Personal Brand or Company Brand, it's important to understand the difference and focus your efforts.
Do you go with a personal brand or company brand? To be sure there is a distinction let's go through both so you know which route to take
Let's just take a quick look and a closer look and talk about the pros and cons of each.
What is a personal brand
A brand is built around a person – often really good for people that are speaking, counseling services, writing a book, being an author, even being a video course creator, artists, consultant, or coach.
If your business is one where you are one-on-one with your clients (think Dr., Coach, etc.) or you speak at conferences day in and day out - maybe - Branding yourself makes more sense than Branding a business? In this case the business brand really is your personal brand, some business are just that way and that is what makes the best "business" sense.
One nice thing with the personal brand route is that you may not necessarily need a logo, or the expenses associated with. If you want to have a logo, and we definitely recommend you do, you can keep it simple to you name/signature but we still need to follow good brand design rules - which will be covered in following posts in this series.
What a business brand is.
Business brands as opposed to personal brands are built around the identity or commonality of your intended audience; who your audience wants to become (think fashion, image), or maybe your audience feels like they're outside the norm and are undeserved (think deep niches), and so on.
With that in mind we can start to plan, test, and figure out what kind of identity, or what kind of identity crisis that audience has and how that relates to your product
Key differences to think about when deciding between a personal brand or company brand.
Many employees can share this one brand identity. So if you offer products or services, maybe a business brand makes more sense? We are not saying you shouldn't use a personal brand in this case, it's up to you, we are just reviewing options, pros, and cons. It is easier to make people feel like they are part of your brand, employees particularly, when it's a business brand as they can all "claim" ownership as part of the team. It can be a bit more difficult, psychologically, when it is someone's personal brand, even when they are passionate about the company or cause. Just something to think about as part of this process. Business continuation, if the owner/brand leaves, future sale, etc., should all be considered as well.
Take a look at a personal brand and the pros and the cons.
The pros are that it’s a lot more flexible and adaptable to one person. So, flexible meaning if your interests change for example, so does your company. So, it’s very, very easy to switch around identity because you are the identity. And it’s easier to create quickly, because it’s you. Getting your business up and running may be quicker because it’s based on your reputation, and who is searching for you. Or, that could be the opposite if your reputation alone wont do the trick (think new business, start up, etc.). As mentioned above, your business may be harder to sell (if you ever choose to) because it’s based on your personal name and brand. With out "The Brand" there is the business still viable? Realistically, a buyer will also know that a re-brand will likely be necessary regardless of real or perceived risk in acquisition.
Remember, if the brand is personal, your personal life becomes the brand. The reality is, if you make a mistake and your personal reputation is damaged - it may very well be the end of the business. It hard to think like this, but it is an unfortunate reality to consider. Just watch the news to see real life examples of this unfolding, it seems almost daily. Hopefully this gives you some details to consider when choosing between a personal brand or company brand.
Business Brand. Let’s take a look at the pros and the cons.
As discussed a business brand is it’s easier to sell and is a real long-term decision that many dont consider early on. A business brand make it easy to transition employees/partners; Management can change and the brand still stays strong.
The biggest business pro is that change, of any kind, is easier. Psychologically its the many versus the one mentality. Your brand can offer, represent, or service various -related and unrelated - products and services. It could easily transition to a business hub to many different companies or services/related companies. You can serve a common identity, so people relate to your brand. Keep in mind if you have a personal brand, yes, they might feel like they agree with you, your message, or cause - but as far as creating a common identity, the business brand will be the way to go.
The biggest con is that it is harder and more costly to create, and it takes longer. I've seen some brands take six months or even a year to decide on a brand. It may take that much time to complete your research, develop brand identity, then getting into design, artwork, colors, and so on.
Be sure to consider that it’s not as easy to change a brand (business or personal) once established. As mentioned, this is where personal brands provide greater flexibility.