Corporate vs. Personal BrandingPosted by Jessica Oman
Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, it’s important to differentiate your corporate brand from your personal one and make it clear which one of you is talking. The corporate brand is aligned with the mission and vision of the company; it seeks to uphold the values and messaging that the company wants to represent. Your personal brand can be very different, but if you reference your corporate brand within your personal brand, it’s important that readers and listeners get how the two brands are related.
When you’re tweeting, blogging, or talking about your company, are you creating content that fits the image of the corporate brand? Is your Twitter avatar an image of you, or your company logo? If it’s a logo, how do readers view the person writing the tweets or posts? Can readers relate? These are all important considerations – and that’s just for the avatar!
Some companies allow multiple people to post under the corporate name. To communicate the person behind the messages, writers will often add their initials at the end of the tweet or post, to let readers know who wrote it. This adds a tiny human touch and readers can begin to identify with the company based on their connection to the people behind it.
If you’re a solopreneur or a micro-business owner, you could choose either your personal image or your logo as your corporate avatar; it depends on how closely you want your readers to identify you with your brand. If these things are better left separate, then use a logo; if you ARE your brand, use a photograph of yourself. This Marketing Profs article on Personal and Corporate Branding discusses how to find that fine balance.
If you’re not sure what you want your brand to be, it’s a good idea to try a few personal branding exercises to start narrowing it down. Define several attributes that describe you, and then work on ways to communicate those attributes authentically to your network. Get a great photo and personal bio and sprinkle it on the internet. If you choose to affiliate your personal brand with your employer’s brand, make a logical connection, but keep it at arm’s length so that people don’t continue to associate you with that company should you leave it and seek employment somewhere else.
Remember, your brand is what people talk about when you’re not in the room. So make sure the water cooler gossip you inspire serves to uplift and uphold your brand values, whether personal or corporate.