Building Personal Brands

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Maresa Friedman is an executive turned entrepreneur and strategist. She is the Founder of The Executive Cat Herder, a firm that specializes in building strategies around branding, growth, and operations for solopreneurs and businesses. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Maresa worked in high-level positions at some of the most prestigious companies in the world. Now, she serves as a fractional strategist to global brands and provides operational oversight for newly funded startups or companies seeking to improve their brand recognition in niche markets.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Maresa Friedman’s thoughts on what to avoid in the marketing industry
  • The right way to approach marketing in order to provide value to your audience 
  • The benefits of developing a marketing routine and working with a fractional strategist
  • How sharing goals with others can increase your chances of success
  • The key to establishing a brand and why entrepreneurs should be able to easily explain what they do
  • Maresa discusses her Thought Leadership Acceleration Program for entrepreneurs

In this episode…

What marketing strategies do you use for your business? Do these tactics work and add value to your target audience, or are they filled with empty buzzwords and acronyms?

To build a good brand and develop effective marketing strategies, there are some key steps entrepreneurs and marketers should take. For starters, they should avoid quick-fix strategies that don’t produce long-term results. According to Maresa Friedman, the key to success is to embrace continuous learning, stay consistent in your marketing approach, and provide value to your audience. In the long run, this will help you build a better brand. 

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein is joined by Maresa Friedman, the Founder of The Executive Cat Herder, to talk about building a successful personal brand and providing value to your audience. They also talk about the importance of working with a fractional strategist, developing a consistent routine around marketing, and Maresa’s Thought Leadership Acceleration Program. Stay tuned.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein.

Rich (00:33):
I’m Rich Goldstein, the host of the innovations and breakthroughs podcast, where I featured top leaders in the path they took to create change past guests. The include Joe Polish, Roland Frazier, and Rick sari. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein Patau, where we help you to protect your ideas and products. We’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 27 years. So if you’re a company that has software, a product or design, you want protected go to Goldstein,, whether are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. And you could email my to explore forma, to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent. I have with me here today, Maris for Friedman Marisa, didn’t start out her career as an entrepreneur.

Rich (01:26):
She started out corporate, not just working in any old corporate job, but working in high level positions that some of the most prestigious companies in the world, uh, and that’s likely what helped her create her superpower, uh, which among other things is knowing how to advise entrepreneurs from the standpoint of an insider. Who’s seen it all and most importantly knows how teams want to be led. She works as a strategist of global brands and also provides operational insight for newly funded startups or company seeking to improve their brand recognition and niche markets, um, via targeted relationship strategies. I’m very pleased to welcome here today. Marisa Friedman welcome Maris.

Maresa (02:05):
Hi, Rich. Nice to see you again.

Rich (02:07):
Nice to see you too. And I, I had to laugh because as we just saying, like the last time I read that introduction, um, we were goofing around, we were riding bicycles in Newport beach and we were, we were pretending to start a podcast. And so me doing that intro, like riding along with my pink bicycle with a little bell on it and,

Maresa (02:28):
And like 3000 people loved it. Right. So it’s proof that it’s never the thing that you think’s gonna be, that people like they wanted to see us try and do something on a pie.

Rich (02:37):
Yeah, exactly. And then I shot like a five second video of a guy spraying light of fluid onto a fire pit that was already lit, uh, and like 10,000 people watch that. So yeah, you never know what’s going to be interesting to other people. I guess what it is is just a little snapshot into our lives. That’s what they’re looking for. They just wanna see a little piece of that. Right.

Maresa (03:01):
I think they just want, I think everyone just wants to see the humanity. They just wanna like work with people they know, like in trust, right. That hasn’t changed since the beginning of time and all, any of these things do, whether you’re on a LinkedIn or an Instagram or TikTok, it just gives people insight. You know, it’s like we have these little different personalities and so any glimpse into something that’s not the standard people are like, Ooh, what’s that? What are they doing? What’s going on there? Why are they on bikes? Why are they outside? Right. We’re so used to being indoor cats right. The couple years. So it’s

Rich (03:35):
Yeah, absolutely. And so, oh wait, how come they get to go outside?

Maresa (03:40):
Right. I know I’m in California. We

Rich (03:42):
In California no less. Right. You know, like, wait, something’s, you know, somethings not right here.

