Personal Brand vs. Company Brand

Identify Some Key Differences Between Personal Brands and Company Brands

Branding is often so difficult for business owners as they struggle to identify themselves and set themselves apart from their competition. With many individuals looking at others for inspiration, creativity is often so limited these days.

One of the main challenges when it comes to branding is knowing how to market and brand differently when working with a personal brand and working with a company brand that sells a particular product or service. Regardless of your type of brand, you must focus on three key concepts: perception, culture, and structure.

Perception

Remember that every interaction you have with your customers is part of building your brand. Therefore, perception is very important to review and consider. You must also understand that perception is going to be different for every individual, as each of us brings forth our own experiences.

Our personal brand must remain disconnected from the market, but must also be congruent with who we are. In other words, when it comes to developing your perception as a personal brand, you must look within and decide what it is you value and wish to bring to the table. Identify those strengths you have and build with these insights in mind. Do not make the mistake of looking externally and making an effort to review perception from this angle instead.

On the other hand, when looking at perception from the angle of a business selling a product or service, you want to do exactly the opposite. You must look externally to determine and create your perception. You have to analyze your audience, identify what they like, and understand what they do. Then, using this information, you will need to generate your brand’s perception.

Culture

Internal culture can have a massive impact on your audience and clients. Therefore, it’s key that you line up your culture with the expectations of the marketplace. When developing your personal brand, you want to ensure you resonate with your audience and promote a positive culture. However, as with perception, you want to be sure this culture is true to what you value and represent as well.

When it comes to a traditional business selling a product or service, you must ensure that the team you hire promotes the overall culture and goals your organization aims to represent. Just because you have a high-performance team, this doesn’t mean your team has the values and culture you wish to present to the marketplace. By hiring the “wrong” people, many companies have witnessed damaging effects that have ruined their company’s reputation.

Structure

Your business, no matter the style or type, must be structured and balanced. Sometimes we’re too business-oriented and sometimes we’re too creative. Falling in one direction too far can be destructive to our business.

As a personal brand, we have to find a good balance between our creative nature and our professionalism. In considering the creative element, you have to analyze how your brand works and how it’s perceived within the market. You also have to understand how to design your system down to the granular details such as color scheme and visuals. This tends to be a very vulnerable experience when creating a personal brand, as everything we stand for and represent is out in the market for everyone to see.

From the perspective of a business selling products or services, this experience is different, as the representation of the brand is not of a single being but an entire entity. Regardless, the goal and intent remain the same. A plan must be in place to make sure creative elements are established and that they are continuously oriented towards a single, well-understood business goal. Processes, systems, and structures must be in place to maintain insightful creativity.

Final Thoughts

Balance is key in every aspect of your business. You need to ensure that no matter what you do, you don’t do it well and with great intentions. Whether you’re working on your personal brand or developing one for your company, there are similar things you must keep in mind.

Throughout the process, remember to stay true to your goals and values. Never compromise for the sake of everyone else.

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Educator + Entrepreneur who lives for the “aha!” moment. Co-Founder @theberkeleyinnovationgroup, @healthcarebydesign. Lecturer of Design Thinking @BerkeleyHaas.