Ep. 01: Building Your Brand with Storytelling with Leslie Zemenek of Brand Fingerprint Lab

September 7, 2022
Leslie Zemenek

Meet Leslie:

Leslie started Brand Fingerprint Lab to help rebel entrepreneurs own their magic and build a next-level brand. She got her story chops appearing live on stage at local storytelling slams like The Moth. That’s where she learned to tell a compelling true story in 5 minutes flat!

She’s devoted to helping badass businesswomen craft a narrative that creates visibility, builds authentic relationships, and shines a spotlight on their unique business brilliance.

Because when you’re an original there’s no need to compete.

If you love your work and NOT your website and are ready to grow and scale your business go to laurakamark.com to find out how I can help bring your vision to life.

Full Episode Transcript

Laura Kåmark
Hey everyone. Welcome to the Be Bold, Make Waves podcast, a show bringing you inspiring stories of women who are growing and scaling their business. I’m your host, Laura Kåmark, a website and tech integration specialist who works with online business owners who love their work and not their website. Join me as we have incredible conversations about business mindset, productivity, and of course, the website and tech behind the business.
Let’s go ahead and dive in to this week’s episode.

Welcome everyone. And my guest today is Leslie Zemenek, who started a brand fingerprint lab to help rebel entrepreneurs own their magic and build a next level brand. She got her story chops appearing live on stage at local storytelling slams like the moth. That’s where she learned to tell compelling true stories in five minutes flat. Oh, I’m so excited about this. She’s devoted to helping a badass businesswoman. Craft a narrative that creates visibility builds authenticity, authenticity. authentic relationships. That’s what I was going for. I was going for authenticity. I don’t remember what I wrote. Authentic is what you wrote relationships and shines a spotlight on their unique business brilliance. Because when you’re an original, there’s no need to compete. Leslie, thank you so much for being here today. Can you share a little more with our listeners just about how you got started in all this?

Leslie Zemenek
Oh, boy. Basically, brand fingerprint lab came out of me mushing together many different things that I’ve done over the years, because I’m a serial entrepreneur. And actually, all the things that I’ve put into it are the things that I love. And I had no idea that the three of them could work so well together until I started playing around with the concept based on someone else’s suggestion, the suggestion of a coach, and it, it’s just so much fun, being able to do all of it at once, instead of feeling like I have to divide my time between all these different things that I love doing. So it’s my background in branding, marketing, and design, along with my 30 years of reading people’s fingerprints and coaching them on how to become the best version of themselves, along with the storytelling, which you mentioned in my introduction, which is something I as I look back, I realized I’ve been doing all my life, but the live storytelling on stage has only been the last few years. It’s it’s something that grew out of a barrier to start telling stories and other places where I used to do it. We just found a new venue.

Laura Kåmark
Can we dive into that a little more.

Leslie Zemenek
So well. Yeah, go ahead.

Laura Kåmark
So what kind of got you into doing this the live storytelling on stage?

Leslie Zemenek
I love what I used to listen to the moth story hour on public radio on NPR, every Sunday, on my local station. And I knew that there were two versions, weekly. Monthly versions of moths story slams in town. So most cities have one. It’s something that’s been brought to cities across the globe. But luckily, in Portland, Oregon, we have two. So I started to go and listen. And I one point just said I want to go and put my name in the hat. And one of the reasons I wanted to start doing storytelling using words is I used to be a painter. Most of my life, I actually was a painter, and then I became allergic to paint. Oh, and I used to tell my stories using visuals with paint. Okay. And once I became allergic to paint, I had to find other ways, because it just was something I had to do. I couldn’t not do

Laura Kåmark
it. ways to express yourself. Oh, what did that feel like the first time you got up there on stage?

Leslie Zemenek
It was more exhilarating than scary. But there was some of both. There was some of both and I told the story. A very, very personal story, all the more stories have to be true. They have to be about you. They can’t be someone else’s story. So it has to be your own story. And, and as you mentioned, they’re limited to five minutes. So I told a story about some time of my life where I was really vulnerable. And I got an amazing response. And actually as the stories get scored, and after I finished my story, I had the highest score, I didn’t end up the highest score at by the end of the night. There were a few more storytellers after me. And there were some really seasoned storytellers up there. But that was really great, considering that was my first time out there.