Maresa (03:47):
It’s uh, Newport beach. Right. So it’s California.

Rich (03:51):
Right? Exactly. It’s a little, a little island in, uh, we were literally on an island in California. Yeah.

Maresa (03:58):

Rich (03:58):
In more ways than one. Um, but yeah. Okay. So then like on that note though, and, and like talking about like brand, um, like brands and building branding, and so sure people watch things for all different reasons online. Yeah. But one of the things that they watch, which they probably shouldn’t be watching is like people talking about, well, talking out their butt, like say about marketing when they haven’t done any of their own marketing in a long time. Right? Yeah.

Maresa (04:26):
Yeah. Well, absolutely. That’s like my number one pet peeve is like people schlepping strategies that worked in like 2016 and just cuz it worked in 2016, they just like doubled triple, quadruple down of that strategy. And that’s what they tell everyone to be doing. And it’s like, does that make sense in the context of like what’s happening today? And, and a lot of times it doesn’t. And so it’s like, I always tell people like never be afraid to ask questions, especially to people that are like in the marketing space or in the guru space. Like, and if someone makes you feel the add for asking a question, right, that’s probably not gonna be a great fit. Cause if someone’s really good at what they can do, they can take that 10,000 foot strategy and make it really six feet for you. And if someone’s not willing to do that or not, you know, willing to kind of like make it simple, then like run like take your money and run the other way. Like it’s not gonna be a fit always.

Rich (05:24):
Yeah. Absolutely. And so like what else? So on, on that same topic of like where kind of people like have the wrong notion about how to go about marketing, like so what else, what else makes you crazy?

Maresa (05:37):
I mean, I think, I think the best way that I could do it would be to compare it to kinda like the fitness and life’s style industry, right? Like, like that industry health, beauty, wellness, fitness, right. That’s like a billion dollar plus industry per month. Right. And so there’s always gonna be that, that juice cleanse where you can lose 15 pounds in a weekend. Right. Where you’re just drinking juice or like whatever thing. Well, like at some point you gotta eat real food. Right. At some point you’re gonna need more than celery. So it’s the same thing with like marketing, meaning that a lot of people want the rush and the juice, they want that instant thing that they can see. And then it makes them feel like they’ve done something, but oftentimes right. Like anyone that’s ever gone to the gym, right. You know, like the first month you go to the gym, you just don’t feel good.

Maresa (06:23):
You’re tired. You look in the mirror every day. And like there’s no change. Like you can’t see the change. But what’s really interesting is when you go into that second month of gonna the gym, someone might comment that like, Hey, like your face looks thinner or did you lose weight? Or something feels different. Something fits different. Right. It’s the same thing with marketing. The more that you commit to doing it on a, on an ongoing basis. Right. Rich, the more results that you’ll see as long as it’s focused. And I know this cuz you do a ton of marketing. So you understand how this game works. It’s like the, the most UN thing of everything that I do is preaching consistency, which is like death to an entrepreneur routine. What do you mean I have to do a routine? And I’m like, well, you talk about high performance habits.

Maresa (07:06):
This is like one of your high performance habits. Like it is your duty, your job and your responsibility to have conversations with your audience. I’m not talking about lecturing, your audience. I’m just like giving them value, giving them resources. Right. You have this incredible podcast, you wrote this incredible book rich, you didn’t just do it for fun. Right. I mean, chances are, you see a benefit on the backend and you don’t even have to like sell. You don’t even have to be obnoxious. You’re just providing, that’s really what people want. Right? Like you don’t have to put me in some crazy sales funnel with like 47 emails that hit me over a seven day period. Just gimme some value and I’ll believe in you and I’ll trust you. And chances are like, when I need you, I will call you. It’s really all we’re right.

