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Category Archives: Positioning/Brand Equity

Digitizing Your Personal Brand Series – Part 2

Post first published 12/27/12 in the “MENG Blend” on the Marketing Executives Networking Group website –  The destination site for leading marketing executives looking to stay ahead of the curve.  We have more than 1800 of the leading marketing minds in the world eager to meet, communicate, help and share our expertise.

Building Your Own Professional Website

In part 1 of my series – Digitizing Your Personal Brand – I made the argument having a specific and unique positioning statement could help you stand out from the competition.  In part two of this series I will focus on using the power of the Internet to take your career searches/lead generation programs to the next level.  Now with advances in CMS (content management systems) it’s easier and cost effective than ever to build and manage your own website.  Moreover, most career experts now agree developing your own personal website is the best tool going forward to build up your brand name awareness.  I will show you an easy step by step process for the average “non-techie” to build their own professional website.

The good news is you can easily customize your site consistent with the content you’re willing to share and/or have to share.  The major types of websites include:

  1. Simple career/client experience summaries/case studies – including videos.
  2. Marketing portfolios (i.e. TV commercials, print ads, brochures, websites etc.)
  3. Blogging –sharing your content with others.
  4. Online news magazines – i.e. Huffington Post
  5. E-commerce
  6. Hybrids of 1-5

Once you’ve identified out they type of site you want it’s time to get started:

Step #1 – Developing your site layout/content/budget:

First, you need to identify what you want out of your website – what do you want to accomplish?  Second, you need to decide how much you want to spend.  There will be some costs associated with web host providers, domain names, etc.  Finally, you need to develop an outline of your site and begin gathering your content – especially if you need to digitally convert images from hard copies/film/videos.  A simple outline will do at this point.

Step #2 – Decide on the web content management system (CMS) you’d like to use:

A content management system is online software which allows “non-techies” to easily set up a website without learning difficult code language like HTML, Java or Visual Basic.  A CMS usually elements like:

  • Online document management and other media
  • Automated coding templates – called “themes”.
  • Extensions to help with site functionality – i.e. plug-ins, widgets, modules, components
  • Edit control
  • Collaboration/posting capabilities

The most notable CMS’s out there include WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal.  WordPress seems to be the most popular.  You will also need to decide whether you wish to use an “off the shelf” theme vs. customized design.  Customized sites are more complex and will cost you 2-3 times more than an off the shelf theme.

Step #3 – Developing and selecting a domain name:

Domain names are simply the name you give to your URL/website. There are two basic types:

a)  Organic:  This means you’re relying on people to find your site “organically” via Google and other search engine providers.  You can either choose your unique name like and/or develop a unique and memorable brand name (i.e.  This is also called a “parked domain”.

b)  Paid:  You’re paying for a name already developed and owned by someone else which means it should have a well established search profile.  Caution: it can be pricey.

Domain name providers include,, and  Go Daddy seems to be the most popular.  You can register a domain name for as little as $2.95/name for the first year.

Step #4 – Deciding Where Your Content Resides:

You can either a) host your own site on your computer (not recommended due to hardware/software costs, 24 hour connectivity issues) or b) sign up with a web host provider.  When selecting a provider you need to consider USA based 24/7 toll free support, operating reliability, traffic/bandwidth issues – especially important if you’re using videos/large files and want e-mail capabilities.  E-mail capabilities allow you to promote your site via use of your domain name in email addresses.  The top 3 providers include,, and  The most popular being  You can sign up for as little as $3.96/month for the first year.

Step #5 – How do you want to build your site:

Now it’s time to build your site.  You can either “Do It Yourself (DIY)” or “Do It For Me (DIFM)”.  You can build your own site for as little as several hundred dollars to a couple of thousand – depending on your content/design.  However, if you don’t have some basic computer skills and are somewhat proficient in Powerpoint, Photoshop, etc. you might be challenged.  In this case, DIFM (hiring a web designer) is a good idea.  You should get exactly what you want from a design perspective, but downsides include a limited technical knowledge of how your site actually works.  This may hinder you with any down the road changes and/or maintenance.  Moreover, it can cost you 2-3 times more than doing the site yourself.  Best approach might be to use a web designer to help build the site, and then let him/her teach you on how to maintain/make changes going forward.  This is what I did for my site.

