Corporate and Personal Branding
Is there a difference between the two?
Yes and no.
Branding over time
The concept of ‘brand’ first originated amongst farmers and ranchers to designate the cattle which belonged to them. The branding technique was used throughout history in several countries, and the method is still used today. Branding cattle helped one to identify cattle among others.
Gradually, it gained corporate meaning as well. Corporate branding started with its logo and gradually evolved to include the entire company, its activities, corporate individuals, products and services. In other words, the concept has taken a holistic and more inclusive meaning. By holistic brands, we refer to identifying an individual or an entity by the attributes of their brands, their intrinsic values.
A corporate brand is a collection of a company’s customer’s perception, purpose, values, performance, corporate social responsibility and market dominance, to name a few. It is an aggregate of what its customers perceive and think about a company. For instance, Tata is known for its wide range of services, products, and corporate social responsibility activities. It is a valued entity not just in the corporate sector, its peers and industry but even for society.
Additionally, a corporate brand also refers to how valuable its products and services are. For instance, Maggi is quite a prominent brand in the instant food industry.
Sometimes, brands become more well-known or prominent than the company itself! Take the Xerox machine, for instance. The Xerox Corporation manufactures it. But their product is so well known that the device is synonymous with photocopying. Very few people know the name of its manufacturing company.
Again, consider the brand Dettol. It is known worldwide as an antiseptic, and this product is available in almost every home due to affordable pricing, marketing, and a host of other variables. However, how many people know the name of its manufacturing company?
For some customers, sporting certain branded items like a Rolex watch or a BMW car show off their status. People love to own products from premium brands to upgrade their lifestyle and position in society.
A personal brand is similar to a corporate brand, but it is certainly not the same thing.
It is similar because it comprises values, purpose, community service, and market dominance. Just like well-known corporate brands like Dettol and Xerox have high perceived values. An individual with valuable abilities is held in high regard. Take motivational speakers, for example. There are many motivational speakers, but the ones at the top have the highest perceived value, and this is due to their skillsets, their public image – that’s their brand.
One unique thing about personal brands, as opposed to corporate brands, is developing into a devout following. Take personalities like Michelle Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and others. Personal brands influence public opinion, individual’s life and living. People with branded identity have followers who value every word from the influencer; they wait for their next action.
What is the difference between a Personal Brand and a Corporate Brand?
By now, you have looked at corporate and personal brands. While elaborating on them, we have even touched upon the differences.
But there are certainly more differences!
Most corporate organizations are very conscious of their corporate identity and pay great attention to it. They invest significant resources for building its image according to their agenda, increasing its popularity and creating a desire to own it. Different companies have a dedicated department for their branding.
On the other hand, most people tend to ignore their personal brand.
The biggest difference is that most people are unaware that branding involves attention, strategy and commitment. Companies know it, but people either know it or tend to overlook it.
Now that you know about the difference between the two, the next logical question is…
Should you focus on personal branding or business branding?
It is recommended that you begin with developing a personal brand. This is because if you start by building your personal brand, you’ll define your mission, values, vision and message. You’ll also know to whom you are offering your products and services and why. And as you can see, some of these elements overlap with business branding as well.
Thus, developing a personal brand is the primary step to creating a corporate brand.
As you define your mission and vision and build your personal brand, you start off on the right foot. Your business or company is an extension of yourself. It is also easier to start off by creating a personal brand because, in the beginning, your business or company does not have a personality. When you focus on creating a personal brand, you lend it character.
But creating a personal brand demands a clear vision and persistence, and it may expose your brand to more vulnerability. During adverse situations, there is nothing you can hide.
If this is not something you want to go for, you can create a corporate brand.
To begin with, you need to create an appealing story around the brand and personality of your company or business. It will interest your target audience to know about your brand. This can include making an avatar, a cartoon, or something similar.
Regardless of your path, the content you create should be informative, practical, engaging, and unparalleled. You can’t build a successful brand overnight; it takes years of consistent effort.
Where to begin?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What is your purpose?
- What are you here for?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why are you offering this product or service?
Should you build a corporate brand first to earn money?
If you hate the thought of being a public person or an online leader, then yes, start with business branding.
Personal brand building can be more effective, though, and it certainly brings revenue faster. Besides, it brings in sustainability. We recommend creating a personal brand and transforming it into a corporate brand.