Understanding Business Branding – Part 3

Branding Self or Business – Which?

While the term ‘business branding’ has been around for a long time, the use of the term ‘personal branding’ is much more recent and is being increasingly touted. So, it’s only fitting that we explore the questions:

  • What is personal branding?
  • How does it differ from business branding?
  • Is personal branding for business owners?


What is Personal Branding?

Robyn Unwin offers the following definition on personal branding:

Personal branding is the art of creating a dynamic, consistent and memorable relationship with your target audience. Your ‘target audience’ can be anyone from an employer, client or customer to a romantic partner or social group. The end goal is to present yourself clearly and authentically so you attract the opportunities you want and get to where you want to go.


Long before the term ‘personal branding’ was coined, the concept clearly existed. Consider the following image that depicts some individuals throughout history that knowingly or unknowingly developed their personal brands.

Some historic personal brands | iBeFound


The Need for Personal Branding

Yet, it seems that today there is a NEED for personal branding. Why might this be? Well, here’s what William Arruda, the Personal Branding Guru, has to say on this matter…


Arruda explains that this present-day need for personal branding is related to the shift (evolution) that has taken place in the world of work. It is now much more commonplace for a person to move from job to job, company to company than it was in days gone by.


In addition, the pre-screening background checks of potential employees oftentimes includes a look at their web presence in social networks such as Facebook. Hence the need to purposefully focus on presently yourself in the way you wish to be known by others.


Now, it’s easy enough to see why non-business owning individuals would need and benefit from personal branding. But for business owners, isn’t it enough to simply focus on branding your business?


Personal Branding vs. Business Branding

For business owners in years gone by, personal branding and business branding were somewhat intertwined. Companies and products were named after their creators/founders. It was easy to identify the person behind the brand.

Some Brands Named After their Founders


Today, few companies, businesses, and products bare the name of their creative mastermind. So, personal branding and business branding are not as intertwined as they once were.


In discussing the difference between personal branding and business branding, this is what brand strategist Lisa Haggis had to say:

Personal branding, in both cases above, is all about creating what I call “a life that fits”. Making money in a way that suits you, capitalizing on your strengths, and staying true to yourself in career and life. It’s all about you, and that means that you [write] the rules.


But business branding needs to be a bit more detached — the desired outcome is to grow the business and deliver something specific into the world. It requires you to really think about what’s best for the business, while staying in alignment to what matters to you as an individual.


It is as much (maybe more!) about your customers and the lifestyle that you are creating for them as it is about you, and it takes strategic consideration of what’s already being offered in your industry.


Is Personal Branding for Business Owners?

Simply put, your personal brand is the foundation on which your business brand is built. Just as it is possible to build a wide variety of structures starting with the same foundation, so too it is possible for you to own multiple business brands or one business brand with multiple extensions.

The Many Faces of the Virgin Brand
As discussed in the previous article in this series, one of the seven elements of branding is the brand promise. If your business is to be successful, your business brand promise must align with your core values as an individual. Heed Lisa’s admonition…

Don’t center your brand promise on a talent you lack.

Don’t build a value proposition around something you hate doing, and

don’t try to draw customers in with a personality that isn’t natural or sustainable for you as an individual.


It’s important to remember that…

People Do Business with Those they Know, Like and Trust


So, ask yourself…

  • Does my target audience KNOW me and/or my business?
  • Do they LIKE me and/or what I have to offer?
  • Do they TRUST me and/or my business promises?


If you answer NO to any of the questions, then personal branding may be just what you need to propel your business brand forward and upward.


In the next article in this series on understanding business branding, we will focus on HOW to brand yourself and your business.


In the Meantime…

Check out our “Why and How of Business Branding” board on Pinterest for some more insights.

Follow iBeFound International Ltd’s board Who and What of Business Branding… on Pinterest.


Time for YOUR input

  • What are the names of the people in the Historic Personal Brands image above?
  • What other reasons do you think contribute to the emphasis on personal branding?
  • Business Owners: Have you considered building your personal brand?

Part 4 ➠

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