Personal Brand vs Business Brand

The difference between business brand and personal brand

So, this is a common question I get asked about business brands versus personal brands. 

And the conversation comes up more for people who are in small business or freelancers or sole traders. Whether to invest in creating a brand around a business name and the business persona, or whether to invest in promoting yourself. 

Now, the schools of thought have changed over the years and certainly when I started my business in 2009, it felt that you needed a business name to be taken seriously. So the business had a name and the brand and the logo. 

Personally I didn’t have a website for the first few years, but I was told those were the things you needed to start. And so a lot of people did do that and spent time and effort and energy creating a brand. 

Well, the challenging thing is then how do you talk about yourself under that brand as the business owner? And how do you talk about the business is it is it we do this and we do that as “we” Lovelly Communications?

The speaking about the business as a “we” was probably more with a growth mindset of I am going to grow the business and I’m going to have more people in the business. Well then yes, of course, it would be a way and maybe you talk about yourself in third person, “Our director does x, y and z”.

However, the challenging part of it is that you can go one of two ways. You can either end up separating yourself and talking about yourself in third person so much that you’re not really able to identify yourself with the business. The other situation that happens often is that people infuse so much of themselves and get so entwined as a person with the business that the business almost ends up overtaking who they are. And they feel so intrinsically linked to the business that if they ever did want to sell it, close it or leave it, there’s a challenge in that separation. They’re  so involved and so tied to the business, personally, that that’s a lot of the brand equity in their name and persona and the brand strength lies with that person. That becomes a real risk. 

So let’s look at a case study of this and a way that I feel it’s been done really well. And that is Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin group.

Sir Richard Branson - The ultimate personal brand

So Richard Branson is certainly my #1 example when it comes to personal brand. If you ask most people to describe Richard Branson, they’re going to come up with the same few words. He is engaging, he is outgoing, he is an entertainer and his brands are fun. And that’s because Richard Branson himself is all of those things.

But you know, also Virgin, the company has taken on those elements without having Richard be there all the time and always be so involved. So, yes, he turns up on a plane every so often, or he goes up to the, you know, originally Virgin Records or Virgin Mobile and rocks up to do some PR. But he isn’t necessarily involved day to day and those brands run on their own. They run independently of him. 

He is still Richard Branson, and they have their own brand. He is the founder and they sit separately. So he infused Virgin with his personal brand without overshadowing it or overtaking it and needing to be so intrinsically linked to it. He can still be himself, he can still live his own life and pursue his own interests, including writing books and doing speaking engagements and things like that without the brand of Virgin being necessarily impacted. 

Back to the question! Personal or Business?

Building a brand is both a time and a monetary investment and you need to decide, where do you want to put your money? 

Where do you want to put that time? 

What do you want to invest in?

Ultimately, the thing that’s going to be continuing and everlasting in your life is your brand. It’s you! 

So working on that foundation, spending the time and the energy, the effort to get back to and reconnect to who you are, and to present your unique self, that’s going to help you to have better connections. And ultimately, when people are working with you, it’s because of you. 

It’s not because of flashy business names and a great branding color scheme. Yes that might attract them initially, but it’s you and the strengths and the skills that you bring that have grown your business and will continue to. 

So infusing your brand with those elements of yourself, pulling out what you want that brand to stand for, and building that up so that it can stand on its own. Pick the characteristics, the strengths that you possess and make those the branding guidelines of your business. Educate and encourage your staff to take that on, but you get to remain unique with your life experiences as well as those combinations of traits. They are independent of one another, yet aligned! 

Really, the time and energy investment is on you and making sure that your brand is strong, your brand is clear and your brand is consistent.. It’s ensuring that when you are engaging with people, they feel connected. They feel connected to you. They want to work with you. 

So, the long answer to a short question is, you do need to work on your personal brand. I feel that  is where the strength lies. And know that from doing this foundational personal development work on yourself, it will become clearer how to communicate your business brand. 

Personal Brand

Invest in yourself!

When was the last time you invested in yourself?

It’s something I’m really passionate about both in our personal and professional lives. And as someone who believes in walking the walk as well as talking the talk, investing in myself is something I’m consistently trying to do.

In October, I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, The Thoughtful Travel Podcast with Amanda Kendle, and the topic of Writing Retreats came up. This is something I’ve always thought sounded rather lovely but a bit luxurious and a maybe one-day thing. A “wouldn’t it be nice” kind of idea.

In this year of limited travel, it seemed even more luxurious and also slightly out of reach. So I joined the host in daydreaming and putting it on the “another day” list.

The following day I was in a Facebook group where the writing retreat topic came up again! And someone had posted they were actually hosting one.

The palm trees in the post instantly caught my eye and I clicked the link. I couldn’t believe it! This retreat was to be hosted in Mission Beach in Queensland ( the state where I live and where travel was open). It was happening the following month and with this crazy year I have been booking very little ahead so the dates actually worked for me. And to my greatest surprise, it didn’t have the exorbitant price tag that usually comes attached with anything titled “retreat”.

I was essentially in on the spot! I contacted the host, the lovely Kerstin Pilz from Write Your Journey, and said “how do I sign up?!”

It all felt so right! The timing, the tropical location, the writing element and most importantly, the space for me!

So little announcement: I’m actually currently 7.5 months pregnant. So life’s about to look quite a bit different. More on this soon – but in terms of the timing, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I saw this as a gift to myself. But more importantly, an investment in myself. Creating space and time to be creative. A chance to be alone with my brain and to just see where my ideas and thoughts took me.

It turned out to be the perfect getaway and the most wonderful five days of reconnecting with myself. Travel and writing are two of my greatest passions and to be able to indulge in these again really filled my cup.

I know that I need time to myself and time to switch off. It’s so important to find out what it is that will reconnect you to you. In our lives, we get so caught up with to-do lists, the daily grind and always pushing forward. It’s so easy to lose that connection to self along the way.

Even on my first day at the retreat, I felt more myself than I had felt for months (I had felt quite off-kilter – a result of the pregnancy and the topsy turvy year that has been 2020). Knowing what would bring me, as Kerstin says, “back home to myself” really helped to make this decision. Investing in myself was a no brainer.

I cam back refreshed, full of ideas, writing more than I have in months and thoroughly enjoying the creative process again!

So when was the last time you really felt like yourself?

Do you know how to “come home” to you?

Is it time to invest in yourself?

Talk to me! I love hearing from you and getting to know you better. So hit reply and let me know what’s happening in your world.

Personal Brand

Are you in control of your story?

So often I hear people say “I don’t like talking about myself” or “I don’t want to put myself out there too much” or “no one’s looking at what I do”. But I’m here to tell you they are.

We all have a brand. However, if we’re not sharing our story and putting out our own message, then we’re not in control of it.

People will create an image of you in their mind and that may not be aligned with who you really are.

You have the power to own your story and present the person that you want people to know you as. To show the person you truly are.

When we reconnect with our authentic selves we have better connections in work and life.

Are you in control of your story?