When you’re starting a business, it’s important to create a brand that represents your company. This brand should be consistent across all platforms, from your website to your social media pages. But what about your personal brand? Should this be separate from your business brand, or should they be the same?
In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between a personal brand and a business brand, and help you decide which one is right for you!
What Are Your Business Goals?
Before we can decide whether it’s better for you to build a personal or business brand, we need to first understand what your goals are for the brand, who your potential customers are, what the goal of lead generation is, and what your own personal interests are.
Who is your Target Audience?
Your target audience is a specified type of person or demographic that you are gearing your entire brand, business, and company towards as they are who you’ll be selling to.
If you haven’t created a clear understanding of who you’re targeting, you’ll want to better understand the product(s) you’re promoting and who is most interested in buying those products.
It may be helpful to do a competitive research analysis to see what consumers are most interested in buying based on the products that are selling really well.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand relates to a particular PERSON and the character they’ve created of themselves online. This person’s name is usually the business name. Personal brands are best for single-person services where the founder will be the one delivering all of the services.
It’s fantastic to build a personal brand when initially getting started, but you often times you can quickly outgrow it. This is because most entrepreneurs love the idea of having multiple businesses or companies that they own. It’s exciting to consider creating new things especially as a natural born innovator.
Personal brands are the easiest types of business to build credibility with since they center an individual’s identity and values.
With a personal brand, you don’t have to go through the extra steps of creating an entire personality for your company because YOU are the personality.
Example: Tony Robbins, Marie Forleo
Who are personal brands best for?
- Individuals who desire to be the main focal point of their marketing, sales, and client delivery
- Folks who are excited about the idea of their life, personality, and personal journey being the main focus.
- People who are enticed by the thought of showcasing their personal process or experience to create profit.
Who are personal brands not best for?
- Folks who enjoy being behind the scenes of their business.
- Folks who don’t want the entire brand to be built around their personal life, journey, stories, and character.
- If this is you, we encourage leaning more towards a business brand instead.
What are the pros of growing a personal brand?
- A personal brand is the easiest brand to create because YOU are the brand and an expert in yourself. It doesn’t require you to build a new personality since you are leaning on your own personal experience.
- It is easier to build trust and relationships with a person than with brand identity (e.g. Nike, Instagram, etc.).
- Having the freedom and flexibility to easily and quickly pivot your brand positioning.
How do you build a personal brand?
A personal brand starts with YOU and your personal story. This means you have to get clear on how you want to present yourself and your story to the world.
There are two core categories we’ll walk you through for personal brands:
- Lifestyle Influencer or Creator
- Small business owner
An influencer or creator brand centers on the lifestyle of the individual that builds the brand.
This includes being a mom, traveling, working out consistently, etc.
It’s whatever lifestyle you live that creates your personality which builds your personal brand as a lifestyle brand.
This is also where thought leadership can become incredibly important in helping you to build a strong personal brand.
You stand out based on your beliefs and viewpoints on hot topics related to your niche.
The core difference between a lifestyle type of personal brand vs someone with a business is this:
The focal point of the content you’re creating and how you turn a profit.
How does a lifestyle personal brand make money?
Lifestyle brands make money most often through affiliate and brand deals.
These types of personal brands often focus on products, apparel, partnerships, sponsorships, or brand endorsements. They will get paid by those brands to promote their products on their platform.
The benefit of creating a lifestyle personal brand is the creative freedom to share whatever you want without limitations.
This is because people are investing in you and their relationship with you.
The trade-off is having to share more of your personal life on a regular basis to keep your audience interested.
Example: The Kardashians
Small Business Owners Personal Brands
This model centers the individual and their business (or businesses) and the specific expertise they offer.
Whereas the lifestyle personal brand builds around the way you live your life and having a much more intimate and personal relationship with social media.
This model allows you to have a bit more distance between your personal life and what you share online.
The benefit is more privacy in your day-to-day life. You only have to share or talk about what correlates to your expertise in your specific industry.
You can still be a personal brand, but not have it be so personal.
What is a business brand?
A business brand relates to a concept, name, or organization that is not dependent on a sole provider or persona.
Should My Personal Name Be In My Business Branding?
As a brand strategist, I would typically recommend building your business branding through your personal name if any of the following apply:
- You don’t plan on building a huge team of people inside of your business.
