Should I brand myself or my business?
If I had a nickel every time I answered this question…
The short answer is both.
The better questions is: what should I brand first—my business or myself?
This requires us to dig a bit deeper into your brand strategy and figure out what makes sense for your audience.
Every brand (be it a personal or a business brand) needs to have a clear roadmap of the future. You must know where the brand desires to go, and how it is going to achieve it. This starts with a brand strategy template.
From there, we must understand the major differences between building a personal brand and a business brand.
The difference between a personal brand and a business brand.
Business brands and personal brands both need to have a mission, vision and core values. They both need to serve an audience, and listen to the desires of said audience.
The fundamental difference between a personal and a business brand is the answer to this question…
Does the customer fall in love with a person, or an idea?
Instantly, you will either love him or hate him.
It doesn’t matter if he is talking about wine, social media, building a business, or the New York Jets. You decide if you like Garyvee first, and then if you like the ideas he represents.
Statistically you have about 3 seconds to make a first impression. In 3 seconds you will either love or hate the Garyvee brand. That is the power of a personal brand! You use the natural tendencies of snap judgements to your advantage.
The message is loud and clear, and we as humans decide if we like the person saying the message.
Conversely if you like the ideas he talks about but not the delivery you won’t join the tribe. You won’t buy the products, and Gary won’t waste his energy trying to sell to you.
This becomes a win-win. Gary only tries to talk to the people who listen to him.
Now don’t google the next part…
Do you know who Blake Mycoskie is.
I bet not. But I can guarantee you know his company.
I will give you a hint… you buy a pair of shoes and they give another pair to a child in need.
Yep, Blake is the CEO of Tom’s Shoes. Tom’s shoes is a brand because they reflect an idea: that every child in the world deserves proper footwear.
Blake is a smart leader in a world full of dumb ones. He had a vision that was extremely tangible. Not in the sense that you could touch it, but in your mind’s eye you can see the problem and the solution.
Blake wanted to make a movement bigger than himself, because he couldn’t take on this herculean task alone.
He had to rally the world behind an IDEA.
Thus, Tom’s Shoes was born. Blake didn’t need to be the spotlight, his idea, the movement, the cause became the spotlight.
Before you start trying to brand yourself or your company ask yourself: what will the customer fall in love with first? Me? The idea that I am here to represent, or both?
How to build a personal brand and business brand.
Building a personal brand is easier than building a business brand. It is easier to get known for something then building a huge business, after all.
This is because people buy from other people. It is easier to connect with someone and say “hey they are just like me” than it is to say “hey I like what this company represents.”
Building a personal brand takes a simple three step process.
Ok, nothing in life is simple but the concepts are.
Step 1: Say Something Counterculture
A personal brand is built when you take a stand against the status quo. You as a person still have to represent something unique.
Jamie Oliver believes food should be healthy in our schools.
Gary Vaynerchuk insults the snobbiness in the wine world.
You are not a brand until you are leading a cause.
Figuring out what cause to lead is half the battle.
If you don’t know what to lead or represent, I would suggest going through our branding blueprint course. This is designed to help people discover their cause, and their brand. It’s for those people who know they are meant for something bigger but don’t know what that is just yet, or they’re refocusing and rebranding.
Step 2: Become a TV Personality
A TV personality doesn’t mean you have to get on TV but if you can that definitely helps. It means that you have to find a medium to be your platform and start talking. The platform can be TV, Podcasts, Periscope, Blogging, etc.
The goal here is to start rallying people around you and your idea.
You must educate people about the topic and talk about how to fix it. If you want to figure out more on how to do this, pick up and read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book: Crush It!
Basically, your brand has to become a media company around the niche you are in.
Step 3: Make Results Happen
Words are wind—for all you game of thrones fans.
Actions speak louder than words.
If you want to build a personal brand you must create results. Don’t just say “this is wrong” and sit on your butt and do nothing. Take action, and make something happen.
The best time to do this is when nobody’s watching—when you have no brand, and nothing to leverage. Then when you make results happen people will start paying attention.
That’s when you earned that attention.
The concepts to build a personal brand are simple, the execution of these concepts is what really matters.
Building a Business Brand isn’t that different.
First you must follow your brand’s strategy. Without a strategy, you’ll wander like Alice and the Caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland.”
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Download your free brand strategy template here.
From there it is a matter of building a business. Honestly, there isn’t one “right way” to do it. The only thing that is consistent to all successful businesses is that they take a tremendous amount of work.
The benefits though are tremendous. You can create a movement and make massive change as a business. You can harness the power of your community or tribe to create a global shift and change people’s lives.
You must turn your business into an idea or movement,
and then become the spokesperson for that idea.
Take for example, Scott Harrison of Charity Water.
Scott Harrison branded Charity Water to represent an idea, and then became the biggest spokesperson for that idea. He empowered others to take up the cause. Watch this video to see exactly what I am talking about.
In becoming the spokesperson he not only branded the business, but he built his own personal brand. It is the perfect synergy of a personal brand and a business brand.
Branding both yourself and your business is the ideal scenario.
Branding yourself allows you to build relationships faster, and give you flexibility to pivot as you grow and adopt. It gives you the speed to create a community quicker to leverage.
Branding a business gives you the power of a business, a huge radical differentiation and the ability to step away from the cause and pass the torch so to speak.