A unique and authentic brand is vital for every business. Customers will be able to identify who you are and what you do.
Many founders mistakenly associate their business brand and their personal brand. Combining them might work for some, but it is not the best approach for all.
As a coach, creative strategist and brand strategist for small businesses and startups, I have found that separating your personal brand and your business helps you grow your business.
If you have any public persona, even a small one, I highly recommend you create a separate brand for your business and use a personal professional brand platform to share insights about your life.
- Entrepreneurs will have the freedom to expand beyond their business. Many entrepreneurs go on to write books, become public speakers, or start new ventures. Your professional brand can be used to share and promote this kind of work, while still allowing your business to function as usual.
- A better way to refine your business brand is Separating your professional interests and the main purpose of your company’s business will strengthen your brand. It will allow your company to be more focused, intentional, and focused.
- Optimize your brand for growth. Even if your company is just starting out, if your visions are of growing your team or getting acquired, you want your business to be able to stand alone. Your business’ success should not be tied to your professional success.
- Your business is not your only one: Clients, partners, and employers often want to have a deeper understanding of you. What are your causes? Which other professional associations are you a member of? What artistic endeavors or interests are you involved in?
Convinced? Great. Here’s how you do it.
How to create your personal professional brand
Your professional brand is like a Linkedin profile. It is a work-related online brand that extends beyond your company or business.
This is often confused with a personal brand. However, I find it useful to differentiate the two. In the past I had difficulty deciding what information to keep private and what to make public. What amount of me is necessary to feel authentic and not be exposed to the world (the “personal branding”, approach many social media users take).
A “personal professional brand” is the answer. I use social media and my website to share causes and projects that I believe in. Sometimes, I even share a little of my everyday life, such as photos from recent trips or family pictures. It’s “HR-appropriate,” which is how I think of it. If I’m applying for any type or partnership, my personal professional brand will help tell a wider story about who I am.
Do you have any exceptions? Yes! It is possible to have one brand if your personal brand is the business brand. This category includes many authors, speakers, coaches and thought leaders.
You can keep them apart, but you should direct them to one another. This is how it might look:
Create a personal professional website
As a professional, I recommend that you secure yourname.com’s domain name. This website can be used as a secondary website to your business website. I did not want to do that, so I created a page on my company website. My personal professional site, arianawolf.com, simply redirects to flightdesign.co/ariana-wolf. However, I have the option to seperate them if necessary. No one has taken my URL.
You can be on social media, but only where you shine
You, as a small business owner and especially one who reads this blog, are likely to be aware of the importance of social media in your company’s success. You are probably stressed about managing social media platforms for your business as well as your personal account.
If you don’t wish to be on every platform, here’s your permission. You don’t really need all of them, unlike your business. Think instead of the one that you love most and which will best showcase your work, and then focus your professional brand efforts there.
Twitter is a popular choice for many people because it is quick and simple. Instagram is for visuals. My clients love to know I am creatively-minded because I work in a creative industry. I therefore focus mainly on Instagram where I share photos I have taken.
Ariana Wolf (@simply_ariana), shared this post.
My Instagram showcases the creativity of my photography. It’s a personal brand that I have created, but also relates to my business.
A quick note about LinkedIn, as a social media platform. Although many people will default to “Owner Of Company” as their title, it is worth adding some additional descriptors about you and your best skills to your title. If someone searches for a speaker or expert and finds your profile, they will be able to get a feel of who you really are outside your business.
Leadership: Build your Thought Leadership
You can get exposure for your business and personal brand by sharing your expertise through writing articles or podcast appearances. These opportunities will allow you to mention your company. However, you should also discuss your professional philosophies and values outside of your current job.
Recently, for example, I was interviewed on a podcast about my brand philosophy. It’s something that I do every day at work, but it’s also something that I use when I consult other startups or serve on advisory boards. It is part of who I am beyond my business.
Do not be afraid to let your personality shine
For brands as well as people, I believe that the uniqueness of you is what makes it easy to connect with others. Don’t be afraid of letting your personality shine when you build your professional brand. Do you love roller skating? Do you have a huge collection of Star Wars miniatures to show off? While they might not be the main focus of your company’s brand, these hobbies will add interest, intrigue and connection to your professional brand. They are what make you unique and that’s why branding is so important.
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