Back in the day everyone who had a website had a “digital presence.” But once the internet took over the world, people are now online 24/7 which means that a digital presence won’t suffice anymore. This is where the digital experience comes in. This is the process of putting yourself and your personality on everything. From the landing page to the newsletters, everything needs to have your brand for the full digital experience. Join your host, Baeth Davis as she talks with business strategist and website developer, Brandi Bernoskie. Brandi is the owner of Alchemy+Aim and co-founder of Interstellar Support. Sit down with Baeth and Brandi to discuss digital presence vs digital experience. Also learn how to start building your own brand online.
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Your Digital Presence Vs. Your Digital EXPERIENCE With Generator Brandi Bernoskie
Our topic on this episode is a good one. We’re going to explore the difference between digital presence and digital experience. You can use the word online if you like. It’s where most of us are these days, online. I do look forward to getting back to meeting in person but that’s where we are. We’re going to look at digital presence versus digital experience with my amazing guest, Brandi Bernoskie. She is a strategic business consultant, website developer, as well as the Founder of Alchemy+Aim, and Cofounder of Interstellar Support.
These are companies that help entrepreneurs elevate their online presence and get the right website and technology to be successful. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know how important that is. Her academic background is in theater, philosophy, and physics. It was the perfect foundation for launching her businesses, where she has worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Alli Brown, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders, since 2013. Brandi is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect, and serve people, as well as teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create and the impact that they create. With that, let us welcome, Ms. Brandi Bernoskie.
You can’t just put up a store and expect people to knock on your door to buy from you. You need to find your audience then invite them in.
I’m glad to be here.
Happy to have you. Let me ask you something, theater background, philosophy, physics, and now you design these kick-ass websites and provide technological support for online business owners. How did that transition happen? How did you end up in this digital world?
It’s funny because I look back and there were the beginnings of it a long time ago. When I finished up my time at NYU, which is where I was doing my theater major, I took a course at the School of Visual Arts in HTML. It was my first coding course in anything. It taught me the basics of HTML and CSS. It was a skillset that I had that I continue to utilize in the coming years. I don’t even think about this anymore but I briefly had a little website for a company called Blue Alchemists. I did two websites for people before I went on and did other things. Eventually, I got into blogging around 2008, 2009. I blogged for a number of years. As I was blogging, I was teaching myself to do a lot of the coding that I needed to be done for my website. It’s not something I recommend to a lot of entrepreneurs to get into. I had the skills and background. Eventually, that led to doing sites for friends, doing sites with designers, and then having a company of developers who builds these beautiful websites that we get to help our clients with.
Yes, you do design beautiful websites. You designed one for me, which going live, which I’m excited about. We’re going to do a big launch around it. We’ll tell everyone that you designed it because it’s so beautiful. First of all, tell us what the difference between digital presence versus digital experience is.
Digital presence is how most people think about their website. They think, “I need to build something and put it up there and people will come.” It’s like, “I need a like a landing page.” It’s like a business card. The reality of it is that we are so online these days that a digital presence doesn’t suffice. We are heavily involved online. More than ever, we are extending ourselves into the digital space in a way that we have never had in the past. Years ago, a digital presence was sufficient. Now, especially because we’re doing so much virtually with people, we have to think in terms of what is the digital experience that’s being created.
When there’s a confirmation message, it needs to sound like you. You need to inject yourself and your personality inside of every little piece of things. There’s a consistent and coherent experience from the time someone lands on your website to when they purchase from you, to when they interact with you. We want it to all be the same, not have some weird stuffy language or some strange onboarding piece that doesn’t line up with who you are as a person and how you show up to the meetings or calls or training that you have with people. You have to think in terms of from start to finish and not just in terms of discrete things you can throw up and be done with.
What do you think are the biggest mistakes you see people making with their websites?