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love that. So much. Um, I would love for you to tell me a little bit about kind of the your ideal person that you work with your clients? Where are they at in their business? And when they come to you, how are they? How did they come to you? What are they feeling?

Leslie Zemenek
Well, I love working with the square pegs in the round holes, for lack of a better way to describe that, because that’s who I was growing up. I like I also sometimes call them the originals, the people who aren’t like anyone else. And the reason I like doing that is because so often those people have been told that they’re bad or wrong, or they feel bad or wrong, because they don’t fit into the traditional roles, either in business, or in terms of following marketing advice, it often doesn’t work for them, because they aren’t traditional in so many ways. And I like working with people who’ve been in business for a little while, who have gotten some success, but they run into some challenge or barrier around, stepping out and bringing that piece of themself that is the original into the spotlight. And I’m so the the assessment, the system that I have using the fingerprints, is really good at getting past any barriers or ways that protections that people have set up for themselves, their their protective habits, or their way of hiding or shrinking or holding back, it, you cannot hide that stuff, once I start using that system to make the assessment. And so it’s really rewarding to me to help people see that those things are holding them back and be that the part of themselves that they felt they’ve had to hide is really their superpower.

Laura Kåmark
So tell me when you do the fingerprinting, what so what are the things that you find out about a person.

Leslie Zemenek
So there are three things I find out about a person from the fingerprints. And the fingerprints, of course are established prior to birth, they’re complete, they’re this, they’re what you’re going to have always, for your whole life, they never change. And they’re established the same time as a critical part of the brain. So it’s like I’m looking at how their brain is wired. There’s, of course, parts of your brain that continually change and grow. And then there’s parts that are a little bit of your hard wiring. So it’s a hard wiring. And so what I find is something that what the person is naturally good at, okay, were born good at didn’t have to learn. The second thing is some challenge that they came to overcome, that they need to overcome in order to bring out that superpower or that thing that they’re naturally good at, because working on that piece adds to and releases and makes better the thing they’re already good at. And the third thing from a customer standpoint, from a business standpoint, is we talk about people’s needs, what do people need, so each person has a primary need, we all have all the needs in the world, we all have all of them. But we usually have a primary one, like if we need, some of us might need relationships more than we need a sense of accomplishment, some of us need more freedom than others, some of us need more sense of stability than others. And usually those some need, we have to learn to meet for ourselves. And that turns into the piece that they are really good at helping their customers with. So mostly I work with service based entrepreneurs, okay. And so their meeting one of those needs is much more than all of the other others or sometimes it’s too for their customers, they become an expert at it because it’s the thing they had to do for themselves.

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love that so much. And so are you finding a lot of your clients? Did they already know? This thing that that is like ingrained in them that’s their superpower? Or are you finding that you’re able to kind of bring it to light and showcase it more by letting them know like, this is the thing for you and what you should be focusing on. And it more resonates with them.

Leslie Zemenek
They know, mostly on some level, but I’m not sure they always identified as a superpower. And as I said earlier, some of them actually see it as a, you know, a detriment? Because that’s what they’ve been told, or that’s the message they got. And I can’t tell you how often I start talking about what I see there, and people cry. So I joke a lot that I get paid to make people cry. But it’s, it’s crying in a good way. Because it’s because they feel like they’ve been seen. They feel like they’ve been seen. And once that, and actually, the the tears are actually a great relief. Because once that’s acknowledged that yes, this is a superpower, then we can move forward to work on the visibility pieces, and pull out the stories and put the whole system to work. Because there is three parts to this system, there’s the identifying the superpower, you know, which is what makes someone different? And how you, like I talked about in the, like you said in the introduction, how if you’re an original, there’s no need to compete, right? So should you really highlight what’s original about you that they can’t get from someone else. The second, of course, is getting past those limiting beliefs. You know, the barriers to visibility, and a lot of times, it’s about helping people learn to take the risk to step forward and put themselves out there. And I’m, my life has taught me everything I need to know about that. So that’s, that’s where I have my strength with. So what I had to do for myself is, is learn to not hide and to be okay with being out there and being different. And, and, you know, not not seeing it as an extreme of any kind, but it’s just normal. And then the third piece is bringing out the stories that tell why those parts of ourselves are valuable, why they are something that can be used to help other people why they’re being put into service, why the person, the entrepreneur, the business person is so passionate about doing what they do. And they’re always rooted in what I’ve seen in the fingerprints. Rarely does it feel like something is coming from left field was like, where did that come from?

