Jennifer discusses branding and how everybody can use their experiences to create a brand and tell a compelling story that inspires. Jennifer talks about her own professional and personal experiences and how this has taught her the importance and value of storytelling. She highlights how beneficial it is to build a strong and meaningful brand that expresses the ‘why’ of any business.
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Who is Jennifer?
After working in startups and with major brands in the fashion and music industry, she wanted to combine her passion and purpose for saving the planet and animals and building brands that were on a mission to make a positive impact in the world. The difference if we’re staying there or if we’re compelling is belief. Jennifer has an unbelievable ability to believe different things that really work for her and not put too much effort and belief into her old story. With no further ado, listen and please share your takeaways. You will not regret taking this time to listen to this episode. My welcome to the show. I’m so happy to have you here.
I grew up wanting to be a singer and perform on stages so I could use my platform to share my message which is that we must save this planet and we have to save animals and it’s our duty to do that. And we cannot make decisions that really impact their survival and we need see them as valuable cause they matter. I grew up with like Fern Goalie and Free Willie and dating myself. As a little girl, I saw these movies and I was so moved. I went off to college and I went to school for political science and music management because I was thought I was going to own a record label and be able to write my own contracts and become an entertainment lawyer.
I interned for several people, one of which was the A & R at Motown. I also interned for this amazing woman who was an Artist Manager which was amazing, but I knew I didn’t want to do that. It was awesome working at Universal Music groups. I ended up getting a job and I worked for this amazing team that was the Innovative for Universal at the time where we were responsible for bringing in new revenue streams for the artists and the labels. This was on the distribution side. We had to be able to leverage who they were and use it to build other opportunities for them.
After that, I went into fashion and worked for innovative startups. Looking back now, I was always on teams that were responsible for taking the business to the next level. It was insightful for the business because I worked in all aspects from business development, securing partnerships to doing affiliate marketing, to really setting a marketing strategy. I didn’t really realize what I was doing holistic marketing. I was always looking at the business as a whole and understanding how we could market this entire business to take it to its next level.
After my last corporate stint, which I thought was my dream job and I think the job itself was but it was one of those instances where my personal life completely did a 180. I found out my ex-husband was basically living a double life. We were together almost 20 years, we just got married so it was like a whirlwind. My life just came crashing down which was actually a gift because I came back home to who I am today. I have found a community of people that see the world like I do because I just want to make the world a better place.
Now to tell you about what I do, I’m a brand strategist, I’m also the founder of The Freed agency where you’re free to be you. I build brands using the power of their story, their greater purpose, and ‘why’ to build compelling marketing campaign strategies so that they can attract their ideal audience and build brand loyalty.
I also started coaching people where I’m co-creating their brands with them. When I built a brand internally, one of my corporate jobs never made it to market. I did have work but I didn’t get a chance to bring it to market and I felt like it would’ve taken off had we done it. So I want to give people the opportunity that they have someone that believes in them because we all are gifted with a vision. I want to make sure that people live out that purpose because they have been gifted.
“I want to give people the opportunity that they have someone that believes in them because we all are gifted with a vision. I want to make sure that people live out that purpose because they have been gifted.”
Your story is your brand
Everyone has a brand. If you are working corporate America, your resume speaks to your brand. How you present yourself, how you speak, the things you like, your story is your brand. You are your brand. For the artists especially, there’s a story behind each of the songs that they write about how they grew up and their love for music. When I was working in music, I always loved the stories behind the music. Knowing what made them tick, what brought them to this point of their life because I loved to connect the dots and be able to see how they were able to bring this album or song to life or what was their story and how they got to where they are today.
“Everyone has a brand. If you are working corporate America, your resume speaks to your brand. How you present yourself, how you speak, the things you like, your story is your brand. You are your brand. For the artists especially, there’s a story behind each of the songs that they write about how they grew up and their love for music.”
I think we all have a calling. People have to understand why they feel so compelled to do this work and what inspires them, what keeps them going, because there’s something so beautiful about that. They are able to see the world in such a unique perspective. This is my point about why stories are so important because they give life to your perspective on the world and only you have that perspective on the world, no one else does. If you don’t share your perspective and your gifts, the world is losing because we don’t have your perspective. I always say we’re all puzzle pieces, uniquely made to fit perfectly together and yet, if you don’t claim your piece, then how can anyone claim it?
“We all have a calling. People have to understand why they feel so compelled to do this work and what inspires them, what keeps them going, because there’s something so beautiful about that.”