Rich (07:53):
Yeah. Absolutely. And so, um, and I think kind of, um, what I’m getting from what you’re saying is consistency and consistently providing value. Right? So ultimately we that’s, what we wanna do is provide value, not, you know, send someone a thousand emails,

Maresa (08:09):
But I just turn that off. I mean, I, I think like there’s the right number of touch points that you can get with your client base. But I know that if I sign up for something and I get like emails in the first 24 hours, that’s probably not gonna be someone that I hang out with long term because that doesn’t align to kinda my value system. Right. That doesn’t align to like what I do. But you know, in some industries you’ve gotta be more aggressive than others, but generally for what we do when we’re providing services to business owners, business to isn’t a thing, right? Like you just at a certain point, how many emails do we get? I think when the statistic was something crazy, like on average, we get anywhere between 1700 to 2200, like business email follows per day that are automated. Like, okay, so we got 2000 of these coming in a today, chances are almost 20, about 10 of them.

Rich (08:59):

Maresa (08:59):
So it’s a lot, it’s, it’s a little overwhelming. Right. And we see from the time wake up to the time we see abouts a day, like let that in.

Rich (09:12):

Maresa (09:13):
Like that. So what is that time? You that consistency that having to repeat yourself over and over matters, cause 10,000 brand messages are hitting someone a day. It’s a lot.

Rich (09:23):
And it’s about finding some type of balance too, because you wanna be consistent with your brand message, but you don’t wanna overwhelm people as well. Well,

Maresa (09:31):
Yeah. You wanna be reasonable and that’s the one thing I appreciate about what you reasonable, you know, you’re not overly aggressive. You’re doing it consistently. Like you’ve made a commitment to doing it on a regular basis. And that’s like, most people don’t wanna do that because it feels like a routine and like routine can be scary. But like, I think routine is very free personally. That’s just me, like if I know a certain amount of things are, are going out on a regular basis and I know what my numbers are, I’m happy. I’m happy camper.

Rich (10:01):
Yeah. And so in terms of that, it almost sounded like a few moments ago that you’re a bit like a personal trainer. It’s like, like, come on, you know, like people want the routine come on, you know, 6:00 AM, let’s do that thing. Let’s, you know, we gotta do well, you know, we, we gotta send out a broadcast this week. You know, can’t like too long, go by. Well,

Maresa (10:22):
Well, you know this, you have a fractional marketing consultant. I’m a fractional strategist. The difference between fractional people and true consultants, right? Like it’s kind of like if I was a doctor and I was like, rich, you got a heart problem. Like here’s a folder with some nutrition stuff that you need to do. And some exercises you need to do, right. I’m gonna hand you that folder. That’s a consultant. Here’s your recommendation. Fractional people that go into companies and work with people. We are your personal trainers. Cause we’re like, Hey, this is the plan. And now we’re gonna help you do X, Y, and Z with the plan, but you gotta do it with us. It’s a totally different approach. I think some people are scared of it. Um, because it, it means opening the kimono. It means maybe like you’ve made some mistakes and you’re gonna have to tell what those mistakes were and then you just grow from it. But you know, in my experience, um, people that commit to this stuff will often see like at least like a 72% ROI, their efforts, if they’re consistent from minimum of six months. So like, if you stick with it for six months, you have a 72% success rate. That’s pretty good in the industry.

Rich (11:26):
It’s pretty good. Yeah, absolutely. And I, and I get how it could be confronting too. Cause when it’s, when you’re a consultant, um, then it’s like, you could have a whole list of recommendations that point to things that they should have been doing for the past five years, they could shake their head and say, well, thank you, thank you very much for the, these recommendations. Yeah. If you doing like done with you yeah. Then it’s like, okay, now we’re gonna work on this and we’re gonna find out some of these reasons kind of why none of this stuff has been getting done and maybe point to something that maybe you don’t want B2C or yeah. Where the real growth happens.

Maresa (12:03):
Well, and I mean, sometimes it’s as simple as like, you know, the best people that are in their trade are not always the best people to talk about it. Right. You know, I’ve, I’ve worked with a lot of the incredible attorneys over the years. I worked with fine law. Right. Which is when you talk to rooms of people, probably the hardest room to speak to is a room full of attorneys. But I never had a problem. Um, because at the end of the day, it’s like, great, you’re the best. And you’re awesome, but no one knows this. So like, you know, again, in the absence of information, people make other decisions. So what are you gonna do today to showcase that you’re great. And that, to me speaks volumes when I can speak to like 150 attorneys and everyone can come up to me and be like, Ugh, like facts today.

