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From Jessica Zweig, Founder of SimplyBe.

My book Be. is officially out in the world and I’m so excited to be getting this book into as many hands as possible!

But this book didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been a journey not only writing the book itself, but developing the methodologies and strategies within it. 

It’s time for me to illuminate my own personal brand journey and disclose how I’ve ascended from a visionary with no direction to a thought leader with profoundly clear messaging.

In other words, I’m going to walk you through my trajectory from hot mess to ultra-success—my tips, tricks and secret sauce to Be.’ing your brand in a way that sets you apart and demands that people listen to what you have to say.

In the past, I was not a thought leader, I was, frankly, a hot mess. I lacked guiding intentions and I was in a reactionary state, operating from my ego—a place you never want to be when you’re trying to cut through the noise with incisive thought leadership. 

A thought leader is someone who:

  • Inspires a new way of thinking
  • Is a trailblazer in perspective
  • Disrupts the status quo of an industry with original ideas
  • Is not afraid of being disliked
  • Leverages influence to change his or her corner of the world for the better
  • Goes where no woman or man has gone before

So what makes me a thought leader? I have pioneered a kind of personal branding that is not an act of ego, but an act of service. I own this thought, and I direct how it makes its way into the minds and hearts of many.  

In my book, Be. – A No Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth By Simply Being Yourself, I outline my personal branding philosophy. It is composed of five steps:

  1. Brand Messaging
  2. Brand Positioning
  3. Original Content
  4. External Outreach 
  5. Clarity and Community 

I’m going to break them down for you today. For the full story, pick up your copy of Be.

  1. Brand Messaging

This is my trademarked methodology for extracting and articulating people’s intrinsic value. I call it a hologram because when we shed light on what makes you, you, then you’re able to step into and share your 360 degree, 3-dimensional self with the rest of the world. The best way to build out your hologram is to ask yourself the following: who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why it works.

My four-dimensional breakdown is as follows: 

  • Who I am: a female entrepreneur
  • What I do: I specialize in authentic personal branding
  • How I do it: through my expansive energy
  • Why it works: because of my personal beliefs and spirituality

At the center of all that is the headline, which you can think of as the all-encompassing, encapsulated definition of you. Mine, of course, is SimplyBe. Through this framework, my inner light and talents shine most radiantly, beaming out to my community.

PRO TIP: You may want to gather insight from others, too. Call up your closest confidants who know you intimately and ask them, “What is my value?” Take notes and see what common themes you find—these may just be the foundation to your personal brand.

  1. Brand Positioning 

Now, before you dive headfirst into the market, you have to get clear on your strategy. This means a thorough analysis of your target audience and your competition. I like to think of the audience in three groups:

  1. Your clients: the people you want to work with most directly—for me, that’s emerging thought leaders. 
  2. Your peers: people with analogous goals and with whom it may be mutually beneficial for you to collaborate
  3. Your community: for these folks, dream big and ask yourself, as you scale your brand, who, beyond your primary clientele, do you want to really inspire. (How’s that for some soul food?) Another great way to think about this audience is the people who may not become clients today, but if you plant the seeds now, they might one day. 

Then comes the less invigorating, but equally important part of your brand positioning: the competitive analysis. Thanks to the resources at our fingertips, this is fairly straightforward. Use Google to scan your landscape and Instagram to search hashtags related to your industry. In doing this, focus on how you can separate myself, or in other words, capitalize on what they’re not doing.

  1. Original Content

If you take away one thing from this blog, let it be this: thought leaders think. They create original content. Your messaging should not live and die with your Instagram profile. It should come in more tangible forms, like a podcast, or video series or, dare I say, a book!

In the naïveté of my early career, I chose Youtube videos as my pinnacle content. I thought I was going to be a sensation… I had a blast making the videos and spent tons of money on the series, but to my dismay, it bombed. Lesson learned—Jessica is not a YouTuber! Do I wish I hadn’t blown through money on something that went literally nowhere? Sure. But also no—because it taught me the lesson of living and learning, of trial and error, of failure on the path to success, and that is okay. It got me closer to what I should have been spending my time and energy on.

You’ll know when you find the right vehicle for your messaging because you’ll hear your voice cast through it with unparalleled clarity. I found my content medium in the SimplyBe. Podcast, and ultimately, my book! 

  1. External Outreach

It’s one thing to create original content in alignment with your brand message but it’s another to get it seen. So how can you establish your credibility and get seen? I cultivated relationships with journalists. I got connected to a Forbes writer, made friends with an INC. writer… and I nurtured these relationships, which turned into a growing network.

These relationships helped me out down the road in my career. In ’17 and ’18 when I was labeled as a top digital marketing agent to watch by INC. and personal branding expert by Forbes, it was like fuel for my rocketship. My brand platform was taking off. With those hits, I catapulted myself into a space where I could have different levels of conversation with different levels of people. I upleveled my game by expanding my network.  

  1. Clarity and Community

Clarity is king, and consistency is queen. If you know me, you know this phrase! I talk about this in my book but I’ll give you a sneak preview…

Clarity is king and here’s why: if you talk about everything, you’re an expert of nothing. Clear messaging is the food for your audience; it is the perfectly curated taste of what they crave from you. I don’t do Twitter, I don’t do Snapchat, I don’t do Pinterest and I don’t do TikTok. I bet some of you are wondering, why? (It seems like everyone is on TikTok!) I stick to what I know works for my audience and stay in my lanes. I do what makes sense for me. I don’t blindly jump on what’s trending simply because it’s trending. This is an important lesson to learn, love, and practice daily: be yourself, be accessible, and above all, do what works for you.

As a thought leader, I aim to inspire. I, too, am inspired by my clients, my community and my peers.

There’s inspiration all around you. Take the time to sit down, do the research, dig deep, and map out your own brand. With the right tools, you can design your own rocket ship with intention, and trust me, it will take off. 

For the full story pick up a copy of the book, Be., or get in touch to learn more about how we can help you reach that next level of success.


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