Personal Brand Vs Business Brand
Are you new to marketing? If you aren’t, then you have encountered “branding” in many quarters of the market. Just like in livestock, this term is used to symbolise ownership. It has evolved to represent one’s identity, be it a business, a company or an individual.
Whether you are aware or not, you are your brand. Your personality is what defines your brand. From your personality, one can describe you as loyal, faithful, respectful, with integrity, etc. all these qualities beef up your brand, strengthening it such that it becomes a convenience rather than a burden.
Good personalities create a good brand. Bad personalities destroy a good brand. In business, there is a phrase, “entity limitation”. Here, the owner of the business and the business itself have a separate relationship and exist on separate levels as distinct individuals. Therefore, a business is given the same rights as a person.
This principle is beneficial to business people since they are protected from the effect of an underperforming enterprise, a company in debts or one that is being sued. Under this policy of having a separate entity with the business, the owner does not have to auction their products to offset a business debt, neither do they need to answer to a case affecting the company.
Therefore, many people are adamant that a personal brand should be separate from the company’s brand. Do you agree?
Personal and corporate brands
Generally, a brand should describe
- who you are,
- what you do,
- and why it matters.
Unlike personal brands, corporate brands are defined by
- the type of products they deal with,
- the quality of commodities they produce or sell,
- size of the market share served,
- time in the market, etc.
Your personal brand and how to build it
You often see companies lining up to offer big money contracts to showbiz, football, basketball, and general popular personalities to be the face of their business. Why do you think that is the case? For instance, Nike signed a contract worth more than $15 million with Cristiano Ronaldo for the CR7 shoe brand. This football personality has more than 200 million followers on Instagram alone! This means that if Cristiano gets to post anything about Nike, more than 200 million people will view it on the go.
This has been the case with other personalities as well. Your company brand needs a personal touch that resonates with people. Something that connects the company to people. That connection is created by people. If your business hasn’t grown that big to afford popular personalities, you as the owner becomes the face of the enterprise. And since to be human is to err, here are some pointers on how to build your personal brand.
- Share your work. What you do for a living gives you an unlimited window to people. This is what you do best. Therefore, let be your boat. Let it carry you to the world. Usually, people hide behind the keyboard and present other people’s face to represent the company and products. However, rightly so, you need to present yourself to your customers. Receive accolades, praise, and criticism in equal measure. What defines you is how you deal with such situations. This is what builds your personal brand.
Many entrepreneurs hesitate to share themselves personally out there for fear of putting off customers. What they forget is that a story told only resonates well with people if they see who is behind it. Who is better placed to narrate your deal other than yourself? Such are chances you get to show resilience, value, and ability to relate with people freely. This credits you more hence driving up your personal brand and that of the business.
While posting online, it would be prudent to get a PR manager for that. You don’t want to expose your wounds to the market entirely, but you don’t want to be that reserved and perfect either. So, where do you toe the line?
- Your customers are your family. How do you relate to your family? How about friends? Your customers are like your family and friends. You don’t have to be evasive with them. They will tell if a problem arises. Do not be afraid to show your face. Let it represent your brand. People will always subscribe to those graphics that show human faces. This is because they can relate to them. For instance, when newspapers or newsrooms are giving short snippets of news, they’ll always pin someone’s face on the display. Why do you think this is? It is simple; people are obligated to like other people. Put a business picture there, and you lose views.
- Broadcast using personal accounts. In our own statistical observation, since we know that the immediate former US president predominantly used his own Twitter account for major announcements. Comparing to the actual official Whitehouse account. Which one do you think got the most traffic? This happens with your business too. When you announce a crucial piece of information using your personal account and do the same on your company’s profile, the one shared on personal accounts is likely to traffic 24 times more than the business’s. It is simple; people generally trust people and distrust companies.
Businesses will go a long way to introduce a face for the firm. If the current trend is anything to go by, then companies in sports use sports personalities, fashion do the same, etc. for example, Cristiano Ronaldo – an elite professional footballer and Michael Jordan – a retired basketball top performer have deals with Nike – an apparel firm, to be the company’s market ambassadors. These are multi-million deals. Others include Lionel Messi for Pepsi, Sadio Mane f6r New Balance, and many more.
Advantages of creating a personal brand identity
- You will always move with your market audience if you moved to another venture.
- Sharing stories of your life becomes a marketing strategy. For example, how many people keep checking Harry and Meghan’s updates just to know what is cooking? (I know you get it)
- You, as a person and the company, accumulate equal brand equity regardless of what you are working on.
Disadvantages of personal branding
- When customers require you, it has to happen since you cannot outsource another you. This may take a toll on your personal businesses.