Maresa (12:46):
Like they, they they’re frustrated, but they also know like, okay, we gotta do something. You know? And that’s, I mean, that’s like the unsexy part, what I do, but I think it’s like the most liberating. Cause once you figure it out, then you’re just, you’re on fire, right? Like you can get something done. Um, there was, I pulled the statistics specifically for today. I think I have it right here. So I read this and I, I thought it was interesting. So I like data and facts and stuff, you know, that I nerd. So there is an a, um, 65% chance if you announce a goal out loud to another person that you’ll complete that goal. OK. If you set up a follow up date with that person to say, I’m gonna check in with you to see and let you know how there’s an 85 chance of success rate of completing that goal. So what does that, that just tells you simply saying it out loud is pretty good. It’s a 65% chance, but 85% chance. If you tell a peer or someone, I set a date to follow up. So if you apply that to marketing or business or anything else that you’re doing, like that’s super transformational. I mean, that’s a little Woohoo on the leadership side, but it’s true. It’s very transformational to have that. And that’s the, to up it, it’s not

Rich (13:58):
It’s cause we create our reality with the things that we say exactly and integrity is everything. So like when we, when we, um, give our word to something, it comes for a lot. And I, I always found this, that like, when I give my word to someone else, it makes, it means more than when I give my word to myself. I tell myself, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do this today. Doesn’t quite mean as much is when you say it out loud to another person and especially if there’s gonna be follow

Maresa (14:26):
And, and we’ve about this. And so like whether ITN, like, and I, especially in an industry where like marketing in general can be very fluffy, right? It can be very feely and touchy feely. And there’s a lot of like acronyms, everyone likes to throw around, but you know, when you can find people that can have a real conversation, I find that to be incredibly valuable because you know, if you’re the smartest at doing X, Y, and Z, and you can’t explain it in simple English, you’re never gonna be successful. It’s just never gonna work. Because like, if I don’t understand what you do at a base level, I won’t have an appreciation or respect. Right. Cause I just don’t, I won’t get it. And I think most of the time people don’t realize people aren’t getting it. They’re just confused. They don’t know what decision to make. That’s why they’re Googling. And hopefully they find you, but if they don’t, you know, they’re gonna be confused.

Rich (15:20):
Yeah. And, and, and so in a sense, it’s like being able to explain what you do in a way that relates to other people can be a big part of your personal branding, right. Is like if you are, um, establishing a personal brand, uh, in order for people to understand your who you’re for it, to be consistent with what you’re actually doing, your personal brand has to include, um, an easy to UN uh, understand explanation of what you yeah.

Maresa (15:49):
Well, and I think like most people get really caught up in the nuance of language. And so sometimes people are like, well, I don’t know what a fractional strategist is. And I, and I break it down, like the example that I gave you, it’s like a doctor giving you a folder, a doctor giving you a chef and a personal trader and a nutritionist. Right. There’s a difference to both of those services. But also like with a personal brand, there are so many people that have tagline or catch phrases or things that they, you know, coined that people don’t even know are theirs. Right. We were at an event. And, um, there was that, you know, a dream written down becomes a plan, a plan written down becomes a goal or whatever that, that, that phrase was. And there’s someone that we both know is the guy that coined that phrase. Right.

Rich (16:29):
Yeah. Actually, and it, Gary was, um, was on the show a few weeks ago.

Maresa (16:34):
Okay. Yeah. So, or, uh, Greg was Greg Greg, so like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So Greg, Greg. Yeah. No, no. So, but like, but that’s the thing about that leadership, right? Is you have someone who that we know has been shared like seven plus times in the past year and a half. That’s what really potentially, and at the end of the day, it’s like, like for me, whether or not people know, my name is less important for me than whether they know my work. A lot of people know my work, but they don’t know my name, but that’s okay. Cause the trade off is for me, I’d rather make the money. Like I don’t need to be famous. I wanna be, you know, like I have clients that are, are very well known. And so it’s like super awkward going in public with them because there’s, you know, I, I don’t need anybody taking my picture.

