Naming My Business: Personal Brand Versus Business Name

It can be hard to decide whether or not to personalize your business around you, or to go with a Business name. Which one is better giving consideration to the hyper social media world we live in right now?

There is no right or wrong here, but there are elements that are wise to consider before you lock in a name.

Let’s look at both options, Personal Branding Versus Business Branding, and the factors to consider when determining which way is best for you.

Naming Your Business After You : Your Personal Brand

Building a brand around you is a lot easier today given the access to everything social media related.

Building you as a brand means promoting you and your personality, which may extend to your ecosystem. You may choose to offer your thoughts not just on your business but also extend that to your family, friends, pets, fashion, events in your life and foods you like.

Ali Brown – Successful Personal Branding – Women’s Business Coach

Ali Brown, one of America’s foremost women’s business coaches, has built a personal brand that is synonymous with Women’s high performance business coaching globally. Women flock to her events, Glambition podcast and her social platforms due to her connections with significant female business entrepreneurs who are the best in the world at what they do.

A personal brand generally will have you in the limelight and if you are an introvert, this is a something you should be aware of. If you don’t like having your image out there, then perhaps a Business Brand might be a more suitable option for you. Or you may want to step out of your comfort zone and build on your exposure.

Why Your Personal Touch Is Expected In Your Business

When you name a business around you, there is also the expectation by your audience, that the service or product your business offers has your personal touch on it.  In other words, when the brand has your name on it, you are by definition, making it personal.

Copycats Can’t Authentically Copy

The benefit of your own personal brand is that due to your involvement, it is difficult for others to copy it. They cannot be you. Many will try to copy or garner your success, and a prime example of this is where you see websites that are the ‘unofficial’ website of so and so, versus the ‘official’ site or social media account.

Challenges With Personal Branding

It is difficult to tell what business area you are in if the business is just your name. Are you a coach, consultant, do you sell shoes?

Coming up with a tagline can also be problematic because what does your name have to do with a specific tagline if no one knows who you are. Who knows if you sell silver jewellery if your name is Gemma Marks?

The way around this, if you are a consultant for example, is to call yourself Elena Smith Consulting.

You may need to ask yourself the question right from the outset, do you want to remain a part of the business you are creating? Do you see it as your life long quest? If not, can you sell it?

Difficult to Sell a Personally Branded Business

The drawbacks or cons are that once you have built up a brand around you, if at one point in the future you want to sell this business, it is difficult as ‘you are the business’. But, and this is important, it is not impossible. There are many success stories where personally branded businesses have sold, it just meant they needed to do a lot of preparation work to move the Business Name from their own Personal Name to another more generic name. This also includes,

*removing your face images from any marketing

*removing your name

*Moving the IP into another holding asset

*Changing any of the digital business structure such as Website domain and related URL’s

And the key thing here, is that timing is everything. If you rush it, then your audience or customers may fall away with the sense that you are no longer involved. Hence this process needs to be planned out strategically with foremost consideration given to your customers because if you lose them, then your business offering will not look as palatable to potential buyers.

Business Branding and Why It Is Easy

When you position your business right from the start you can add a tagline that compliments your business and tells your market what it is that your business does. People will associate with your business through the name and the tagline.

Easier To Scale and Sell a Business Brand

Also, a Business Branded enterprise, such as Uber, it can be easier to scale for growth.

In contrast to a Personal Branded business, it is easier to sell a Business with no attachment to a particular person or personality. However, you can always create a face to provide a greater human feel, it just doesn’t have to be yours. Many insurance companies , in particular car insurance companies, create faces that you can relate to in their marketing, and they can continue to use these faces for as long as the image licence allows them to do so. Eg Aami Car Insurance always uses the same girl with her headset on who is ready to take your call. Such consistency may have a customer believing that the girl in the marketing is the same girl who is going to answer your distress call when your car breaks down.

But Wait, There Are Challenges With A Business Brand

Due to the lack of an identifiable person behind the brand, this type of business can take longer to grow. It is not as if you can upload a few of your photos on to your social media account because your audience will ask who actually is the business? You or a Business Team?

A problem of copycats certainly arise when the business is not specially skewed to an individual and proving who did, said, created or made what first (originally) can become a challenge.

Success Leaves Traces

What many Business Brands run by individuals have done in the past is that they have morphed their established business, that they have become known for, into a more personalized brand.

Lisa Corduff is the founder of Small Steps Living, a wholefoods platform dedicated to help families eat healthy. Her success and strong identification with her community has enabled her to step into her personal brand in other ventures both related and unrelated to her original business.

Ultimately,  the question to ask yourself when choosing which way you want to go, Personal Brand versus Business Brand is possibly best answered if you imagine what your business will look like in the future.

Think about what would you like your business to look like in 3-5 years from now? If you are comfortable sharing some of yourself right now for a business built around you for the future, Personal Branding might be for you. If you want to sell your business from the outset, consider a Business Brand.

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