Laura Kåmark
Oh, that’s fascinating. I love that so much. I know I’ve been finding. I’ve been trying to incorporate more stories into my emails into my messaging. And one of the things that I find that I struggle with is sometimes how to like, I have stories, but how do I turn them around and turn it into like the business lesson? And how kind of make that bridge that connects everything together? Do you have any tips for our listeners on how to like, take your stories and find ways to connect them?

Leslie Zemenek
Well, yes, there are. There’s different kinds of stories that are valuable in different types of situations and depending on who you’re speaking to, and what you’re trying to accomplish. But there’s always some piece in there that talks about a struggle, any good story includes a struggle of some kind. Think about every great movie, or seen every book that keeps you turning the pages to the point where you can’t put it down. There is a struggle going on, that leads to a transformation. So in any of your stories, finding the struggle and what it took for you to make the transformation to turn the corner, how situations pushed you or how you really you know how you came to that realization that you couldn’t keep doing things the same way again, that’s where you look for what skill did I get out of this? What is in there that I can use to help somebody else? So looking at the struggle in storytelling, we call that part the stakes. There’s emotional stakes. So when and most purchases are made with emotion, not because somebody has has gone through their heads over the pros and cons or looked at the fact we make we do those things. But ultimately, in the end, any purchase we make is based on do I want it? Is this going to make me feel a desire? Is this going to make me happier? It fills an emotional need. So if you can pull out the emotion that was fulfilled in that story, or the one that was, like the negative emotion and how it was changed into a positive one, and how what you had to do, that’s where you find the story that someone else can relate to. And connect. Yeah, your stories don’t have to be about some like, amazing, unusual event. Your stories just need to be relatable. You just want the person who is listening or reading to say, oh, my gosh, that happened to me, too. And that’s how the conversation gets started. Oh, I love that.

Laura Kåmark
Do you have any tips for I know you like with the the moth, you had to get good at making the story short, five minutes? Do you have tips for how to like I know for me, I’m very long winded I give a lot of details, I have very long stories, I would love any tips on how to like, chop down the unnecessary to still bring in the point and bring them motion. And without it being a very long run on which is right I have a tendency to do

Leslie Zemenek
that is that is the key actually to good storytelling is to distill it down to the essence. And it can take a little bit of practice. But there are things like, first of all, there are things like filler words that you can get rid of like that, that is a filler word. It’s amazing. You can go through most of your sentences, if you cross out that and then read it and you go, Oh, it says the same thing, just just as another one. Also, when you start to say things like that’s when I realized, that’s another filler, that actually kind of takes your audience out of the moment. Because you’re in storytelling, all right, creative writing, in general, they always say show don’t tell. So you want to not get into narrating it necessarily for your audience. So take out anything that feels like you’re narrating it, and just get down to the essence of what happened. And sometimes it’s details like if you were writing a novel, they would be something you want to keep in but like the, like how far you had to drive or whether it was a sunny day, or you know, those kinds of things. They aren’t necessarily relevant to the story. So start thinking about is this? If I take this out, does my point still get across?

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love putting it through that kind of filter of Does it still make sense? Does my points still come through?

Leslie Zemenek
I love that. And it’s amazing how once you start crossing out, you’ll go and you read it again. You go oh, it says the same thing. Another thing that I think is really important, a way to ask yourself questions about do I leave this in or take it out is will this matter to my customer? So it won’t matter to them? What the temperature was that day? It won’t matter to them how many miles you have to drive unless that’s a key part of solving the problem.

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love that. That’s really helpful. Thank you for sharing that.

Leslie Zemenek
Easy one. Will my customer does it help them solve their problem?