Step #6 – Importance of search engine optimization (SEO):

The goal for any website is to be found – that is showing up on page 1 of any search engine result like Google.  This is often time overlooked, but a very necessary step.  First, you will need to develop a sitemap XML file and register it with Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing.  Most CMS’s provide a plug in extension to help you here.  This needs to be done BOTH with and without the “www” in front of your domain name.  Second, pick a SEO extension plug in for your site.  Popular ones include Yoast or All in One SEO pack – both can be free.  Third, you need to edit the SEO copy for each of your pages and/or posts.  Things like a) Permalinks (permanent URL’s for your pages/posts), b) key phrases and/or words, c) tags – specific descriptions for items, thing or persons on your pages, and d) Meta descriptions – which are the permalink page descriptions.  Finally, you need to actively promote your site to generate “inbound links” – that is getting your site mentioned on other sites more popular than yours.  You can do this via blogging on other people’s sites, Facebook and/or Google+ pages etc.  The more you do this, the higher your site will be ranked from a search engine perspective.

Step #7 – Protect/Maintain the site:

Finally, don’t forget to protect your investment in time and money – backing up your site and protecting it from technical issues.  Back-up software is usually included in web host provider packages.  It’s critical to protect your site from hacking, technical glitches or CMS’s version upgrades.  It’s an insurance policy against having to recreate your site from scratch.  How often you back up your site depends on how often your change or update your content. In addition, subscribe to a SPAM protection service like – especially if you use your site for blogging.  It’s cheap, only $5/month – well worth it.

In sum, having a differentiated personal brand combined with a personal website can really help build up your brand name awareness.  Fortunately, none of this is technically hard or extraordinarily expensive, you just have to be committed and have patience to go through this personal discovery process and be open to new ways of communicating.  It will go a long way to put you ahead of others who just rely on traditional search techniques.  It will also position you more effectively in today’s competitive and commoditized career marketplace.

Rick Steinbrenner
Chief Marketing Office/Principal, Brand Marketing Advisors
The Global Brand Guy

Digitizing Your Personal Brand Series – Part 1

Post first published 12/26/12 in the “MENG Blend” on the Marketing Executives Networking Group website –  The destination site for leading marketing executives looking to stay ahead of the curve.  We have more than 1800 of the leading marketing minds in the world eager to meet, communicate, help and share our expertise.

Building Your Unique Personal Brand

As great marketers know, a clear and concise branding strategy is critical to successfully building a consumer/customer franchise.  However, it always amazes me how few marketers apply these important concepts to the building of their own professional/personal brand.  Building your own brand has never been more important – business cards, resumes and even Linked-in profiles simply don’t cut it anymore.  Moreover, with advances in CMS (content management systems) it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to build and manage your own website.  If used correctly, these tools can help you build your own personal brand awareness which can showcase what you can do to help solve employer’s/client’s problems.  In part one of this article I will briefly show how easily you can build a distinctive personal brand and in part two I will provide a step by step process on how you can communicate it via building your own professional website.

The major driver behind the need to identify your own brand is the fact career search has REALLY changed.  Negative marketplace dynamics, candidate/social media commoditization, and search engine UNDER-optimization makes it harder to stand out vs. the competition.  This is especially important for those who haven’t searched for a position/secured new clients over the past few years.  Factors behind this change include employers who REALLY want specific industry experience – and are not really interested in transferable skills anymore and most importantly your competition is working harder than ever to get marketplace visibility (source: Execunet). 