How Jennifer discovers the ‘why’
I dig into their life and their story. What makes them tick? What global problems make them the angriest? What keeps them up at night? I really get to the root of their ‘why’. Did they feel compelled to create this business? What were the gaps that they saw? What was the need? How did they want to serve? Because ultimately, we’re here to give ourselves to serve. We need to make ourselves a priority in order to do that and that requires self-love and believing in ourselves because we have to fill our cup first so we can give to others. I’m sure you’ve heard that analogy. The need to fill the figurative cup and then the overflow is what you give others. It’s not actually like you deplete your cup to give others. It’s only the overflow. As someone that’s a recovering people pleaser, I give to everybody else and constantly put myself on the back burner. Because I do that, I’m not experiencing the level of joy and success that I want to achieve because I’m not filling myself first and therefore, I’m doing everyone else a disservice.
I think artists don’t remember how amazing they are. That they went on this journey of courage to express their talent because their talent is a gift that they then cultivated and practice that it’s like natural for them. We all want to experience new things. We want a fresh perspective. It’s like traveling. What does travel give you? You get to experience the world, new food, new culture and that expands your level of awareness about life and yourself for you to then share that with the world. So if you are an artist that doesn’t believe in yourself, I’m here to tell you that you need to start believing if you want to achieve because if you can see it in others, you can definitely make it happen for yourself.“So if you are an artist that doesn't believe in yourself, I'm here to tell you that you need to start believing if you want to achieve because if you can see it in others, you can definitely make it happen for yourself.” -Jennifer Yassen Click To Tweet
Denying your past is denying your future success
I just had this on our coaching call today with my coach and our group coaching call. That if we don’t accept our past or accept, if you find yourself saying, ‘why do I always do this to myself?’ ‘Why do I always do this? These are survival mechanisms that have enabled you to survive your past. They just no longer serve you. So if anything, they were a gift because you were able to survive and you got to where you got today because of it. Now you may be frustrated because it’s no longer serving you but if anything, before we actually obtain what we seek, we have to accept what we have right now. All we have is now and the learnings and teachings of our story are going to be some of our biggest gifts that we share with the world. Who doesn’t love an underdog story or a comeback story. The best types of content that perform on social is inspirational content.
We are all striving to be seen
We’re all unique and different but the lessons that we learn, will resonate with someone else and then they finally feel seen. This is the biggest thing when you make it to stardom. It’s because you finally feel seen and recognize that you actually have something of value for others to see. What are you striving for at the end of the day? You’re striving to be heard and to be visible. You’re striving to be truly seen for what you have to offer.
On recognizing stories beyond their ‘turnover’ potential
This also goes back to corporate jobs. What makes a good corporation? It’s people. If you’re not investing in your people, you’re only as good. The truth is those companies would not exist without the people. So if you’re not hearing the people and recognizing how valuable they truly are, then you are actually doing yourself a disservice and you won’t be here for as long as you could be because who wants to have attrition? Who wants to have a turnover? You don’t want to have this. So, if you want to keep people loyal to you, for these companies, you want to know the dancers, you want to know the people behind them. That’s great because it actually builds a connection that you actually want to go see this person before. If you knew about Katie who traveled from half across the world, came here to dance for this company and you would want to cheer Katie on.
Companies seem to focus on, ‘Is this good for everybody? They have to remember; you’re not marketing to everybody. If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. Focus on the ones that matter and then you build out from there.
“What makes a good corporation? It’s people. If you’re not investing in your people, you’re only as good. The truth is those companies would not exist without the people. So if you’re not hearing the people and recognizing how valuable they truly are, then you are actually doing yourself a disservice and you won’t be here for as long as you could be.”
The Power of Collaboration
I thoroughly believe in the power of collaboration. I always want a teammate. I work better that way. She is a storytelling and business coach and I built brands using the story. So when she was on our podcast, my co-host Alyssa and I interviewed her and as she was talking, there was some internal voice that said, ‘You need to collaborate with her. There’s something there!’. So, after the podcast, I reached out, we had a conversation then we started like working together. We did a workshop and then the mastermind was born out of the workshop. For me, what made me want to collaborate with her is that she is helping people unlock their stories, making peace with their stories and seeing their stories, how to stand on their stories. So, empowering people to embrace their story and use it potentially to build a podcast, create or write a book or do whatever they use with their story for. And then for me, what I do is, I actually build you a business and position you and use the story as the DNA of your brand. It was like a natural collaboration there. Even though she talks about similar things and we overlap in some ways, I think that we each bring a different perspective and if she makes me a better coach. I would love to think that I do the same for her.
How about competition?
Regarding whether anything came up in terms of competition? No. I don’t see myself in competition with her. If anything, she makes me want to do better because she launched a membership and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe that would be good for me, maybe I should do that, how did this happen? She has two podcasts and I think, ‘How is she doing all of things? She is a six-time best-selling author. How does she do this? So she inspires me.
