Branding is a necessary part of any marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-national corporation or an individual, you always want to consider your brand.
That said, there are plenty of differences in how personal brands and corporate brands operate. Goals, objectives, methods and audiences can vary.
Even so, the two marketing activities can overlap in several areas. Here are a few areas where brand marketers can learn from those who are cultivating their personal brand.
Personal Brands Are Authentic
One of the biggest differentiating factors between personal and corporate brands is authenticity. That isn’t to say business brands are always unauthentic. However, when a marketer creates a brand for a company, they can hide any individual opinion associated with that brand behind corporate anonymity.
Not so with a personal brand. While an individual can obviously say one thing and believe another, there is much less room for unauthentic messaging with personal brands. What you say, who you are, and how you’re perceived are all very personal activities.
Bob Goldwater, founder of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, speaks to the authenticity inherent in personal branding by stating, “Your messages have to match your methods. I think if you attempt to convey an emotion that’s not authentic, that’s when you’re in danger of getting labeled ‘slick’.”
Authenticity is always important in branding. However, it must be developed and maintained by a corporate entity and its marketing team.
Related Article: Forget VoC. Where Is Your Brand’s Voice?
Personal Brands Are Niche
Personal brands tend to focus on individual factors and skills. This is, once again, a natural progression born out of the limitations of an individual persona. Nevertheless, the niche aspect of personal branding can possess valuable insights for marketers cultivating larger brands.
By focusing on a single area, a personal brand can flourish in spite of its size. Individuals with their own successful brand often offer services, write guest posts, and build resources focused on their area of expertise.
This has the benefit of building their authority within their field. It demonstrates that they know their stuff and are deserving of attention.
Brian Dean and Neil Patel are excellent examples of personal branding in the SEO world. The pair of marketing wizards are largely viewed as top authorities and industry leaders within their niche. The size of their success also makes them excellent options for takeaways that will translate easily to larger corporate branding efforts.
Related Article: Does Your Brand’s Voice Connect With Customers?
Personal Brands Are Unique
A personal brand is never the same. They’re as unique as the individuals that create them. Factors like authenticity and a niche focus never fail to differentiate one personal brand from the next.
The one-of-a-kind nature of personal brands often leads to a sense of innovation and creativity. A professional will tailor their brand to focus on a certain USP (unique selling proposition).
They will also present ideas and information through their own exclusive perspective. An individual representing their personal brand is also likely to look for creative ways to use modern tools. They might have a unique take on their marketing messaging, their social platforms or even their personal fashion style.
Larger brands can too often slip into a repetitive rut. They look like everyone else and operate under the same parameters. It’s important to maintain the sense of novelty that personal brands so effortlessly keep in the mix.
Personal Brands Are Personal
Finally, personal brands exude a sense of personal interest. From one-on-one interactions to undivided attention, a personal brand is able to make consumers feel valued and seen.
This added focus on community can make it much easier to resonate with customers. It can build a sense of trust and foster word-of-mouth recommendations. Larger brands can easily come across as stuffy and disconnected.
It’s important to take a page out of the book of personal branding if a larger organization wants to connect with its clients. This will help to foster a sense of community and trust.
Personal branding can be quite different from larger marketing. However, there are several key areas where the influence of a personal brand can help a larger brand succeed. Authenticity, a niche focus, a sense of novelty, and an attempt to be personal are all critical components of branding success — regardless of whether the brand represents a single person, a multibillion-dollar company, or anything in between.
Currently serving as a communications director for Oracle, Steve Olenski is a true unicorn in that he has the unique ability to combine real-world marketing experience with a highly impressive journalistic background. A regular contributor to Forbes for 10 years, his work has also appeared in other leading publications including Ad Age, Adweek, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Marketing Land, MarTech Today, ESPN among many others.