Career experts like Don Schwabel, William Arruda and even Tom Peters all talk about creating something called “Brand You” – messaging highlighting your key areas of distinction.  You can think about a personal brand in terms of a business’s hierarchy of needs as diagramed below:                  

Business Hierarchy Of Needs

As you can see focusing your communications is less on jobs and/or specific skills/experiences and more on results oriented performance critical for differentiation.  It essentially answers the question “Why I should hire you vs. someone else?”  To get started, you need to map out/identify your strategic or sustainable competitive advantage.  The process is briefly outlined below:

Personal Branding Processs

You first start with your core competencies – that is your problem, action, result stories (PAR) surrounding your key career accomplishments.  This process leads you to identifying your strategic or sustainable competitive advantage (SCA).  A strategic or sustainable competitive advantage consists of three elements.

  1. It’s something you exclusively have vs. others
  2. Your competition doesn’t have it (or don’t realize they have it)
  3. Your target companies want it.

If you can’t say you have all three elements, you need a plan to address this shortcoming.  You then still need to determine if your SCA addresses key industry needs or if you need to adjust it to make sure it’s relevant.  This will lead you to your final SCA which will drive development of your positioning statement.

Positioning is a concept first developed by Jack Trout and Al Ries – formerly of Trout & Ries – that originally developed this concept in the 1980’s.  In their book – “Positioning– The Battle For Your Mind” – they said positioning is: “not what you do to a product or service – it’s what you do to the prospect’s mind to CONDITION how he/she thinks about your product or service”.  This concept has been translated by others into a positioning statement template below:

To: TARGET MARKET, X (You) is a brand in the FRAME OF REFERENCE (usually industry) having a BENEFIT/POINT OF DIFFERENCE. Supported by the following reasons why:




Below is an example of how this can be translated into a career positioning statement. How to develop your brand positioning statement

As you can see development of a personal brand positioning statement can be very powerful in communicating your key areas of distinction.  It helps you in fighting the battle for your employer’s/client’s share of mind.  It’s not a hard concept to grasp, however what’s hard is the kind of thinking required to make an effective positioning statement for yourself.  Unfortunately, what I observe with most people’s positioning statements (sometimes called an elevator pitch) is they try to be all things to all companies – generalists so to speak.  Companies are looking for exactly the opposite; they are looking for folks who have 1-2 key unique competencies vs. other choices they can make.  So I would argue the more specific your positioning statement is the better the chance for you to stand out vs. your competition. 

In my next article, I will discuss how you can take an effective personal brand/positioning statement and use the technology of the internet to increase your marketplace visibility with your own professional website.

Rick Steinbrenner
Chief Marketing Officer/Principal, Brand Marketing Advisors
The Global Brand Guy

Digitizing Your Personal Brand

According to most career experts, everyone needs a personal brand today to help differentiate themselves – especially in this competitive marketplace.  This first part of the presentation shows how consumer brands develop their branding and positioning and how it’s executed in their messaging.  A framework is then discussed to help individuals develop their own personal brand and messaging in the job search process.

In addition, you really need more than a business card/resume/linked in profile to be “found” on the internet these days – you need your own website.  The balance of the presentation then details a step by step process on how to develop your own professional website for the “non-technical” user.

(Note: this presentation include a you tube video by Tom Peters. In order to view the video, you will need to do three things.

1) Must have a live internet connection while viewing

2) Save & download the presentation.

3) Then view the presentation in slide show and enable the content when the security alert for macros and active X comes up – (this may or may not happen depending on your computers settings.)

Building Brand Equity Starts With Effective Advertising

This presentation discusses great advertising just doesn’t “happen”. It comes from full understanding of your target audience and developing the right messaging that exploits your strategic competitive advantage and helps build brand equity. The right positioning will help develop a brand that’s memorable with consumers. The presentation also shows real live examples of successful branding applications.

(Note: this presentation includes three you tube videos which shows execution of the presented brands positioning. In order to view the videos, you need to do three things.

1) Must have a live internet connection while viewing

2) Save & download the presentation.

3) Then view the presentation in slide show and enable the content when the security alert for macros and active X comes up – (this may or may not happen depending on your computers settings.)