But will say of course that the feeling of competition has come up over the years for me. It’s not really competition or that I have to prove that I’m better, it’s more like, ‘I’m not good enough and I wish I was there.’ How can I get there? Like I always looked at myself as being behind rather than on the same level.
The Mastermind is eight weeks in which we teach you how to unpack and unlock your story. Marshall will take you through using various methods that she uses in her personal coaching program as well as using NLP techniques, hypnosis and subliminal in order to unlock more of your story that maybe you are not in touch with.
Then I will come in and we’ll talk about parts of the story each week and we’ll craft content. What I do that I think is a gift that I have, is that when someone tells me their story or a problem that they’re having, I immediately know how to see them and position them. Like you need to do X, Y, and Z.
Why this mastermind is so powerful I think is a lot of people struggle with niching down, coming up with creative content, creating impactful content that’s going to attract their ideal client or audience or persona.
What we do each week will build out your content calendar with you, so every single week we have an hour call. It’s limited to five people at a time because we want to make sure we can serve you. We unpack your story, then we talk about it and come up with content ideas and synopsis for the post, even down to visually how it will look. Whether it’s going to be a checklist, a diagram what kind of reel it’s going to be to give you direction. We’ll write the synopsis with you on the call. This way you actually know what you’re doing in your content. The point is that this is smart content. This is not like hiring a VA to come up with a post for you because then, what’s the point?
What’s the point of creating content?
Content serves several purposes. First, it consistently reflects who you are as a brand and allows your brand to be seen. People need to see something five to seven times before taking an action. You need to be visible and relevant. Also, it gives you the ability to show that you are an expert and that you should be sought after for whatever you’re doing. It gives you the opportunity to educate and nurture your audience. If you’re selling a product, before someone makes that purchasing decision, there’s several things that they do on an unconscious level like a checklist before they make a purchase. You have to be able to showcase and highlight what makes you valuable, why they should trust you, it builds the trust factor for your audience.
“Content serves several purposes. First, it consistently reflects who you are as a brand and allows your brand to be seen. People need to see something five to seven times before taking an action. You need to be visible and relevant. Also, it gives you the ability to show that you are an expert and that you should be sought after for whatever you’re doing. It gives you the opportunity to educate and nurture your audience.”
Also, just being visible from an optimization standpoint, you need to be able to show up because people are going to forget about you. The truth is there is nearly 120% increase in coaches this year alone. There are half a million to a million new businesses coming online every single day or every single month in the US alone so social media is not going away. If anything, I want to encourage people to see it as an opportunity to really cultivate the community that you seek.
Harness your gifts
I think people forget that you can make money doing anything and nowadays you can make money on your phone. My thing is that I want to encourage people to make money doing the things that they love and that they’re passionate about but that also really aligns with who they are and their purpose. The way I see it is, if you’re investing your energy into the wrong thing, it’s like you’re swimming against the tide. That doesn’t work so well. What I advise people to do is, why not invest your energy in the things that light you up, that you’re passionate about, that you’re good at, that come natural to you because you were born with unique gifts and talents. The whole idea about becoming an artist is so that you can and live out those unique gifts and talents every single day of your life.
“I want to encourage people to make money doing the things that they love and that they're passionate about but that also really aligns with who they are and their purpose. The way I see it is, if you're investing your energy into the wrong thing, it's… Click To Tweet
How perspective is shaped
That’s part of evolution. It’s a part of your story of why you evolve. When you read a book, it’s not like someone gives you the book and you’re like, I’m done. You’ve got to get through the pages first. That’s the beauty of it. What do you learn in each of those pages or in each of those stages? What is the gift that is being presented to you in order for you to shape this new perspective? Every time you finish a book, there is some narrative that goes through the entire thing then you’re left with this kind of perspective from the author. You’re able to interpret it and go out into the world and see it in your own way. We’ve been storytelling since the beginning of time.
We resonate with stories because we can see ourselves in the story. That’s a powerful brand; when the brand enables it’s audience to create that feeling. As an artist, what is that feeling that you’re going to give people that are looking up to you.
Who is the Mastermind for?
I will mention that we do have a free master class this Friday which will give a preview into the Mastermind. For the mastermind itself, we think it is for people that have established a business, maybe they’re super early on or one to three years in because typically this is the time when people have created something and things are not working that they need to fix because they’ve missed the important steps of building a brand foundation which is also what I preach all the time. For anybody that’s a new business owner, entrepreneur, sole entrepreneur, especially for coaches as well who are working with their clients day in and day out. However, I would say if you’ve ever wanted to, or have struggled with how to use your story to brand yourself or use it to create content, then this would be for you too.
What would you tell your 16 year old self?
I would say bet on yourself a lot earlier in life. I would say that, you know, you are worthy and that you belong and don’t waste time.
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