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May You Get It Winner: Rob Frankel

May 31st, 2007

You Get It award, by JibberJobberThe You Get It Award is presented monthly to someone who effectively uses technology to exemplify their personal brand. Past winners can be found here. If you have any suggestions for other winners please use the Contact Us form to let us know.

Rob Frankel on CNBCI met Rob Frankel on the YoungPRPros Yahoo Group a few months ago. Since Rob had his own URL (www.RobFrankel.com), and because his contributions were smart, I thought I’d go check him out. What I found was… well… an ugly website. With a ton of information.

My first (and second, and third, and fourth) impression was that Rob Frankel really knows what he’s talking about. I’m a critic of web design – I don’t think it needs to be super-flashy, or amazing, or whatever. But I like to give my two cents on what I think looks good and what is a distraction.

Note: I actually spent time on the phone with Rob this morning. I said “um, er, well, I don’t really like your web design… and I want to talk about that a little.” He replied: “bash it all you want… there’s a reason for the design.” But that’s for a another blog post.

Rob Frankel - branding expertDistractions aside, Rob has a strong personal and professional brand. And he is making excellent use of technology to convey this. Even his Skype profile has a little tag-line that is catchy – and reinforces his branding! I hesitated awarding him the You Get It award because, well, Rob is a branding expert (seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?). Here’s why he won:

Ugly site: Let’s get this out of the way. The first impression counts for a lot, and Rob’s website has a number of things that I think can be changed (and still not affect his strategy, which is for another post). I wanted to mention it here because (a) he knows it, and says he gets hit up about 4 times a month from web designers, and (b) if he can have an excellent brand with a website like this, I want you to know that you can too! There can be more substance to who you are than how flashy your website is, and Rob proves that.

The Blog: a few things…

Rob Frankel's blog subscriptionYou have to scroll down quite a bit to find a link to Rob’s blog… but at the very top of the page, one of the first things you see is the invitation to subscribe to the blog…

Rob’s blog is a part of his overall strategy. It looks like he posts about once a month (last month there were multiple posts). Rob says the blog:

  • … fills a void in his offerings – he has a paid newsletter which has tactical strategies, answers, questions, etc.
  • … is where he talks about non-tactical stuff that doesn’t fit into the newsletter.
  • … has posts by topic and is not on a schedule (I think this is fine for Rob – if you don’t have a lot of other offerings like Rob does I suggest you have a more frequent posting schedule).
  • … has subscriber that tend to be media people, reports, producers, and client prospects.
  • … (most importantly, I think) shows how “global” (or BROAD) his expertise is – from political to celebrity to other current issues in branding. This is where Rob is able to showcase his breadth (over time) and his depth (in each post).

Rob Frankel is an expertThe Expertise: As you scroll down the site you’ll see 3 images where Rob was on TV, undoubtedly talking about branding (his expertise). This lends huge credibility – if the TV folks thought he was expert enough to talk about branding on the air, wouldn’t a future employer, er, client think that also?

And if that isn’t credibile enough he has a huge listing of other media where he has been (see the image to the left – this is only a part of it!).

On the right side of his website you’ll see HIS books and other resources. This is like Frankel’s Arsenal and there are many things here to let me know he is an expert and wants to have a relationship – no matter what my learning style is, I can find something here for me. The message I get big time is “Rob Frankel is an expert”… but the message that Rob Frankel tells me is this:

Rob Frankel isn't just an expert, he's the

So here’s the deal. Rob obviously didn’t get this award because of his beautiful website, or his amazing blog (with exception to the post frequency, it is very good and something that you might want to subscribe to).

Rob wins for his substance… the amount of quality material and expertise coming from this site is huge. I can quickly get past the distracting layout and look at what Rob is made of – the media recognition gives significant credibility but I know it’s not hollow. There are books, downloadable eBooks, audio MP3s to buy, newsletters and blogs to sign up for, and my favorite, a weekly one-hour teleseminar that anyone can get on for free.

What does this mean for your own career management and personal branding? What do you have to offer? How can you establish yourself as an expert in your field (or hey, why not the “best on the planet”)? Please don’t be discouraged by super-duper fancy flashy websites – if you have content, if you have substance, if you have the message, then use techonology as the tool it is! I’m not suggesting to be half-baked, but if you are getting hung up on having the perfect layout, or something like that, it’s a poor excuse for not getting started. Just Jason Alba’s two cents ;)

Congratulations Rob! – You join a special group of professionals and have a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five!