Laura Kåmark
Not that I would love to talk. Go back a little bit and just talk a little more about your business and just something that maybe a surprising challenge that you’ve overcome in business ownership. I know you’ve been in business a long time. And so I’m sure there’s lots of them. But I would I would like to focus a little more on kind of this new branch that you’ve been going down this branch you’ve been going down roads you’ve been going down in the past couple years with your brand fingerprint lab.

Leslie Zemenek
So when I decided to bring the fingerprint analysis in to a more traditional business model, which is branding and marketing, my biggest challenge I was getting over my own concerns that people would think it was too far out. And I don’t know why I was worried about it so much, because honestly, it is based on brain science. It’s not so crazy. But it isn’t widely known about it in, in general. But what I found going to networking events, when I started talking about it was that there were more people open to this concept than I imagined. And so once I started sharing it and realizing that people were open, and curious, that it was not going to be as big a barrier as I had first thought,

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love that. I know when I first you had mentioned it, when we were in were in a group together. And when you had mentioned that, it just sounded so fascinating to me. And you had asked, you have done a brand fingerprint on me. And I was so fascinated, it’s the first time I’ve ever had my fingerprints read. And I know my feedback for you was you just told me everything about me. And you don’t even know me. And it was fascinating. I was beyond impressed by how much that our fingerprints tell about us. And it’s so amazing. So I love bringing that to the business side of things, and helping with getting your superpowers out there and the skills that we really bring to the table and bringing that to our business so we can help more people and really shine and do the things that light us up.

Leslie Zemenek
Yeah, well, I like to say that your fingerprints contain your origin story. So you know, it’s again, it’s just part of the storytelling. And in the 30 years that I’ve been reading fingerprints, what I do is I tell people their stories. And I hadn’t identified it as such, when I first started out, but as I looked back, I realized that’s exactly what I was doing. So I’ve been doing storytelling a lot longer than I’ve ever called it storytelling. Like I did it with my paintings, I did it with the fingerprint analysis. And I’ve done it in lots of other places. And so it just makes sense that these things are working together now in a way that cuts through a lot of noise and self protection, and other limiting types of beliefs that helps people really shine and be the best version of themselves. So they can make a difference so they can bring their vision to life. And that’s the rewarding it for me is seeing people really just step into who they are and feel like they are making the impact that they’ve always wanted to.

Laura Kåmark
That’s so beautiful. I love that. What would you say? Are what would you say is something that you dislike about the industry that you’re in?

Or something you would like to change?

Leslie Zemenek
I don’t know that I single handedly and we’re gonna go about making a big change in the industry. And I’m not sure I’m that. interested in doing that. But I think what I would like to see is it. Okay, I’ll take that back. I don’t know if I single handedly can do this. But I think I’m not the only one necessarily. I would like to see the there be less sense of, we have to be formal, we have to be professional, I like to see the definition of what it means to be professional change. Because I think ultimately, any business is about the people in it. And so if we try to kind of get formal and, and just fit in to a mold, because that’s how it’s always been done. And that feels more like it’s professional, then I think we’re leaving a lot of really good stuff on the table because there’s a lot of people who are great at what they do that has nothing to do with the school they went to or the degree they have. It’s just life. It’s perience or it’s just who they are, or it’s just something they were born with. And so I would like to see us remove some of those masks, not just at the solo business owner level, I’d love to see some of that come down with bigger and bigger companies, as they start to tell the world, who they are and what they can do and what they stand for.

Laura Kåmark
I love that. And I feel like you’re doing your part, by your brand fingerprint analysis, where you’re helping people say, like, This is who you are. And you can go shine, and be yourself.

Leslie Zemenek
And that’s why I like working with the people who feel like they haven’t been able to fit in those molds or feeling like having to, like hide certain parts of themselves, has made them feel less alive or less effective in being able to make it make their work, do what it’s intended to do it because personally, I feel like the people who don’t fit in those molds, the people who are trying something different, who have a different idea, who are willing to take a little bit of a risk on their creativity, those are the people who move us into the future. We don’t move into the future by doing things the same old, same old way, the future is all about something that we haven’t seen before. So I like working with the people, I feel like the mother hen who’s going to send the chicks out who when I’m gone from this world, they’re building the future for the next generation.