Not thinking it through. Slapping things together. Hoping that if they build something, people will show up. For any of us who are in an online space, we know that you can’t put a website up and people magically start knocking down your door to buy from you. You have to go find your audience and know where your ideal clients hang out and invite them in. They are not merely going to be googling and land on your doorstep that way. You have to think about it as a piece of the puzzle and not as the entire solution to everything.
Honestly, I tell my clients, “You need to update your site regularly.” Not just with blog posts and podcast episodes but you also need to look at the language you’re using around what you’re offering people and how you’re serving them. Know where the world is changing and evolving. That’s a big deal. Especially in 2020, the world has changed so much. Your ideal client’s pain points, problems, wants, and desires may shift. You have to make sure you’re shifting your language as that’s happening to make sure that they understand that you have a solution to the problem that they have.
A lot of the people that you work with, it seems are personalities. Their business, in a way, centers around them. Do you also do websites for companies that sell tech services or widgets?
We do. I will tell you that whether it’s a person and a personality or if it’s a company that maybe there isn’t a single person who’s standing at the front of the company, it’s as important for those companies to think through their experience and almost have their digital persona or avatar that’s interacting. If we think about a company like Apple, Apple appeals to a particular subset of people who have particular beliefs. Their online language speaks to that person. It’s almost like you can imagine that there’s this Apple avatar behind everything that’s talking to us. Even if you’re not a personality-driven company but you think like a personality-driven company, people respond better to them. Look at Joanna Gaines as an example. Joanna Gaines, personally, has more followers on Instagram than her company Magnolia does. We are naturally attracted, particularly at this time, we trust individuals if we see how they’re showing up. We’re a little less likely to trust companies that are showing up in a generic manner unless they start injecting a personality into their brand.
What would you say is the place people should start when they’re thinking about building, designing, or writing copy for their website? Where’s the first place you recommend?
You don’t want to build your business for where you are now. You want to build it for where you want to go.
I always think it’s important to start with the strategy. Understand the big picture vision. Understand where you are now and where you want to go and how that’s going to be mapped out. One of the first things I do with clients is to get on a call with them and start to understand what are their goals. The goals will shape the pages that you have, the copy that you need, everything along the way, the photos that you need to take, and honing in on that strategy and how you’re going to get from where you are now. Do you have anything useful or not? It depends on what kind of shift you’re making in your business or if you’re starting, certainly. Do you have anything usable? Do things need to be created that can get you from where you are to where you want to be? It’s important that you take the time to do the foundational brand work. It’s shocking the number of times I will have people come to me and they’re hoping to figure out what their offers are while we’re working together.
People think that doing the website process will provide clarity. Oftentimes, it does add clarity to the mix but you will not get as much out of it if you don’t show up with some level of clarity. Do you know what your offerings are? Do you know how you’re attracting new clients? How are you going to market to people? What are your values as a company? Who are you as a person? Who do you want to be? Who are you in your bigness? That’s essential on websites. You show up in your bigness and your full energy. In my day-to-day self, that’s like in pajama pants. You want to show up in your bigness and fullness because that’s what’s going to attract people in. You have to do that foundational work. You have to know who you are.
You have to know what your company is offering people. What are the problems that you’re solving? You need to do that foundational brand work and the strategy around it to make sure that anything you build is going to be the right thing. I love it when I get someone who has those pieces in place where we’ve worked through those pieces because then it becomes obvious, “Here’s the team we need to put together. Here’s the support that they need ongoing. Here’s what we need to build.” I know it’s going to be a great investment for them. It’s not just an expense. It becomes an investment that takes them to where they want to go.
That’s a great way of looking at it. You want to build now to where you want to go.
You don’t want to build for where you are. You always want to build for where you want to go. That doesn’t mean you have to build everything. If you know you want a podcast in a year, it doesn’t mean you have to build that now. In my opinion, it does mean that your site needs to be built in mind with the structure that allows a podcast to be added on in a way that’s not ripping something apart and duct-taping it back together again. There needs to be that consideration in the technology.
