Mark Hovind ( on Brands, Tag Lines, and “Getting It”

Job Bait Logo and TaglineAbout a week before I started The Branding Contest I was on a 2.5 hour call with Mark Hovind. The question became “what is JibberJobber? What does it do for my client?”

Most of the call was centered around that. When you first go to, the only tag line you see is “Career Toolset.” That doesn’t quite explain it, does it? Not good enough, anyway.

Mark took me on a fascinating tour of leading network companies to see what brilliance they have come up with. You can see the companies in the Network category of this page (you have to scroll down just a bit). I’m actually going to copy and paste it as Mark has it:

Here are some free and/or inexpensive executive networking groups.

  • RiteSite – a six-figure executive service
  • Netshare – a six-figure executive service
  • ExecuNet – a six-figure executive service
  • FENG – Financial Executives Networking Group
  • MENG – Marketing Executives Networking Group
  • TENG – Technology Executives Networking Group
  • BNI – International business networking
  • JibberJobber – General networking group
  • LinkedIn – General networking group
  • – General networking group
  • Ecademy – General networking group

Note the tag lines that Mark put up. Does anything stick out? Not for me either. In fact, as he categorizes the sites, he makes them more cliche (in my eyes). He does not differentiate any of the “six figure executive service” offerings, nor does he differentiate any of the “general networking group.”

No big deal, they are lucky he even listed them, and it’s not his responsibility to brand them. If you don’t brand yourself well, you’ll get categorized and grouped with others, competition or not.

But here’s where it got really interesting. We went to each of the websites and looked at their tag lines. What was the statement on their front page that told us what they did, what was different about them, and What’s In It For Me? Here are the different statements from each of the sites listed above, NOT IN ORDER. Can you match the statement below with the company from the list above?

  • “Unique People Search: Find deals, employees, colleagues and jobs; Find decision makers fast; Open doors to thousands of companies”
  • Your Career Management Link and “…the best site for accessing $100K+ jobs.”
  • Executive Career Information Exchange and A Global Exchange Where Management Talent and Opportunity Meet
  • “Where the puzzle of networking comes together”
  • Connecting Leaders since (year) and “… has helped thousands of chief executives, vice presidents and their direct reports succeed.”
  • (Industry) Executives Networking Group and “Empowering executives to enahance their careers through networking”
  • The World’s Largest Referral Organization
  • “(Company Name) brings together your professional network” and “Stay in touch, Discover job & business opportunities, Get expert business advice”
  • (Industry) Executives Networking Group and “The essential connection to top (industry) and (industry) executives for incomparable professional success.”
  • Connecting Business People and “Successful business people join Ecademy to do more business”
  • Career Toolset

More important than being able to match these to a company, do any of these statements speak to you?

Do you get an idea of what you will experience there?

Do any of them sound cliche, or do they sound like they couldn’t substantiate a claim?

Does it sound like fluff, or does it inspire?

Does it communicate the value? The unique value?

Do any of them leave you wondering how, or why, or when?

It really was fascinating as Mark and I walked through each of these sites, looking for these statements, and sharing our initial reactions. It was eye-opening. And it didn’t make me feel so bad for not having something that stood out. But it did make me want to stand out.

And that is why we’re doing this contest. Have you sent me your brand thought (statements, etc.) for JibberJobber? You can send me as many as you want, just use this Contact Us form!

4 thoughts on “Mark Hovind ( on Brands, Tag Lines, and “Getting It””

  1. Hi Jason,

    I catch up on the blogs over the weekend and saw your post about branding. It made me think about the nature of brands and how they represent the total customer experience. Well, that got me thinking about how we met on a panel about the candidate’s experience during a job search. My first impression of you was as an advocate for the job seeker and that has summed up your brand to me ever since.

    At NETSHARE, our brand is built on personal attention and one-to-one and many-to-one support for our members. That is the customer experience and the extension of our brand. I am sure your members have a deeper experience and expectation beyond “Career Toolset.” You’ve built your brand on the frustration you experienced as a job seeker, and that comes across as your brand, but it is not captured by the phrase “Career Toolset.” The tongue-in-cheek way you approach job search, and the tools you created to meet your personal needs are an important part of your brand that can’t be expressed in two words.

    I’ve had conversations with Mark about taglines and the promises delivered and undelivered on websites. I think many of his points are well taken however it’s shortsighted to say that a tagline represents a company’s brand. Volumes have been written on what it takes to build a brand experience, and it goes well beyond a single tag line. As Al and Laura Ries note in their book, “The Origin of Brands,” what makes a brand valuable is its dominance of a category. Can you give me the tag lines for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, or Lexus? But I’m sure you know what each brand stands for because the brand is a really an impression; a brand promise validated by the customer experience.

    The notion of a “brand bake-off,” is interesting, but you should be clear about what criteria you need to use to fairly judge the entrants. The brand is more than just a tagline; it’s defined by customer expectation and experience, and trying to distill any brand to a tagline is a mistake.

    By the way, which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi?

Comments are closed.