Personal Brand Vs Business Brand -which one should you choose?
If you are an entrepreneur working on launching a business, you may wonder whether it is best for you to build your company using business branding or personal branding. A business brand is built around an identity you create for your business and is independent of your personal name. A personal brand is built around you personally and your name and your business name will be one and the same.
What defines a personal brand?
A personal brand is centred around an individual. The brand encapsulates their strengths, personality, ideas and expertise, and they are at the centre of the brand, acting as an ambassador.
While a personal brand heroes one person, these businesses aren’t always small scale solopreneurs and freelancers. Well known personal brands such as Tony Maticevski, Collette Dinnigan, Marie Forleo, Tim Ferriss, Chris Ducker, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney and Amy Porterfield are all backed by teams.
A brand is simply how you are perceived by others, so a personal brand isn’t necessarily created with the goal of building a business. It can also help you to position yourself in a way that aids in becoming an influencer, in getting a promotion or securing a job. But, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to be focusing on building a personal brand with the intention of creating a business.
What defines a business brand?
A business brand is not named after one person, nor does it necessarily reflect one person’s values, ideas or opinions. Unlike personal brands, business brands do not have an existing ‘brand’ to build off, so are constructed from scratch. More often than not, business brands create the impression that more than one person is running or working for the business, which can make them sound big, even though they can be any size.
Ambassadors to business brands may be staff or owners of the organisation, celebrities or other prominent figures. For example Richard Branson has his own personal brand, and is also an ambassador for his business brand, Virgin. Similarly, Gary Vaynerchuk has his personal brand and uses is to grow his business brand, VaynerMedia.
So which option is best for you? Read on to explore the pros and cons of each.
People trust people more than they trust brands, so a personal brand can have a bigger impact on the behaviour and decisions of the audience
The opportunity to share personal stories strengthens the business brand by making both sides feel more relatable
Personal brands can take audiences with them if they pivot to another venture or business
There’s more room to grow with your personal brand and there are more opportunities within a personal brand.
Personal brands tend to be easier to create given all the tools that are available to us online like social media and personal website and logo design package.
They also allow for more flexibility. For instance, if the focus of your product offerings change, it will be easier for you to grow without having to change the name of your business.
Personal brands also are great launch pads for other business endeavours opening the door for speaking opportunities and other entrepreneurial goals.
They are also great for ‘one -person’ industries. They are ideal for artists, authors, coaches ,freelancers and speakers.
Maintaining a personal brand demands additional time and energy, otherwise it loses the equity built over time
Personal brands have a reflection on associated businesses, so communication needs to remain in sync with company-related messaging
You may not be able to state clearly what your company does in the name of a personal brand. Because of this, it will take some time before people start associating your name with the product or service you are providing. This could prove to be an obstacle in building your business.
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Branding for a business can be done by more than one person, so the work can get done whether you’re there or not
The audience may be more wide-reaching than that of a personal brand, depending on the history of the business
Business branding is more high-level and doesn’t depend on the same level of transparency that makes a personal brand successful
Business brands are harder to create. This is because they are crafted on an identity that you need to build along with the brand. It takes a lot of hard work, but this could be worthwhile for some people.
Although building a brand takes hard work, the effort you make to establish the identity of your company will give you a better sense of who you are. You will need to think of who your target audience is, your logo and branding and what your company is known for. Doing this will give you a strong sense of what your business provides moving forward.
Business brands are easier to sell when compared to personal brands. If you decide to move on from your brand and want to sell it to another owner, it will be easier to do so if the business name is associated with its products rather than the person behind it.
People trust brands less than they trust people
It can be more difficult for businesses to stand out than it is for individual people
Since it’s less personal, the branding that’s done for businesses may be more susceptible to competition and customer churn
A major con associated with business brands is that they allow for less flexibility as compared with personal brands. Personal brands allow for more space for you to grow if you decide to explore a different avenue in what services and products your company provides. This type of growth is not as easy with a business brand.
Traditionally, a business was expected to have an office and a team to be considered legit. Bigger was better. It was safer and more secure. Today’s businesses are much more fluid. They might not have a physical office, they might operate a virtual team or have no team members at all. They might not be open for regular office hours or even have a contact phone number. As the definition of what a business should look like becomes blurry, so does what it should be called.
Here are some ideas to take into account when deciding which option is best for you.
1. What does the future of your business look like?
Generally speaking, personal brands work best when the core individual is at the helm of the business. If you aren’t ready or willing to help run or manage the business, or if you plan on having a large business with lots of staff, then it’s probably best to use a business brand name.
2. Are you creating a Business with the aim of selling it in the future?
If you’re creating a business with the aim of selling it in the future (or there's a chance you might want to sell it), then it’s probably best to create a business brand. You don’t want your name connected with a brand you have no control over and buyers may be discouraged by having your name connected to their new business when you are no longer involved.