- Your brand’s value is hinged on you such that when you stop working, the brand loses value.
- If you present more than one or two projects to the audience, they may become confused.
Business branding excels when the following is met.
- Target the right audience
- Consistency in communicating your story
- Uniqueness and standing out from competitors
Your brand needs to target the right audiences in the market. For instance, if you deal with children apparel, the elderly might be the wrong audience for you. Furthermore, you need to communicate your business clearly and consistently to our target market through advertising. Finally, give your brand a lift by customising your services such that it makes you stand out in the industry.
Business branding is essentially creating a perception for your target market such that you hope they will carry it whenever they come in contact with your products or services. Branding can be done using logos, slogans, names, personalities, etc.
Here is how you can stand out from your competitors in the industry.
- Brand identity. How does the name appear? How does it resonate with the customer?
- Services and products offered. Are the commodities offered quality? From the features observable, are they beneficial?
- Content publishing. Do you use blogs, videos, leads, or case studies?
- Social media. How is your engagement? What content do you post? What’s the size of your following?
- Marketing. How do you market yourself?
You can always benchmark yourself on these factors against your competitor. In this case, ask yourself what they do on each of those fronts. Their actions will definitely inspire what you do next. You don’t want to replicate what they do. Service addition maybe the best way to go. Also, only consider those moves that seem to attract more likes, customers, or conversions.
Again, it is one thing to get inspiration from your competitor and another to plagiarise their brand. Much you will be doing a disservice to them; you will be doing a lot more damage to your own brand. Moreover, another way of outright copy-pasting is tweaking another company’s brand whether you’re in the same or different industries. Always aspire to build your brand from scratch, albeit with ideas from others.
Building a business brand
Notable business brands are Apple, Amazon, DHL, Guinness, Coca-Cola, etc. for the case of some of them, such as Coca-Cola, there exist other businesses below the brand. For Amazon, there are subsidiaries in almost all industries in the market, including health, technology, financing, entertainment, etc. How did these companies get to control so much of the industries they operate in? They started from scratch, and so can you. Let’s find out some basic and underlying steps you need to build your brand foundation for growth.
This is the most difficult but crucial step in building your brand. Invest in knowing your customers such that you can visualise what an ideal client would look like. Fictionalise your customer, making them the centre of your business. This is called creating a buyer persona.
You can create proper buyer personas through extensive research and on the market and by keen observation of your customer behaviour. One thing that seems to work perfectly within companies has sufficient actionable data. Businesses thrive on data availability. This means research, reinvention, and rebranding strategies are key in their to-do menus for a fiscal year.
As a beginner, you wouldn’t be in a pole position to build an accurate buyer persona. This is because you don’t have customers yet; neither do you have crude data of the industry. The next best option is to study your competitors and make an informed and educated assumption.
The best way to carry out customer study s to ask them. Many will have specific tastes. In the ends, you will have data that in all parameters is divergent. Remember, you need actionable figures. Here, you need to consider only those who can create substantial demand. This brings us to the next point;
Don’t be everything to everyone
A brand works best if it tailored to address the specific needs of its customers. With a pool of data that by all means is different in personalities, tastes, motivations, lifestyles, frustrations, etc., you cannot pull out the brand identity from all this. Meaning, you need a sorting out phase.
- Eliminate those you know aren’t in your “audience Bracket”.
- Do a deep dive into their social media activity for more information.
- Check google analytics if you have a website.
Use the data you have to create a niche you are well-specialised in. without specificity; you are nothing to anyone. That means your brand isn’t actually a brand.
Conduct market research
This is a universal stage in the entire life of a company. It is necessary to keep yourself abreast with the current market trends. All marketing and sales decisions are hinged on this.
You can have an independent personal brand that is not linked to the business. But, your business needs your personal brand. Think of it this way, try to picture North Korea without Kim Jong-Un. What do you see? Your brand needs a face; it needs an attitude and the entire personality spectrum you can master.
Trademark your brand
You can get protection from exploitation and copycats by trademarking, patenting, and copywriting your ideas, intellectual property, or products.
It may be difficult to draw a personal brand from a business brand. Take, for instance, JP Morgan, Richard Branson and Virgin, Steve Jobs and Apple, Zuckerberg and Facebook, and many more. Regardless that most brand ambassadors and owners of many businesses retire, their face remains as a permanent representative of certain brands unless if they rebranded.
This shows how important branding with a person’s face is in business. Personal and business branding are co-dependent and may thrive well if used together. We have discussed a few ways you can build the two. There are more ways out there.