How to brand yourself is a question vital to any business. Branding drives marketing, product development and everything customer-facing. As a small business, branding takes on more personal meaning — should you brand your business as your name (personal brand) or as a business name? It’s a big decision since it really can affect the future growth of your company. But it’s also not a clear cut decision since there are advantages and disadvantages either way.
Personal Brand – Pros
A personal brand — your name — probably already has some reputation and expertise associated with it since you’ve been using it to represent yourself throughout your professional life. When you start using your name for your business, it may be easier for people to recognize you. Because your name is already used all the time, it’s much easier to continue to build a brand both offline and on since you’re not starting from scratch.
If you have a business that really revolves around what you do — especially for authors, speakers, etc. — your name is really important to why people purchase from you. This may be a really good case for a personal brand.
Personal Brand – Cons
With whatever reputation you’ve built with your name also comes a lot of baggage. You may have experience which isn’t really relative to your current company or perhaps your name is associated with non-business content online that you don’t want to associate with your company. Remember, everything you do with your name online (whether business or personal) is pretty much on your permanent record.
Business Brand – Pros
A business brand allows you to create a reputation basically from scratch (which is also a con). It can also help you separate your professional and personal lives and is more easily extendable to employees. A business brand can also be very specific to a niche which means you can have multiple brands tied to certain niches or products.
Business Brand – Cons
The major con to a business brand is building it from scratch (which is also a pro). Maintaining consistent branding when others (employees) are involved can also be a challenge as is maintaining multiple brands, whether personal or business.
What makes sense for you and your business really depends on what you’re comfortable with, how you envision growing and what niche and type of business you’re building.
How do you brand your business? What advantages and disadvantages do you think that has?
What other pros and cons are there for a personal brand vs. a business brand?
(photo by aussiegal)