Personal VS. Corporate Brand: Which is the better choice?

Personal brand vs. corporate brand

One of the big questions anyone in business tussles with is this: Should my brand be personal – about me – or should it be about my company?

What is a brand? It includes the look and feel of your company’s image, as portrayed through your website, social media and more. And it’s more than just what your company offers. It’s what your clients can expect from you and how that sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand is “derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be,” said John Williams, president and founder of LogoYes.com, in an article in Entrepreneur.com.

It’s about why you matter – as a person and as a company – your vision, purpose and mission. How you choose to portray that depends on a number of factors. Here are some points to ponder.

When to choose a personal brand for your business

One of the key advantages to having a personal brand is that people come to associate you with your business. People do business with people they know, like and trust, and it’s much easier to accomplish all three when the brand is associated with the face of a real person. That means your name is your business name, or is part of it, and your image is used in all aspects of your business – website, social media profiles and so on.

You may want to choose a personal brand if: 

  • You are the only person in your company. You do a lot of in-person networking and people know you as an individual first.
  • Your goods and services are strongly connected to who you are as a person – say, an artist, a designer or writer.
  • You offer highly personal (and personalized) services. A personal brand would be good for a hair stylist, life coach, body worker or personal trainer, for example.

When to choose a company brand for your business

Corporate-type brands work very well for some businesses (think Coca-Cola, Apple and Google) and it could work for yours, too. Here are some points to consider when choosing a company brand.

  • There is no one person associated with the business. Maybe it’s family-owned and –operated, has a hired CEO or is governed by a Board of Directors. All these conditions could make it difficult to choose one “face” of the company.
  • One of your major goals up front is to build the business to the point where you can sell it and make a tidy profit. 
  • You have many different types of dissimilar businesses. One mines iron ore, for example, another manufactures candy and a third is a pet motel.

Either type – personal or company brand – can and should be used to build awareness of your business, and to build the relationships that are so important to its success.  Whichever one suits your purposes the best, your goal is to achieve the same things:

  • Create a great reputation within your industry and your customer base.
  • Be authentic in everything you do and say.
  • Establish and maintain your perceived value.
  • Be consistent.

There are two parts to being consistent. Outwardly, it’s what your customers and prospects see. It’s how your website looks, the colors you use, the images you choose, what you release through your social media channels and other communications, the way you operate your business and deal with your customers and employees, and more.

But what your customers and prospects see as your brand is the reflection of your internal consistency — the dream, vision, purpose and mission of your company…what you had in mind when you first created your company. This is the heart of everything you do, even as you adjust and correct, reinvent or recreate your business. 

Always keep in mind: What is the greater good you wish to accomplish? What gift do you bring to the world?

Now that you’ve seen some of the basic distinctions between a personal and corporate brand, what type of brand do you think is best for your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

25 Comments

  1. I definitely think that personal is best for me. My business is mainly me and my husband assists so for us it would be important to show the personal side. I don't think a logo would work well for me, especially as a virtual assistant. I think my clients would like to see who they are working with. This is a great post that really shows the difference between the two.

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    • Thanks Heather. 

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  2. I'm using more a personal brand for my business. I need to connect more on a personal level for the type of services that I offer.  Great article Edmund! thanks for sharing! 🙂

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    • You’re welcome Patricia.

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  3. Great post – I still would like to see some examples of a personal "brand". Does that mean a photo, a cartoon, a hairstyle?  I'm not clear on what you mean with personal – I totally get the company branding… a concept that offers a miriad of products and services and not necessarily connected to a single individual, but a team. personal, not so much! great job Edmund! P

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    • Patricia, personal would be more where when somebody visits the website, social media channels, or looks at marketing material, the focus is placed on the individual and the relationship with that individual. So when somebody thinks of the brand, they think of the person (ex: face) vs. a corporate entity or another name tied to the business.

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  4. Great post Edmund. Thank you for shedding some light on this issue. I can see where both approaches can work for our business but I think corporate branding is the way to go for us!

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    • You’re welcome. I’m happy to know that corporate branding is working perfectly fine for your business. 

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  5. Personal is good for me. It's mailnly me here with my wife helping behind the scenes so to speak, Great read

     

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    • Glad it’s working for you. You and your wife are doing an amazing job! 

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  6. I am usig a personal brand for my business and It makes sense that people know who they are dealing with. Probably one disadvantage would be if one wants to sell the business. but as my business is coaching I probably don't have to worry about it, because I love coaching and I can do it for years to come. Great article Edmund, thank you.

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    • Love your thoughts Marita. And thanks as well. 

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  7. I think you can combine the personal and the corporate approach in your brand, as you have done, Edmund. To me, personal branding is about the person's image (face) as the company's "logo." I think Patricia makes a good point as to what that would look like. I think it depends on the type of business you have and the "feel" you want your business to have. In some cases, a cartoon image would work and in others, a more formal portrait. Just my 2 cents…I could be wrong! 

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    • Your 2 cents make perfect sense, Jackie. 😉

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  8. Great post, Edmund! I was back and forth on this and have actually tried both. I have found that I am getting much more engagement and interaction with my personal brand. I've tried using a variation of my logo (just the M) vs. my picture and have found that hands-down my picture is what drives engagement. Thanks!

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    • Oh, your picture must be your lucky charm! But kidding aside, I think you get more engagement when you use personal branding because your followers feel that they’re talking and dealing with a real person. There’s magic when we put that ‘personal touch’ in our businesses. Agree? 😉

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  9. Unlike many here. I have initially branded myself with my business name! However, I have "added" my personal name to it whenever I can. Now has the corporate business name worked for me? On my other business it did, on my current one….probably. I need to do a lot more networking to tell. Personally, I believe the name is valuable because it lets others meet the REAL person first! That counts! It takes a thorough education with the client to convince them to use their name when they can or should. Your points listed above were very right on!

     

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    • Thanks! And I agree that ‘name’ is really important whatever your business is.

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  10. Great article Edmund! I am about to start rebranding. My brand will be personal. As an author/speaker my message is what I am offering people, so this fits. Thanks for the great points you made in this article. 

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    • You’re welcome! I’m praying for the success of your rebranding and your business in general. 🙂

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  11. I love it. You always produce the best information!

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    • Thanks for the compliment. I really appreciate it. =)

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  12. I chose to use a company brand. Maybe when I am better known I'll switch. I do own the url of my name.

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  13. Hi Edmund,

    …This was such a great post. I think at this point I have decided that I am a personal brand.  I don't think at this point I see the need to go for company brand in my situation.  This is an excellent post and thank you for explaining the differences.

     

     

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    • You’re welcome! 

      Btw, if personal branding works for you then, that’s fine! 😉 

      Reply

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