Have you ever been confused over whether you should brand your business or brand yourself? Have you ever wondered if you should go by your company’s name or by your personal name? How do you separate the two… or if you don’t separate the two, how do you merge who you are with what your business is about?
Which branding is for you?
You don’t need to pick between one or the other, because the answer is almost always a combination of personal branding plus corporate branding. You are the person who created your brand, and then your brand also has its own personality. Even if you have “just” a product, who is going to talk better about that product than you? Who could possibly be more passionate about your business and your brand than you?
But, why did I say “almost” always? If you’re a coach or writer, for example, you would usually want to brand yourself, but if you were opening an IT company you would want to brand the company. So, the “personal plus corporate” approach doesn’t work always either. This is not a hard-and-fast rule — you don’t always have to brand yourself, and for every Steve Jobs there is another successful tech executive that we’ve barely heard of because they weren’t interested in personal branding. Every strategy works at one point or another, but the real question is: what strategies will work for you and your company? From my personal experience, it’s is easier to get off the ground when the CEO or owner is the face of a brand, but you can always be in the background so that you don’t have to be face of your company and just run the operational side if that works for your business and your personality.
The key is connection.
What resonates with your potential buyers? What would they like to see? Is your company business to consumer or business to business? Most B2C businesses speak to one person and are community-focused, friendly and personal, while B2B companies usually speak in plural and as a company’s voice and not a person’s voice.
However, there are pros and cons for both decisions. On one hand a personal brand may give you the status of an expert in your field, and you could scale that way, but on the other hand a corporate brand might help more with building trust with your audience and would look more professional. There are a number of things you need to consider before deciding how to proceed, but the main consideration is: what is your offering? If you are offering services, you will most likely need to go by your personal brand but still have a company’s name in case you decide to scale your business and start hiring. In the beginning, you will attend networking events, position yourself as an expert, act as a person that people want to connect with, and build relationships as yourself to develop a personal brand.
This article was originally published on Aventive.