Brands and branding are two of the most important concepts in marketing. They define an organization and help customers and clients remember and categorize businesses. In today’s complex market, there are two brand concepts: the personal brand and the business brand.
These two ideas can be separate or overlap and can define the same or different things. This vague nature makes it challenging to understand their roles at first, but they are crucial concepts to any person looking to build their personal business.
Personal and business brands can overlap in certain circumstances, particularly when a company is built around one person’s ideas or work. Suppose you are a sole proprietor of an organization or are looking to develop your personal or business brand. In that case, it is crucial to understand the difference and focus on what will be best for yourself and your organization.
Building your brand is more than just setting up social media accounts, buying a nice laptop with an HP Deskjet 3000 j310 and registering some copyrights. Explore the differences between a personal and business brand and understand how to benefit from overlaps.
The term “brand” originated from the practice of branding, where the owners of cattle would heat a piece of metal and sear an identifying mark into the hide of an animal. This was done to prevent theft and identify if an animal had been stolen from its proper owner.
Branding began with simple alphabetic or pictographic marks. As the practice gained popularity, the marks evolved into more complex designs, with each brand unique and indicative of the livestock’s owner. The concept of brand identity or using a specific mark to signify a company or owner spread beyond the agricultural industry to various commercial sectors.
Personal brands were born of the idea of taking some simple design or abstraction and applying it as the identifier of a specific person. The rise of movies, television and the modern concept of a celebrity would see famous people adopt some of these brands to spread their fame. Comedian Groucho Marx was a prominent early pioneer with his mustache, cigar and glasses.
The concept was noticed by marketing experts in the 1980s and has been a critical way many promote themselves and their businesses.
Brands are central to all modern marketing strategies. Getting your brand recognized, remembered and seen as the source of a product is the larger goal of most campaigns. People want their brands to be household names like Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Epson ink cartridges or Bandaid. Their company names are often used for an entire class of products instead of soda, tissue, printer ink or bandages.
Whether you are focusing on your personal or business brand, getting it recognized and remembered is central to your success. According to marketing experts, your brand should answer three major questions customers will ask: Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter? If your brand can easily answer these questions with a simple visual identifier, your company will be successful.
Marketing research has shown that consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a person rather than a company. This tactic has long been used in radio, movies and television, with a celebrity becoming the spokesperson for a brand. With the rise of social media, anyone can become their own spokesperson and present themselves as a thought leader, an expert or a guru. Simply put, a personal brand is marketing yourself as a product or a source of wisdom, understanding and good recommendations.
By branding themselves as an authority, people can sell products through their personal brand, whether their own products or other products they are paid to advertise. The brand is not as flexible as a business brand, as there are some things about yourself you cannot easily change, but they are often seen as more authentic and trustworthy by consumers.
A business brand is a company’s name, visual identity and slogan. Unlike a personal brand, which is based on a specific person and has certain unchangeable things like the name, a business brand can be an entirely custom creation, formed and specialized to grab customers’ attention and stay memorable.
Are Personal and Business Brands the Same?
While often two separate ideas, personal and business brands can overlap. If you are selling a specific product you use or something you invented, a personal and business brand might be the same thing or tied together for maximum effect. Likewise, the two brands might be connected if you are the company owner or CEO and positioned yourself as a pioneer in the industry.
There is a drawback, though. When your personal brand is explicitly tied to a business brand, it can be harder to change the identity or pivot your messaging. Connection to a business can make your personal brand seem inauthentic, which can hamper its growth and success.
There is no rule on the best strategy for connecting personal and business brands. Many marketing experts have divided opinions, but there is no doubt that they can be very successful for entrepreneurs offering their own products or a specific service.
Branding is important for any individual or company looking to sell something to the broader market. If you are the owner of a company or sell a service based on your expertise, tying a personal and business brand together can enhance the effectiveness of both and help you succeed. Analyze the market you wish to work in, and understand what niche your product or service might fall into. Consider whether your personal brand would be better served staying independent from your company or if the synergy of the two will be mutually beneficial. There is no one perfect solution, only the solution that works best for you, so experiment, iterate and find your perfect marketing strategy.