Are you feeling confused about the difference between a personal brand and a corporate brand? Do you even believe you have a personal brand? Let’s clear up the confusion.

What is a personal brand vs a corporate brand?

We all have our own personal brand whether we’re aware of it or not. When we meet people for the first time our brain forms an instant impression of them based on how they look, sound or the characteristics they display. This is your first impression of their personal brand.

Perhaps they’re wearing an outfit we love, speak with the same accent, remind you of a close friend or display characteristics, beliefs and values you admire, or can relate to. In this instance, you’ll probably feel drawn to them.

On the flip side, they could remind you of a school bully or a nightmare boss. Their image, tone of voice, attitude or even name may trigger bad memories, all of which will negatively colour your first impression of that person.
Who we are, our personal experiences and memories all combine to result in us either admiring or repelling certain people and forming snap decisions about their personal brand.

So yes, whether you realise it or not, you already have a personal brand! It’s how others perceive you every day in every situation whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone, by email or via social media.

“Your personal brand is who you authentically are, how you make connections and form relationships with others.”

“Okay, so how does your personal brand work when you’re an entrepreneur?”

When you start a business as a solo entrepreneur your business organically takes on your personal brand. You’ll naturally use your own tone of voice, display your characteristics, values, beliefs and image. These will seep through everything you do digitally or in-person and should be woven through your brand visuals.

In doing so, you will naturally attract people who are drawn to your unique personal brand. But we have to accept that not everyone will be drawn to us, just like we’re not drawn to everyone we meet!

However, as we want to be surrounded by people who we CAN connect with, build lasting relationships with and ultimately convert into loyal customers and clients, this is a good thing (so don’t beat yourself up about it!).

Understanding who your ideal audience is will help you understand which elements of your personal brand are in-line with them and which you can use to elevate your brand to the next level.

For example, perhaps you place a high value on protecting our environment and do everything you can to recycle or reuse. If your ideal audience also share this value, then bringing it into your business, making sure you consider the effect on the environment in everything that you do, and communicating this through your messaging with create an instant connection with your audience and encourage them to find out more.
And don’t try to be something you’re not, you WILL get called out by your audience and lose their trust.

“How does it work when a solo entrepreneur begins to expand and hire employees?”

In this instance, you’ll need to ensure that your personal brand’s characteristics, values, beliefs and tone of voice are communicated to your employees so that at every touchpoint, your audience still feels the power of your authentic personal brand.

“Entrepreneurs’ businesses take on the personal brand of the founder. Understanding who you are and how you tick will help you create a strong, authentic brand which will flourish and bloom.”

“So how does this work with larger businesses?”

In this modern era of branding, all businesses need to display human characteristics to help their audience connect with them. When a group of people come together to create a business, they need to create a brand persona which reflects a real human being, with a tailored personality. To do this successfully and attract the right audience, they need to work on their ideal audience research first and then craft a brand personality which will attract and not repel them.

However, every single member of the business needs to understand and adopt the brand persona and communicate with every customer in a unified manner to ensure the brand message does not become confused and misinterpreted.

“Corporate brands need to be crafted specifically to attract their ideal audience and every member of the company needs to be on-board and singing from the same hymn sheet.”

Final thoughts

The Covid crisis forced thousands of face-to-face businesses go to online. This means that it’s more important than ever that business owners are able to attract their ideal audience digitally. To do this, going back to basics and digging deep to understand your brand roots will enable you to continue to attract the right people and weave your personal brand throughout everything you do.

If you need guidance discovering and finding clarity about your personal brand or need brand visuals which authentically reflect you then contact us to arrange a free discovery call to see how we can best help you.

Jill Pryor and Emma Collins - Brand Clarity, Design and Visibility

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