Now that a digital profile can be viewed by anyone else, whether it’s an employer sizing up a potential new hire by combing through his Facebook account or a client looking to hire a contractor, everyone and every company has a brand whether they intend to or not. By ignoring this fact, you may be unknowingly creating a terrible brand for yourself or your company, and that’s not good for business.
So pay attention to the brands you represent—depending on what kind of work you do, they could be personal or business or both.
“Everyone, no matter at what stage of their career and regardless of whether they are looking for a new job, should keep a close eye on their personal brand,” says Tony Winders, principal of Winders Consulting Group, a marketing consultancy for advertising technology and media companies.
“Career optics are more important than ever in today’s social media connected world and it has little to do with the company you work for. A marketing professional should be concerned with their company’s brand, but if it’s not your job to attend to company branding, there should be no harm or shame in an individual focusing on one’s own personal brand. It’s just part of doing business.”
Overall, when grappling with the personal vs. business brand dilemma, both are important, but for different reasons. Neither one should be ignored, but one will take center stage depending on your goals: building a business, looking for work, supporting the operation of an employer, or just putting your best foot forward.
But as a real entrepreneur in heart, I sometimes don’t agree with both! Now let’s face it…
I know money isn’t everything in this world, but in business, it’s the scorecard that everyone looks at.
Well, but let me ask you this… think of a few of the brands you are very familiar with, which ones come to mind?
Amazon, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Nike, American Express, Tesla… the list keeps going on and on.
Did you notice that you didn’t really think about a personal brand?
Now tell me one personal brand that’s bigger and more successful than any one of the companies I mentioned above?
Whether you pick Tony Robbins or famous athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo or reality TV stars like the Kardashians, none of them will ever be bigger than the companies I mentioned above, at least from a financial perspective.
And what’s sad is when the face of a personal brand passes away, in most cases so does the income. For example, Tony Robbins does well because he is Tony. But if Tony wasn’t around, who would speak on stage on his behalf?
It wouldn’t be the same if his company replaced him with someone else.
But on the flipside, look at Apple. Steve Jobs was the visionary who helped build this amazing company we all love, but since he passed away, Apple’s stock price has gone up roughly 4 times.
They are now worth a trillion dollars. That’s crazy!!!!
Yes, Steve Jobs was an amazing entrepreneur, but Apple has grown without him and has continually improved their products.
In other words, Apple will continually live and hopefully grow because it isn’t reliant on any one individual.
Now just imagine your company is named after you. And remember, you’re not the only person within the company… the team is what makes the company amazing, not yo. If you wasn’t here tomorrow, the company would still be around, but it probably wouldn’t do as well.
Not because the team isn’t capable… the team does amazing work and they are better than you in many ways. It’s because, without you, many companies wouldn’t come on board as clients.
If you change the name of the company it also probably wouldn’t do as well because your personal brand is influential within the digital marketing world.
And here’s the kicker: It’s also harder to sell a company when it is named after a person. And if you are one of the lucky people who are able to sell a business based off of a personal brand, the multiple won’t be as great because the buyer knows that when the personal brand leaves, so will some of the revenue.
I’m not saying it’s impossible… just much harder.
That’s why you see companies like GitHub being purchased for $7.5 billion when most people haven’t even heard of it (outside of the tech world).
If you want to build a lifestyle business then consider building a personal brand. It’s easier to build, and you can make good money from speaking, consulting, or partnerships.
But if you want to build something big, something that will continually live and move on without you, then focus on building a corporate brand.
I’ve slowly been transitioning. That’s why I spend more time building up the Braiweb brand than I spend building the LusabaraEssau.com brand.
Now in an ideal world, what you want to do is leverage personal brands to grow your corporate brand. For example, Beats by Dre leveraged strong personal brands like Lebron James and the Kardashians to grow in popularity.
It’s a smart model because this made it so the company isn’t reliant on one brand, such as Dr. Dre. A lot of companies, like Pepsi, Nike, and Coca-Cola do this.
Even B2B companies do this… who wouldn’t want a testimonial from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, or Elon Musk. It’s probably harder to get their endorsement as they don’t need the cash, but you can get micro influencers within the B2B space.
When you also build a strong corporate brand you’ll notice that it may indirectly help you build a strong personal brand. But that shouldn’t be your goal as your company won’t be worth as much if it is fully reliant on your brand.
So, are you going to build a personal brand or a corporate one?