- You want to be the main provider delivering work to your clients.
- You’ve never built a business before and are in the early stages of getting your business off the ground.
My advice ( if all of the above is true): build your first website and business under your personal name since it will be the easiest way to construct a recognizable brand that centers you are and makes sense in the earlier stages.
Should Businesses Have A Corporate Brand?
Many entrepreneurs will start off with their personal name as their business name until they get to a point where they want to grow the business beyond themselves, in which case it may be time to consider how your personal brand needs to evolve to support the growth of your company.
My advice at this stage of your professional growth would be to have a different company name that is a separate business brand from your own personal brand to open up more room for your company to grow.
Who is a business brand great for?
A Business brand is great for those building a large-scale company with a shared vision, community, idea, concept, or goal that’s much more significant than just one specific individual and is more aligned with corporate branding.
If you were to build a personal brand, you would typically have the website and logos whereas a business brand
My Favorite Examples of business brands: Apple, Thinkific, Coaching Evolved
What is the difference between a personal brand and a business?
The biggest difference is the size of the company as personal brands are usually a single individual with a very small team (1-5) but more often than not, is the owner who hires contractors.
Whereas companies that do their branding as a business have the ability to grow a much larger team that specializes in the expertise of the company and have different departments each with their own focus run by multiple people who are all working towards the same goal.
The challenge with building a personal brand that is centered around your personal identity is when consumers only want you to be the one delivering, promoting, and advertising your brand making it harder to delegate and scale.
Even if Tony brought his co founder on stage to speak or other partners he may work with who promote his work, most customers would prefer to work directly with Tony himself instead of one of his team members.
Who is a business brand best for?
- Folks who want to grow a business that is bigger than just them.
- Software- and product-based businesses that allow for the brand to focus on the software or product, not the person.
- Anyone in copywriting, web design, branding, etc., who want to scale a team so they are not bottlenecked in their business by client delivery.
Who is a business brand not best for?
Typically, we advise against business brands for brand new entrepreneurs that have yet to build social proof.
In the early stages of entrepreneurship, we encourage starting with a personal brand first. Once you’ve built social proof with results, you can look into creating a business brand.
What are the pros of growing a business brand?
Business brands provide a lot more creative expression in the sense that your brand isn’t oriented around you and your personality, but are instead built around a concept or an idea that others can easily get behind.
This makes it exponentially easier for you to take a step back from the business and not be the focal point of all of the marketing and sales.
Additionally, if you decide you want to sell your company or bring in investors, team members, or others who can run the company for you, it becomes a much smoother transition since you’re not the face of the brand that everyone is depending on; instead, the brand is an experience that your clients expect to have with anyone working inside of the business.
How do you build a business brand?
Business brands are like movements and movements grow bigger when more people are involved. Really, the goal with a business brand is to have a powerful vision, mission, or movement that the people you bring together can get excited about being a part of.
If your goal is to go big, you’ll want to start with:
- getting clear about the actual mission or goal of the company you’re creating and what category it falls under.
Is this a tech company? Software company? An Agency?
Once you know the arena you’re playing in, the next step is to clarify what the brand values are and what it represents in the world.
This looks like writing out what you want your users or customers to experience when they interact with your brand, how they feel, what kind of people they are, what they believe, what world views they have, and most importantly, how your brand plays into all of those central beliefs.
Before we can build a business brand, we need to know and understand who the brand is speaking to and what problem it’s solving.
Personal branding vs business branding can be summed up into stages, what you value, what your interests are, and what you are trying to sell to customers.
Personal brand vs business brand
It may be better to build a business brand vs. a personal brand if the goal is to have a larger company (more than one employee) with multiple or different people handling marketing, advertising, clients, and sales.
If the goal is to have multiple businesses that you can promote on one website based on your brand as an affiliate, course creator or another leading service provider who wants to be the primary person delivering the service and handling the advertising, my advice to you would be building a personal brand vs. a business brand.
Do you see yourself wanting to grow your personal branding into something much larger? If so, it may be advantageous to consider the possibility of having two brands instead of one brand so each can meet the needs of your different customers and sell the products they were designed for.
Finally, if you are building two brands, you’ll want to have a different website for each one so you can build your marketing around both your personal expertise and values along with the company’s goals that may be separate from yours.