A question that’s fast becoming popular is whether a start-up should use a company brand name or a personal brand name when starting a business.
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 less formal today with companies of all shapes and sizes competing on the same platforms ie. Social media.
Today it’s all about the person and the personal touch but as businesses we still want to be official and hence why the question is raised…
”Should you use a personal brand or company brand to market your business?”
Let’s figure it out together…
1. How big is your start-up?
A start-up business doesn’t necessarily mean a small business. Some start-ups I’ve worked with are sole traders with little capital to start with. Others have been Ltd companies with employees and hundreds of thousands of pounds in capital to start with.
The size, capital and assets you have as a start-up can help to decide whether you should use a personal brand as oppose to a company brand?
The deciding factor here is whether you are a person or a company? The question is….
2. Does your business revolve around you?
Many consultants and sole traders face this problem because the business revolves around them personally but yet to be taken seriously they operate as a company brand. However when it comes down to it the sale that they make is pretty much based on their expertise and services as a person not a company. In effect, it’s the personal brand that’s actually bought into and not the company brand.
If your business revolves around you then a personal brand may be the way to go but wait….
3. Will you utilise social media heavily
With so much focus on social media as a marketing tool it’s going to be very useful for you as a start-up to use it and social media is the one place where a personal brand can be promoted effectively as a business.
People buy into people and social media is pretty much the marketplace to sell yourself so if social media is going to be a big part of your marketing strategy then this is where a personal brand comes in handy.
Still undecided then…
4. Use design to focus your branding.
Some people see the use of being personal and social as a disadvantage to them as a business. They want to look and operate as a formal business because that’s what they have been used to but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Design can help manipulate your brand image whether it be a personal one or company one to achieve the right balance for you as a business. Whilst you may have a company brand, design can make it look much more personal and vice versa with a personal brand.
Utilise design to create the brand image for you.
5. Which one should you use?
The main reason to use a company brand would be if you are in fact a company but if you’re business does revolve around you and you primarily work alone then you will find that today 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 market.
6. But WAIT! Why not use both?
If you’re undecided then why not use both? I’ve found that whilst I operate under a company brand, my personal brand has grown alongside it and if not been the actual focus of my company brand. This has allowed me to develop two different channels to market my business. A formal offering under the company name and a personal offering under my own name. In any case they are pretty much the same thing but people perceive them and are attracted to them differently allowing me to broaden my sales channels.
A company brand and personal brand each have their own marketing benefits and ideally you want to match those benefits to your marketing strategy before deciding on whether you want a company brand or a personal brand.
My best advice though would be to do both.