Personal Branding VS. Business Branding — What's Right for You?
Updated: Sep 19
Let's say you have a business...
You have a special skillset, and you're looking to help people with it. Now you're at that point where you need to tell people about what you do, and you're not sure what's the best way to go about introducing your business 🤔
No matter what you try on, nothing seems to feel quite right:
Having a business name feels weird because you're the only one running and operating your business (i.e. the mighty team of ONE)
But it feels "unprofessional" and "boring" to just use your own name (like I did when I started freelancing under "Rachel Lee Design") 🙈
While there's no right or wrong answer, there are a few things for you to consider if you find yourself teetering between a business brand or a personal brand.
Business brands are typically built for scale.
Even though you might currently be the one doing the day-to-day operations of your business, a business brand is probably right for you if you don't plan to keep it that way for long.
Business brands typically act as an "umbrella" that a team works under. When people think about the brand, they think about the business rather than the individuals who run it.
This often means that the main selling point of business brands are the uniqueness of their products / services, such as Apple, Microsoft, Nike or Coca Cola, and the essence of the brand remains unchanged even if the company hires another CEO.
Business brands also have a more "rigid" identity, and have less flexibility than personal brands when it comes to change. They're more stable in nature, and don't fluctuate as much as personal brands do.
(Example: We can always depend on Coca Cola to sell sugary drinks, but we can't always depend on people to maintain the same tastes, interests or style) 🤷♀️
So if you're building your business with the intention of stepping away from it one day... then building a business brand is right for you!
On the other hand...
Personal brands are typically built for intimacy.
If you have a personal brand, people want to work with you because YOU are the main highlight of their experience. Your business is an extension of your identity, and is shaped by the lens through which you see the world.
Personal brands often work best for influencers, creatives, coaches & consultants since everyone offers the same range of services, and the main selling point is heavily dependant on your "style" or "approach" to your work.
Here are a few examples:
Graphic designer specialized in an intricate, tribal style of design
Life coach with a focus on healing through connection with nature
DJ & Music producer with a unique ambient "aura-like" sound
Financial advisor specialized in helping young families with financial planning
Business consultant for tech startups and has a background in IT
A personal brand grows and flows together with you, and is meant to feel synonymous with your identity as a person — just positioned in a more outward-facing fashion so that it's easy for people to understand what you do at a glance.
Examples of people with personal brands are GaryVee, Lebron James and Oprah Winfrey. While people do care about what they "do" as professionals, they're often more interested in who these people are — their story, quirks and overall vibe.
If YOU happen to be the main highlight of your customers' experience, chances are that a personal brand is right for you!
And funny thing is...
It's actually possible to have both!
If you're just starting out, I would highly recommend focusing on building up one or the other, but as you branch out, it's totally possible to have both a personal brand AND a business brand!
Kinda like how Elon Musk (i.e. personal brand) founded Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal, and more (i.e. business brands)!
If you're not sure which one to start with...
I can help with that! I know how tough it can be to figure out how you want to present yourself, so I'd be happy to give you an outside opinion if you're feeling stuck. If you follow me on Instagram (@racheltylee), shoot me a DM! Or... if you prefer something face-to-face, you can book yourself a FREE 60-minute brand consultation call with me instead.
Either way, I hope you found this blog post helpful! Until next time, stay true... and do you! 💖