Personal Brand vs. Business Brand: Which Comes First?

As a business owner, it can be challenging to determine an approach when working on a brand strategy. I am often asked which should be addressed first: the company brand or the personal brand. Or worse… people will only want to address the business brand and allow the personal brand to blow in the wind.

Let’s first address the differences and similarities of a personal brand and a business brand. They definitely have some similarities, but they are also quite different. Here are some key differences between the two:

  1. Focus: A personal brand is built around an individual’s personality, skills, and expertise, whereas a business brand is focused on the products, services, and values of a company.
  2. Ownership: A personal brand is owned by the individual, while a business brand is owned by the company.
  3. Longevity: A personal brand can last a lifetime, whereas a business brand can evolve or change over time as the company’s products, services, or values change.
  4. Scope: A personal brand is typically narrower in scope, focusing on a specific niche or area of expertise, while a business brand can be broader, encompassing a range of products or services.
  5. Audience: A personal brand is often targeted at individuals, while a business brand is aimed at a broader audience that includes customers, investors, and other stakeholders.
  6. Marketing: A personal brand is often marketed through social media, personal websites, and other personal channels, while a business brand is marketed through advertising, public relations, and other traditional marketing channels.
  7. Branding Elements: Personal branding typically uses the name of the individual as a central branding element, while business branding incorporates logos, taglines, and other visual and verbal elements.

A personal brand is built around an individual’s personality, skills, and expertise, while a business brand is focused on the products, services, and values of a company. Both types of brands can be valuable and powerful, but they serve different purposes and require different strategies for building and maintaining them.

Both should have specific strategies, however for most industries and companies, it is critical that a personal brand should be developed and focused on first. People tend to follow and emotionally invest in the stories of personal brands. This does not mean we don’t also tell the brand stories of a company.

However, if your company works closely with individuals and there is an element of trust and credibility, a personal brand should be addressed first.

Please contact me if you have any questions about personal branding. I would love to help you connect the dots!

Working From Home, but Always On: Personal Branding Tips for Video Conference Meetings

Below are a few tips to remember before jumping on a video call with your team or a client.

1.)   Look Behind You. When setting up your work space, look at what your viewers will see behind you. We are human; therefore, we will be distracted. Does your background represent what you would want your clients and colleagues to remember about you? Take a moment to create an atmosphere that serves your professional brand and values, or choose a simple, clean wall background. The some video conferencing platforms will allow users to choose a background. Choose wisely. The bottom line is that you do not want your background or surroundings to be so distracting that people are not able to pay attention to the value you are offering during the call.

With our current crisis, many of us are faced with new work from home (“wfh”) strategies and routines. Video conferencing has been an essential component to working effectively. However, are we putting our best foot forward when jumping on a call with colleagues and clients? With so many team meetings and work being done via video conference, it is still important to be professional and consider your personal brand.

2.)   Professional Grooming. Although most people are more relaxed right now, we should be careful not to be too relaxed. We are not on vacation, we are still working. When you show up for work on a video call, be sure you still are well groomed and casually professional. A disheveled team member and can result in less trust and credibility from a client or colleague.

3.)   Know Your Angles. Understanding the best camera placement is important. The wrong placement can be awkward, and again distracting. I was recently on a video call and one of the participants had the camera very low on the ground, with the camera facing up… sigh. Try to place the camera as close to eye-level or shoulder-level as possible. 

4.)   Let Your Light Shine. Lighting is important on video calls. You want viewers to see you and not a dark shadow. Make sure the majority of the light is behind the camera or side light for the best lighting. Natural light is always best. Also, take a moment to clean your camera to ensure there is not dust or a fog on the camera.

5.)   Hit that Mute Button. As soon as you enter the video conference, be sure you are familiar with where the mute button is located and able to use it. When you are not speaking, as a courtesy, stay on mute. There are noises around you that you are likely not aware is happening. Microphones will pick up typing, movement, sirens, etc. In addition, when it is time for you to contribute to the call, you want to be able to do this seamlessly.

6.)   Eat and Drink Later. Just as we would not likely come to a client meeting with a large Big Gulp fountain drink or eat a full course dinner during a meeting, be discreet with eating and drinking on video calls. It can be distracting to see someone turning up a bottle or struggling to keep lettuce from dropping on his or her lap.

7.)   Join the Party. If the majority of the team is joining via video, try your best to also join via video. Try to avoid being the team member that decided to not turn on video and only join via audio. Engaging and showing a friendly face is important during these times when people are craving connection. 

These are just a few fun and practical tips to remember when jumping on a video call and remaining professional during this time of working from home. 

Let me know if any of these tips were helpful to you.