Should you create a Company Brand or a Personal Brand?

If you’re starting a business then you may be wondering whether to create a company brand or a personal brand?

Ten, maybe twenty years ago it was the company brand name that we were all familiar with but today we don’t do business in the same way.

Business or at least marketing is now less formal with companies of all shapes and sizes competing on the same platforms, and today it’s not all about the spiel or selling the prestige of a big company, it’s all about the person and the personal touch.

But as a prospective business, we still want to be official and taken seriously, hence why the question is raised…

”Should I create a company brand or personal brand to market my business?”

Let’s figure it out together…

1. How big is your start-up business?

Some start-ups I’ve worked with are sole traders with little capital to start with.

Others have been a company of people with employees and millions of pounds in capital to start with.

Both are capable start-up businesses but where they differ is in their resources ie. investors, partners, employees and assets.

A company is defined as “an association of persons, created to undertake business activities, having a separate legal existence, perpetual succession and a common seal.

Therefore employees, partners, investors and assets make up a company and that’s when you might want to create a company brand instead of a personal brand but those factors alone should not be the deciding factor in how you brand your business.

A company brand is optimal when there’s a collective of people providing a service/product within one organisation but the question is….

2. Does your brand revolve around you?

Many consultants and sole traders run a business that revolves around them personally but to be taken seriously they operate as a company brand to give an impression that the business has more resources and personnel than it actually has.

However, when it comes down to it the sale that they make is pretty much based on their own expertise and services as a person and not a company.

It’s the personal brand that’s actually bought into and not the company brand.

Personal brands work splendidly to make sales or secure contracts because it’s seen as a more open and honest approach to selling. It reflects the idea of “what it says on the tin” and it’s easier to judge whereas a company brand can be a little more ambiguous.

On th flipside, a personal brand can make a sale to an individual, a small company or a large company but where it can struggle is when it comes to securing a large contract. ie. Where the value of a contract is higher, the workload is bigger and the responsibility greater.

Larger organisations look for resources when contracting larger projects.

They want to know specifically whether your brand has the skills and personnel as a “company of people” to carry out a job inline with the contract.

This may suggest that you need a company brand that makes your business look legitimately bigger to win the contract but it’s worth noting that in this instance, a brand name is just a brand name.

It’s highly unlikely that an organsiation offering a large contract will dismiss your business proposal based on your brand name whether it be a company brand or personal brand. (Unless it’s a profane or obscene brand name).

A large organisation will dismiss your proposal based on your companies resources, or lack of.

This solidifies the point that there is no disadvantage to using a personal brand name or a company brand name when trying to secure a large contract.

A large contract will only be won on skill, resources and price in accordance to the project and not on the perception of your brand name.

Many personal brands are built or based on one person but evolve into a company/team of people to deliver services and that’s ultimately what a supplier of a large contract will want to know; can you deliver on the project and do you have the resources to do so? (regardless of your brand name)

So, should you use a company brand name or a personal brand name?

Regardless of size, employees, bankroll or investors, if your business revolves around you then a personal brand may be the best way to honestly market your business.

A personal brand creates a unique brand identity, allowing you to position your business honestly and appropriately in the marketplace with the flexibility to target a wider audience.

A personal brand won’t stun your growth or sales, it will likely improve it.

But before you decide, it’s worth considering the…

4. Use design to focus your branding.

Design can help manipulate your brand image whether it be a personal brand or company brand to achieve the right balance for you as a business.

If you want a company brand for a specific reason but need the sales approach of a personal brand then design can help your communication to look more personal and if you create a personal brand, design communication can make it look much more professional.

Whatever type of brand you decide to create, utilise design to get the best of both worlds but the question still remains..

5. What type of brand should you create?

The main reason to use a company brand would be if you are in fact a company but if your business does revolve around you and you primarily work alone then you will find that a personal brand may be the best option if you’re starting up.

If used properly, it will give you a leverage in today’s marketplace and quite possibly a better chance to grow as a business into a company.

On the flipside, if your start-up business is a company of people theres still no harm in using a personal brand or personal brand of sorts to brand your business.

If you’re still unsure of which type of brand to create then…

6. Why not merge the two together?

To create a good brand and brand strategy you need three things:

  • Honesty
  • Evidence
  • Creativity

Honest Branding

As we’ve discussed in point 2, looking like a big brand won’t actually help you to secure larger contracts, it’s your available resources, skills and personnel that will do that for you so be honest when deciding what sort of brand you want to create.

Is your business a start-up with resources, employees and assets?

Or are you a one man band?

If the latter then seriously think about being honest and creating a personal brand. If you’re a company of people then continue to consider both options; a company brand and personal brand.

A brand needs a level of honesty in order to communicate the right message and fulfil it’s promise so don’t lie, be honest and create your brand accordingly.

Evidence based branding

Branding is all about:

  • Communication
  • Customers
  • Commerce

If you can’t decide what type of brand to create then use data, logic and evidence to decide for you by creating a brand strategy.

A brand strategy will explore your options and define who your customer are and how you’ll communicate with them to make sales.

As a result, you’ll get a solid answer based on evidence as to what type of brand you should create.

Creative branding

As well as being evidence based, branding is a creative discipline. Creative disciplines have guides and best practice but no rules so you can get creative to make a solution that works for you.

For example you can merge the idea of a company brand with a personal brand by using a personal brand name with an emphasis on simplicity.

Eg.

A Company Brand name – Alliance Business Consultancy

A Personal Brand Name – Derek Jones – Business Consultant

Merging the two brand types – D.JONES – Business Consultancy

By merging the two we’ve streamlined the name to create a formal twist, and used the strapline to symbolise a group of people as opposed to a single person.

The whole thing becomes a little less personal and more ambiguos without loosing each element altogether.

Conclusion

So, which type of brand should you create?

A company brand?

Or a business brand?

Be honest, do the research and find evidence.

And then get creative!

Or let me do decide for you?



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