Maresa (17:19):
I don’t need paparazzi. It’s already hard enough for me to eat in front of somebody else. But like when you got a photographer, snapping a picture, you’re just, you know, it’s just gonna be the picture of you like reaching for the hamburger. It’s gonna look terrible. Right. So for me, you know, and that’s something, people don’t realize what their branding, I mean, you said something right. When you opened the podcast, rich, you were talking about the book that you wrote for the American bar association and plain English. That’s brilliant. Right? Like I’d be telling everyone and their mom, because it’s at the end of the day, there’s a very esteemed association. They’ve asked you to do something really cool. And you were able to do it. I know a lot of people that wouldn’t be able to articulate things in plain language and that’s a differentiator.

Maresa (17:55):
Just that little thing is so different that, you know, whatever it is, everyone has a thing that differentiates them. We know a ton of talented people, but a lot of times they’re not the best people at articulating what they’re great at. And that’s just an outside pair of eyes. You know, we all have, um, we all have a little bit of baggage. I joke like business baggage, we don’t wanna brag. Right. And I wanna make the clear distinction. It’s, it’s, we’re not bragging. We’re branding and we all have baggage, right. It’s like, we’re all getting on this plane together. And some of us have the baggage that we’ve checked and it’s under the plane and no one can see what we’ve got. Right. Some of us have baggages under the seat in front of us. You can see it, but it’s kinda ancillary. And then some’s in the overhead. Right. And so we just kinda pick which baggage

Rich (18:38):
Doing a lap. Yeah.

Maresa (18:39):
So, you know, like, but, but that’s the joke, right? It’s like, it’s just like, everyone’s got the baggage, everyone’s had a deal, that’s gone bad. Everyone had a deal that like, great. You know, it’s just learning of that. And I think one of my mentors always says, you never lose you, you win, you win or you learn something. Right. And that’s, that’s all that I do is I help identify people where the win is and where they need to, to learn change.

Rich (19:03):
I love that. And, and so you’re, and you’re doing a program, um, like a, a group program to help, to focus on all of that and to give them another set of eyes, to the things. So that might help them express who they are out in the world. Um, uh, thought leadership acceleration program is that

Maresa (19:22):
Yes. So we decided, um, in the process of working with a mutual friend of ours, a David, we were, you know, I have a book that’s coming out. Um, that’s pretty aggressive in nature, but it’s, it’s just around building your thought leadership to monetize. And so I put together an accelerator program so that maybe most people that reach out to me have to be a certain price point. This is very accessible. Um, so if you’re like a brand new entrepreneur or you relate off during the pandemic, or you’re in the process of rebranding or trying to, to reinvigorate yourself, it is a four week program. We’re only doing applications only. There’s a very rigorous prescreening process. Cause we just want people that are in to be in like, I don’t want, I don’t want someone to buy. That’s not gonna participate. Right. So hundred percent of the interview processes around willingness to take feedback. And over the course of four weeks, um, we have shown that we’re able to generate like 20% more leads for people’s companies, articles, basements, all kinds of things organically if they commit to our program. So we have that opening March 1st. And um, if anyone’s interested me on Marisa Friedman, Google out there,

Rich (20:34):
The executive cat Herter,

Maresa (20:35):
That is me.

Rich (20:37):
Nice. And well, I was just about to ask you if, uh, people wanna learn more about you get in touch with you, how they go about doing so. So maybe I’ll just have you repeat that or focus more, however you wanna.

Maresa (20:48):
Yeah, you can, uh, you can just Google executive cat, or you can look up Marissa Friedman Marisa’s with an E I am on all the things. So there’s a bazillion different ways you can connect with me either on LinkedIn or my website.

Rich (21:03):
Am I with an E? She means M a R E S

Maresa (21:06):
Yes. A M a RSA Mada. We’re gonna be technical. Um, feel free to

Rich (21:11):
A long time to stop trying to say MAA.

Maresa (21:14):
I know

Rich (21:16):
It’sa. Yeah.

Maresa (21:16):
It’s cause I’m Latina, you know, gotta have a little of the name. Yeah. Reach out to me. I answer all of my messages personally, so there’s no assistant that’s gonna respond to you. Um, but that does mean that it’s probably gonna take like a day or two for me to answer it, but I, I do try to answer everybody’s messages.

Rich (21:35):
Awesome. Well, Marisa, thanks so much for taking the time to, to be on the program and, um, looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Maresa (21:42):
Thank you.

Outro (21:49):
Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at and we’ll see you next time.


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