Laura Kåmark
Oh, I love that. And I would say that’s how you’re being bold in your industry?

Leslie Zemenek
Well, I guess so I, you know, bringing the fingerprint thing in is definitely being bold. And, I mean, there’s, there’s a little bit of precedent that’s helped me, in that there’s been a lot of attention paid to the brand archetypes over the past few years that’s had been having a little bit of its day. And so having things like the Myers Briggs assessments and other types of assessments that use are, you know, archetypal, or, you know, some sort of way of describing what’s happening. So that or how people are so that it’s the, we’re realizing we’re not all the same, and we all can bring something different to the table to bring to make it more whole. So having the brand archetypes kind of preceding me, helps me, I feel like it’s it anyone who’s familiar with that is a little bit more receptive to hearing that. Our fingerprints can do that, too. And the thing about the fingerprints is that they’re going to be more personalized than any quiz you can take.

Laura Kåmark
I know for me, I’ve always kind of struggled with a lot of the quizzes because either sometimes I don’t know, I don’t feel like I really understand the question properly. Or I wonder like, Oh, if I, I’m not, I could be this one or that one? And if I answered the wrong 1am, I gonna get it. Not wrong. But if I answer one way, am I getting a completely different answer than the other? So for me, personally, I really prefer anything that’s not necessarily based on a quiz or multiple choice format, but more based on like, the fingerprint analysis, or my birthday, or my name or something that I did. That’s just what it’s based off of. And for me, I know when I’ve done because I still do the other ones. Right. But I do always wonder like, Did I answer that quick? Did I understand that question properly?

Leslie Zemenek
Right? I’m sorry. And you know, on one day, you might answer a question one way and the next week is a little different. But your fingerprints never changed. They’re always the same. So you’re always going to have the exact same result. No matter no matter what you are. You know what mood you’re in that day.

Laura Kåmark
I think Can you tell I feel like I heard you say once that identical twins do not have the same fingerprint? Am I remembering that correctly?

Leslie Zemenek
That is true. That is true. I don’t even identical twins do not have the exact same fingerprints. Although your fingerprints do have a component that’s based on DNA. There’s also a component that has to do with how we Your hand scrunched up when you were in the womb?

Laura Kåmark
Really? Yes.

Leslie Zemenek
Because it’s basically you’ve got the fluids. And I mean, you know, I’m not a doctor. But my understanding is, is that the as the rich patterns are being formed that environments like, you know, what’s pushing up against it, or, you know, the it’s, it’s like the way the wind making ripples in the sand that there is some environmental element to it as well. And while I believe that for in for in forensics, it’s more likely to have a false match, when there are two identical twins, there are still going to be enough differences that they would not mistake one for the other. That’s fascinating. I am a total fingerprint geek, I read everything I can about it. And there’s, there’s so much more than you would know. And there’s enhance in general, a friend, a colleague, actually, of someone who I taught how to read handsome fingerprints, sent me an article recently about how they’ve noticed that finger length of certain fingers can predict how likely you are to get COVID. Really? Yes. Yes, there’s a there’s been this the study of finger lengths, and exposure to hormones in the womb. Okay. long established. That’s been long established. So this is an offshoot of that, it has to do with hormone levels. And the likely more the likelihood of whether you will get COVID or not. And the fingerprint, the finger length, the finger length associated with the hormone levels, tell them that and I just just like scrape stuff. Of course. You know, I’m, we’re probably like two of the only normal people who’ve seen that article.

Laura Kåmark
That’s absolutely fascinating.

Leslie Zemenek
So you know, if there’s science behind it, yeah, I just have to be a geek like me.

Laura Kåmark
Well, you’re passionate about something.

Leslie Zemenek
Oh, yeah.