We’re both theater majors. Look at us now, working on this online business. What was it that brought you to the theater? Had you always loved it since you were a kid? How did that happen?
My mom put me in the theater when I was probably in 4th or 5th grade because I’m a total introvert and I was an extremely shy kid. She was hoping that it might bring out something in me. Honestly, I fell in love with the potential to be able to be anyone. I liked the idea of being able to be in other people’s shoes, being able to immerse in a role as a lawyer one day, a role as a princess the next, or something like that. It had a versatility to it that appealed to me, always and it is. For someone who’s an introvert, it’s nice to be in the spotlight. In a way, that feels safe still. There are lines. No one goes off-book. It’s not scary in that way.
I did a bunch of theater growing up and did some operas as well and musical theater also. I was pretty convinced that this is what I want to do. I have to say it’s one of those things I still use all the time. This is true of arts, people in the arts in general. You learn to see different perspectives. I can easily put myself in my client’s shoes. I’m concerned about how they feel and what their experiences and how we’re crafting that. When you’re in the theater, it teaches you persuasiveness that is unexpected. I thought I would never be good at a sales call. I thought I was going to be the downfall of my business because I’m an introvert. I’m not a salesperson. I am a service person. I believe in service.
From all my time in acting, I can see someone’s reaction and understand the emotional state that they’re in. I start to understand how different languages or words can shift that emotional state, which is what you do on stage. You’re using language and words to shift a character’s emotional state. If you’re doing it well, you’re doing it effectively. You are shifting that person’s emotional state. Overall, there are a lot of lessons from the industry and the training that keeps coming back on how you transform energy, a relationship and a person. I still revisit all of that regularly.
I find the same. The time spent on stage, for me, reduced stage fright and concerns about making presentations and so much of what we have to do with our online presence these days show up like we are now. Be visible, be heard, be confident in that. Don’t be sweating bullets and put our best foot forward. Same as you, I got into theater in 4th or 5th grade. It keeps paying dividends. All that training. It’s fascinating. Shall we look at your human design chart?
If you’re new to the show, I always ask our guests a question about what they want to see in their chart. Brandi’s question was, what do I need to be doing to serve my highest purpose? All of you reading, what do you need to be doing to serve your highest purpose? Brandi has an interesting chart, meaning that it’s rare. Some people are rare, in terms of the human population. Brandi is one of them. You have a 3/6 profile. Let’s start with that. It’s these lines after the Sun and Earth positions in your design and your personality. Quickly, the design is the body. It comes in 88 days before we’re born. It starts to evolve.
The personality equals our mind, which is for the other person. We get caught up in our personalities but it isn’t who we are. It’s a vehicle for us to communicate with other people. There’s that. Taken together though, the lines after these initial gate positions give you a 3/6 profile on it. There are twelve profiles. The 3/6 is one of the rare ones. The rare ones fall in between the popular ones. The popular profiles are about 12.5% to 15% of the population. These rare profiles, like what you have Brandi, it’s about 2.5% of the population. I don’t meet many 3/6s.
It is interesting, especially in light of what we’ve been discussing. The three is called the martyr because the first 30 years of your life are a lot of trial and error. A lot of bumping into things. A lot of figuring out what doesn’t work. On the master path, however, these three become a gift for strategy, which is exactly what you do. You lead with strategy. Six is known as the role model. The role model is way up on the roof, sees the big picture. Anyone with a six in their profile tends to not see what the masses are hooked into. You see what they’re hooked into but you’re not hooked into it. You’re above it and it’s systemic.
The six sees the system, which makes you perfectly well suited to what you’re doing because the six in you sees the system that will support that client. Each client has some variations, I would imagine. In what the setup needs to be with their website for their business strategy to get traction. You are naturally well suited to see the big picture and then know the steps to get there. You’re a big picture and a how person, which is rare. It’s a rare profile. It’s rare for people to be both. You’re serving your highest purpose, always, if you’re balancing that big picture with the strategy.