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12 Responses to “May You Get It Winner: Rob Frankel”

  1. Dan Schawbel says:

    Now what I want to know is how he got on television. What were his tactics and/or how much money did he spend on public relations firms?

    The story leading up to being shown on tv would be more interesting than anything else if you know what I mean.

  2. Rob Frankel says:

    Good question. First, let me thank Jason for the recognition — honest and truthful, just the way I like it! As for the amount of money I’ve spent on public relations to get into the media, you wouldn’t believe how much if I told you, but I will:

    Zero — the same amount I spent promoting my books and consulting services.

    That’s right, everything I recommend for my clients is what I practice myself. What I’ve done is deploy brand strategy first, brand-driven tactics second. I can only guess what could have happened if I actually spent big bucks. HOWEVER (and Jason knows this about me as much as anyone) I have written a number of instantly downloadable e-books on what I do, how I do it and so forth. (Quick plug: you can find them through http://www.robfrankel.com and http://frankelbiz.com/stock/StockCatalog.php?m=store).

    Brand strategy — really well articulated and executed — leaves people with the perception that you’re “the only solution to their problem.” Once they perceive that, there’s no place else for them to go. Okus, they remember you for the right reasons. After that, it’s up to you to leave them with more than what they expected.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Brad Attig says:

    Jason,

    Ugly website, you are too kind. The bobble head at the top of http://www.robfrankel.com certainly is interesting. You know with my retail background my reaction to the site was “polyester leisure suit” You are correct that you don’t need a “flashy” website and I’m glad “there’s a reason” for the design but does that include the spelling error.

    “I mainly do consulting, usually for companies who sink zillions of dollars into a website or a business and then scratch their heads wondering why it just sits there like a lox.” Is that smoked salmon, liquid oxygen or supposed to be log?

    That said, I don’t believe you can really have an “excellent brand” as you say with such bad packaging. Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Maybe the intention is that a strong brand can overcome bad marketing but why start out in a hole? I kept looking for the link to buy Ginzu knives.

    How many people stop by, glance at the site and then leave? I know the argument that “it’s their loss” for not digging more deeply on the site but Twinkies aren’t purple for good reason.

    Thanks to you, Jason for going beyond the warts. I’ll look over what Rob has to offer and I’m sure I’ll get some excellent info or thought provoking ideas.

  4. Rob Frankel says:

    Excellent comment! Brad’s reaction is dead on the money — and the reason why the site remains the way it is. The key to understanding the site strategy is that my clients are, for the most part, higher-end brands and funded start-ups: companies that typically have been screwed by the fancy, flashy outifts that are actually just designers, whose designs might be great, but have failed to move the clients’ businesses.

    For that reason alone, my breed of client wants someone who is NOT flashy. In fact, they want to move away from the great looking sites to someone who understands how brand strategies affects their bottom lines.

    At that point, my site transforms from Rosie O’Donnell to Jessica Alba.

    In fact, I applaud Brad for that last line, which move often proves the rule: “I’ll look over what Rob has to offer and I’m sure I’ll get some excellent info or thought provoking ideas.”

    THAT’S how it works.

  5. It may be a coincidence, but yesterday I just finished reading “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi, feeling like starting over again. Then this morning I read the blog post and was reminded of this quote, from the last chapter, on pg 297:

    “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best inthe world, as long as you remember that doing so also means wanting to be the best for the world.”

    Let that marinate on your mentals. ;)

  6. Deb Dib says:

    I LOVE Rob’s website — it is like a bad movie — so bad it is cool.

    But that’s not the point, is it? Rob wants to attract a certain client — and he does it with his site. His clients have had slick — and been burned. They want real solutions, and in your face, unabashed expertise. And Rob’s got it. And the site shows it –not slick — no siree — and proud of it!

    But with a TON of media outlets endorsing Rob by featuring him as an expert, heck, why not call him –maybe he actually is the world’s best brander for the right client.

    I think Rob’s whole website strategy is inspired.

    I’ll also bet he doesn’t have to spend a ton of time and $$ on web design and maintenance — can put his efforts into building opportunity-generating visibility / credibility. Seems a good trade to me.

    In fact, I’m feeling a lot better about my own “unslick” website now. Thanks, Rob :-)

  7. Kevin says:

    Rob’s website is truly not slick, it must have come from the same designers as the Druge report… Great info, no fluff.

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