3. What are you selling?
Personal brands are great for businesses that revolve around one person, like consultants, coaches, photographers, artists and speakers. If you decide to build a personal brand there’s a good chance that for the duration of the business' life, you will need to have some connection with your customers and your business. As you grow, you'll probably want others to support you behind the scenes. A lot of creatives, coaches and consultants successfully scale by creating courses, webinars, online coaching group sessions, podcasts or ebooks. These allow them to reach a bigger audience, with the same level of effort required to help one person. Alternatively, if you’re in demand, you can always raise your prices to do the same amount of work, for bigger profit. Or, you could create a lower priced option where the same quality is delivered, but not by the brand ambassador themselves.
The advantage of a business brand is that their customers expect to be working with a team, not an individual. This allows the owners to scale and take a step back from the business without losing brand equity.
4. Will you be enhancing or devaluing your brand reputation?
If there’s a chance that your brand image could be damaged by your or your family members’ beliefs, associations, values or actions, then maybe a personal brand isn’t the right move for you.
On the flipside, broadcasting to the world that you’re taking ownership of the business and that you are not afraid to put your reputation on the line to deliver exceptional value shows you’re confident in your skillset and that you’re backing yourself in.
5. Are you comfortable being the public face of the brand?
Being the 'face' of a brand isn’t for everyone. You might have reservations about privacy or being recognised, even when you’re not working. These are all valid concerns, however, depending on your priorities, they may be outweighed by the fact that a personal brand will allow you to build rapport and trust much faster and much more easily than a business brand. When it comes down to it, people buy from people, not corporations and a personal brand puts the person behind the brand front and centre from the get go.
6. What are your ideal customers going to respond to?
Are your ideal customers more likely to trust and buy from a business brand or a personal brand? Do they want to feel supported and backed by what feels like a bigger more established business, or do they want the personalised, authentic, flexible experience of a personal brand? Your customers are going to make judgements about your brand based on how you position yourself.
Even if they are backed by a huge team, buying from a personal brand will make the customer feel like they’re buying from a trusted individual. Buying from business brand (even if it's a two person team) will make the customer feel like they’re buying from a bigger business. How do you want your customers to perceive your business?
7. Is your business based around your own experience and reputation?
If your core offering or difference is not influenced by your expertise, ideas, values or personality, then your business could come across as disingenuous by using personal brand. For example, if I am simply reselling electronics (not actually designing the products), building a personal brand might not be the right fit. However, if my reseller brand has a distinct industry difference that relates to my experiences, such as 'I only stock items that I have personally tested, reviewed and used' then a personal brand becomes a lot more relevant.
8. Do you have an unusually long and difficult to spell name?
If your name is especially difficult to spell or search for, it might not make good business sense to use your name. You could potentially use your last name or first name paired with another word to make it easy for people to find you, or you can abbreviate your name, like Gary Vaynerchuk did— Gary Vee.
Is building both- Personal Brand and Business Brand the answer?
Sometimes people build a personal brand and then use that to catapult a bigger business brand, or they begin by creating a bigger business brand and use that to become a key person of influence in their industry. Both have distinct benefits, so it makes sense to use both brands leverage one another.
A brand is much more than a name, it’s the reputation behind it. While personal brands can be associated with inexperience, you have the ability to build a brand that tells your customers otherwise. Similarly, while business brands can seem big and impersonal, you have the capacity to create a brand that is personable and authentic.
Personal and business brands both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, the direction that’s right for you will depend on your goals, your customers and your industry. Although choosing to build a personal brand or a business brand may be a personal decision for you to make, for most it will come down to what type of business they are trying to promote.
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📃 About Vandana Nanda
📖 My Story : The Journey Thus Far
Vandana Nanda, is the Founder and CEO of Winbrand Academy, an Online Personal Branding and Digital Marketing School.
After working in the corporate world with IT and Education companies for over two and a half decades, Vandana decided to venture online in 2020 on a full time basis.
Working online with Time Freedom and Financial freedom has been a long cherished goal for her. Vandana has travelled the world and experienced both extremes of life , going from being a successful corporate executive and a homemaker to being a single parent and bringing up two young children while also focussing on a full time corporate job.
She has been able to bounce back, learn new skills and continue on her path to achieving Financial and Time Freedom. She has made it her mission to achieve financial freedom herself and also help thousands of people across the globe to find financial freedom by doing what they love. Through Winbrand Academy ,she is helping Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners, Real Estate Agents, Insurance Brokers, Authors, Actors, Musicians, Lawyers, Teachers, Industry-Specific Professionals, and of course, people with a specific Passion from around the globe brand themselves.
Vandana’s purpose is to help people brand themselves as Leaders and Authorities in either their specific niche or in whatever their passion is while creating an income doing what they love.