The profile in a sense is the costume to our life purpose. It’s the way we show up. The purpose itself is the incarnation cross, which comes from the four gates of the Sun and Earth. We have the lines that are the profile, in which case your 3/6. Those are the numbers after the decimal point. We have the gates themselves and all of your gates come off of the G center. The G center is essentially a magnet, known as the magnetic monopole that holds the body together. It’s this gravitational pull that holds the body together. In the past decades, scientists discovered that all living things and all inanimate things have this point within them that holds them together. We’re held together by these magnetic monopoles. The frequency of it is love. We could say that love holds everything together.
It’s good to see the big picture but you also need to see the discrete steps because that is what makes up the picture.
You have the 25, 46, 15, and 10, as part of your incarnation cross. You also have the one, which is the artist. No big shocker there. All the gates of the G center have to do with some love energy. Gate 25 is universal love. You are conceptually aware that there can be this love for humanity or this love for nature. There’s love for a good digital experience that transcends interpersonal love. Gate 46 is the love of the body. This is about honoring your body. Both of these are on your design side. To some degree, they’re going to be unconscious to you. Two of the ways you serve your purpose is this 25, which is initiating people into a higher expression of who they are. You’re an initiator. You’re a catalyst for people.
The 46 is the love of the body. From a business standpoint, it’s about being lucky. Right place right time. Having good instincts because you trust your body. It also means that you have to nurture your body. Sports, yoga dance, your body needs a lot of activity with Gate 46 or it won’t be happy. It needs a lot of activity and your generator with a defined sacral. You’re going to need a lot of activity. Gate 46 demands that or your body will rebel. The challenge with Gate 46 is to not push it too hard either. The people I know who Gate 46, have to find that sweet spot. They’ll over-exercise, injure themselves, and then they can exercise and like doing this swing. What’s important is that pacing with your body and loving your body. Whatever that looks like.
I remember. My sister once told me, “When I put on coconut oil on my feet and my legs, I talk to my body and tell it how beautiful it is. I talked to every toe and I talked to every cell and I love all of my body.” I thought that’s a beautiful thing to do. It’s a Gate 46 thing to do as well. These unconscious parts of you are running automatically. It’s good to be aware of them. Gate 15, from the personality side, and Gate 10 have different frequencies. Gate 15 is about finding what’s right in your rhythm. One of my teachers, Richard Unger calls it The Goldilocks Rule. Not too much, not too little, just right.
Gate 15 is always looking for just right. It’s called modesty. The keynote is modesty. Modesty is right. Not too much, not too little. Someone isn’t being immodest. They’re not being falsely bashful. You’re showing up with the appropriate energy to situations. This is about your unique rhythm. One of the things you help people do is find their unique rhythm. We have Gate 10, which is our identity and being able to behave in a way that is natural and authentic to who we are. Your Gate 10 connects into Gate 34, which is pure creative power. You have this pure creative power and it’s going up to the identity gate. You’re using this tremendous creative energy, from the personality side, to help others live by their true identity. That’s your mission as well with yourself, to be authentic in what you do.
This gives you great instinct and it gives you great creative power. All the gates off of the sacral have a sexual, tantric component except for 34. It isn’t sexual energy. Gate 34 is like having the booster engine. It makes the car go faster. Anyone with Gate 34 has this huge pressure, it’s almost a pressure to create. What you’re creating is what’s called the vessel of love, it even looks like a cup. In the tarot, cups represent emotion. They represent love. This vessel of love is your container in this body you’re in. You’re this container to bring forth this consciousness through strategy and systems. This consciousness of what it means to be a person who’s vibrating a frequency of universal love, which is a high consciousness, who’s respecting their body, honoring the rhythm, and who’s communicating from their true identity, not some persona.