Laura Kåmark
I mean, that’s really I feel like the thing when we’re creating our businesses and building these, like dream lives is finding the thing you’re passionate about. And that brings you joy. I know, in my business, when I’m in my zone, it just feels so good. And so right. And I’m just on cloud nine, I’m like, I just I love this so much. And I love the results, I get the results, my clients get it just, it lights me up. So

Leslie Zemenek
Right. Yep. There’s, there’s no substitute for passion, in my mind. None,

Laura Kåmark
actually. Okay, so I would love to know, what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone when they’re first starting out in their business that would help them be bolder, and make waves in their business?

Leslie Zemenek
Okay, so I would say Resistance is futile, which, you know, that’s from Star Trek, of course. Because what happens is, I mean, so many people have heard the, the saying, Whatever you resist persists. So I think of that as a core of corollary to what the work I do with people around getting past their limiting beliefs. In a lot of the philosophical systems that I’ve studied, there is the concept that everything contains its opposite. So if you are feeling like you don’t have confidence, you find your confidence by going deeper into that lack of competence than if you avoid anything where you have to test whether you’re competent or not. So avoiding the thing that scares you the most is going to actually bring you right into contact with what you need to learn. So you might as well not resist it. You just step in and as far as I know, most of the time when you start working on those things, you don’t die.

Laura Kåmark
Well, and it’s like a muscle like as things as we do hard things. It gets easier. It does, you know, and

Leslie Zemenek
does it Yeah,

Laura Kåmark
I know, I found that like, the things that I’ve been resistant to do in my business and as I get started doing them and just do a little at a time, take little micro actions to work my way up to it, and then it does it, all of a sudden, it’ll break open and the resistance goes away. And it just gets so much easier.

Leslie Zemenek
Right? But it’s, it’s, you can’t hide from it, it will show up. And in fact, the more you hide from it, the more it will show up. So if it will show up more in a painful way, it’s much easier to just go okay, let me meet you halfway. But that’s, you know, I help people with that a lot. And I, I love seeing how that transforms the people I work with. When we get past that resistance,

Laura Kåmark
get past the resistance. Oh, Leslie, this has been so wonderful to hear your story. And how you bring all this to the industry? Can you tell our listeners a little more about how you can help them where they can find you and how to work with you.

Leslie Zemenek
So my website is brand fingerprint lab.com. Just like it spelled just like it sounds. And you can learn a lot about me there, I have a blog, I also am on LinkedIn, you can just, you can find that from my website or just look for me there. Bye by searching on my name or brand fingerprint lab. And I tell a lot of stories in my posts. My posts with stories in them are the most popular ones, interestingly enough. So if you want to hear some of my stories, you want to hear my story of how of my why that’s up there. And what was the other part of the question you asked me where they can find me, I’ll have a look with

Laura Kåmark
me how they can work with you.

Leslie Zemenek
So on my website, there is a link you can click to set up a 30 minute chat with me no obligation just to find out a little bit more about my three parts. System for brand visibility and how I can act I call myself your stage mother, help you get the spotlight on you so that you can become the go to person in your field. And I can answer questions about the fingerprints. I can answer questions about the storytelling. And I guess that’s that’s,

Laura Kåmark
that’s it. Oh, I love that so much. I will link everything up in the show notes. And Leslie, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Leslie Zemenek
Thank you for having me. This was really great. It was so much fun.

Laura Kåmark
Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Be sure to check out the show notes at LauraKåmark.com/podcast. And if you’re ready to grow and scale your business, and your current website is outdated and doesn’t reflect the magic you bring and the results you get for your clients. Go to Laurakamark.com to find out how I can help bring your vision to life. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week. Bye now.

laura kamark circle headshot circle 1

hey, i’m laura

I’m a web designer and tech integrator for female business owners who love their work but NOT their website. When you have big visions for your business I help bring them to life. 

free resource

Website Content Planning Workbook

Ditch the overwhelmed and get your website project done.

Prompts to walk you through what to put on your Home, About, Services and Contact page so you can convert website visitors into paying clients.

I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time, no hard feelings!

Website Content Planning Workbook 800 x 800 px

Overwhelmed with everything you have to do to get your website project done?

Download my free Website Content Planning Workbook and use the prompts to walk you through what to put on your Home, About, Services and Contact page so you can convert website visitors into paying clients.


I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time, no hard feelings!