Personal branding is a term you’re probably familiar with in addition to the word branding on its own, but it turns out both of those words are commonly confused with things like having a logo and the colors that are on your website.
While those are definitely elements that play in to a brand’s design, they aren’t the core components of your actual brand.
If you find yourself feeling cloudy on what branding means and you have difficulty distinguishing what type of branding you currently have versus what you should have, this one is for you:
Why You Need to Have a Personal Brand
So there’s a trick with this one, you already have a personal brand, it’s simply you.
For the sake of argument we’ll keep this conversation limited to your personal brand’s presence online, but essentially, your personal brand is the image and corresponding messaging you put forth with the things you blog about, post on Facebook, tweet, and upload to Instagram. It’s all an extension of your views, interests and your endorsements, even if you’re not the original creator of the content you share.
When it comes to the world of business, having your personal brand be professional and carefully curated is crucial in supporting your business efforts.
You might be wondering, “Why do I need to pay attention to my personal brand when I own a business that isn’t based on selling a service?”
Even if you don’t sell a service that is based on your own personal expertise, people connect with people, not products. People want to know the person behind the business and know your story, not just all the benefits and features of your product.
Now this isn’t to say you need to have your own website dedicated solely to your personal brand, that is unless you sell professional, knowledge-based services that are completely different than the products you sell. However, you do need to take inventory of the image you’re presenting online and make sure it corresponds with the type of person your ideal client would want to know and be friends with.
The Importance of Having Separate Brand Identities
Here’s the other side of the spectrum, you might be awesome at personal branding, and you may not even know it.
If social media is your sweet spot and you love to share what you’re up to and what you find interesting, and you get great interaction with your personal network, it is super easy to fall in to the trap of solely selling through your personal brand. You might think you’re expanding beyond your personal brand by setting your profiles to public, but that’s not the case.
Your business needs to have it’s own brand because it sets the expectation that you’re selling something.
When you’re operating as a personal brand, you’re really just selling people on you, which we’ve already said is crucial, but if you’re selling something that is distinctly different than you, your brain, your know-how, your expertise, etc., you have to have a separate brand.
Take Oprah for example, Oprah in and of herself is the epitome of a personal brand, however, that personal brand is separate from the brands of O Magazine, Harpo Productions, Inc. and Oxygen Media. All of her companies also have separate brands because they aim to achieve different missions and send different messages. Even Oprah can’t sell everything under just Oprah.
Now we’re going to get real Inception-like on you and tell you that although you want to have your separate personal brand and business brand, your brands should also intertwine.
Let’s just continue running with the Oprah example; anyone who is familiar with her personal brand as an activist, leader, newswoman and humanitarian among other things, knows that all of Oprah’s businesses and their subsequent brands are reflective of her. They’re different, but congruent.
By having such a strong personal brand, she has been able to expand her business efforts, and in the same fashion, her business brands have continued to make Oprah a household name among audiences and generations who wouldn’t have known her from her original claim to fame on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
So while your personal and business brands should most likely be separate, it doesn’t mean they should be mutually exclusive. One should flow and pull from the other in a harmonious balance that makes both you and your business move forward and spark a great connection with your audience.
Feel like you’ve got a jumbled ball of a brand, or don’t have any brand at all? Give Hello Anna Branding & Co. a shout and I’ll help you sort your brands out and intertwine them perfectly.