You are, in many ways, a person who is steering people away from anything false, phony, inauthentic. Your body gives you, “Mmm-Mmm,” right away from the sacral. It’s not a mental process. This is what’s interesting about design in terms of location. Like in real estate, where are we looking in the body? Your head, your ushna, your throat, your will, and your spleen are undefined. For a generator, you have five centers that aren’t defined. This is where a lot of conditioning can come in. If you’re unaware but you’re aware.
It’s also this openness you have that gives you this huge flexibility in dealing with people. All your energies are down low. You have 3 out of the 4 motors. The sacral is a motor. The root is a motor, and the solar plexus is a motor. The will is a motor but you don’t have that defined. You have 3 out of 4 motors. You’re a generator. Generators are worker bees. They tend to do the same thing over and over. I’m a generator too. We’re builders. We build stuff. We keep building it and perfecting our process. In this case, websites, digital presence, and digital support. Every time you do a website, you learn a little bit more I would imagine.
It is a constant evolution of processes and ideas and knowledge.
That’s what this design is about. With three motors and all this energy down low, your body knows what to do. You don’t have to think about it very much. It happens for you. You can look at things and your body knows, “Let’s move this around.” It’s coming from the 34. That’s the thing I want you to know. It’s not your mind. The mind is up here. The mind is great for visualizing, conceptualizing, putting images together in the right sequence. It does a lot of wonderful things but it’s not the decision-maker. For you, you can run on instinct. Your body knows where to guide you without you having to think about it, which is quite amazing. Some people have all their energy up here. Their mind is always going. Their mind, in many ways, is vital to their decision making.
For you, it’s all instinct. One other thing, you have Gate 19 that connects to Gate 49. This channel is fascinating to me because Gate 19 is about how you approach things. You have a way where you can approach anybody and usually not offend them. You know how to approach people to move things forward. Gate 49 is called revolution. It’s an emotional frequency. This is tribal energy here. It’s about approaching people in the right way so that they get their needs met and so that their resources are used effectively. If not 49, there’s a revolt. Gate 49 in the shadow sense can be violent in a tribal situation if there’s a threat to the resources. Most of us don’t have to deal with that on the regular. Your approach is making sure that the revolution happens creatively. Gate 19 energy is also the healer. You bring with you this energy in your interactions that people probably find, I know I do, calming. It’s nurturing. It’s giving energy. That’s a quick overview of what I see. How that land for you, hearing that?
It’s point-on. It’s fascinating because a couple of years ago, I did work with my why statements and my how statements. Many of my how statements are directly reflective of what you were going through. One of my how is to make sure that I always see the forest as well as the trees. That’s a matter of making sure that I have to see the big picture but I also have to see the discrete steps in the big picture. What is making up everything? That’s something that I do uniquely from a website standpoint and that there are not many people out there who do. I can figure out between my website knowledge and my business knowledge. How do we get from here to where the client wants to be? It’s not just from an aesthetic perspective but a core foundational perspective too.
Thanks for your time, Brandi.
Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun.
It was a blast. It’s great being with you. Maybe we’ll come back again sometime.
Sounds like a plan.
This has been another episode of Align To Your Design. We’ll see you all soon.
About Brandi Bernoskie
Business Strategist + Website Developer
Brandi is owner and Chief Alchemist at Alchemy+Aim, a website development and business strategy agency that helps thought-leaders and entrepreneurs craft custom websites to enhance client experience and help them step into their genius work. She has always sought to find new ways to co-create with collaborators and clients, and to connect people with each other and help them craft bigger picture visions for themselves and their companies, by combining insightful questioning with strategic planning.
Her path and diverse background (BFA in Theatre with minors in Physics and Math from New York University; BA in Physics, Philosophy and Religion from Rutgers University, and graduate work at University of California San Diego in Philosophy of Science and Science Studies) has informed her work deeply as she integrates the practical with the esoteric to help inspire a new conversations around what we can create in business and life.