’s my container right now? It might not be the container that I have six months from now or even – and for sure not six years from now. But what’s the one we’ve built right now and how are we really expanding in there? So good, amazing. Okay, well, how does everybody find you? Tell them where to come because they want all the wisdom. We barely, like this is full of nuggets, and truth, and gold, and all kinds of stuff. And that is just a tiny tip of all the wisdom I know you have.

Jennifer: I hope that I can come back later when the book comes out because I can’t wait till I tell you all about – because then we can deep dive under a lot [crosstalk]. How do I use it and blah, blah, blah? The book will totally outline all that. I’m literally just going to put my entire framework in it so that’s awesome so let me tell you…

Tobi: Amazing. Yeah, okay, that’s already a yes, the answer is yes, you’re coming back for sure. Yeah, it’s a date. I’m excited. Okay, so they find you by going to?

Jennifer: Yeah. So, my favorite place to hang out and chat is on Instagram. So, I’m @jennifer.kem and I’m obviously on all the socials. I’m at everything. But I really feel LinkedIn and Instagram are my two favorite places to hang out and chat. And the next thing is if you’re interested in knowing what your archetype is for your business I have an assessment that is a real diagnostic, it’s a brand psychological diagnostic. It’s not some kind of click bait five question quiz that takes your personal information.

It’s actually a diagnostic of what is the personality of your brand and how do you better use your stories to express who you are. So, if you’re interested in that you can go to brandarchetypequiz.com. All I ask is that do it, it takes about 25 minutes to finish, so again, it’s not some short thing. It’s a real diagnostic that has been certified by the University of Monterrey.

And don’t be inebriated or sleepy when you take it because you can’t start over. And last, but not least, take the test from where you are today, not the fantasy or vision you have for five years from now. Take it there and you’ll get a better result.

Tobi: That’s so good, be honest.

Jennifer: [Crosstalk].

Tobi: Yes, be honest, completely honest, no shame in any of where you are right now, be honest. That’s so good. I love that. Okay, well, we’ll link that in the show notes. And everybody go say hi to Jen on Instagram if you loved this. We can’t wait to hear from you. And thank you so much for being here. It was such a pleasure. I loved every minute of it.

Jennifer: Thanks Tobi, I’m so happy we got to do this. I’ll talk to you soon.

Tobi: Amazing. Okay, see you later. Bye.

Jennifer: Bye.

Alright, was I right or was I right? Of course. I’m not always right but on Jennifer Kem I’m right because it’s not me, it’s her. And I know that you’ll love this episode and like she said, look for her at her website or out on Instagram if you want to connect. And let us know what you thought about this episode. And I’ll see you back here with another great episode of the Design You podcast one week from today. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to the Design You podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at TobiFairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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