You most likely belong to either one of these categories:
- You want your face and identity to be associated with your brand (or at least are comfortable with it).
- You don't want to be associated with your brand and prefer to remain behind the scenes.
I belong to the 2nd category. I'm the type that sets every social media profile to 'private', and naturally that extends to how I behave in my own brand.
It's important that you decide how you want to present your brand in the first few years. If you belong in the first category, then personal branding might be the route for you. If you're in the second category like me, it's likely that you will go for business branding. In fact, that's what I'm using for Narrativity & Co.
No type of branding is better than the other. Both has its own pros and cons. The branding you choose is entirely up to you, your circumstances, and personal preferences.
As for the work involved, all principles on branding that we've discussed so far apply to both types. Branding is still branding, regardless of the face of the brand.
Today we'll just look briefly at both types as well as their pros and cons.
Nowadays, you don't need to be featured in talk shows or magazines to have a large audience. Personal branding is possible for ANYONE, as long as they're committed to creating that personal brand.
Basically, personal branding requires you to consistently share details of your life. Everything you do online (where people can see) becomes part of your personal branding.
You can spot personal brands by looking at the brand name (example: 'Lisa Smith') and the pronoun that the brand uses ('I').
It's also crucial that you're comfortable in front of the camera. With personal branding, you need to be out there, showing yourself and your personality for people to really connect with you.
Pros of personal branding:
- Once you have a large, loyal audience, your products will almost always sell well because they're crazy about you (and you've gained their trust).
- Personal branding has a quicker start compared to business branding because people instinctively connect to other people better. People are more relatable.
- The work involved to keep up the branding fits more naturally in your day because it's about you.
Cons of personal branding:
- Any attacks from people who don't like your brand will be personal and malicious.
- You can only start selling products based on personal branding after you have a substantial audience. Your name needs to mean something to people first.
- The pressure to keep up appearances or be 'perfect' online can be overwhelming.
This type of branding requires you to establish a whole separate entity, complete with a new look and personality. You transact using the name of the business, rather than your own. And you're using the pronoun 'we'.
Because no person is associated with the brand, you'll be relying on the visual identity of the brand, e.g. logo and illustrations, more heavily to get noticed.
Pros of business branding:
- You'll be able to start selling products earlier (than personal branding) because it's expected for businesses to have products.
- It's easier to scale the business because you can delegate tasks to employees. They can be the representatives of your brand.
- When something goes wrong, people will be less inclined to blame you personally.
Cons of personal branding:
- You have to work double-time to gain the customers' trust because it's harder for them to trust a 'faceless' personality.
- The work involved requires more intention and planning compared to personal branding.
- How well your product sells depends on how accurate your market research is, unlike personal branding which has its own market it could tap into.
Whatever type you choose to start with, you will never be restricted to it for life. A lot of people begin with personal branding first, but the business brands they build end up being equally as good a few years down the road.
Other people begin with business branding, but become well-known personally afterwards after the media starts talking about them.
The purpose of choosing the type of branding in the first place is to consolidate your resources into one single, streamlined brand, so that you can execute it very well.
And you could also take steps to minimize or neutralize the cons for personal and business branding, no matter which one you choose.
Like what you read?
Get newsletters like this from me in your inbox every Friday. We'll talk about personal branding, passion and more. Here's what a subscriber has to say!
"I've subscribed to your email newsletter for a few months already. I enjoy reading it a lot. Keep up the good work!" - @ninaark